- Education and Science
Good, Bad, and Evil
It is good to lend a helping hand to those who are in trouble. It is bad to steal from the others. It is evil to plot the demise of an adversary. It is good to tell a lie when the truth will cause painful feelings from your friend. It is bad to make fun of people’s short comings to attract attention. It is evil to build a life on the misery of the others. We like to do something good because it makes us feel good about ourselves. At times, we will be mischievous and do something bad without considering the feelings of the others. Also, it is not uncommon for some of us to fall victim to the darker side and live a life of evil deeds. Each of us is capable of good, bad, and evil doings. It is the role that each person plays in life that will determine the order of the happenings.
In Nature, we tend to classify the obedient dog, the gentle cattle, the singing bird, etc. as good animals; the ugly possum, the pesky rat, the blood sucking mosquito, etc. as bad animals; the stalking bat, the slithering snake, the swamping piranhas, etc. as evil animals. But, we understand that those creatures have no choice of what they do and if they are lucky, they will survive long enough to reproduce to keep the life cycle going. If their prescribed ways of life cannot be sustained by the environment, they will die out and become extinct. To them, there is no right or wrong, good, bad, or evil. They live to eat, mate, and multiple.
We learn that all those animals are the products of the evolution process to compete for survival in an environment with limited resources. When certain resources are depleted, certain animals will die out and become extinct to be replaced by a new crop of animals who are better equipped to live off the new environment.
We are this new crop of animals emerging after 3 billion years of evolution. We are wired to exploit the environment’s limited resources to enjoy elaborately prepared and tasty food, to experience the heart aching and soul searching mating rituals, and to increase our population to a staggering number of 7 billion in a relatively short time geologically. We have created a civilization where we rely on brain power and a moral standard instead of just physical force without worrying about right or wrong for survival.
In a civilized world, the challenge is no longer how to hunt for food but how to get along with one another. At home, we learn to love and care for the others. At work, we learn to gain the trust and cooperation of the others. In the society, we learn to obey the laws and respect the privacy of the others. But, due to each person’s unique physical and emotional needs, some people have to resort to bad deeds or evil maneuvers to get what they want. At home, it is common to hear about domestic quarrels or violence after the initial loving relations evolved into irreconcilable differences. At work, it is common to hear about personality conflicts than about improving office efficiencies. In the society, it is common to hear about road rages, robberies, and Ponzi schemes to defraud the unsuspected.
From the dawn of civilization, humans had documented the importance of morality in the philosophical and religious writings. At school, we were taught the destructions that the evil doers brought to the world, the distrust that the bad people impress upon us, and the goodness that always prevailed under adversity. At home, we were taught to be respectful to the elders, to stand up for the weak, and to be truthful to the others. As we grow older, our brain is better able to process the available information to gain a better understanding of what is good, bad, and evil. As each of us, soon or later, will encounter and be forced to solve uncommon problems that test our ideals and convictions, not all of us will be able to do the right thing. The best we can do is what we are capable of under the circumstances.
Before the appearance of the humans, everything exists according to Nature’s simple law of the survival of the fittest competing for limited resources in a given environment. There is no right or wrong, good, bad, or evil. This simple law no longer applies to us, the humans. It is supplemented by the law of morality. It is there to ensure that the human race will not destroy itself before it can fulfill its destiny to reach and explore the stars up in the night sky as the Earth is a mere incubator and springboard for the finale of the species.
We are all capable of the good, the bad, and the evil. The human history is testimonial to that as countless human lives perished due to the unspeakable acts of some people for reasons, sometimes, as simple as prejudice, greed, or self image. But, the goodness in humanity has proven to be a stronger force that guided the human’s civilization to its present state. The bad and the evil that are willed by the few will be drown out by what is good for the whole in the long run.