Evil and When to Confront it.
It is my belief at this point in time that Evil is a malleable “force”, a collection of ideas that humanity has decided displeases most of the members of the species, and not a true force in any sense of the word. What is evil to us, a collection of acts that we have decided upon as evil could to an alien civilization be completely foreign. They’re spectrum of what is good and evil could be exactly opposite of what we “know” to be good and evil. Thus to me Evil is not a force, nor is it a real absolute concrete thing, but a set of ideas that is opposite to what any particular civilization considers to be ideal. Humans being a group that enjoy comfort safety and love, consider evil as we know it, and to us that is evil, but we are not necessarily correct.
Imagine for instant a scenario where you’re given the choice to either commit genocide on the scale of the Pol Pot Cambodian massacre, or have the whole human race wiped out in an instant. The act of genocide is of course evil, but if you do not commit the atrocity all existence will be instantly nullified and all human achievement will be for naught. In this case evil becomes subjective. Evil is an area of many grays and shades of shadows with almost no black and white to be found.
Thusly the time when you speak against evil is also completely up to circumstance. Do you speak out against the evil immediately if that means instant death? You will no longer be able to help fight the evil if your n the land of the deceased and the evil will continue. Absolutes simply do not apply in the general inquiry of “when should one speak out against evil.
In Montana 1948,(read the book) the case is much more simple and less philosophical in nature. Uncle Frank has been molesting patients, the evil of which is uncontested in this society, and he deserved to be punished according to whatever laws were on the books at the time of the crime. His subsequent suicide is a cowardly end to an unrighteous life. He deserved to be embarrassed for his crimes and brought before a court of law to answer for his conduct, but instead chose death. Did he save his family and the town a lot of trouble and pain? Yes. Was it for these altruistic reasons that he committed suicide? It is unknown in the story, but I doubt it.
In history I chose the fire bombing of Dresden, which I know the details of through Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”. An unbiased account? Not really, but from what I’ve gathered through other various resources, their was no strategic value to destroying the city, and the reason given “To end the war more promptly by breaking down the morale of the German people” hardly seems good enough. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost to achieve an objective of questionable importance. This I believe should have been stopped by someone with the ability to know right from wrong, and seeing as all the members of the various war cabinets involved in the decision to go forward with the bombing were most likely of sound body and mind, the only conclusion one can draw from this atrocity is that those in charge were amoral or simply driven to amorality by extreme circumstances. The question of what is evil comes up again. It is to me ambiguous at best.
In my life I’ve had problems with substance abuse, violence towards those that I love and emotional distance all of which I consider to be facets f selfishness and evil. My own demons and my dark side are parts of me that I have to deal with everyday and not every day is it easy. There are days when I want to just rip apart everything I see, and I choose not to. I consider this my own personal triumph over evil. I’ve stumbled on my way, the death of friends, the pain I feel over certain things I wish I could change, and decisions I’ve made that everyday I wish I could take back, and say I’m sorry to those I have hurt in my somewhat tumultuous journey through this earth, but I’m trying and the harder I try sometime the harder it seems to stay the course. Yet I do stay my own course, and I have my own principles that I am true to and I do my best to fulfill a promise I made to a friend right before his death, that he seemed to predict. I choose not to reveal this promise, but it helps me get through the bad times simply knowing that people like Ray Spincken existed, and I like to think in some sense continue to exist.
Some of my decisions have been effective others have not, but I believe that by simply avoiding the evil that permeates the world around us, and to stand up to what I can, I do my part to make the world better. To confront evil to the best of your ability and to recognize evil, the greatest responsibility one can take upon themselves. Theres nothing funny about it really.