Monday, June 21, 2004

The Nature of Evil

What is the nature of evil in humanity? I just finished watching the TNT miniseries Nuremberg
on DVD. It's a short drama of the famed Nuremberg trials after World War II, in which Nazi leaders were judged for crimes they had committed during the war. While Alec Baldwin was pretty good as the chief prosecutor Robert Jackson, and Brian Cox was excellent as Hermann Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, it was Matt Craven that really stole the show for me as Captain Gustav Gilbert, a Jewish US military psychologist who spent much time in dialogue with the accused war criminals.
In one scene, Gilbert tells Jackson that he thinks he's finally come close to answering the eternal question on what constitutes evil and the cause of it: a lack of empathy. He has found it to be the one common thread among all the Nazis on trial. This brought up an interesting thought in my mind because I believe that evil is from selfishness. Sin is evil (the noun, not the adjective) because of 1) sin's nature in being opposite of love and all that is good, 2) sin's all-encompassing aspect, and 3) sin's dual status as both an intangible concept and as an act; it's the intangible concept that matters here. And sin is a consequence of selfishness. Consequently, I believe that selfishness is at the core of the nature of evil. Anyone who wishes to know how I came to believe in the above premises can ask me for details later. That's currently beside the point. If you must know, most of it lies in the defiance of the Golden Rule.
So now, here's the question. Is pure selfishness simply a symptom of a lack of empathy, or is a lack of empathy simply a symptom of pure selfishness? Or are the two phrases in fact interchangeable? Or is evil epitomized by some other concept altogether? I wonder. But in the end, I would say that selfishness wins over and that Captain Gilbert only touched on the surface. This is rationalized through the actions of the defendants. Despite all of the evidence against them, many of the defendants persist in declaring themselves not guilty in order to save face and continue to live; they preferred to justify themselves, rather than take responsibility. Such acts require no lack of empathy because they no longer hurt others directly. However, such acts are still evil, and coincidentally (for those of you would disagree on this theory), selfish.
In conclusion, I still maintain that selfishness is the epitomy of evil. But selfish we all are.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~ Romans 3:23
OK, fine, what's really the epitomy of evil? Girls. Here's the proof. :p
Girls = Time and Money
Girls = Time x Money
Girls = Money^2
Money = the root of all evil
Girls = (sqrt(evil))^2
Girls = Evil
Q.E.D.
If you need me, I shall probably be on the run from an angry girl. Please try my cell.

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