Musings on Evil

“Are people born wicked?  Or is wickedness thrust upon them?” ~the musical “Wicked”

I’ve often thought about this concept.  Is a newborn born as a blank slate?  Psychological studies say “probably not” and it’s more like a mixture of the influence of genetics and environment.   However, why do some people become “evil” while others become “good”?

Of course, the debate goes deeper into what exactly is evil and good.  My current personal definition of “evil” is someone or something that goes completely opposite the moral and societal values of the society they are a resident of, usually involving something that breaks the bonds between people and causes feelings of fear and loathing.

So, back to the original problem.  Do we have original sin so that we are born with an inherent tendency towards bad?  Or does something influence us into leaning towards the bad?  I do believe babies are born with inherent selfishness but is that an “evil”?

I don’t believe there’s an easy answer to any of these questions but for right now, I’d like to believe the we are born with the potential for good as well as evil and that our environment and thoughts push us more to one side or another.  I personally don’t think that anyone is 100% evil or good.  Even the most heinous of us have some small nugget of good lurking somewhere and the most saintly of us have a little nugget of bad.  I also believe that good in one society can be evil in another and vice versa.   It’s all a matter of looking at something.

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~ by cjt on July 31, 2007.

One Response to “Musings on Evil”

  1. Interesting perspective.

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