Can you recognize evil when you see it, hear it, observe it, participate in it? Can you define it as morally objectionable behavior or as that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune? Or do you just know it if you listen to that small voice inside which tells you that something is not quite right?
You know that evil is everywhere and part of the human makeup. It cannot be escaped when you see others engaged in it or you stand by while it encroaches on your living space and mental stability. You would like to ignore it to protect your sanity or because you are afraid that you may become a part of it. It is much easier to pretend that, in our civilized world, one can protect oneself and those we love from it if we just pretend it will not touch us. Yet the bad-news talking heads of television and other media is doing everything in their power to remind us of the existence of evil and yet we deny that we are part of it.
Consider the acts of evil carried out by others. The moment we excuse these acts, ignore them, stand by and permit them, one can no longer pretend not to be an integral part of these acts by the sheer indulgence of such evil. And it is my contention that the indulgence of evil is not only a participation in committing whatever evil we have observed but is, in fact, a worse evil we commit by remaining silent. This silence serves to augment evil and denies any opportunity to offset it with beneficial counterpoints which would or could make a difference. It makes cowards of us all.
Criminal Acts: Do we bear witness when such observed acts are performed or do we avoid any involvement? If a family member is the guilty party, do we lie and cheat to cover it up? If our children are the guilty parties, do we insist that they are “a good boy / girl, they would never . . .?” Do we avoid pointing the fingers at our neighbors because we are afraid of retaliation of any sort? Do we excuse our own acts of evil because others are engaged in them as well? Perhaps it is your contention that these are all valid reasons for ignoring such acts of evil – and in your mind, they may well be. Just do not fool yourself into thinking that you are not participating in those acts with your silence or that there is a chance in hell that good will triumph over evil in the end.
As the often-quoted Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Can you make a difference? Yes. Do you? Courage can be defined as the willingness to oppose evil even though one is afraid. Are you afraid when you witness evil close up? You should be because we all are, if we have any sense at all.
Civil Acts: In our daily lives, we encounter such evil almost non-stop. Consider the men who abuse, torture, intimidate or kill the women in their lives. Why men? Is it because we are still assuming women to be the weaker sex? I have reason to doubt that. Once upon a time, I encountered a woman I thought I could best in a physical struggle. It was legitimate to try, after all, this was the training grounds of a Police Academy. Not to get too graphic, she flattened me and had to be called off and she was clearly not a “big” woman. Of course, I had to marry her, she was absolutely beautiful in her fury, born of courage and determination to be counted.
Any so-called men feeling obliged to attempt to dominate and abuse the weak, the elderly, the children or animals are total cowards in my book and the evil they commit should not be indulged because they might have had abusive parents themselves. But the cycle cannot be broken unless good and courageous men and women abstain from remaining silent. Are there good men about? Of course, there are, and lots more than the evil ones.
But I do not wish to overlook the female of the species who are actively engaged in manipulating the world around them, particularly men, and proud of their expertise in that area. Okay, it us true that some of them get paid for that expertise but is it really any different if cash is not offered or if a woman is married? But that's another story I have already published elsewhere.
Private Acts: Do you gossip, at home, at work or at a get-together? Before you answer, please take a moment and consider that your reply may affect your credibility. The fact is, we all do it to one extent or another. Yet, it is one of the most demeaning acts in which we can engage and the costs to personal reputations and productivity in the workplace is enormous. Perhaps you consider gossiping as light informal conversation for social occasions-as others have defined it-but what is addressed here is any discussion (most often malicious) about the behavior of other people. Why do we do it? It can be assumed that one gossips about others because it may, for the moment, give us the illusion that we who gossip are somehow superior to the person being gossiped about. What it is really defining, though, is our own personal level of self-respect we are willing to sacrifice. Have you ever heard of mobbing?
Once upon a time, a business with nearly one hundred people hired a young Personal Assistant to one of the directors of that business. Since the young lady was attractive and personable, it took no longer than a week for tongues to begin wagging with a number of catty and vicious remarks being passed about. Of course, these waggers felt threatened since their own position in the company may be impacted negatively. The matter was not eased when it was observed that one of the department managers seemed to have developed a personal liking to 'Sally.' Although she did not report to him, she frequently visited his office and, hold your horses, at times even closed the office door.
After a few months, it had become quite obvious to the office grapevine that something was going on between those two and all felt thoroughly justified in having revealed the secret by warning others – a public service of sorts. “I saw them come to work together this morning – in the same car! What a slut!,” one exclaimed. And the beat went on . . . .
After about seven months, the matter surfaced since most people, even those who claimed to be her friends, discussed the matter quite openly-except in Sally's presence. The director of the business, seeing that morale and productivity was being impacted by the extensive mobbing and occasioned by the unfortunate fact that Sally had just quit, called a halt to it. It seemed that the manager Sally was surely sleeping with had a sister. That sister had a daughter. And that daughter was Sally.
Do you believe that management had blown it by not disclosing the facts in the first place? Of course. But have you ever seen managers who are overly bright and perceptive? Perhaps. But about all these rumormongers, did any of them, at any time, have the courage or the decency to say: “Stop, I do not want to listen or participate in spreading rumors, about which I have no facts?” Of course, not. Would you have said something to that effect? Again, please note that your answer may impact your credibility. And what if you have been, or are, the target. Do you confront it or hope it will just disappear as people will get to know you better?
Do you believe this did not happen and is a make-believe story? Dream on. There are literally thousands of such events, or variations thereof, taking place every day in the businesses of America, at a cost to those businesses in the millions. And no, I did not have a personal relationship with Sally. And no, I did not sleep with her either. Believe what you want but do yourself a favor and do a google search for “Mobbing.” You may be unpleasantly surprised.
So, just repeat after me: Honor, courage, integrity, honesty, self-respect and character are principles which, when applied, will combat evil in all its forms. But a cautionary note: there is always a price to be paid for doing what's right. Of course, there is also always a price to be paid for doing what's wrong or participating in evil as previously defined. Freedom of will leaves the choice up to you, as it should.
Disclaimer: This writing represents my opinion only, expressed under the protection of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Let freedom ring and wisdom prevail!