The Root of All Evil
What is the root of evil, and is it something we can get rid of? I don’t believe anyone starts out evil. I don’t believe anyone really wants to do harm and throw things out of balance. We all want what is best for ourselves and for others. With the exception for super villains, who don’t really exist, all of us want to do good. So then, from where does evil come?
When we are talking about good and evil, people often throw around the word justified. “I was justified to do A, because of B.” This is a red herring. You don’t have to justify things that are good. You justify things that are sort of bad, but you had a good reason. If you do something bad, you want to justify it. If you can convince other people that what you did was not actually all that bad, then it is easier to believe yourself.
Thus the root of all evil is peer pressure. If people believe something is correct, even if you think if might be wrong, you are more likely to not do anything about it. For example, everyone knows it is bad to lock up innocent people. Throughout history, this has happened anyway, because it was justified.
“We shouldn’t lock those innocent people up.”
“But they are scary. And they steal stuff. And they smell bad. We are justified in doing the wrong thing.”
“Well, if you say its ok, then so do I.”
“If you say it’s ok, then what are we arguing about?”
Peer pressure is the cause of evil. When other people say it’s fine to do bad things, then bad things are more likely to be done. Alas, as long as we are humans living in society, then we will never be rid of peer pressure. Nor should we. Sometimes causes have multiple effects.
Nobody wants to do evil. That is unnatural, but peer pressure gets people to do it anyway. In truth, is it also unnatural for people to go out of their way to do good. The default moral state of humans is neutral. Just as peer pressure can corrupts us do be evil, it can inspire us to be good.
It would be great if we lived in a world where everyone had opportunity and no one felt left behind or overlooked. We want a world free of conflict, where everyone helps and respects each other.
“We want to live in that Good World”
“That sounds difficult, but We believe it can be done.”
“If you believe we can, then that’s what we’ll do!”
“If that’s what you’re doing, then what are we arguing about?”
It is easy to lament humanity. We convince each other to do things that are wrong. Peer pressure is the root of evil. And yet, it is easy to celebrate humanity. We compel each other to do what we know is correct. Peer pressure is the root of Good.
Why is it like this? Why do Good and Evil come from the same place?