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Basically Evil


On Saturday, Bob and myself driving along the Ohio Turnpike and listening to NPR, joined in a discussion that I now want to try and expand without getting theological.

The comment was made that the media always tends to ask “what was their agenda?” when terrorist strike across the world, just as is the case this week in India and the attacks in Mumbai (Bombay).

Since 9-11, we have seen these senseless scenes unfold before us in Spain, England, Africa and in Southeast Asia and we always wonder the “motive” of what is tantamount to “inhumanity to humankind.”

When it comes to “religious and spiritual matters”, I tend to be “high” church Anglican with alot of Emerson thrown in. Bob is more a “transcendentalist” with a “humanistic” flair, so neither one of us is a big believer of “heaven vs hell” and “damnation” theology.

I do believe tho, that their is just plain “evil” in the world.

Evil that needs no motive, it just exists to create pain, suffering and discomfort to those around it and thereby satisfaction to, oh lets call them, “chaos makers,” for they thrive and survive on the chaos they create.

I have a simple little quote that I put by the registers for my employees to read; “Out of chaos and clutter comes Evil.” I truly believe that statement.

We see it at work across the globe, Darfur for an example, but we really don’t have to go that far away from our own neighborhoods to see “evil” at work.

I went to Giant Eagle later yesterday afternoon and amid the crowd with their shopping carts, you could see the uncaring and “self center” of many as they pushed their way through the throng.

After I had left the check out, I headed towards the “service counter” to redeem my lottery tickets.

As I approached the counter, which was empty of any customers, a gentleman came in from the side and “pushed” his cart in front of me and headed toward the clerk at the counter. I stopped as not to be “run over” and to step around the car as a middle aged women approached, again from the side, and pushed her cart into the one left by the previous customer. She proceeded to turn towards the service desk and waited for the clerk.

At this point I broke out in laughing and to which she turned and gave me a frightful glare.

The clerk had witnessed these two events and as it became my turn to be served, she smiled and stated, “the holiday season is only beginning and it’s getting rough.” I answered casually, “It’s not just the holidays but we tend not to treat each other nice daily,” to which she stated, “I think you’re right.”

Now this little narrative isn’t anything profound but I think it is shows the root of that larger question of “evil” and “motive”. It happens, simply without thought.

Yes, I understand that you can say the motive of the first person was to get to the counter because no one was there, plus he was in a hurry and maybe the second person didn’t see me standing there but I really don’t feel that’s the reason. We are just plain insensitive to those around us and isn’t that a part of “evil?”

I’ve posted before about the neighbor who “encroached” on the space of others. How she tried to take over the total back porch of a connected townhouse; her over sized grill that protruded from her space to the space over the other townhouses back steps; her bright front porch light that was left on all night and shown brightly into a neighbors bedroom; her Christmas spot lights that shown into the living room of another townhouse; parking her vehicle for hours in the common circle “fire zone” and when she was approached about these things her only statement was “I have the right!”

To me, this neighbor is the prime example of what leads to violence around the world and it can be simply stated with “I have the right!.” No real motive but that of self, so here we have it, basic “evil.”

I will be expanding these thoughts over the next few weeks as we approach the “Holidays.” Please join in with your thoughts and observations.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 11/30/2008 5:18 pm

    Evil: that word covers a great deal of territory and you’ve encompassed a good bit of said territory in a comparatively few words. You’ve given your readers a great deal to think about and consider. In the worst of cases, such as acts of terrorism, that too seems to depend on the perpetrator and the victim. I refer to the taking down of the Twin Towers, as evil an act as ever perpetuated on the citizens of the United States of America. An Open and Shut Case? Bin Laden and his cohorts certainly did not look upon it as evil act. With all his being, Bin Laden believed he was carrying out the will of his God, Allah, and Allah would not have condoned the act if the act was evil. President W. Bush, convinced that Iraq was responsible—at least I trust he believed so— and just as convinced that it was the will of the Christian God, rained down upon the Iraqians a night of Shock and Awe, followed by a full-scaled invasion. In both cases innocent people died. Am I to believe that evil lay only with Bin Laden and those of like mind?

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