The Futility of Evil

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The futility of evil surfaces at a early age as kids try to impress their friends by their rebelliousness. Many if not most youngsters embrace the lie that it takes courage to rebel. You’re “bad” if you go against the system. But “bad” actually means “good.” You’re “cool” if you’re “bad.” So “bad” is a true adjective, even though now being “bad” is a good thing. But this is backwards. “Bad” is supposed to describe something that is wrong, negative, or in some way undesirable.

The futility of evil continues on into adulthood. We admire people who seem rebellious, who lose control of themselves while they’re partying, or who bend the rules in order to exploit the system. The guys at my workplace brag about getting drunk and laid because they equate rebelliousness with manliness. If anyone tells a story, it’s gotta be scandalous. Scandal is impressive. The same rule applies as it did in elementary school: Being “bad” is actually good.

People might try to be bad out of a desire to be accepted. Maybe people feel a sense of fellowship in it, as if they’re thinking, “I want to do what I know is wrong, which happens to be the same wrong that everyone else wants to do, so maybe we can have that in common.”

But evil is utterly futile. We would have no point of reference for evil if we didn’t have goodness to compare it to. Evil people brag about being evil, but it’s the good things that give evil the evil things a chance to exist in the first place. A rebellious kid might admire himself for spray-painting his name on a subway, but it was the work of millions of people before him that made it possible for that subway, that city and even that can of paint to exist.

Evil would like to take everything hostage for itself, but this would destroy everything. In order for the thief to stay in business, he needs thousands of other people to keep working at their honest jobs, designing and purchasing the items that he wants to steal. If everyone were a criminal by trade then everything would fall apart.

The fact that evil is futile applies also to less dramatic, everyday things as well. A mostly honest productive citizen injects futility into his life every time he indulges in evil.

Most people care only to measure the physical repercussions of their actions, but spiritual repercussions, which are more subtle, are far more significant. Badness and goodness, for example, spring out from the genuine state of a people’s hearts. The course of a person’s life and therefore also the course of a society made up of people will be decided by either the evil or goodness of those people. The physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing of any person or group of people will be decided by the degree to with that person or people is either good or evil.

by Patrick Roberts.