What is evil? Evil is the lack of awareness and as a result, behaving in ways that are hurtful, and unfair to other humans and to the world. Evil is selfishness in the worse sense of the word, in the sense that a person, or persons nurture their own egos at others expense.
What human beings want more than anything is for things to be fair and when they are not fair, we call this injustice evil. Evil is perpetrated when the perpetrator is not considering the rights and desires of others and then oppresses, dominates, or harms them for one’s own egotistic gratification.
The devil is this injustice personified. Like our fantasy of a personal God, we also fantasize a personal devil, but there is no such person in reality. However, just as we all manifest a spark of the divine, we also, all manifest a spark of evil, because we can be unaware, egotistical, selfish, and in our effort to nurture our egos harm others and our world.
It is not just the lack of awareness which brings about evil but the stubborn refusal to become aware, to consider new information, to take into consideration other perspectives and interpretations. Justice is always bi-laterally, or multi-laterally defined, and it is the refusal to consider the rights and feelings, and thoughts of others that starts to smell of evil. M. Scott Peck said evil was denial and I think his definition is succinct.
Evil is perpetuated when people refuse to examine situations for injustice and acknowledge that harm has been done. It is in the acknowledgement of harm and the willingness to rectify injustice that evil is diminished and eliminated. Forgiveness is a huge part of diminishing and eliminating evil. To listen as injustice is described, to examine factors and circumstances that have contributed to injustice, to offer a sincere apology, and to make amends absolves evil and restores mutuality when evil has manifested in our lives. Unfortunately, few people have learned these skills and instead have engaged in competitive behavior where “winning” becomes more important than justice, superiority more important than equity, and dominance more important than mutuality. Lives lived in this manner have the odor of evil about them and we need to beware.
As children we are born innocent and naive. Our childish behavior is described as “cute”, “adorable”, and endearing. And yet, as we grow, we all loose our innocence, our naivete, and we become aware that injustice, pain, sin, is part of life. It is a necessary step in our development, and can make one bitter, cynical, paranoid, critical, close hearted, because we live in fear of being hurt, or we can find ways of managing the evil in ourselves, and in others, and become aware, empathic, compassionate, understanding, wise, open hearted, and a therapeutic force in our weary world.
People should not mistake kindness for weakness. The hall mark of a spiritually mature person is to exude kindness, but not to be played for a fool because evil abounds in the world and will continue until we create a world in which awareness brings about justice, peace, and freedom for all.
We have made an adjustment to the expectations of the world, the path of the ego, thinking this will make us happy forgetting our divine origin. It is this forgetting that is the genesis of evil as we project our guilt at separating our separation from the Oneness onto others playing the victim. We are not victims anywhere but in our own misguided minds. It is our wrong mindedness which is the root of evil personified as the devil.