I absolutely believe in evil. I think the - probably overwhelming - majority of humanity are evil, even if for most of them that evil is understandable and minor. I can understand why someone would undertake a small, hurtful, selfish action that benefits themselves and harms someone else but I would still class it as evil.
People who are consciously aware of their evil impulses and able to resist them are incredibly rare in my experience. Living without committing evil is very difficult and often makes life harder for you, it's not something I have been able to do although I would like to live that way. I don't understand the argument in this thread that because the evil is understandable, has a motive, can be empathised with it's somehow not evil. I read a lot of Soviet era literature and many of the perceivable people in that machine - minor officials, informants, guards and so on - were just taking the course of least harm/most benefit to themselves and their families, they didn't wake up thinking of evil but what they did in practice was still evil.
One of my favourite quotes, which to me rings true, comes from a writer of that era:>I have seen that it is not man who is impotent in the struggle against evil, but the power of evil that is impotent in the struggle against man. The powerlessness of kindness, of senseless kindness, is the secret of its immortality. It can never by conquered. The more stupid, the more senseless, the more helpless it may seem, the vaster it is. Evil is impotent before it. The prophets, religious teachers, reformers, social and political leaders are impotent before it. This dumb, blind love is man’s meaning. Human history is not the battle of good struggling to overcome evil. It is a battle fought by a great evil, struggling to crush a small kernel of human kindness. But if what is human in human beings has not been destroyed even now, then evil will never conquer
You can see this in every regime, every practice of evil, every inhumanity all throughout history. No matter how terrible it is there are still people who act kindly to others. There's some fundamental altruism in the human spirit - even if it is just the evolutionary drive that we don't like seeing another monkey like us get hurt - which appears inextinguishable. It's rarely in charge, it cannot prevent evil, but it cannot itself be prevented. To me living in tune with that spirit of human kindness is vePost too long. Click here to view the full text.