Why I Don’t Use the Word “Evil”
… they asked me if I’d refer to a certain set of behaviours as evil, and, when I said no, they attempted to spin it to make me appear as though I approved of these behaviours, or at least find them somewhat acceptable.
With many other people, I’m sure this trick would have worked, but unfortunately for this person, they were stuck with me, and I wasn’t going to let a half-assed attempt at context-shifting manipulation leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth over that so-called discussion.
I want to make this clear: I see this as worth writing about because many people use the word evil to describe behaviours or even other people as a whole. To me, this has never been a problem, and I’ve never had the tendency to try to police someone’s language and to tell them to pick another word…
… but I just do not to use the word evil. It’s not part of the language of my thinking. It’s not built into the lens or the framework of my interpretation.
That is the main reason I tend not to call any behaviour evil.
When it comes to the word itself, I have a few reasons for not using it.
- I usually detect some generally religious connotations in the word.
- It’s a classification of behaviour that doesn’t explain that behaviour.
- It’s so void of insight that, the way I see it, it borders on shallow judgment,
- and, if it did attempt to explain any behavioural influence, then it would almost certainly rely on the existence of some external force: “The Force of Evil.” I just don’t recognise any such force in nature.
When it comes to the behaviours people might tend to call evil, in most case I’d find myself in agreement with them up until the use of the word.
For example: if someone tortured elderly people for fun or was a prolific cat-rapist, I’d agree with anyone’s classification that these behaviours are generally destructive, negative, “bad,” etc.
In a casual setting, I might say these behaviours disgust me — but that’d be more a reflection on myself than on the events and actions.