What Is Evil?

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It seems everyone is busy with the approach of Holy Week and most especially Easter Sunday which, to all Christians here in the Philippines, is a day when good triumphed over evil. Good, in and of itself is actually pretty easy to define.

Good is happy, good is colorful and, most importantly, good is peaceful. These are just a few words that characterize the idea of “good”. However, one must ask, how is evil defined?

Well, that’s the problem, especially here in the Philippines. We all too often confuse evil with what is unpleasant even though, as history has proven over the years, the best is sometimes brought out of people in the worst of circumstances. This is perhaps one of the main reasons that our country seems deeply submerged in the muck of greed and corruption as we fail to understand the true nature of evil and how it essentially saturates our society at large.

Evil is often equated with darkness just as good is associated with light and appropriately so. You see, just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good. Both darkness and evil are a lack of something rather than actual objects or forces. When people talk about evil in the world, they talk as if it’s some kind of monolithic force opposite of good even though, upon closer inspection, it is anything but.

Evil takes many forms in our country of course. From corruption in our leaders, sexual immorality of our celebrities, overall pettiness of the upper classes to the rampant apathy of the masses, evil has made its mark throughout the Philippines. However, as I’ve come to realize, all these are just a symptom of a deeper and more insidious sickness in our country as a whole and that, my friends, is our “anti-intellectual” nature.

In more developed societies, being wise or smart is something that is lauded. In the Bible itself as well as other religions with a philosophical nature, wisdom is considered one of the ultimate gifts of Heaven and is treasured no matter where it may be found. In the Philippines on the other hand, being seen as wise or practical will just earn you the ire of others who may even retort with senseless words and phrases like “E ‘di wow!”.

What we fail to understand regarding evil is that, at its core, evil is simply stupidity. When stripped of all its glamour and false bravado, evil is simply a lack of wisdom and common sense in people. Also, evil’s greatest goal is not destroying good because it is, in and of itself, powerless if people are wise enough to avoid it. No, evil’s real goal is to deceive and corrupt good into destroying itself through foolishness. Lastly, never forget that evil is never permanent as it is self destructive and, given enough time, will destroy itself if good men and women are willing to recognize it for what it is and make a stand against it.

Happy Holy Week and Easter everyone!

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