Archive for morality

Devil’s Advocacy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 24, 2013 by Johnny Broken

What is evil?

I was going to directly quote a dictionary until I noticed one of the listed definitions of evil was “that which is evil.” Seriously, Captain Obvious? Great editing job there. I’m also going to avoid using any terms like “sociopath” and “psychopath” because both of those words seem to get different meanings depending on the time of day. So, moving along!

We joke that taxes are evil. Or the judge on the reality TV show that didn’t vote for the contestant with some actual talent is evil. In one area of the world drinking alcohol is a crime punishable by jail time, and in another it’s a given aspect of adult life. Views on marriage vary greatly all over the world. Some religions think you are going to end up in eternal torment if you don’t agree with them. Other religions just want everyone to get along. There’s a branch of Satanism, for example, that believes that you can basically do whatever you want in your life (within reason) and as long as you repent before you die, you’re fine to make it into heaven. Who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong?
What about what we have little control over? Is wanton destruction evil? What about a child being born with severe birth defects compared to a newborn that’s a picture of perfect health? Now generally speaking, there are some “universal” constants like murder and theft. You could also probably count forcibly imposing your will on others. But once you get past the basics, things get tricky.

So why would I want to associate with evil? And by the by, The Evil Midnight Blog What Blogs at Midnight is a joking reference to a comic book called The Tick. (Hey, it seemed hilarious at the time.) But for that matter, my amusement with an insane supervillain called The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight probably says… something… about me too.

As you may have gathered by now, I do not have normal views when it comes to morality. I think it started back in junior high (which was actually in the same location as my elementary school, which was grades 1-8. So I tend to think of junior high as later elementary school, not early high school.) when my classmates started turning against me for whatever reasons kids do the horrible things they do. Which in turn actually led to multiple dreams (day and night) where I killed my classmates in rather comic book-ish style. And believe me, when you’re young and the foremost thought on your mind is how much you hate 99% of the kids you know, it starts to alter how you look at the world. You don’t want to wear the white Simpsons shirt and purple shorts you wore last year any more. That’s what they do. The bad guy on that action show you like dressed in black, and no one messes with him. Maybe that’s the way to do it?

And then you start to notice that the heroes on TV and in the movies have a lot more in common with the people you hate than they do with you. And the heroes seem to always be saving people you hate too! So the popular, good looking people who like sports and crappy music are the good guys? The good looking hero gets the girl? That’s not how your life is. The bad guy was spurned by the girl he was attracted to? The other kids mocked him because he looked different? He was weak, and wasn’t good at the other games the kids played? That’s more like what you’ve been through.

And then you start wondering about just why the “bad guy” is so “evil” after all. So he wants money. Well, don’t we all? Or maybe he just likes destroying things. Well if you didn’t have to clean up after yourself, you’d break a lot more stuff too. Or maybe he wants to rule the world. Well, most people are kind of stupid, they need someone to tell them what to do. And you’re smarter than they are, so isn’t that how it works anyway? The smart people tell the dumb people what to do.

And then you get a little older, and your mind is opened up to the world of R rated subject matter. Well… hmmm… maybe that guy that got caught in the crossfire wasn’t going to do anything with his life, so that’s… no real loss, right? Or that guard, he was in the military, so he got himself into that situation, they probably expected him to die. Oh, that guy at the bar that tried to get in the villain’s way was just a jerk anyway, he deserved it. And that other guy was old, he was going to die soon anyway. But that hostage lady who was really scared of her captor, there’s no need for him to do… that! That’s not right!

Granted I’m simplifying things extremely here, but I came to the conclusion (I actually typed that out as “confusions” the first time, heh) during my formative years that while I think my thought process tends to lean towards evil, I have my limits. Which is probably part of why an old friend, let’s call him #6, always used to chide me that “Pft. You’re not evil!” when this came up. Yeah, I’m not out murdering people or dealing drugs and I’ve never been in jail for breaking the law. And I have two responses to that. First, there’s a reason they say you should beware the quiet ones. Second, there’s a saying in the geek community that goes something like “I may be chaotic evil, but I’m not stupid.”

So I’ve done some crazy stuff, and I believe in some even crazier crap, but I don’t have a criminal record. Does that disqualify me from being evil? The geek community also tends to call a villain who lives by their own personal code of ethics “noble evil” and I love the sound of that. Another way of describing what I’m getting at is that “even evil has limits,” which I also think rolls off the tongue fairly well.

The thing is though, for as hateful, spiteful, and death-obsessed as I am, somewhere along the lines a sort of Gentleman’s Code fixed itself into my way of thinking. Be polite. Treat a woman with respect. Don’t steal from someone, because it sucks to have your stuff stolen. If you have a job, y’know, do it. Don’t be a freaking slacker and drag everyone else down because you’re lazy. Don’t be an ass in public.

These dueling personal codes also make Renaissance Faires the weirdest, albeit still highly enjoyable, experience for me. On one hand, I’m rooting for the villains because I don’t understand why bad guys always have to lose. (I mean bad guys win in real life, and people make incredibly boring true-to-life shows/books/movies and stuff all the time. So why not make something exciting and true-to-life where the bad guy wins?) But on the other hand, a knight declaring his opponent has fought honorably on the field of battle almost brings me to tears because it’s so awesomely awe-inspiring.

So yeah, I may not think fascism is such a *spooky fingers* bad idea. (I actually think it’s even better if I’m the one making the rules). I also don’t care if some random person dies, or if my own brother is getting married, or what your newborn looks like. But at least I’m nice about it to you.

-Johnny