jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
A recent conversation about Defence against the Dark arts teachers made me realise I use "evil" in two different ways. Sometimes I mean, "doing something bad on purpose". Sometimes I mean, "doing harm to other people". The greatest harm is often done by people who are indifferent to it. But people who maliciously hurt others are awful is a special way.

A couple of the professors were very indifferent-evil. They didn't set out to hurt people, but they didn't see any of the awful things they did to people. Others were malicious-evil, they were killing people all over the place.

And of course, it's more complicated by that. Most people who cause harm by inattention SHOULD notice, and exist somewhere on a scale from "I'm 8 and I haven't broken away from the worldview I'm immersed in" to "I'm really really really wilfully ignorant, and I must be actively avoiding thinking about this."

But insofar as it's helpful to be able to think about bad things, it's useful to realise that they often overlap, but when I say "very evil" I might mean one of two different things.

Date: 2017-01-12 07:33 pm (UTC)
gerald_duck: (nightmare)
From: [personal profile] gerald_duck
Gosh. I tend to use the term very sparingly. But when I do, I tend to use it in a third sense.

Shorn of its theological aspects, the sense in which I mean "evil" is: a person has gone beyond mere badness, and is now locked in a self-perpetuating, self-exacerbating vicious circle of badness begetting more badness. The kind of person you look at, and wonder where on earth one would start in trying to unpick and fix their badness.

Date: 2017-01-17 01:39 pm (UTC)
gerald_duck: (mallard)
From: [personal profile] gerald_duck
Um… bad?

Or even, person who has done/is doing a bad thing?

Equally, I've met a few people I've gradually come to see as evil even though they're not particularly bad. Evil can be quite low-grade and banal, sometimes.