Why? Simple: WE are evil. What better way to distract from the truth than by making up ludicrous monsters like Friday the 13th's Jason. Hockey masks never quite looked the same again. Or Freddy Krueger. Knives, anyone?
No, the greatest "evil" is done by man--just look at our planet. We're kiling it. And why? Because it makes life more comfortable for us. Not convinced that's evil? I understand. How about shoving calves into tiny huts to restrict movement so they never develop muscle...and the purpose? Again, human comfort. People want their veal tender, you know. Still not convinced? How about this: You kill yourself to do a good job--you sacrifice time with family, friends, work hard at earning the right credentials, gaining the best experience, and then, you get fired after spending 20 years working toward a professional goal. And not because of downsizing. No outsourcing need apply. YOU get fired simply because YOU'RE different. You (and your difference) make the other people you work with "uncomfortable." But maybe that's not enough either. Here's another one: Because you're a woman, the men you work with treat you like a secretary--even if you're not--they ask you to get them coffee, expect you to do more work for less pay, and are constantly suspicious of you because of it. Okay, okay--not hitting the right note--I've got more: You're in college, working on a big project that makes up most of your grade in a particular class. One of your peers steals your research, passes it off as her own. You lose the grade because though there is evidence in your favor, the professor now has a shadow of a doubt cast over the whole situation--wrongly believing there are two sides to every story, and imagining that the two of you worked together at some point then parted ways--because it's easier to imagine that, more comfortable, then saying to one or the other of you, "You're a cheater."
You're wondering why I'm coming up with these scenarios when there are obvious evils like murder and rape--and yes, those are evils committed by humans, too. But evil doesn't start with murder. Evil begins in simple things. Things like cheating. Things like bullying. Things like prejudice.
We wonder why the world seems so crazy these days. Yet the answer is remarkably simple: As a society, we've begun to devalue our humanity by accepting things we shouldn't...things like evil in everyday life.
Think about it for a moment. Did you lie today? Even a small one? Did you cut someone off on your way to or from work? Did you silently mouth an obscenity to another driver or make a lude hand gesture...it doesn't matter--you don't know that person anyway, right? And, you felt better after you did it, didn't you? As long as you feel better, more COMFORTABLE, well then, everything is just fine. Just fine....
I live in a glass house like everyone else--so I can't really throw any stones. Sure, I try to do good each day, try to help at least one person. I smile at strangers, say hello to people I don't know, and make friendly conversation with grocery store cashiers, always letting them know I appreciate how hard their job is. My daily goal is to not spread misery--even if it means my own discomfort. I suppose my "enlightened" position comes from having to deal with a constant stream of difficulty for most of my life. But even so, I'm no where near perfect. I get angry. I get frustrated. The key to recognizing where true evil begins isn't by beating yourself up--it's by acknowledging it in yourself and others each day. Know you, and everyone around you, have the capacity to spread misery to otherwise happy individuals. That is not listed as one of the cardinal sins, but it should be. Because spreading misery is where evil begins.
And you'd imagine that spreading misery would be uncomfortable--that somehow, there'd be no joy in it. But it's not about joy--it's about COMFORT. Always about comfort. When we hurt, it feels good, comfortable, to know others are hurting, too. Even if we have to force that hurt artificially by spreading our own messy misery.
Evil is winning in our world and will continue to win. Each day, we allow evil to reign, wittingly or not. You don't need a fancy philosophical explanation of evil to understand. You don't need to believe in Hell or prescribe to a particular theology either. All you need is to look beyond yourself and your own comfort...just for a few minutes. If you can do that--and it's hard to do--you can begin making a conscious effort to stop spreading misery.
The truth? The only thing that exists is sacrifice for others. That's all. It's the ONLY meaningful thing we can do with our rather short physical lives. You can't sacrifice every moment of every day--you must care for yourself before you can care for others--but that's on a day-to-day basis. You can't think, "Well, in fifty years I can start thinking about it...." That thought--right there--that's evil.
What evil lurks in the hearts of men? You don't need the Shadow to find out. Just look in the mirror.