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Good Versus Evil In Today’s World

Good Versus Evil In Today’s World

By Rupert Johnson

There is much talk about the constant battle between the existence of good forces and evil forces in today’s world. But before we can discuss what this battle entails, we should seek to define what is meant by the characterizations, good and evil. It goes without saying that any definition should undoubtedly be based on what is universally accepted among civilized nations.

Since society as a whole is made up of individuals, we would well be advised to delineate the core characteristics of what we would regard as a good person versus an evil one. Simply put, a good person may be defined as one who consistently exudes a great deal of empathy, compassion, sanctity for human life, selflessness, and altruism.

On the contrary, an evil person is one who consistently displays psychopathic behaviour, a lack of empathy and compassion, a total disregard for the sanctity of human life, and is saturated with egocentricity and narcissism.

That being said, no one is innately purely good or evil. It would appear that there is a great deal of ambivalence in all human beings. This ambivalence can manifest itself into a fierce conflict between good and evil. Thus, there is a strong possibility of a constant struggle between the existence of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all of us.

To quote Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: “In each of us, two natures are [constantly] at war—the good and the evil. In all our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our hands lies the power to choose.”

This is indeed a thought provoking statement, but all is not gloom and doom. “The power to choose” is a potent force of hope because we all have the inherent ability to choose. This is a God given ability that should not be squandered or taken lightly. We all have the ability to choose light rather than darkness. According to Albert Einstein, “God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”

It may be said that the 20th century has produced an impressive array of both good and evil men on the political world stage. The murderous and evil atrocities by Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin can never be forgotten. But the goodness portrayed by such men as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi will always endure.

Throughout the ages, good men and women have put their lives on the line to promote peace and goodwill. They did not sit on the sidelines as detached and uncaring spectators. They emerged and stepped forward to denounce atrocities and promote human rights and dignity.

We are now living in a very harsh world that is crying out for the emergence of an impressive array of good men and women. It was Edmund Burke, the renowned Irish philosopher and statesman who said: “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

A united concerted effort is definitely needed to combat the forces of evil for it is imperative that good should eventually triumph over evil.

Rupert Johnson can be reached at: r.b.johnson@sympatico.ca.

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