Thoughts have been bouncing back and forth in my head for a while now. A long while.
But my dear friend said the other night: "What is Evil?" and then something like "Can we call it evil just because it eats humans?" (We were watching Creep Show (the one with Steven King becoming covered with weeds and the yeti eating people)
Now, I answered simply: "No it's not evil because it eats us, it's only evil if it wants to HURT us."
Breaking that down, in retrospect, Evil then becomes motivation, doesn't it? If you kill someone is that Evil? Or is it just Evil if you want to hurt them? Puzzling questions. Evil is the thing that humans do not understand. (I've said the phrase 'that's evil' many times in my life in reference to things I thought were mean or didn't like.)
If anything from drinking to man-eating yetis can be evil how are we supposed to define this word? According to religion (Christian religion that is) Eve is the more 'Evil' of the two original people because she took the apple that the EVIL serpant conned her into taking and then offered it to her non-husband (Because back then, they didn't have to be married, they were just the only two people in the universe.) Eve is Evil because she gave into peer pressure and defied her God.
Wouldn't that make EVERYONE essentially Evil?
Except if you look at Eve as misguided, the serpant is Evil, and thus all infomercials are EVIL (because they want us to buy the egg-beater 9.99 or the AMAZING SALAD SHREDDER 19.95. and we do not need these things and yet we buy them because we have been conned.) Therefore: Infomercials. Evil.
Except if you don't care for Christian allusions and rely on other ones. So we will move along to...oh, Frankenstien. Now, if you consider Viktor Frankenstien as the victim *cough* and the MOnster as the Evil, then one can only assume that things like Cigarettes, Beer, Planes, Automobiles, Blood transfusions, Heart Transplants and Nuclear Bombs to be evil. All of these things were created by some man some where (perhaps in a lab coat, perhaps during a thunderstorm, perhaps with their side-kick Igor that is only in the movies and never in the book) and all these things HURT People, sometimes intentionally sometimes not intentionally. But we do not care about motivation because the 'Creation' is the EVIL!
Now, if you think Dr. Frankenstien is the Evil one for creating this monstrosity and then just abandoning it when he realized that it was a 'failure' than the people that created potentially harmful things and then turned their back on it are Evil. (I.e. inventors of Guns, Cigarettes, Cars, Bombs, Planes and Nuclear warfare.)
Of course, there is the "EVIL" evil, the 'undead' or the 'living dead' or Zombies or Vampires or clearly evil Masterminds that sit around and cackle about their evilness (because they are masterly evil, you know.) But why are they Evil? Mostly because these creatures HURT people, their intention is to HURT or KILL people. (The hurting is the main part.) We do not like things that hurt us. We often like to strike back.
But by striking back, by seeking vengeance (as our literary, and movie counterparts so often do) does that not make us Evil? By going back to the religious allusions we will note there are 7 Deadly Sins (Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Happy and BASHFUL!...*snark*) Gluttony, Sloth, Lust, Pride, (*struggles to remember Brad Pitt movie*) Envy, Something (the sin with the lady that had her nose cut off and she killed herself with the pills rather than call for help, I want to say vanity, but what is the Lawyer guy's sin then? I thought it was Pride.) and Wrath (which is vengeance for us laymen) Vengeance (as a seven deadly sin, sin) is EVIL.
Except, somewhere it says 'An eye for an eye' which means that Vengeance is clearly sanctioned and we are under no threat of becoming the accursed 'EVIL' by giving into our base need to go and kill ourselves some Evil (Please note: I do not want you to kill, this is a lot of hot air that I am spouting. No killing please.)
Lets go to something else. Oh, how about the idea of TREASON! That's certainly Evil. Betrayal is Evil. Abuse is Evil. Working on Saturday (or Sunday, whichever YOU believe to be sabbath) is Evil. Terrorism is Evil. Racism is Evil. Femminis...*cough* (Please note: I have nothing against feminism. Not really anyway. I DO NOT consider it to be Evil.)
So, after all this (if you're still reading that is) the question again goes back to "What is Evil?"
The easy answer would be "Evil is in the eye of the beholder" but that's not good enough. There simply has to be some UNIVERSAL understanding that yes, that IS Evil. There can't be such a wide cultural difference that Evil is allowed to be defined by whoever wants to pick the word up and decide that 'yes this is Evil and I will now hate it.'
sigh. Perhaps we will never know. (How many licks to the center of a tootsie pop?) Evil is something, though, something we don't like. Something that hurts us and takes pleasure out of it.