The State of the World | A Blog About Love

“Evil is done without effort, naturally, it is the working of fate; good is always the product of an art.” – Charles Baudelaire

This post is going to be brief, as so much as has already been written about the terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the last few weeks.  In the wake of these attacks, I think it’s safe to say that a good many of us are wondering about the nature of evil, as happens following terrorist events like these. 

Everyone has their opinion of what it means to be evil – its shape, how it forms, its longevity in a person or group, how its bred, etc.  Indeed, many people believe that they themselves have caused, or at least felt as though they could cause, evil to another person.  I’ve also had conversations in which people believe that even toddlers are capable of doing evil and dread tending to their behavior with an abiding fear.  This last part may speak to the root of the question often posed/written about, especially lately: Are human beings born evil (and, therefore, need it eradicated) or bred to enact it?  Again, there are many personal beliefs and educated responses to this question.  I, for one, can’t provide one, but I do feel that we all need to hone our propensity towards goodness, which I believe the vast majority have in us.  It does take work, and I suppose could be perceived as an art.  It also takes time and affirming resources.  Research has shown that corrective experiences for children who were once abused or neglected (view the following link for more on this topic: can bring about remarkable change.  Children once viewed as “lost causes” have become loving, intelligent individuals as a result of positive stimulus – though their initial life experience was, by all accounts, neglectful or abusive.  It’s the time-honored, age-old sentiment of propagation that tends to win out (for me anyway).  Happiness breeds happiness, anger breeds anger, evil breeds evil.  This may sound like an oversimplification of how a person turns out, and by all means, I agree.  But, as Mother Teresa said, and for the purposes of this post, “What can you do to promote world peace?  Go home and love your family.”

Written by Ann Kellogg, MS, LPC