The problem of evil
by, Naseer Ahmed
There is so much literature available on the problem of evil. But to me the best way to approach this problem is to look at the evil I came across during the course of my short life.
Like every other problem, our own take on the problem could lead us to better understanding of the problem. And this better understanding could be a better guide to the solution.
I must caution you that I am not about any spicy stuff in my personal life, no confessions, and no rants against the people I think are evil. No such thing at all. It is just an attempt to understand evil as I saw it.
I think evil comes from abuse of power and abuse of wealth. Power and wealth have many types and guises. Power could be authority, power could be illegitimacy and wealth could be hard work and wealth could be offshore accounts acquired through corruption.
When you use power and wealth in order to hurt, damage or destroy the reality and potentiality of fellow human beings and animals in undemocratic ways to have more power and wealth, you start or perpetuate evil. But I saw people are never happy with the abuse of wealth and power without support derived from some sort of ideology.
When even the worst ideology does not support abuse of power and wealth, this abuse finds solace in the struggle of survival. If I don’t hurt, I would be victim myself kind of justifications.
Wherever abuse of power and wealth is widespread, this line of thinking has some evidence too. I have seen best people as victims of evil due to the fact that they refused to abuse their power and their wealth in many places during various phases of my short life.
I have seen this abuse helps people to have more power and wealth. The more power and wealth people acquire, people set up those systems which justify this abuse through law and morality.
Sooner or later these systems are exposed stupid and evil to independence, freedom and neutrality but the systems make it sure that independence, freedom and neutrality lose their fangs by inflicting abuse of power and wealth upon argument, evidence and courts.
The evil of abuse of wealth and power corrupts every source of threat to this abuse to avoid challenge or any setback. The evil becomes the aspirations and ideals of its victims.
That is the point in the progress of evil where it leaves no room for redress and it becomes a kind of self perpetuating machine. It has to move on and it does not care who rides on it whether it is a pauper, a grocer or a princess. That is where catastrophe happens.
Those societies that want to avoid a catastrophe leave some space for fighting against this abuse of power and wealth by setting up redress systems which provide a breathing space against evil.
They also train their people to become good in spite of evil all around. Many people among them retain this sense of being good when they grow up. Thus, these societies receive their fighters against evil.
The societies that have no such redress mechanisms happen to train their people to be evil. That means nobody would target evil itself. They would just target one another.
This evil of abuse of power and wealth has dangerous consequences for an overwhelming majority. There are only tiny minorities that enjoy the benefits of abuse of power and wealth. These tiny majorities try to keep their evil systems intact but when evil comes from all sides and every layer of existence, everybody loses.
The consequences of abuse of wealth and power are about the hurt, damage and destruction of the possibilities. The young boy seeing the painful death of his mother vows to become a doctor in order to ease the pain as much as he could.
Let us figure out what he becomes after thirty years.
- He becomes a member of a mutilating death squad.
- He becomes a victim of a death squad.
- He becomes a conman.
- He becomes a bad and powerful doctor who does not know much about his profession.
- He becomes a competent and honest doctor and a highly respected member of society.
There are endless possibilities but society means that young boy should be given a real good shot at being that good doctor. If we fail to give fair opportunities to thousands, millions or billions of young people, it simply means we are living under a system of evil.