I don’t think so, and I don’t think that’s just because I’ve only just woken up.
I think it comes down to the nature of evil.
I mean, first off, I don’t really buy the concept of evil. I mean. I know what I think of as being wrong. And there’s a lot of it in the world. I’ve even done things I know are wrong on numerous occasions. I still regret a lot of them.
But what’s evil?
I mean, works of the devil? When I don’t believe in the devil it’s hard to buy that.
I guess evil is the act of maliciously doing wrong. You think of words like corruption and noisome and odious.
So is evil a smell?
I don’t think there are many people in the world who actually do evil intentionally. I think evil gets packaged as a nice simple answer for the movies. There aren’t cackling geniuses stroking cats and explaining their masterplans. That’s a gross simplification. A tidy wrapping for the stuff we can’t understand.
The fact is that different people just have different world views. Some of these are selfish. Some of these are simply so misguided that they ignore the suffering of only.
But it’s a perspective, not an attempt to crush and corrupt and poison.
It sounds like a cop out, but I think it’s a necessary thing to notice. Battling evil, all kitted out in superhero costumes, is a pretty absurd notion. I’m pretty sure Batman would end up in Arkham Asylum before he even found a decent supervillain to do battle with.
Because things aren’t clear cut and lit in contrasting (but complementary) colours. And the sooner we realise that we live in a world full of greys and other hues all jumbled up, the sooner we can start fighting the fight we need to.
Which is a simpler, less dramatic fight. One in our hearts and minds, that involves stabilising ourselves, looking at things honestly, and realising that we have to try and make a difference.
It seems like a cop out. Like a load of hippy claptrap, and it probably is. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth in it.
As for objects, well. Pretty much all my favourite objects have been used for evil already. Nothing is inherently evil. Words are perhaps the closest, with their inherent trickery. Symbolism is dangerous.
Music is pretty pure, but once you add lyrics it becomes something else. There’s too much misogyny, heteronormativity, violence and hatred wrapped around music to really think of it as something safe. And the added power of the music to infect minds and spread virally means that the music is at least an accessory.
Books aren’t safe. Knowledge is power. But knowledge can be lies.
The communications networks, from newspapers to radio to the internet, despite their power to connect, are bastions of propaganda.
Children’s toys present a choking hazard.
And clothes enforce tribalism.
But none of them kill people. People do that.
Illustration by Maria.