By Matthew McClimon
In our world there has always been a universal idea that there is good and evil. Good is described as the hero or the best a person can be. Evil is seen as angry, dark, and anti humanity. I think the better question to ask is whether we choose to be good or evil. This philosophical idea has many answers and they are incorporated into everything in modern society.
In today’s world we see superheroes and villains against each other on the big screen. The hero the good and the villain the evil. These simple identifications are the basis behind so many books, movies, and other pieces of media. Good and evil isn’t this simple though; there is always an origin, some reason why a person becomes the way they do.
I believe that for whatever reasons you still make whatever choices you make. Regardless of your background you decide to open the door for someone or not to. It all comes down to whether or not you have empathy and a lack of self centeredness. These are seen as good qualities while the lack of these are seen as evil qualities. In basic psychological studies these are seen as two differing dichotomies and depending on a person’s perception are not always as black and white as we think. The shades of gray determine these dichotomies.
Within our minds we all have differing opinions on the actions of others and ourselves. Many individuals may see a heinous action as justified and that is within their rights. This all ties back to how one was raised or what they have experienced in life. This opinion is more relevant than you think, especially within religion.
Christianity encourages its followers to have a lifestyle and make choices that are good. They also encourage that sin is evil. Just as there are figures within these beliefs such as God who is good in all forms and Satan who is the epitome of evil. No matter what you believe these things are all up for interpretation.
The most interesting part of being good are the shades of gray. You can be a good man or woman, you can be a good cook, good son, good singer – there are so many ways to be good. Yet the word evil is only associated with being bad, immoral, or wicked. What must be remembered in all of this is that all things of good and evil are based on perception. Anyone can think something else compared to me and that’s just reality.
None of us are the same and I think we all strive for that in this world. Uniqueness breeds optimism and confidence. Sometimes these factors can play a role in good and bad decisions. Too much confidence can lead to impulsive actions. Optimism can be seen as a good quality that can boost the spirits of people with pessimistic views. Yet why do we view these things as directly opposite of each other? These moments are so closely related that things could have happened a different way if a minor detail was changed.
One thought that I have always had is that philosophy is known for good and evil being polar opposites. I think this is false. These two ideas are merely contrasting, all born from the same idea of love. In the greater idea of love, with such a general view all things work together to create good.
In the end, the battle between good and evil is something we all fight. No matter your opinion or religion, the philosophy remains. I am 18 years old and I know I probably have not seen true evil but I know that we all experience one or the other. In the end, it’s about who we decide to be.
Matthew McClimon is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. He is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.
Sandra Webb says
Thank you for raising so many questions about good and evil. Asking questions is a very healthy mental place to be in. Because then we’re open for inspiration. Important for all of us.