I’ve always wondered, is there such a thing as an evil force? Is evil a learned behavior, or is it something one is born with? Most importantly, is evil a “force” from an outside source like a God (for lack of a better word)? When I looked into it, what I found really baffled me. I tend to think about things in black or white – this, however, is still a gray area.
Studies have been done on evil. The results were actually pretty astounding. It seems that the human brain is hard-wired to know the difference between “good” and “bad” or right and wrong. When MRIs were conducted on people facing basic moral dilemmas, each question answered would cause the same area in the brain to fire. This suggests that almost all humans are, in fact, hard-wired to know the difference between good (to not harm) and bad (to harm).
Of course there was the Stanford prison experiment that inspired the book, The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil, which explained that ‘perfectly good’ people would turn not only bad, but absolutely evil, when being put in the right environment. How many kids are faced with bullies every day? It seems to be much harder for kids to do the ‘right thing’ instead of following the rest and participating in ‘bad things’… or simply looking the other way. Hence, it can be said that evil can be taught or conditioned. It is important to teach our children not to cause harm to others.
Then there are sociopaths. These individuals stand out because they often come from perfectly normal environments. They didn’t necessarily endure abuse, bullying, or have been traumatized in any way. Ironically, most sociopaths tend to be incredibly charming, witty and very charismatic. It seems as if they were “born” with a certain defect, an evil gene if you will, which causes them to engage in behaviors or thought patterns that almost remove them from being human. They can be totally void of any form of sympathy, empathy, or concern and love for others. They are unable to have friendships or relationships and are highly manipulative. Some say it is a learned or taught condition, and others say it’s brain chemistry.
Could there be an “evil” force out there? Years ago I briefly dated a sociopath. Prior to meeting him I didn’t believe in the concept of pure good or evil and felt that human beings were conditioned or free to choose either. Even just remembering this person gives me the chills. I had never met anyone without a conscience. There is a part of him that made me wonder about the possibility of evil. There was a physical transformation when he would “go to the dark side.” As stupid as I feel saying it, this was exactly how it seemed. It was as if he stepped away and something else took over. His voice would change and his eyes would turn black. Not to mention the energy that surrounded him. It literally felt as if the temperature had dropped and I would fear for my life. Explain that to me using brain chemistry.
I believe we can explain a lot of phenomena with science and sometimes with supernatural explanations … I also believe that there are things out there that my brain simply cannot explain, fathom or even grasp … I think I might have to leave it at that.