In bed last night, I picked up Simon Baron-Cohen’s “the science of evil” and it grabbed me at once. So much for a wee bit of dry academia to get me off to sleep!
For years, I’ve wondered about ‘evil’ – I don’t, in fact, believe in it. I’ve seen stupidity, selfishness, short-sightedness and even laziness, all described by evil, but I’ve never believed in ‘evil’ as a tangible thing – outside of the films of William Friedkin, of course!
‘Evil’, to me, is a handy short-cut to avoid thinking. A term bandied about by the tabloids, to save frightening their readership with understanding and responsibility.
Murderers are ‘evil” just like rapists and terrorists. And strikers. And football crowds. When I was a kid, punk rock was seen as a social evil, now it’s used to sell tabloid newspapers.
Times don’t change, but haircuts do.
Baron-Cohen’s take on it is refreshingly simple. In the same way as there’s no such thing as ‘cold’ – it’s an absence of heat, there’s no such thing as evil – merely an absence of empathy.
This is what I’ve been looking for!
Empathy, like heat, can be measured. It’s absence, although it can be experienced, has no objective existence.
And this is going to colour ‘the idiots’ graveyard’.
Why not check out my novel, “1919 (inside)” available from smashwords?
Doing for vanilla sex what the “fifty shades” trilogy does for duck-stabbing.