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What is evil? Evil "is" nothing. Evil encompasses a belief in nothingness and a consequent lack of allegiance to anything, but the ideology of Evil would do this for the greater freedom and organic elasticity of the system. Evil does not categorize well, and the history left to us portrays: darkness, blackness, sadness, harm, violence, torment, sadism, intoxication, romanticism, love, pain, perversity, rebellion, mischief, hatred, sodomy, lust. Evil fits poorly into equations with existence definition verbs, so remains enigma to our consciousness as normal humans in a modern corporate harvest-god world. But how would we know Evil?
Our evidence is sketchy -- the gods of the east were malevolent harvest gods, while in the wESTERN wORLD the scapegoat was demonized Satan and thrown into a lake of fire, supposedly craven from his battle with goD. In all cases they -- who? -- society, random individuals, some touched by a cultural strain,people need him, and use him in the speech of everyday explanations for the inexplicable -- the demonized failures and betrayals that confound their intent or what they perceive to be their desires.
In other segments of a real world, Satan -- the adversary, the opposer, the destroyer -- arises in the speech of those discontented not with the political or social conditions of this world, but with the underlying mentality of enslavement that they loathe -- and these rebel by seizing the dreaded name, declaring themselves shit, declaring themselves suicides, and proclaiming their diametrical resentment of the opposing dialectic behavior: goodness, mercy, kindness, loyalty, duty, fidelity, purity, virginity, gentility, sociability, and love.
Here I might say that I am thinking of a current incarnation of evil in music, black metal: 'We hate your world and all in it - the only purity is in inversion' -- ultimate alienation, the furthest extremity of oppositional logic which runs, as many are prone to point, ultimately dogmatic as does the opposing side and comes into even more ludicrous contradictions. This could be explained by the nature of these demonstrations approximating a sick mix of performance art and a public tantrum (yes, I am thinking of DARK THRONE, BURZUM and IMMORTAL).
In some of the more imaginative and abstract works of the opposition arise philosophical roots of an antidote to paradox, a mentality of nihilistic understanding that reduces contradiction through societal/linguistic paradigms by unleashing fantasy upon the conscious mind. Hate as a form of meditation, it directs emotion at a level of diffusion where it is entirely ambient and undirected, being only a mood or perspective rather than a religion. It is a polarity that rejects polarities and thus resists the concept of polarity, increasing abstraction to a level where understanding is nihilistic, knowing things for only their immanent (read: existentially inherent) qualities in a life as a sequence of observations.
This inversion creates an environment free for organic growth, free from the torments of duty. It rejects the various thousands of conscriptions of society, government and social interaction to free the spirit to fantasize, to create, and thus to actually will. This is a more contemplative reality from those who grew up traumatized by a senselessly tyrannical and stupid, perhaps abusive, existence. The politics and social mandates that have propelled metal rebellion for many years are dissected for their essence with structural heresy and dark emotional violence.
Anonymous people and some identifiable real ones recoiled at the acts of these evildoers: ancient churches burned, a couple murders, associations with fascist nationalism and racial purity ideas,crude declarations of hate against all life. But is this so different -- or even more appropriate -- than the behavior of a life that slowly enslaves people to responsibility and demand as they approach adulthood? Some is rebellion against the guilt complex of a wellknown religion (you canít come out for Satan without invoking goD), but more so it is rebellion against the conditions of social existence. Whatever the high suicide rate in Norway, Sweden, and Japan, the rate of people living miserably in the torment of their meaninglessness is vastly high in the United States. So we start racial wars, and other political polarities, ignoring the reasons of evil.
Evil? Satan is the adversary, the chaotic and sudden corruption that can take advantage of some weakness. What is weakness in our world? Ignorance of some process to remove a danger, or things that are too big for us to have any odds against them, as in the lone tattler versus corporation or government entities with budgets for malevolence. Are they evil? They are only viciously self-interested; they simply ARE greed. There is no metaphor to their existence, no depth or darkness. They do what they do because they eat to feed a giant cancerous duty-bound social organism rooted in the need of each individual. Complex organic structuress do not arise without mirroring their definition in their texture, the revelation of their granularity and basic shape.
A friend of mine claims to see the same shape many times on LSD; is it not his rune, not his sign, not his symbol but a metaphor, a map or a tracing of pathways of his existence? What is evil, asks the devil's advocate. Evil could be something amorphous and vast that appears in simple forms: corruption, destruction, failure, collapse, entropy.
Far beyond our knowledge of our narrow existence, there is evil in a fundamental force of the universe. Let us posit this force for the help of our understanding, and understand that this force is not a conscious entity but a patterning tendency. This evil force is chaos: the force of nature that will build, and destroy, independent of the wishes of each element it effects. For all of its characteristics that we fear evil promotes a naturalism which enforces opportunity competition (adversity for others), organic adaptation (lust), and renewal (destruction). Where evil might be a force, whether a force is a philosophical concept (not idea or catch phrase but deep rooted understanding) or some other manifestation of information, it is a concept interpreted adaptively in many patterns. It is a natural force, of both life and death, and as such it is adaptive to conditions while maintaining function instead of correspondent to objectives with intentions of consistency.
And what do the appointed ministers of good say about this force? They fear it, they blame it, they curse it for their problems. Simultaneously they threaten of it, promising more of the bad stimulus in life after death if a certain path is not followed to reach a state of godliness. Not surprising: their religions are based upon central control as a means of surviving, which is a good place to start for a tribe/race or political body of people wandering the mideast. God tells the people the law; God knows what you are doing; God is the force of all control that keeps the universe from falling apart as you fear it will.
But there is no voice for evil -- a shame or maybe a salvation, as there are no ways to pervert its message. Chaos versus Logical, Quantitative, Finite order. Mixtures versus refinement. Change versus Stasis. Metaphor versus Icon/Symbol. It is certainly ideological and is practiced by ideological and artistic people, but the image is ludicrous and mocking, deliberately horror-shop vaudeville. Evil speaks only in the irony of its corrupting deeds and its ubiquitous appearance. Every place that order has been empowered evil is corrupting that purity and intent and becoming the agent of power for the completion of the tasks order imposes. Beneath all of the best human efforts to create order the power lies in the hands of the dark natural orders, the unpredictable, the nonlinear.
So what is evil? To a Christian or a Jew, it is anything negative that violates the intentions of the order prescribed by the thought process of their religion. To a thinker aware of darkness, evil is a combination of mystical forces translating the order of conception into the calculations of reality. No idea escapes corruption passing into life and so evil constantly threatens the purists and usurps control from the authorities. Rebellion and rejection of value trouble these rulers and they seek retribution in further order. Their search for the impurity leads them to think dialectically and to use political power against people they feel symbolize the dark and unscrupulous. In essence, if you are standing near the pole of order, it is the opposite pole -- but if you go closer, you realize it is only the method of assembly for the universe. Organic creations define this world and have shaped it for centuries, working evolution instead of design. They reject the concept of gods or rulers as unnecessary, and celebrate freedom through independence rather than dependence on the ratification of a society.
All human translations of evil reflect the fear of this unpredictability, coming back to a very simple and fundamental human weakness: fear of the dark. Where you can't see you are weak, and can be confused and corrupted. Evil is the force that corrupts your efforts, but that is only the order of evil affirming a selective opportunism. Despite the symbolic attribution the evil is not evil; it is whatever ignorance left you defenseless against the threat. But if you seek to blame something, evil will gladly be your scapegoat and will encourage with its ambiguity your illusion. Illusion makes metaphor, and the curse of evil will find you in the end: the truth that was staring you in the face all along.
So when people ask me, what is evil? I have to tell them I have no idea, but that I think it is an unimportant issue. Evil, whether a "real thing" or a force of our collective intellect, influences our world and exists as a living concept in our heads. We can accept its knowledge and provocations, or we can revile its presence and fall out of touch with a dominant force in our existence.