In psychological terms, evil is an aberration of the ego. An evil ego has a strong desire to dominate other egos. An evil person knows that terror is the most effective way to dominate other people because terror induces incapacitating fear. People who are stricken with fear cannot take effective action to defend themselves and while they are in that state, an evil person can do anything they want to do to them. This aberration of the ego can be termed "sick" because the perverted ego will inflict pain and suffering in order to experience the joy and thrill of being in total control. A healthy ego will not do that. A healthy ego is self-sufficient, peaceful, joyful in its natural state, and it has a desire to help and serve others. A healthy ego does not have a desire to dominate and it will not purposefully inflict pain and suffering. The concept of ego domination has been practiced throughout human history but it has not necessarily been fully understood by the practitioners. However, in the 20th century the Nazi's not only fully understood the concept, but they were the scientists of evil. They perfected the science of terror for the first time in history. "Blitzkrieg" is the term for warfare that terrorizes without warning, completely surprising the victims and totally incapacitating them by knocking them out before they have a chance to understand what is happening to them. Torture on a mass level is the method for keeping a population in a state of terror. This is the sick psychology of evil.
In religious or spiritual terms, evil is an aberration of the soul. The soul can be defined as that which was created in the image of God so it is naturally peaceful, loving, happy and eternal. Let us assume that God gave his/her children the gift of free will. Let us also assume that in the beginning, there was a soul named Lucifer who was an angel. In response to the gift of free will, all the other angels exclaimed, "Thank you very much, God, how beautiful your gift is!" Their response was not surprising because the angels were simply reacting in accordance with their true nature. Lucifer retorted, "Really. I can do anything I want to do now? OK, fine. I want to be God." Lucifer's vanity was the aberration. Not particularly liking Lucifer's retort, God banished Lucifer from heaven. Lucifer's reaction to being banished from The Fun House was to dedicate his existence to wreaking as much havoc as possible. God was caught in his/her own trap because free will precludes interference. But I have to assume that God has a vastly superior intellect and undoubtedly foresaw this possible outcome. Almost all believers think there is a Master Plan. If there is one, it follows logically that evil is a part of the plan because otherwise the Almighty would have put a stop to it immediately.
Anybody who has a basic grasp on the reality of human existence knows that it's not possible to manifest everything we want and desire by applying our free will, concentrating our minds, working hard to get what we want, or even through the power of prayer. There is a will in our universe that is infinitely stronger than our free will. If our will and desire happens to be in sync with the infinite will, then we can manifest our desire. If our will and desire is not in sync with the infinite will, we can try, try, and try again ad infinitum and nothing will happen except that we will frustrate ourselves. Someone once said, "When the Karmic Door is shut, even if you have the right key, the lock won't turn." For example, all my life I've had an overpowering desire to be rich and famous. Say what you want about me, but there's no question that I have a powerful will, a powerful mind, and I'm a high energy person who pursues his dreams with great vigor (oh thank you, JFK). Now witness the fact that I'm still destitute and completely unknown!
Individual free will tends to have very limited power. On the other hand, mass free will can be defined as what occurs when many millions of individuals unite in basic agreement behind a common purpose and mass free will tends to be unstoppable. I believe that when masses of people unite behind a good purpose, the universe smiles and says "Go!" Now consider what has occurred as a result of the aberrant free will unleashed by the dictators of the 20th century. World War II is believed to have been necessary in order to stop Hitler once and for all. But there was a moment in time when the expenditure of millions of American lives would not have been necessary. Winston Churchill knew when that window of opportunity had opened up but he was unable to muster the forces of resistance in time. America was isolationist and England could not do the job alone because Nazi Germany had become too powerful by the time Churchill had achieved political control of England. We have seen many atrocious people ascend to power in various countries. A few examples are Stalin in Russia, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and Idi Amin in Uganda. The list of atrocious dictators is a long one but I'd like to focus on Saddam Hussein because he is our creation in the sense that we trained him, armed him, and even supported him against his enemies in the mistaken belief that he would remain "our boy". By the time our government understood that big mistake, it was too late and we have paid dearly for our government's mistake. The invoice for our cost is still mounting and our soldiers are still dying in a foreign land.
There is an answer to the problem of stopping evil on Earth from getting out of control, and the answer does NOT involve having America police the world. Why should the American people pay the cost for having a world police force? The cost of our military might is in the trillions and the debt affects our daily lives by increasing our cost of living dramatically. The reality is that evil must be resisted and overcome the very moment it first manifests itself, before its power grows and becomes unmanageable. But the responsibility for dealing with planetary evil should not rest on the United States alone. An emasculated body already exists whose proper job it should have been to assume that responsibility. I'm talking about the United Nations and I'm suggesting the creation of a United Nations Rapid Strike Force which should possess the best weapons, technology and training possible. It's not too late to re-invest the United Nations with the power, the authority, and the freedom to act without being stopped in the Security Council by one major power and I'm suggesting that the United Nations Charter be revised to give it the power to act on the basis of majority rule in the General Assembly. A majority vote in the General Assembly is the truly democratic method of reaching an appropriate decision to send in the Rapid Strike Force.
Consider how many lives have been lost in the 20th century wars against evil governments that expanded their destructive power outside their own borders. We must understand that somebody needs to stop these governments whenever they wreak havoc on their own people, not only because terror is WRONG, but also because massive governmental cruelty is the warning sign that an evil government is in the process of expanding its power. We should not wait until a country like Iraq becomes dangerous outside its borders. By the time that happens, a war (legal or undeclared) is necessary and too many lives are lost. It's no longer practical for us to believe that individual countries have an inherent right to do anything they want to do within their own borders. Even the smallest atrocious government can endanger the world if they are able to develop nuclear weapons. They can even buy or steal nuclear bombs. I believe that whenever terror and torture become methods of governing, the concept of territorial autonomy needs to be abrogated - if not in the name of human rights, then it should be done for our own protection. A United Nations Rapid Strike Force is the answer because the window of opportunity to eliminate an atrocious government without excessive expenditure of lives occurs during the beginning of the government's expansion of power, and that window is only open for a short period of time. The idea is to blitzkrieg evil before it gets a chance to blitzkrieg us.
Of course I realize that America would have to release some of its power and accept the possibility that a decision could be implemented with which America would not agree. But that would be a small price to pay in order to save thousands or even millions of American lives. That would also be a small price to pay to get out from under the crushing debt that has been and is being incurred for maintaining the gigantic military force that Americans believe is justified in order protect ourselves and to police the world. I believe that it is the responsibility of the world to police itself. If you've gotten this far in your reading and you agree that my idea has merit, please write to your representative in Congress. That would make me feel much better about being destitute and completely unknown.
Peter Cross is Web Master who graduated from N.Y.U. with a degree in Sociology. His web site is very entertaining and at 208 pages, it may be the largest music artist web site on the Internet. You can find this article at: On the Nature of Evil and his home page at: Rock and Roll with an Immortal Soul" where his copyright is displayed at the bottom of the page.