Ever wonder, “Why do people become evil?”
There are, or can be times, where we find ourselves at the crossroads of a vital decision; where we have the option of siding with good or evil. Attractive rewards weigh in the balance of either choice; and the path of deviance seemingly to be the most gratifying.
It’s the ol’ angel and devil on the shoulder plot device.
Most of us usually find ourselves choosing to be good. The consequences do not seem to be worth the bounty of selfish indulgement. Of course we all slip, can be bad, and make poor choices. But why do people become evil?
For most people, the willingness to choose evil over being good is preposterous. Yet, unfortunately in our world, human behavior has shown again and again, that there are plenty of people that do in fact choose to be evil.
We have to accept that human behavior isn’t always going to be pretty; no matter how much we want to believe that people are inherently good. Let’s be realistic… It just doesn’t seem to always be the case!
Let’s go over some sound reasons as to why people choose to be evil.
Blaming Mommy And Daddy
So is there such a thing as “A Bad Seed” (Genetic disposition)? On a biological level, are children born evil? In most cases, this doesn’t seem to be true (But I am not dismissing it as possible). So what happens when an otherwise altruistic child is put into the hands of unfit parents?
“Since the 1960s psychologists have found that children who were abused and neglected are more likely to commit crimes later in life. Even so, researchers noted that most youngsters who are mistreated do not grow up to be criminals. Now our genes come into the picture.”
A study from 2002 found that variation of a certain gene predicted antisocial behavior in men who were mistreated as children (He never mentioned what gene).
This gene controls whether we produce a Monoamine Oxidase A enzyme called (MAOA). The researchers found that boys who were neglected, and possessed a variation of the gene that produced low levels of MAOA, were more likely to develop antisocial personality disorder, commit crimes, and grow up to have a violent disposition.
But those living in a similar environment who produced more of the enzyme rarely developed these problems. It is a positive insight that a person can overcome a bad upbringing, be a good person, and not live a life of blame.
But what happens when they walk out of the house?
There’s a vast world outside our homes. And what if a person’s’s parents aren’t or weren’t abusive, trashy, low-life, energy vampires? What if Junior or little Sally had great parental guidance? Influences don’t stop at the front door.
But the rabbit hole can go much deeper in the parenting category:
They’re A Product Of Their Environment
There are cases reported of children raised in Satanic cults where evil is taught, practiced, and encouraged. These people have admitted to grotesque acts, both in participation and in being victimized. They may escape this hellish upbringing, but It is possible evil can be passed through generations.
People tend to become a product of their environment if they don’t seek to overcome, escape, or move on from it. There are plenty of cases where people that are or have become evil have so because it was the environment they grew up or were raised in.
Never leaving would increase the odds of taking on a bad nature in such destructive places. Bad parents, bad friends, bad environment; these factors can impose a reality on an individual that the world is evil. From there they simply adapt to what they’ve come to know.
In a rough, high-crime area, being kind or goodhearted may be looked upon as a weakness. Because of this, a person may actually be afraid to take on an altruistic or gentle nature. It would be a worse choice for their lifestyle or safety to choose to be good or come off as soft to their colleagues.
In addition to this, they often share with their peers a hive-mind mentality and security within the group or culture. Those submerged in these harsh environments can become evil due to its negative or harsh influence. With repeated or witnessing acts of crime, violence, or cold-hearted attitudes, desensitize is developed.
This type of behavior is common in oppressed areas such as ghettos and war zones. People may choose evil because it is the lifestyle they’ve come to know.
Kids sometimes scream at others, “I hate you!” They really don’t know how to deal with how they feel and project this frustration onto their parents, siblings, or other kids. It’s a way to alleviate pain or anger. But anger isn’t evil. Though it can lead to evil actions.
Children take time to develop the ability to control strong feelings. Unfortunately, even some adults take more time than others or never grasp this sense of control.
Sometimes people choose evil because it feels good to let out frustration or we lose control of our emotions. Emotions are powerful chemicals that can overtake a person to do things they normally wouldn’t. Road rage, infidelity, impatience from waiting in a long line all build up and can cause a person to lose control.
In extreme cases, violent crimes are committed by people with no criminal record whom end up doing time behind bars for losing their cool in the moment. One bad choice instantly changes their whole life; simply because they gave into a dark side of human behavior and didn’t exercise better control of their emotions.
They’re ‘Sick’ and ‘Tired’
Sometimes it’s just a brain issue. The term sick in the head is used for psychopaths and sociopaths. Sociopaths have reduced connections between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (responsible for sentiments such as empathy and guilt) and the amygdale (mediation of fear and anxiety).
The scary part is that these people can have highly developed social skills. They can recognize emotion, but just don’t experience them personally. Reality to these individuals has a vast emotional void compared to the average person. Often, displayed emotions are just manipulation or used to socially blend in.
Like swatting a fly dead with no remorse, a socio’ or psychopath may feel the same about pernicious acts towards their fellow human beings. These people can end up acting out sick fantasies from resulting form dysfunctional brain activities.
Some people just have had enough, and are tired of being treated poorly. Life bombards them relentlessly. Perhaps from a young age or even later in their life, they’ve been thwarted, cornered, and bullied. They get tired and fed up with being treated unjustly, and they snap!
It’s animal nature to attack when feeling cornered or threatened. But humans take this psychological experience much further and can act out in deadly revenge.
Revenge is a blend of emotional and irrational overdrive enacted into physical punishment or worse onto others.
The will is broke and a person can literally give up caring. In many cases this leads to suicide rather than violence on others. But a person may at this point commit evil acts in the name of what they feel is justice towards their perpetrators.
America witnessed this extreme over 20 years ago with the Columbine High School massacre and subsequent copycat shootings. We see here that group mentality is a consistent theme in choosing evil.
For The Love Of Power
Evil theoretically can take over later in one’s life as much as it can start that way. The want of more can change a person’s disposition. Selfishness has many levels of manifesting itself. From a child wanting exclusive possession of a toy, to a billionaire wanting control of the world.
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton
Power can nurture greed like a weed. Desire of more can become a drug-like obsession; especially to those who can obtain practically anything they want. To get what one wants becomes more important than how others are affected by the person’s or corporation’s practices.
Big corporations have destroyed a lot of the environment and ruined small businesses to get more money and control. We again see a group mind mentality, incorporated. These businesses encourage evil for gains, “at any cost.”
Rebellion And Guilty Pleasure
Stories, as old as the time we know, have reported characters choosing to be evil. Somehow it was in their heart. The Biblical story of Lucifer, who in the presence of God and Heaven, chose evil and actually persuaded a third of the angels to participate in his points of view and actions.
There just may be a rewarding pleasure on the side of evil that many dare not try to discover. These stories seem to suggest this outcome. The expression, “To Hell with the consequences!” may have stemmed from this biblical tale. There are levels of evil and choices made that most of us will never understand; for better or worse.
A person may disagree with social norms, and want a new system, a new structure of normal, and be willing to risk their life or way of it for their goal. Anarchists and rebel fighters (groups again) are popular for having worked towards a new order of culture.
Spiritual Realm Influence?
“The Devil made me do it!” is a popular scapegoat blame phrase.
I personally feel there’s a realm or realms we don’t usually have access to. Whether I’m right or wrong is inconsequential. Historical documents, religious scripts, and many a person’s testimony has pointed to this possibility.
People act on beliefs and perceptions (possibly experiences) of higher powers. What seems evil to others is part of these poeple’s higher spiritual fulfillment for the greater good of their god or gods. They choose evil; as it is their belief in what propels them successfully into the notion of the next life. (This applies to individuals as well as groups)
But the numbers are against these people being right. And if they are right, then it would suggest the possibility of an evil higher power at work in the world. And that is a rabbit hole this article will not go down…
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or feedback below. I’d like to hear your take on the subject. Have a great day!
– Mark G