The Edge of Civility - Does evil naturally reside within a person, just looking for an excuse to claw its way to the surface? Or do the events and surroundings in one’s life mold and shape a person into a form that is only capable of evil? One can only surmise that either of those suppositions could be true. It is undeniable however that often times a person’s background pushes them towards a certain type of behavior. Would the son of a ruthless dictator grow up with ambitions to dominate his fellow compatriots if he had been raised the son of a common merchant instead?
It is easy to point a finger at those we see doing wrong and condemn them as evil at heart, but what if we were in their same circumstances in life? Now add to that a crisis situation, where people must do things outside of the normal realm of civility in order to survive. If your child were hungry, and the only way you could feed them to keep them alive was to steal a loaf of bread, would that be wrong of you to do? Would you let your child go hungry because you insisted upon doing the right thing by society’s standard? What if you had to take the bread by force? Would that be evil, or survival of the fittest, like in the natural world where only the strong survive?By no means should someone’s circumstances in life be a license to commit crimes against their fellow man, but just like an injured dog backed into a corner, the parent of a hungry child may strike out in order to ensure their child’s survival, when in any other situation, they may have been a valued friend and neighbor.
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