My name is Sam Vaknin. I am a professor of psychology, and in my line of work, I come across evil a lot.
Evil is a politically incorrect term. You are not supposed to use it in psychology. You are supposed to say abnormal. You are supposed to say dysfunctional. You are supposed to be tolerant or understanding. You are supposed to accept everything at face value. You are supposed to be the patient's friend.
So evil is not a word I am using easily and facetiously.
Evil is a weighty word. Evil is multifarious. Evil is cunning. Often evil is unidentifiable. You know you had been exposed to evil when you shower compulsively after the encounter, and you seek to ritually cleanse yourself. This is the closest I get personally to religion.
Evil is not only the psychopathic, sadistic, premeditated sort. Evil has numerous faces.
Evil, for example, is in every power play. Power play, when winning, is set above happiness. When winning is more important than life itself, than the living, than others, than you.
Evil is also being weak, being spineless, being unboundaried. No personal boundaries. Evil is giving your body away promiscuously. Evil is giving your mind away obsecuously. Giving yourself away is a throwaway. Trashing yourself. This is evil. Self-contempt, self-loathing, self-hatred, and emotional dysregulation. They are all forms of evil.
Psychopathy in these cases is just one heartbeat away. She who despises, she who disrespects her body, she who throws away her mind and wastes it, she is bound to abuse the bodies and the minds of other people. He who disrespects himself, who disrespects his life, he who disrespects his body, who disrespects his soul, will respect no one.
And isn't this a good definition of evil? Indifference to the sufferings and the needs of other people is evil, but so is suffering, so is neediness. The needy person is self-centered, coercive, dominating, blackmailing. The needy person is psychopathic in many ways.
Neediness implies annexation, appropriation, expropriation, not seeing the other, having no boundaries.
Suffering is an abomination. It never leads to good, never mind all the gurus who say it does.
And suffering very often results in panic, and panic leads to evil.
The road, the path to evil is paved with negative emotions. Fear, envy, hatred, greed, flat affect, flat emotions, flat attachment, making excuses or minimizing bad or self-destructive misconduct. You misbehave and you minimize it. You misbehave and you make excuses for it.
A lack, an unmitigated lack of self-awareness, all these are the hallmarks of the beast, the beast of evil.
Because he who has no emotions, flat affect, flat emotions. He who is incapable to get attached, flat attachment. She who makes excuses for her misbehavior or minimizes it.
These people are on the road to evil. This is their final destination. They are the walking dead. They just don't know it yet, or they refuse to admit it, to acknowledge it.
The distraction with an A, the distraction that cause apathy, we are flooded with information and entertainment, and this causes apathy. These distractions render even calamities a mere form of entertainment. Other people's misery and misfortune unraveling on our screens. This is wicked. This is wicked.
Valuing the inanimate, valuing the material, valuing the dead above the living, is the epitome of evil and malice. Egotism is evil reified of course.
And here's the problem. Evil rubs off on you. It is contagious. It infects you and infests you and invades you and possesses you.
Evil, once it is around you, evil is inside you. You can't fend it off. No amount of personal boundaries is going to help.
Having been exposed to evil, you need to cleanse yourself. Physically, if you must, running water, copious amounts of soap and detergents, a ritual, ritual bath, some ceremony, an utterance, an oath, a promise to yourself. You need to cleanse yourself because you are dirty and adulterated and contaminated by the evil around you.
Avoid evil, no matter the temptation, regardless of the costs, because evil often masquerades as dazzling beauty, disguises itself as unfathomable wisdom, yet it is their anathema. It is the enemy of beauty and wisdom.
You don't know how to tell evil apart from misfortune, from dysregulation, from having fun.
And that is exactly the intrusion point. That is where evil penetrates you and then becomes you in a cancerous metastasizing process.
Fend it off, hold it back, cleanse yourself.