Good vs. Evil

“Emergency Sex” presents how corrupt and “evil” humanity can be, ranging from the inhabitants in a third world country to a large-scale corporation such as the UN. The book obviously wasn’t written to show how malevolent humans could be though; rather it’s just something that many people seem to take away from reading it. This raises the question, are humans, for the most part, morally good or evil. This book shows the good side – the people providing aid and trying to support development for the less fortunate. It also shows the ugly side – many of the people inhabiting these developing areas as well as a handful of the higher-ups in the UN. It’s unfair, after reading this book to make the assumption that humans are basically evil without being ethnocentric, it’s all about looking at things in the big picture and examining why good people sometimes do evil things.

“In real life, the hardest aspect of the battle between good and evil is determining which is which” – George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin is the author of the popular fantasy series, “A Song of Ice and Fire” which the TV show “Game of Thrones” is modeled after. GRRM has very few completely “good” and completely “evil” characters; rather everyone is fighting for what they believe is right. Much like in “Emergency Sex,” almost all of the characters are neither black nor white, but varying shades of grey. There are a number of good people that do evil things and vice versa, but a couple actions shouldn’t define an entire person or corporation.

When the name Kofi Annan comes to mind, many people will label the man, sometimes the entire UN, as evil because of the actions he took before the genocide in Rwanda. Cain describes it well, “An armed, predeployed UN forced evacuated as soon as it started. All those signatures on the Genocide Convention, dozens of rapturously celebrated human rights treaties, a mountain of documents at UNHQ on the subject of genocide, law professors all over the world making a living talking about this, and we evacuated” (209). It’s the general consensus that this is where the United Nations failed, and the consequences were devastating. This does not make the UN an evil corporation, nor Annan an evil individual. The UN failed, Annan failed, but they weren’t directly responsible for the deaths of almost one million civilians in Rwanda.

For the same reason, it wouldn’t be fair to label a culture as completely evil. Take the Aztecs for example. They would sacrifice people on a daily basis in reverence to their gods, and would be blessed the very next day with the sun coming up. The Aztecs believed that the only way to keep the apocalypse from happening was through sacrifice. They viewed sacrifice as morally good, because they were keeping the world from coming to an end on a daily basis, whereas a modern westerner might view them as evil because they killed so many people for a useless cause.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4GAQtGtd_0

This brings us back to the question: are humans, for the most part, good or evil? The vast majority of the humans on Earth are morally good. Even when they make the wrong decision, the intentions are often good, which is the case among many aid organizations. People that believe otherwise are often too close-minded to look past the results of an action and consider the mindset a person is in or the motives behind what they do. Human nature shows that it’s much easier to make a human life than to take it (Zak).

 

Cain, Kenneth. “How Many More Must Die Before Kofi Quits?” April 3, 2005. Web.

Cain, Kenneth, Postlewait, Heidi and Thomson, Andrew. “Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone.” London. 2004. Print.

Zak, Paul J. “Are Humans Good or Evil?” Psychology Today. Sussex Directories, Inc., 10 Feb. 2011. Web.

 

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