An Observation on the Difference Between Good and Evil

A student submission on June’s theme of Good versus Evil

Author: Jenae Arreola

From a very early age we are told multiple things. Most are concepts such as how to be a functioning human. One thing that sticks out is how to treat other humans. “Keep your hands to yourself. Make friends with the new kid. Be nice to everyone. Sharing is caring.” Children are told these things because it is completely natural for them to do the opposite. Kids want to pull your hair or scratch you, and until someone tells them no, they don’t know it’s wrong. This brings me to the big question: Are we naturally born as good or as evil?

From Greek Mythology to The Bible, we hear parables of people who were given great opportunities, but then rebelled because they wanted more than what was given. This is called greed. Many would say that greed and other characteristics such as jealousy are a leading factor of all things evil in the world. The definition of evil is something that is bad or morally wrong. In popular opinion, evil is learned from seeing evil actions firsthand. Aristotle even argued that morality is learned. People are taught how to treat people, whether that’s good or bad treatment. If someone has been abused in their childhood, are they going to believe in their abusers moral compass? Or will they surpass their own understanding and discover their own morals. It reminds me of having to train a dog. Until they learn certain signals such as the sound of their owner’s voice or a clicking pen, they will continue to bark at the neighbors and dig holes into the grass. From people throughout history, we see a common pattern in those who are evil. A majority of them have suffered some type of trauma. It is physiologically proven that if trauma is left untreated, it can lead to serious behavioral problems. It’s natural to blame serial killers for their crimes simply because they committed horrible crimes, but there is an obvious deeper root to their pain.  However, you cannot compare every single evil person’s life. There is no set definition to what causes evil, sometimes it just happens. Humans are extremely flawed and there is no telling who the worst person ever is. 

There is one quality that can surpass all evil in this world, and that is good. 

A child petting a dog for the first time.

A stranger paying for someone else’s meal.

Inviting someone lonely to hang out with you.

Having a smile on your face for every occasion.

Humans suffer, and most know that pain is inevitable. In observation, I’ve seen that most people don’t wish the pain they’ve had on other people. There is an instant gratification in our brains when you do something good. Endorphins flow through the body, and there is an instant feeling of gratification. Humans love to do good. In fact, we thrive off of it! Goodness has a domino effect. If someone in the drive thru pays for our drink, we naturally want to continue to trend, or at least feel inclined to. It is obvious that giving, charity, love, and hope are all things that outweigh the bad. That is why when there is a terrible event that happens in the world, people come together in unity. Not only to show support for victims, but to show support for one another. To let each other know that no one is alone. 

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi. 

Ultimately, humans have their own responsibility to act as they choose. We may be born good or evil, but we have free will to choose how we go into the world. There are going to be people who choose evil, and sometimes there is no way to stop that. However, there is a hope that comes from unity, and when people come together a great impact is made. 

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