Monday, February 7, 2011
The Concept of Evil
One of the more interesting and perhaps revealing aspects of the concept of “evil” is that while the belief in its existence may be cross-culturally universal, how it manifests within a given culture relates directly to the norms and accepted moral standards of that particular culture. Although seen as the opposing force of “good” by many cultures around the world today, by and large, evil has a regional definition that reflects types of behavior deemed threatening to societal stability. Thus, what is perceived as evil in one cultural setting (the public display of breasts, for example, in Amish country, Lancaster, PA) is seen as a societal norm in another (such as on the beaches of Brazil or the French Riviera). In Lancaster it represents an insidious “evil” that could taint and undermine long-standing cultural mores, while in France it is a healthy and normal interaction with nature that few people give a second thought. Read more . . .