Some thoughts toward definition of evil:
Eric Beversluis
81

I appreciate your clear analysis. It will definitely help my thinking.

My view of the incident in this story has always been that my mother hated her mother-in-law, my grandmother. I think this was for two reasons:

  1. My father’s mother was alive while her own mother was not (displaced envy of my father for having a living mother)
  2. My father’s mother was a very reserved person and did not gush all over her like her own, but now deceased, mother (she did not give her the love and attention she thought she deserved)

That night, I don’t think she set out to hurt us with her comments. I don’t think she ever much considered anyone’s feelings outside of how she could manipulate those feelings to get what she wanted. (She is a master of that art. Quite the actress.)

I think she couldn’t stand seeing that the rest of us loved and were thinking about someone she hated. She wanted to kill that love so she could have all the attention for herself.

I don’t know if this is evil or simply mental illness.

I’ll grant you it feels evil when you are on the receiving end. But I think that inside she is a suffering soul. It must be horrible to be her.

Still, although I can abstractly think that she might deserve some compassion, I’m not at a point where I can give it, because she refuses to acknowledge that there is anything wrong with her behavior and continues to act along the same lines.

Probably more than you wanted to know.

Again, I appreciate the conversation.

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