By Richard Bleil
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. I don’t know how much any readers who are not Christian might know, but Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, which is arguably the most important aspect of the Christian faith. Christ himself is taken to be the champion, the Christian general in the battle against evil.
I myself like to celebrate Christian holidays such as Easter and Christmas by watching horror movies, a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek kind of sacrilegious activity. God will forgive me, though, because She gave me my twisted sense of humor!
Currently, I’m watching a stylized movie series that romanticizes the war between vampires and lycans, a.k.a. werewolves. I think that the viewer is supposed to root for the vampires, although I’m not quite sure why (outside of the fact that the lead actress is a vampire and very sexy). In literature, both vampire and werewolves are portrayed as evil, and, honestly, they are in this series as well. Werewolves are a bit more brutal, but not much. The vampires believe themselves to be more civilized, I guess.
But this raises an interesting question of what, exactly, evil really is. I hope to explore, in this blog, various forms of evil, derived from some literature, yes, but also as it walks among us today.
See, I always wondered if vampires, or werewolves for that matter, are truly evil. Horrifying, yes, but evil? They’re horrifying to us, as human beings, because we are their food source. But does that make them evil?
Several years ago, my friends asked me to take care of their myriad of pets as they were on a rather lengthy vacation. Among their pets were two cats, and a mouse. The mouse was kept on a shelf, and it was impossible to lift the lid to put in fresh food or water without first taking it off of the shelf. I did so, place the cage lovingly on one of the steps immediately behind the shelf, and turned around to get the food off of the shelf. In that short time, as I turned around, one of the cats was perched on the next step up, peering through the screen mesh atop the mouse’s cage, and the mouse was curled in a corner, watching the menacing figure with great concern.
Is the cat evil? Not really. The cat’s nature is to catch mice, originally as a food source, but house cats are fed well enough that they just enjoy playing with the little fellas. But the point is, we would not think of the cat as evil. But, no doubt, that mouse believes the cat to be very evil, from its perspective.
Monsters are real. They truly are. Legends are full of them, but the reason there are no monsters today is because we have named them all. When humans were hunted by tigers and lions and sharks, no doubt they were seen as monsters. But, being masters of our environment, all of these monsters have been controlled. They’ve had their herds thinned (or they’ve been killed off entirely), we’ve learned how to control those that we have allowed to remain, and even put them in zoos and photos on social media because they’re just. so. cute.
I respectfully submit that “evil” does not apply when the animals’ nature tells it that it needs to eat. Vampires, werewolves, “curse of the devil” aspect notwithstanding see people as food. Maybe they’re cruel, but that doesn’t make them evil. What is evil, though, is the cruelty of the monsters.
I wrote a vampire book, “Vampire Genetics”, in an effort to bring back the truly horrific original version of the vampire legend. I wanted to get away from vampires with emotional problems because their food source looks like them, infighting, sparkling, and back into what made the Bram Stoker legendary vampire so horrific (which is not the first; see, for example, Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, 1872, 25 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula). Yes, the vampire fed on humans, and yes, it worked at night when humans naturally feel most vulnerable, and yes, they had the ability to turn their victims into vampires as well (perhaps the most horrifying aspect of the legend), but they were also just cruel.
This is what I consider the evil aspect of the vampire. Like a cat playing with a mouse, in the legends, they play with humans, emotionally, physically, cruelly. This gives rise to a second type of evil, one that is more prevalent, and very much alive and well, in today’s society.
It has been argued that a “vampire” need not be human, but can also be an organization. A vampire feeds off of the people, is manipulative, cruel, and uncaring. This is evil in its truest form; something that lives only for itself, something that takes without giving, something that manipulates. Certain large corporations have been likened to vampires, because corporate greed appears very much like this. In North Korea, the people are starving because of the vanity and pride of the leader. While seeking respect by the rest of the world, diverting critical and much-needed resources to build a nuclear arsenal, stubbornly refusing to make concessions that would result in a much-needed respite for the people, I suspect most people would view this as evil.
Now comes the time that you will undoubtedly begin to see my personal opinions. Keep in mind that my goal is not to get the reader to agree with me. Rather, I’m hoping that you will see this as a new lens, a way to look at actions and the world in a new, and hopefully illuminating, way.
Personally, I do not believe that wealth or fame necessarily makes a person evil. In fact, one of my personal modern day heroes is one of America’s top five wealthiest people. This individual happens to be a genius at investment, so he made literally billions of dollars. But, he has also given much of his wealth away, and decided to give most of it away leaving his children a comfortable sum, but not enough to make them grossly wealthy. What’s more, he has convinced other billionaires to follow suit. There is nothing evil in this; it’s a brilliant man with a good heart, although, to be fair, he credits his wife for the awakening that made him a good man.
On the flip side of the coin, though, there are corporations making enormous profits and paying no taxes. People are beginning to realize that the promised “tax cuts” had little effect for most people (or cost them more in taxes), yet benefited the wealthy who needed tax cuts the least. There is a call now to cut health care for the masses to save more on taxes for the wealthy, and a call to cut “entitlements” that are not entitlements at all, but rather forced investments that all taxpayers had to make.
The true evil is when these incentives are “sold” to the general public via “gaslighting”. This is a term that is used often, but not always understood. Gaslighting is the process of repeating lies or misrepresentations until they begin to ring true. For example, there are now representatives in our government calling social security a “social benefit”. In fact, every time your paycheck has an amount removed, this is for when you need it later in life, usually retirement, but also programs like medicaid, an insurance that kicks in when, frankly, other insurance companies don’t want to cover you because you are too much of a risk because of your age. There is a movement to end this program, and take the money for other reasons. And why not? They’ve done it before.
In 1983, Ronald Reagan “borrowed” money from Social Security to pay for tax cuts that presumably would result in “trickle down” economics. When it didn’t happen, Reagan had to make up for the deficit the tax cuts created, and borrowed roughly $3 trillion from social security. By calling Social Security an “entitlement”, and ignoring the fact that we have been paying for this for so long that we often overlook the deductions in our paychecks, they are creating a threat wherein not only will they have to repay that $3 trillion to the population, but they increase the possibility of claiming the rest of the social security reserves without refunding it to those of us who have been paying into it.
This is true evil.