Why It's Good to Be Evil
Dynamic relationships exist whenever two parties have strong mutual interests together, as well as strong conflicting interests. Some examples include the parent to child relationship, employer to employee, husband and wife, ruler to the subjects, and the individual vs. society.
Individual interests vs. societies has lead to the notion of good vs. evil. Things that benefit the individual at the expense of society are typically seen as "evil." Robbing a bank would be evil. It harms society while benefiting the bank robber. Things that benefit society at the expense of the individual are typically seen as "good." Giving to charity would be an example of this.
In Western society, the Church has strengthened the notion of good vs. evil into our consciousness. As the power of the church has weakened, mass media has taken up the slack so that most movies, particularly action movies, in some way or another revolve around the notion of good vs. evil.
What you may not realize, is that everything you've been taught about the nature of good and evil is wrong. If you examine the notion more closely, you'll realize it's actually the opposite, in that good is evil and evil is good. The reason for this is that the strongest characteristics associated with good cause evil, and the strongest characteristics associated with evil cause good.
Although movies are not always the best reflection of reality, they may give us some insight into why this is. Most movies that revolve around our notion of good vs. evil have three things: 1) Villain 2) Hero 3) Victim. Sometimes the hero is the victim, sometimes not.
One of the most common traits found amongst villains is strength. Strength can be defined in many ways, but in this case I define it as being 1) capable. 2) not allowing oneself to be exploited. By capable, I simply mean that they are good at what they're trying to accomplish. Whether it's building weapons of mass destruction, a time machine, or executing a sinister plot, they are typically dedicated and competent. Granted, many movies have villains who are bumbling idiots and might not necessary be "capable."
The point is, they are often much more capable than their victims, their victims either being more "bumbling" or less "capable" for if their victims were more capable then surely they would not be the victims.
The hero, may or may not be more "capable" than the villain. If the hero is the victim, then he may start out less "capable" only to turn it around and overcome the villain. Victims, rather than being portrayed as "bumbling" are typically portrayed as righteous, good, genuine, honest, etc. The problem is that victims are typically weak. I define "weakness" as being 1) less capable 2) more vulnerable to exploitation.
Heroes, while not as weak as the victims, are still "weak" in the sense that they are vulnerable to exploitation, whereas the villains are not. Rather than idolizing an obsession of Good vs. Evil in our society, a more revolutionary way to look at it would be to create a notion of Power vs. Weakness. Why might this be a beneficial notion to idolize?
I would argue, that many of the problems in society that we associate with evil: drugs, murder, crime, robbery, rape, etc, are not caused by evil, but by weakness.
The reason for this is that crime rarely pays. Most crimes are committed by "incapable" people and neither benefit either themselves or society. People who are truly "capable" typically do not engage in criminal activity because they are smart enough not to. Smart crimes, crime that is truly calculated: organized crime, corrupt politicians, corporate negligence, is a problem associated with evil. But these evils committed by an elite few thrive upon the weakness of others.
By glamorizing power and strength instead of weakness, it might allow the masses to better defend themselves against exploitation by these elite "evil" criminals, and thus a hero would be less likely to be needed. What's more is that the glamorization of power and strength would give one the motivation to be successful or "capable", while the glamorization of weak righteousness gives no such motivation.
It does however, give our elite a better means to control you.