A question came into my mind and I need to answer it. Where do all these villains come from? Voldemort, Darth Vader, Shafqat Cheema, Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, how do they become the persons they are? Is it entirely their own fault? Wrong choices as we are often led to believe. Or, does the fault lies with the society in which those people grow up. Or, does the blame lies on both parties.
Evil has been there. Ever since man decided to be inquisitive. Curious of either knowledge, wealth or the opposite sex. They say that curiosity killed the cat but in Adam’s example, curiosity spawned advanced civilizations.
The many quests to explain the advent of evil and villainy represents mankind’s effort to make sense of the universal dichotomy, i.e. yin and yang, good and evil, black and white, left and right. But there is a flaw to this dichotomy. Enter Relativity.
What may be construed as something bad in one culture might be completely acceptable in another culture. For example, kissing a woman in public is considered scandalous and unethical in Asian cultures, while in western civilization its part of their daily life. An interesting observation that I have made in my studies is that the culture of a civilization in which a religion occurs, enormously affects that religion. Case study for this observation would be the concept of male female social interaction and dressing norms in Islam and Christianity. The sacredness of the cow in Hinduism, which actually started out with the fact realized by the ancient Indians that the cow was an extremely useful, and a hardy animal for ploughing fields and thus eating it would a waste of resource, hence it was declared sacred.
So here lies the grand flaw. Who decides what is right and wrong. Dare I say God? But who’s God? Christianity’s God? Jewish Yahweh, Muslim Allah or Hindu Brahma. Greek Zeus or the Norse Odin? In the end of it all we achieve is a debate about who’s Deity is the right one.
But getting back to villainy, I think that villains are not evil but misfits in a society. But what makes them misfits in the society? Societal actions or their own decisions?
We are what our society makes us. Before falling in love with Jane, Tarzan always thought that his mom was a gorilla. Some tribes in Papua New Guinea still engage in cannibalism whereas in the rest of the world cannibalism is seen with utter revulsion. So people living in different cultures always think that their own culture is just and right.
But what about the villains? Growing up in our society where a convict becomes a president, can you blame a teenager for becoming a robber? Who has he to idolize? The Quaid? Who is often grossly misrepresented? Each party and faction molds his image to suit its own interests? Dare I say Bibi Aka Shaheed Rani? Who before her death was just acquitted of all the corruption cases through the infamous NRO? Should they idolize ‘Dactar Amir Liaquat’? Or should they idolize Rehman Malik?
As time passes by we consign the memories of Arfa Karim and Dr. Abdus Salam to our national dustbin of memories, we should ask ourselves aren’t we collectively responsible for helping people like Zardari and Rehman Malik rise to power?
But, should we put all the blame on the society then? Critics would argue that an adult is fully capable of making his own decisions, but how can he make the equation work when all the factors of equations come from only one set of inputs (so-called evil inputs).
May be, according to the villain, what he does is right according to him and that doesn’t sit too well with the society. He’s like an outsider, a misunderstood person. Perhaps villainy is like looking at the same thing from two different angles. The Dalai Lama is a terrorist to communist china while he is a spiritual superstar for others. We can’t really decide what villainy is. I know this is a hard thing to say but I think (only think) that evil itself is relative.
I think one of the many doors in the universal hall of mysteries needs to be unlocked. Whether it would be a good revelation or the end of all things, we call moral. I don’t know. I just don’t know.
Forgive my blabbering…Couldn’t help but share it.