I've made a point that to "Be a Man" is to "Be a Hero" and being a hero entails practicing virtues but why is it that we often choose evil in our daily actions? If I were to ask if you like good or evil more, I would assume you would pick good, otherwise we might need to have a discussion with the local authorities.
Perhaps the best way to analyze our choices between good and evil is to look at food. Thanks to our knowledge of food, we know some our great for our bodies and others are incredibly bad for us, even deadly if not cautious. Some people might be able to survived a peanut related junk-food, but it will kill quite a few people.
Let's take for example the oreo cookie. The chocolate cookie with some white stuff in the middle. Unhealthy but delicious to quite a few people. I use this for an example because it is my semi-daily reminder about this analogy. I decided that I will not eat anymore oreos. Some days, the temptation is not even present, but the days when there is a box of oreos on the snack table at work makes it far more difficult. This helped me realize that temptations only exist when you believe you can do something. This helps explain why the maxim "Great Power leads to Great Corruption" is true. Power is related to the word "potential" which means "the capability to do something." So when you have the power to do something, you are naturally tempted, especially when you think you can get away with it.
I knew a girl who just a little bit of milk made her incredibly sick. However, she loved milk so much that she considered being sick worth it every now and then, like on the weekends. On the other hand, I would think that the days when she knew she could not take the day off, she would be able to resist the urge to drink milk.
So why do we even eat these foods which are bad for us? Part of it is convenience. Some junk food is cheaper and more accessible than the healthy variety. For example, a box of cookies can cost about as much as an organic apple. Our mentality of trying to get the most for our money will act as an argument to buy the cookies when searching for snack food. Likewise, an apple treated with pesticides and other harmful chemicals may look bigger and be cheaper than the traditional organic apple grown without harmful chemicals. In that situation, we generalize ideas such as "apples are healthy" and ignore that and apple treated with bad chemicals is not healthy at all. Likewise, actions that normally would be good, are actually bad when corrupted with ulterior motives or methods. For example, protecting the country is a good deed. Torturing suspected terrorists, who may be very innocent, is evil. However, to the people performing this heinous crime, it's the most convenient or efficient method in their mind.
Another reason why we choose evil is because we are corrupted. We get corrupted while we are young and the older and more "mature" consider it their job to corrupt the young and innocent. I don't watch TV much anymore because there is hardly a show that does not contain some sort of sexual exploitation of its feminine cast. CWTV's The Flash started off nicely and was showing why the Flash is a hero but before the end of its first season, it showed every female character in a bra on time or another, half of them leading toward sex outside of marriage. This "fanservice" corrupts the mind of the young men that it's okay to objectify women like so and to have sex outside of marriage. Add that this is a "superhero" show, and the effect is greater.
Let me explain the logic of how something normally becomes an action. First comes the thought. The more you think about it, you begin to test the waters. You begin to speak about the idea, which of course strengthens thinking about it in the first place. Then you finally act. However, when you have a firm foundation in your character, then you are able to control those thoughts and prevent yourself from performing any bad action. As a child, it's harder to guide your thoughts and actions and so most children act on impulse. So when children are exposed to improper ideas and actions, they will more likely perform those actions.
You probably heard about the study where a group of children are put into a room full of toys and a plate of cookies in the middle. They are told if they can wait a few more minutes, they will get more cookies. The children who easily distract themselves and play around can easily do this, but the children who constantly think about the cookies will not last the 10 minutes. I believe you could also conclude that the children who eat a lot of cookies will have a harder time resisting the urge to eat them than the children who grew up eating only healthy foods. After all, there are always those people who say they don't like something even though they never tried it before.
So if we were never introduced to evil, would we always do good? Probably not since that society would never exist, at least in our current world. There is just so much evil that even if a group was close to reaching that point, some other group would work twice as hard to tear it down. I spoke a bit about that last time while discussing envy and how it destroys societies.
What about in a perfect world where you couldn't choose to do evil? Wouldn't that be evil in itself? It would certainly sound like a violation of the concept of Free Will. However, I think the way popular culture has portrayed that ideas has been only in an evil communist or socialist setting in which no one can make any choice at all. But if we consider a society where choices do exist, just various levels of goodness, would that be wrong? The concept of free will is that we can choose how we act, but it doesn't always have to be between good and evil. It's like choosing between a house by the beach versus a house close to a school. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but both are good. Perhaps that would be the best society, but like I said, it would not last in our current world. But then again, that doesn't mean it's not worth working toward. If we distract ourselves by pursuing good, wouldn't that mean we won't choose evil? If that's the case, then society would at least improve in some sense, even if it's not perfect.
Let's Pursue the Perfect Good Together,
N. D. Moharo