I don’t believe in evil as a trait in an of itself… or as a force of nature (super or otherwise). I think man is born with certain necessary characteristics, and those characteristics should be shed with maturity. A child needs to be self-centered. They’re not capable of supporting themselves, let alone anyone else. But as a child ages, that changes, and a man needs to develop beyond that infant mindset.
What we call evil is the presence of infant characteristics in a grown man. Ultimately all evil acts are a result of being overly fixated on the self.
My physical anthropology teacher talked about the stages of emotional development through evolution. The reptilian mind, he explained, simply understands basic desire, basic needs; I am hungry, says the reptilian mind, I must eat. A mamalian mind understands more complex emotions; I think I’ll have a nice bite on a trout, and maybe some berries, says the mammal. The human mind is the most complex; I think I’ll have a slice of pizza and a few glasses of coke during the movie, then maybe I’ll get jiggy wit it for a bit (using a condom of course, this isn’t about reproduction)…
The manga Akira portrays the dangers of ultimate power in someone whose emotional development isn’t on the proper level. They suggest that Tetsuo is like an amoeba, unable to comprehend the nature of the world, just simply exploring his own power.
More specific to the origin of this idea is the situation of Othello (Having just watched the modern day version, “O”, with Julia Stiles)… Othello is a man who is tricked into regressing to a less developed state of being. From a confident man to a cowering, powerless, and eventually murderous fool. He becomes the amoeba, the reptile.
Reptiles don’t know how to deal with human problems, human conflicts. Reptiles only understand that they are being attacked and that they must defend themselves. In the reptile world, there is only one way to defend… to kill your enemy.
Othello was reduced to being something less than a man. And the world trembled at the damage he wrought.