Everyone loves a good story. Whether this story is represented through a book, film, or everyday life, a good story may become beloved by generations. Stories shape the world we live in as well as our perspectives, and starting at a young age can begin to form individual ideas of good and evil. Everyone can enjoy a well-told story.
Unfortunately, this is nothing at all like real life.
This is regrettable, because life would be much simpler if it was. Think of how orderly the world would be if it was all part of some grand tale, depicting the valiant forces of good in their struggle against the clutches of the malevolent. But when stacked up against all of history, these fantasies become precisely that, fantasies. Seldomly do you find true evil in the world we live in.
This reality does not stop many from trying, however. In the world we live in, demons are scarce to be found and easy to conjure. Individuals such as George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Robert E. Lee are notable examples. All three held differing morals and ideologies than that of their political opponents, but that did not stop them from adhering to them. Yet these men are commonly depicted as despicable from their opposing sides. This is not quite fair.
So why do many set out to make a villain for themselves? Perhaps it gives them a somewhat misguided sense of self-righteousness, or maybe it is a boost to their ego. However, I believe that this sentiment is largely founded upon the stories we have heard throughout our lives, an untrue story, one that says that there is good and there is ill, and they are in no way alike. This is not the story’s fault, for the author only seeks to create a compelling narrative, but the effect it has on its audience is profound. People seek to find a Dark Lord when in reality none exists.
This is of course not to say that such villains are entirely absent from the history of the world. It is in no way difficult for any intellectual to compile a list of such people within seconds, but it is not befitting of our time to engage in the painless task of finding legitimately evil people when we could be seeking to understand the others who are often misplaced along with the likes of Stalin, Manson, and the like.
Is this then the fault of the people? One could make a case for it, but that statement may yet be a tad broad. One can easily see the advantages of making the other side to be the villain. It simultaneously puts one entirely in the right, while also defaming the opposing side unequivocally. It is a wonderful feeling to be noble and just, is it not? No one dreams of being the cunning villain, they always strive to tear said villain down. To form for oneself a villain to fight could be likened to a childhood fantasy being made reality, and who wouldn’t want that? It is fun to imagine, but wholly unproductive in the world of civil discourse and a detriment to society.
Politics is not the only area where this ideology is manifested. Another easy example is sports. There is no inherently logical reason why every baseball fan found outside of New York City hates the Yankees, and yet they do. Why are the Yankees not respected for their success, instead of being vilified for it? Simple. Because baseball needs a villain. Other sports villains are easy to find. The New England Patriots, the Golden State Warriors, Manchester United, and the Duke Blue Devils are all notable examples. Most of these teams have done nothing wrong aside from being continually successful, and that has been their doom. This shows that this need for an object of hatred is not simply limited to politics, but is all but an essential part of the human psyche.
What is the cause of this, then? I cannot give you a definate answer. There are easy parallels to justify this behavior, but one to explain it is yet to be found, at least to my knowledge. The human mind is a largely unknown formula that we understand precious little of. We may not know the cause of this phenomenon, but the fact that it exists is certainly no enigma. The only logical way to combat this, as I see it, is simply to be aware of this behavior’s existence. One may never be able to completely rid oneself of it, but introspection and knowledge of this demeanor may be able to stem the tide and look at individuals not in terms of black and white, but rather in boldly painted color, as they ought to be seen.