As human beings, we ask many questions about morality. There is the reoccurring question of "What is the difference of evil?" or "How do people resort to committing evil actions?" I immediately think of the opposite of being "good." For example, superheroes act courageously for those in danger and for those they care about to produce the safety and happiness. They will also selfless where doing the right thing is their mantra. Many people who are "good" follow the golden rule: treat others the same you would like to be treated. Creating that respect for the individual, superheroes choose their decisions based on unconditional care for anyone who is need of help.
Dr. Josh Baron comments we must analyze four different theories before coming to a final conclusion on where evil comes from. First, we must look at utilitarianism and how this creates goodness in people. This ideology is the right to maximize utility or happiness. More so, utilitarian actions produce the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for the greatest number of people. President Snow and President Coin may seem to be maximizing the happiness of the people of Panem or the people of District 13; however, they are more concerned about their desires of order or power over the happiness of the governed.
Second theory is upholding to duty where people decide to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Focusing of their obligation to keep order or to maintain happiness at all time high is what should be considered by all individuals. Next, Aristotle created a notion where to be a good person, one must be virtuous. There must be no type of excess or deficiency regarding traits of an individual. If one was to react to fear, one should be able to act courageous to be considered virtuous. For example, Katniss demonstrates virtue immediately in the trilogy when she decides to volunteer for the games just so her sister could be safe from the bloodbath. Lastly, care and love is considered when one makes decisions. Concluding on what is right and wrong for an individual involves the influence of their loved ones and what type of effect it would have on them. Every time Katniss did something in the games, she always thinks about Prim, Gale, and her mother before making a decision. She obviously makes a promise to Prim to stay alive because it would be detrimental for their family if she disappeared and was killed in the games.
Overall, Dr. Baron uses all of these theories and highlights opposite of good in each. So the opposites of utility, duty, virtue, and care is individual, apathy, vice, and harm, respectively. The definition of evil, in his eyes, is an individual who expresses pleasure from causing harm to others as a result of vice or extreme apathy towards others humanity. President Snow and President Coin both embody this definition clearly.
The Hunger Games
Gresh, Chapter 7 The Nature of Evil
Guest Speaker: Dr. Josh Baron Ethics and Evil