Carl Jung spent a lot of time contemplating on evil. He said humanity would face evil like never before, as we are nearing the Age of Aquarius. He reminds us about something very shocking about evil: evil is extremely real. You could say Jung saw evil as just as real as — or maybe even more real than — humanity. In the sense that he described evil as an autonomous force, older than the world itself.
Evil is almost a form of consciousness, or you can call it an anti-consciousness. Consciousness inverted. A lack of consciousness. However you call it: it is real, it is autonomous, it acts intentional like a person, and it possesses us all.
This mere fact — the realness of evil, its omnipresence, its capacity to act autonomously and intentionally — is so shocking to us, Jung describes, that we push it away. Into the unconscious. There, evil is luring in the darkness. The fact that we deny evil, is what creates the shadow in which evil hides and resides. Evil loves the shadow. From there, it possesses us, it houses in us, it uses us.
Jung was a psychologist who focused on the individual psyche. From a social science perspective, I would like to add that evil needs more than the unconscious shadow of the individual psyche. Evil cannot survive in the persona of an individual. It needs a giver and a receiver. It needs hierarchy. It needs inequality. For evil to express itself, it needs a relation. Evil hides in the individual shadow, but expresses itself through social relations.
The only way to defeat evil, is to recognize it. To slowly learn to see evil as it acts in our relationships. To become aware of evil in our confrontation with the Other. The receiver of evil is best positioned to break the spell. They can recognize evil through their anger at the giver of evil.
This anger is initially repressed, as evil is too shocking to confront. The receiver must learn to be courageous enough to recognize evil and express their anger about it. It is the only way to stop evil from flowing in the relation. They must put in evil to a halt by expressing their anger and drawing a boundary.
So, for evil to disappear, we have to chase it out of the shadow and bring it into consciousness. We have to look the beast in the beak. This can only be achieved through very hard work on both the emotional and the social level. It requires immense courage and strong morals. It requires an unconditional faith in our own emotions.
Pain can never be avoided in this process. There will be interpersonal damage. The givers of evil will not like the confrontation by the receivers of evil. There will be fights, break-ups, conflicts. The giver of evil will accuse, attack, gaslight the receiver of evil when the latter chooses to confront. But the confrontation needs to be done for suffering to stop.
In this struggle, it might be helpful to recall that we are not actually fighting our fellow humans; we are fighting a force much older than humanity. We are fighting an autonomous force as old as the universe itself. A force that is abusing our wounds. A force hiding in our unconscious, about which even the givers of evil are unaware.
No human is evil; evil is using humans.