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Evil is altogether human

- You're still brooding.

- It's that novel I couldn't finish.

- We've returned it to the library. It won't come back. I promise.

- No worries. But it did made me think about how it it portrayed evil characters.

- Those were very evil, if I recall.

- Too evil.

- Well, they were the enemy.

- That's the mistake.

- The enemy shouldn't be evil?

- No, no. That's okay. In the context of a novel. But these came across as inhuman in their evilness.

- And evil people are human.

- Exactly.

- You wanted him to make them seem nice?

- No. I wanted him to make them seem human. Because you know, what makes evil so horrific is that it is human.

- And they didn't come across as human?

- They came across as automatons -- the only available setting being cruelty. Think about it. In the real word, after Nazi guards gassed the inmates, they went on picnics, raised children, took care of their family and pets. The machete wielding Rwandans had grandparents and children, drove taxis, lived otherwise normal lives.

- I think I get it. It's sort of like when a depraved criminal is caught by the police after years of search, the neighbors always say, "He was such a nice man."

- And you know, to them, he probably was a nice man. A seemingly ordinary human.

- But capable of ghastly evil.

- Yes. And that's what's so terrifying.

- That, day to day, you can't usually tell that that's what's lurking, inside?

- Precisely.

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