Thursday, January 17, 2008

Casually Evil

When I think "evil," I generally think of major evil.  Hitler.  Pol Pot.  Serial murderers.  Mortal evil.

So ... what about venial evil?  Casual evil?  

I'm referring specifically to someone actively choosing to do something that hurts another, for no good reason.  

Not surprisingly, this isn't just something I began contemplating while meditating.  No, it bursts forth from selfish concern.  We are dealing with a person who has a teensy bit of power, and is using it to make our life considerably more difficult.  It does not save her from work; it does not save her company from money.  The only thing it does is give us (in this case, financial) pain.

Oh, I hate it when someone refers to something but doesn't explain ... okay, in a nutshell, we had to go on COBRA for one month.  The COBRA company says our check bounced.  Our bank says they never received the check.  (There's plenty of money in our account.)  The COBRA company says, okay, just send us another payment, as long as the benefits administrator at your old company says it's okay.  With no justification, she says No.  

What did you do to piss her off? I ask my mild-mannered husband, whom everyone likes.  (Really.  It's quite irritating.  Everyone likes him.)

 Nothing, says he.  This is just how she is.  She is famous throughout the company for being mean, just for the joy of being mean.  But she knows the right people, so she's never fired.

I'm agog at this.  I know that like so many, I can err on the other side -- being too desirous that people like me.  But really, really?, there are people who derive pleasure from causing someone else pain?

Okay, even as write that, I know it sounds naive.  

We have other avenues that we are pursuing, but meanwhile, here I am, still agog.  She doesn't hate us (well, unless she hates everyone, which seems like it may be the case), she's not saving her company money, she's not saving herself work ... maybe she thinks she's noble and is teaching us a valuable lesson about bouncing checks?  No, says The Husband.  I laid it all out and showed her that it's bank error.  She doesn't care, he explains, much like a physics professor explaining a complex problem to a thick student.

Casually evil.

I wonder if she goes to church.


Toonhead said...

Unfortunately, she probably does go to church.

goodwolve said...

The interesting part to me is that is a woman. I have written about Mean Woman springing up from Mean Girls... They are an awful bunch. I don't know how to deal with them.

Ms. Theologian said...

I think people are casually evil frequently, and often at work! I mean, the "sin" here is basically apathy to any potential suffering, right?

Comrade Kevin said...

I've always thought doing a good job at work didn't just involve performing responsibilities adequately---that there was a social justice aspect to it as well. Even for simple matters.