3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on Thinking About Malevolence
Dark Triad, the Evil Within & Villain of the Week
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I. Dark Triad
The Dark Triad is a fateful set of personality traits with malevolent features. The term comes from psychology and comprises three distinct qualities particularly callous people display:
Narcissism: The craving for admiration, having an inflated self-image and a lack of empathy.
Machiavellianism: Being manipulative and having the belief that the ends justify the means. Named after Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli.
Psychopathy: Lacking empathy and a sense of guilt. Often results in antisocial behaviour.
II. The Evil Within
It’s easy to see evil as something others are or do. Novelist and Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, however, had a more introspective realisation:
The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
III. Villain of the Week
It’s hard to deny that there’s a high demand for malevolent characters and creatures when it comes to entertainment. Especially when you’re running a weekly TV show.
The Villain of the Week (aka Monster of the Week or Alien of the Week) delivers just that; a new antagonist every episode. The storytelling trope is popular with weekly TV shows. For the most part, the TV series of the 80s and 90s, such as The A-Team, didn’t have an ongoing plotline. Instead, our heroes had to start from square one and fight a different antagonist every week.
It’s almost as if evil is much more replaceable than good. 🐘
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Have a great week,