Due to working out some timeline and plot things concerning an ancient evil god of mine, my mind’s been on the workings of primordial evil. My husband really hates my evil god because of the horrendous things he’s done, but I’m not as impressed with him as a villain as other characters of mine because as an embodiment of all things evil, Ubilis can’t really help what he does. I mean, you can’t really blame a predator for hunting down prey and killing it, right? It’s just the way the circle of life works, just what predators do. And primordial evils, they’re just evil, so you can’t really blame them for being evil.
That’s the thing about primordial evil, or anything that is the essence of evil. It can’t really help what it is and I find that to be less morally reprehensible than someone who chose to be what they are. Even a human being that could be described as a product of their creation still had more of a choice in the matter than primordial evil, which just is. But on thinking on that, I’ve come to a conclusion for myself about primordial evil and how it always seems to want to destroy mankind, happiness, and love.
I’m pretty sure it’s envious.
I mean, pure evil can never, ever enjoy joy. It can experience glee, perhaps, or satisfaction, or delight, but not joy. And it can never experience love, not true love. And these things are wonderful. Evil can’t have it. With something like Evil, what do you think the response would be? Misery loves company, and I just can’t see Evil doing anything other than throwing a tantrum and trying to destroy anything it can’t have.
It’d be possible to argue for an Evil that’s evil for the sake of evil and doesn’t have motivations of envy but just wants to destroy things ’cause evil. However, I reject this on two accounts: I honestly can’t see any sort of sentient evil not having a proper motivation like envy for destroying all things good, and if you managed that, I can’t imagine it’d be anything but incredibly boring. Evil that’s evil ‘cuz evil is so bland. There’s no complexity there at all. As I’ve ever known it, writers who want to have something with no motivation whatsoever, just “evil”, either want something that’s not sentient and therefore not as exciting, or don’t understand the nature of evil. Remember, evil is not a motivation, not even for Evil itself.
So when we ask, “Why does the great Evil want to destroy all existence?” to answer “because that is the nature of Evil” is to say “because it’s evil” which is to say “Evil that’s evil ‘cuz evil” and now “evil” doesn’t even look like a real word to me. Evil is emptiness, nothingness, the lack of friendship, love, charity, morals…when you’re getting at true, primordial evil, you’re getting at space. Dark, empty, cold. Darkness is literally nothing: it is the absence of light. Coldness is literally nothing: it is the absence of heat. And evil is literally nothing: it is the absence of love. Humans are complex and therefore they will be a mix of things, a mix of selfishness, cruelty, but also of opposing elements. Primordial evil will not. It will be completely devoid of anything good. It will be emptiness. And therefore of course it will want to destroy existence. Existence is everything it’s not.
So if you’re going for primordial evil, I’d first of all recommend you don’t because I feel it’s less complex and not as interesting, but sometimes it’s appropriate and I’m not going to tell you you can’t. I’d second recommend you consider whether your primordial evil is sentient or not and then treat it like any other character, and heavily consider the motivation of envy. And if it’s not sentient – that has its place, too, but it’s going to be like Nature as an enemy. So good luck to you in making it interesting – if you’re choosing non-sentient primordial evil despite the challenges, I’m sure you have the determination to make it good.