Humanity has been attempting to explain evil since we climbed out of the sooty swamp water. From Balinese woodcarvings of gruesome crimes to modern 35mm Hollywood blockbusters about serial killers, we have a fascination with the darker side of life. It goes beyond myth, beyond religion and encompasses something innately human. Perhaps it has evolved from an animal instinct for protecting territory or securing a mate, whatever the impetus it has become a rampaging ship detached from its moorings. Violence assails out daily lives, and it's not just that the news is more prevalent than ever.
Many times violence is linked with politics, war, famine, natural disaster but sometimes it comes from nowhere and for no reason at all. This violence, the unexpected, the absurd, is most shocking. In her critical book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt outlined her thesis of the "banality of evil" to explain how the Nazis could murder 6 million Jews. Arndt believed that the evil of the Nazis was a banality to suffering and death - the failure of humanity to buck the system, to challenge immorality. The excuse, "everyone else was doing it," made the crimes all the more hideous.
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