Sunday is Valentine's Day so the timing of this seems apt. Haha.
Anyway, I mentioned I watched the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. In the movie, they bring up an experiment done back in the early 20th Century. Basically a shrink had an actor go in a little booth to pretend to be a random person and then brought in subjects, who were commanded by a scientist to keep shocking the person in the booth with increasing amounts of electricity. For the most part, people would question the scientist but then deliver the shocks as ordered, no matter how much the actor in the booth scream or carried on.
The gist of the study was that ordinary, seemingly non-evil, non-sadistic people were capable of doing horrible things to someone else so long as they were commanded by someone in authority. The movie doesn't mention it, but we saw real-world examples of this at Nuremberg and other war crime trials where someone would say, "I was only following orders." Most of us would probably say that if we were conscripted into the Nazi army we wouldn't kill a bunch of Jews and other people, but would we really not do that? If it came between you being killed or all those people, would you really not do it? Or would you rationalize by saying you're following orders?
For the most part I think that's the kind of evil we have to worry about more than supervillains like in comic books or James Bond movies. Most people are capable of doing terrible things because either they're "following orders" or they think they're doing the right thing. That's why it's so hard to eliminate evil in the world. First it's hard for all of us to agree on a definition and second, we're all fragile and fallible.
There you go, depressing thoughts for your weekend of love and chocolate.