Necessary Evil

Necessary Evil

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Being human means different things to different people. In one context, being human can be defined in biological and evolutionary terms. In another context, being human can mean having a defined set of emotions, feelings, and actions. People hold both of these contexts to be true. Does anyone ever wonder what it means to be inhumane? There are actions that human societies, regardless of culture, find to be unimaginable and inhumane. Actions, such as murder, are described as animal actions; leading to the conclusion that humans really view themselves differently than they actually are. In the 1990 film adaptation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies, human nature and the idea of what it is to be human is exposed. The characters, all of whom are boys under the age of 18, are forced to interact with each other as humans, not as members of a civilized society masked by cloudy views and actions. One character in particular, Jack, has the role that many people would find to be the `evil' character. The character most inhumane and unlike how civilized people should act. In rebuttal to that, Jack's role in the book and reflections of it in real life make his role in real life absolutely necessary and motivating to human society. After defining what Jack's role is, one will understand his techniques of dependency and fear to play on the fact that people are innately evil.

Jack's roles on the island are clearly defined into four groups: The Manipulator, The Warrior, The Pessimist, and later, The Leader. As the manipulator, Jack plays on the needs and desires of the other boys. Rightly so as he is also a boy of their age and knows firsthand what boys would want. Jack understands that the boys want to play more than work, so he finds an activity (hunting) that appeals to them. He understands they are hungry, so he makes the promise of meat. As the warrior, he provides for the boys the three things they want most: food, fun, and strength. The boys view hunting as something fun to do because of the way Jack approaches it. The boys get to dress up and hang out with each other all day. Jack takes on the leader position after this point. He is confident and people are naturally attracted to confidence. As the pessimist, Jack plays on the fears of the boys.

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The biggest fear that the boys have is that of not being rescued from the island. Early on, Jack insists they won't be rescued. He uses his manipulative techniques to give him self-proclaimed power over the boys.

Jack uses his desire to be the leader to make him the center power point on the island and inadvertently makes the others completely dependent on what he has to say. This idea from the book is not at all removed from the present day. The United States is currently in a war with Iraq. No one for sure knows the exact reason why the United States is there, but many people are fearful. President Bush has changed the reasoning for being in Iraq a number of times to appeal to the public's fears. First, the United States was there to fight terrorism. Nobody wants to have acts of terrorism done to them and no one would want to outwardly say they would want terrorism. Then the United States was there to find weapons of mass destruction. Nobody wants to be blown up by weapons we make and use on other people. Now the United States is there to help in the liberation of the Iraqi people. Nobody wants to project the image of not caring about mankind. The point is Bush's technique, which is parallel to Jack's, works. A majority of the American public, for one reason or another still support Bush's decision to have the United States in this war. This is the same situation as Jack and the boys. The boys on the island didn't even realize or care that they didn't really kill the beastie. Jack convinces them that there is still something to be fighting for and still something to fear, just like Bush and the United States.

The fact that the boys still hunt even though they think they have killed the beastie shows their fear. It shows their fear not only of the beastie but of Jack as well. This exemplifies how essential fear is, and how extremely motivating it can be. Adolph Hitler had so many people fearful that they would do anything to eradicate this fear, even kill. The boys were so pumped with fear that they end up killing Simon. Marilyn Manson is quoted in a documentary done by Michael Moore as saying the underlying theme in America is that fear equaled consumption. He made mention of the media that plagues our television sets like a disease with the content it contains. People have to buy this certain soap or they will never find their mate. They have to drive a certain vehicle or they will never amount to anything. Keep the people afraid and they will consume.

The fact that people are capable of killing after an exposure of fears creates this notion that people may be innately evil and there is nothing mankind can do to change that. This is the way to explain what happened to the boys on the island. Once the boundaries that create the civilization walls come down, how do people respond? In the case of the boys: chaos, murder, and disorder. This idea isn't necessarily bad, but it does exist. A famous quote out of the mouth of Tony Montana in the movie Scarface sums up the necessity of evil: "You need people like you can point your fingers and you can say, that's the bad guy. What does that make you? Good?" Evil is essential, if for nothing else to make people reflect and feel better about themselves as people.

All of these point an arrow in the direction that people like Jack are necessary for society to function and they exemplify a part of what it is to be human. It can be best described as a mixture of dependency of strength, games played with fear, and the fact that people are innately evil. It is a never changing idea that is present in all of mankind today. There still are people who use manipulation as a tool to get their means. There still are people who play on others fear to accomplish evil and as stated before, is completely necessary.

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