megalomania as motivation

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Re: megalomania as motivation

Post by Mira » April 16th, 2011, 1:10 am

Fascinating question, and interesting comments.

I've always thought that the Talented Mr. Ripley is an interesting portrait of an evil person who does not believe he is evil. His actions all have internal logic, and you can see why he chooses what he chooses - he takes self-preservation to the extreme. And I think an important line in the story is, something like: "we all believe we are good people."

Which is true, I think. Evil people think they are good, and their actions are justified.

I think these are the interesting conflicts, when human dilemnas are taken to the extreme. Another example of that, although not a book, the play (and movie) "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." Characters in the play do terrible things, but they justify these actions because they are trying to fulfill intense yearnings. We can sympathize with them, because we know what it is to wrestle with yearning, to be in terrible despair, or deeply lonely, but are horrified when we see how that can bring humans to justify deeply evil actions.

In terms of motivation, I just remembered the old Dungeon and Dragon categories of evil and good alignment. Weirdly enough, I actually think it's a pretty good category system, so I'll share it.

There were three categories of evil people (I copied/pasted the explanations from a link):

Lawful Evil: The ordered sort of Evil, that often ends up in charge. Well-structured, large-scale and often scarily successful evil. May believe in keeping order at all costs, or may simply believe that a well-ordered system is so much easier to exploit.

Neutral Evil: Is one who does whatever he can get away with. The Neutral Evil character is not out to do evil for its own sake, he or she is out to get what they want when they want it.

Chaotic Evil: Does evil for its own sake. though he is probably not aware that he is actually evil. He does what he wants, when he wants and take joy in the pain he causes.

Thanks for a really interesting discussion!

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Joined: December 7th, 2009, 4:37 pm

Re: megalomania as motivation

Post by siebendach » April 16th, 2011, 11:04 am

sierramcconnell wrote:I'm sorry, I misread that as Huey Lewis style and my brain broke from there. [smacks self]
Misread, nuthin'! (Cue cheezy '80s synthesizer)

I useta help da peeples out --- but now I run this town
Dishin' out the punishment --- and lay the smackin' down
Now I'm big-time evil --- my plans are ironclad
It may hurt your feelings, or it may make you mad
But I'm the one that's goin' on --- IT'S HIP TO BE BAD

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