The Myth of the Evil Genius

Joker by Nebezial

The evil genius only exists in fiction.

An evil genius cannot exist in reality, because in reality, intelligence and evil are incompatible. A genius acts rationally, and history constantly proves that it is rational to be good.

Genius and evil are two terms that are nearly impossible to define, but most people know it when they see it. Adolf Hitler was evil. Osama Bin Laden was probably evil. Albert Einstein was a genius. Bill Gates is probably one too.

It’s not that evil doesn’t pay; genius and evil both pay, in some sense. Bill and Osama both have mansions, and could probably afford the most expensive bacon at the grocery store (though I guess Osama would pass). The difference is that Bill is living a comfortable life that leaves a trail of advancements and improved lives. Osama is at the bottom of the ocean riddled with bullets, and has left a trail of destruction and ruined lives.

Osama and Adolf did gain power, but was it through genius? I doubt it. They excelled in some areas—charisma, mostly, and probably a good helping of being in the right place at the right time—but I doubt they were geniuses. Not in the sense meant here: extreme mental ability for coming to correct conclusions.

On both an individual and a societal level, it is rational to be good. More often than not, the correct choice between a good option and an evil option is the good option, all things considered. Murdering a person you can’t stand may be easier than altering your own life to get away from him (say, packing up and moving away), but on an individual level, murder will probably put you in jail or dead yourself, and on a societal level, allowing people to murder willy-nilly wouldn’t be conducive to happiness and productivity.

That’s why the evil genius doesn’t exist. Even if the impulse to do evil was there, a true genius would take a moment, and think “hmm, considering all the consequences, maybe genocide isn’t such a spiffy idea.” If The Joker was really so smart, he’d figure out a way to resolve his Batman problem without blowing up innocent people and getting thrown in Arkham again and again.

Evil cannot result from the cool calculated machinations of a genius. In real life, evil is in the hot passion of an argument when a knife is nearby. It’s in the subtle biases of a politician whose values are misguided. And in that sense, evil is in all of us; luckily we also have an inner genius to play superhero.


2 thoughts on “The Myth of the Evil Genius

  1. You are so so so wrong my friend. Geniuses are those with potenial beyond most people. They can use pure rationale and logic to move society in any direction they choose. They are, however, still human. When a human goes through enough pain and is pushed out of society, hatred can turn that analytical mind against the masses.

    Evil and hatred may develop within emotion, but that doesn’t mean they react within it. All humans have a breaking point. A genius that toiled in honorable causes and sacrificed everything for the masses can end up unacknowledged or unappreciated may be vain, but is still a genius. In addition, after 30 years of never being able to connect with a single soul due to the separation of understanding the world in terms the masses do not understand can create severe psychological problems that do not hinder the mind’s sheer analytical and strategic creativity.

    Those who have the potential fulfill an objective by any means necessary can use the virtues of patients, strategy and their knowledge of analysis and the predictability of a mind weaker then themselves. These abilities don’t have to vanish when the masses wound one so heavily.

    In a world of no deduced purpose, all it takes is a logical argument within a great mind filled with rage that the human race should not exist or bow to themselves as a greater intelligence.

    Evil does not pay, btw. That is not evil, that is petty human selfishness and vanity. Every weak mind would jump at the chance to have riches and power. Like the good, which can only be done in its own right, evil too must be done with in it own code of justification.

  2. This post is fallacious because the writer assumes that rational thought results in a consensus good, and that people are as good or as evil as history depicts them to be. Of course, good and evil are not nearly as cut-and-dried as this, but this post assumes good and evil to be indicators of rational thought

    In truth there is no contradiction, because good is not rational or irrational, and neither is evil. morality is not dictated by logic, nor is logic dictated by morality. the entire post is written on a false axiom that does not acknowledge the clear disconnect between logic and morality

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