Power & Evil

Power & Evil

An intimate group of wise tribers gathered together this past Friday night to engage in a community conversation on evil and power.  We asked the question“ why do good people do bad things?” This caused a collective silence resulting in a stream of clarifying questions.  It was asked: What makes a person good?  What makes a person bad? We grappled with how to define good versus bad and how these concepts influence evil and power.  There was no clear consensus of what makes someone or their actions good or bad. Instead, we considered various factors such as intent, impact, and context which may influence the label we choose.  To make these concepts accessible, we explored the manifestation of good and bad in human relationships, which led to the question of how do human beings come to possess and enact evil.

Learn From the Children

Is evil born or created? One wise triber shared their daughter confronted a school bully who repeatedly and without cause abused other kids. Despite the bullies intimidating behavior the young girl stood up to the bully and asked what is wrong with you. All the other kids fell silent and the bullying stopped. A child had the power to stop intimidation and manipulation with her words. We discussed the socialization which occurs within families, religious organizations, local and global communities. We went deeper and considered how self-hate, pain, negative emotions, loneliness, bitterness, and revenge were caused for one to possess and enact evil. The group concluded evil becomes created through both society and individual choices.
 We applied this viewpoint to leadership roles in business and local government, which led us to the tension of the perception of evil within human relationships.

The Evil Within

Whether evil is perceived or intentional in our human interactions, we reflected on how we all possess some evil. The group switched our gaze to self-reflection and awareness of how we navigate the world. Evil can operate on personal and structural levels which are both conscious and unconscious.  We must do self- work to uncover and understand the evil within us through reflection, community, and vulnerability. Through self awareness, as a collective we can heal structural evil and uneven power relations. As one wise triber stated evil is globally connected and does not occur in isolation; therefore, to understand the manifestation of evil we must pay attention to the local and global community. Being aware of our own evil, we can bring clarity to the evil  that oppresses society, individuals and groups while privileging others.

Humility, Storytelling, & Forgiveness

How do we overcome evil and uneven power? We start with understanding everyone is valuable and has a story worth being told.  Showing humility through active listening, forgiveness, and being present allows us to demonstrate a love capable of overcoming evil. Through vulnerability and expression of hurt, misunderstandings, and conflict evil can be eliminated. In a next-generation civics, we must move away from the need to empower others to challenging our demand to have power-over individuals and groups that allows for different lived experiences, values, morals, and world views into various spaces and systems.


 Natalie Kusturic, M.A., LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles. Natalie is skilled in relational, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, mindfulness, and solution-focused therapies. She now work primarily with adults, specializing in relationships, divorce, communication issues, self-esteem, grief and loss, stress management, depression, and trauma. She offers face to face, remote and text messaging therapy.
You can learn more about Natalie and her practice at http://www.NatalieKusturic.com, email: Natalie@dvorcely.com, phone: 561-316-8164.


Ericka Roland
Ericka Roland- is a Delray Beach native and PHD candidate at the University of South Florida studying Educational Leadership. She holds a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Students and a MA in Higher Education. Her research focuses on critical approaches to the development and enactment of leadership in educational organizations and communities.
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