According to bestselling author and benedictine priest anselm grun, "there is a spark of evil in every human being". In his new book "dem bosen begegnen" ("confronting the bad"), the monk from munsterschwarzach deals with the bad that scares people, unsettles them, but also fascinates them: "each of us knows this, it’s a perpetual battle with ourselves."
Question: father anselm, when was the last time something bad happened to you??
Father anselm grun: nothing bad has happened to me in a long time. There have been people who have said untrue and evil things about me – but I have never met them.
Is evil an antiquated concept??
Grun: no, I don’t think so. I am a positive thinking person – in this respect the bose is not exactly my favorite topic now. But I hear again and again in conversations how much people are moved by this topic. You want to know: where does the bose come from?? How to protect yourself from this? How to deal with it?
In your book the evil has many faces. How to recognize the evil?
Grun: the evil is always the negative, that which negates the human being’s existence. Often it has to do with power – power that wants to dominate, humiliate or torment. The evil often also has something morbid about it. But to dismiss it simply as a disease, one makes it too easy for oneself. There are many people who are fascinated by evil and who therefore turn to it.
Where does this fascination come from?
Grun: there are people who believe too little in the good in themselves, who have too little hope in themselves and who therefore give themselves over to evil. I am convinced that there is a spark of evil in every human being. Even jesus spurred the temptation! In the end, his oneness with god was stronger than the fascination with evil. Every one of us knows it, it is a perpetual struggle with ourselves.
How can you overcome the evil in your opponent or in yourself??
Grun: in order to protect yourself from evil, you first have to distance yourself from it. But then you have to realize that the opposite is not absolutely evil, but only a part of it. There you need faith to see the good core in the other and to want to discover it. If one demands this good nucleus, it no longer needs to surrender to evil.
One should meet the evil with love? Sounds a bit utopian?
Grun: of course, evil also needs a force to oppose it – but repaying evil only with evil is useless, it leads to a cycle of evil. Love does not mean excusing everything that others do. Love is another way of looking to find the good in people.
Grun, anselm: encountering the evil: paths to a reconciled relationship, munich, 176 pp., 16.99 euro.