I find myself fascinated with whom are considered the most evil women and men in history. I've also started reading online about the most famous psychopaths. I suppose it's because since I'm a Mom now I'm neck deep into the whole "nature vs. nurture" argument. It's all very similar to the butterfly effect, how every choice you make will write the future of your children. Day to day choices, routines, events that pass us by, things we don't give a second thought about until one realizes just how clear hindsight really can be. I believe everyone takes stock of the year that has passed them around this time. Are children born bad, or did their parents make them so? Does such "evil" run in the family the way suicide flowed through the veins of generations of the "Hemmingway" family? What is the catalyst, the fork in the road of one's psyche that causes them to decide: a life of sin and darkness or a life of peace and light? Who is it that decides what double-helix will turn up in the fiber of one's being? Where does this catalyst come from; family, friends, people, places, things?
What causes a woman to accuse hundreds of women of witchcraft all for the sake of her quest of immortality? For example, Erzsébet Bathory did not find the secret to immortality, but she surely lives on as the most heinous female serial killer of all time. How does a young boy from Germany who happened upon a picture book about war one day morph into a living breathing symbol of hate? What clay molded Uday Hussein? Why aren't Andrew Jackson's genocidal ways taught in American schools? Since Eve took first bite of the apple, we humans have been entangled in a never ending dance with our sadistic/masochistic streaks.
It all comes down to a catalyst: trauma happens, and in the most extreme cases, we either take the pain out on ourselves (suicide) or we take it out on others (homicide).
To get high from self inflicted pain or inflict that pain on others? Does our conscience really boil down to the toss of a coin?
the most evil men
the most evil women
(You can find more just by Googling "the most evil men and women in history"