From The SpiritWiki

The word Evil is a syncretic and often misunderstood term for "Disjuncture."

Related Terms

Disjuncture > Evil

Syncretic Terms

Disjuncture > Adultry, Anrta, Drug, Druh, Hell, Infidelity, Separation, Sin, The Hellish Marriage


In the popular mind, evil is often associated with a cosmic level, existential force or personified bad dude. These beliefs emerged relatively recently, specifically in the teachings of Zoroaster who is the first person to postulate a cosmic level evil force.[1] Prior to this, notions of cosmic evil did not exist. Those that did were typically personifications of chaotic and hard to control natural forces, or projections of hostile social situations.

“."the pagan Iranians, like the Indians of old, felt their world to be inhabited by innumerable lesser spirits, some kindly but many malignant. Some of these evil powers sought to enter a man's body and harm him directly. Others lurked about his homestead and fields, ready to make him stumble and fall, or to harm his cattle or blight his crops; and beyond, the untamed forest and plain were full of menace. 1 Evil threatened everywhere, but could be warded off by proper precautions, such as banning formulas or propitiatory gifts; and some men were held to have acquired power over these dark forces, to compel them to serve their own ends” [2]

Sufism: Rumi takes a relativist position on evil, suggesting that in certain cases an evil act may be good, and vica versa. "The snake's poison is life for the snake, but death in relation to man. Creatures of water see the ocean as a garden, creatures of earth see it as death and torment. [3]" "The benefit and harm of each depends upon the situation. For this reason knowledge is necessary and useful. [4] Also that one needs evil to manifest and appreciate the good. Rumi appears to go through considerable distortions in an attempt to bring logic to the question of evil.

Maslow - evil as the result of unmet needs "As far as I know we just don’t have any intrinsic instincts for evil. If you think in terms of the basic needs; instincts, at least at the outset, are all good’-or perhaps we should be technical about it and call them ’pre-moral,’ neither good nor evil. We do know, however, that out of the search for fulfillment of a basic need-take love in the child for example-can come evil. The child, wanting his mother’s exclusive love, may bash his little brother over the head in hopes of getting more of it. What we call evil or pathological may certainly arise from, or replace, something good. Another example is the little squabbles among children; all the fighting they do about who should do what, about dividing up the chores, ultimately can be seen as a distorted expression of a very powerful need for fairness and justice."[5]


  1. Boyce, Mary. A History of Zoroastrianism: Volume One The Early Period. New York: E. J. Brill, 1996. Also, ———. Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Routledge, 2001. Messadie, Gerald. A History of the Devil. New York: Kodansha, 1996.Wach, Joachim. Sociology of Religion. Routledge Library Editions, Volume 16. New York: Routledge, 2019.
  2. Boyce, Mary. A History of Zoroastrianism: Volume One The Early Period. New York: E. J. Brill, 1996. p. 85.
  3. Chittick, William C., and Rumi. The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi. Rumi SUNY Series in Islam. New York: SUNY Press, 1983. (M IV 65-69)
  4. Ibid. (M VI 2597-99).
  5. Abraham H. Maslow, “Eupsychia—The Good Society,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1, no. 2 (1961): 1. p. 8