A couple of days ago, Gingerlks commented (in part): "anyone who could watch Earthlings & not be moved is the same kind of evil….heartless…"
First, I do think people can either be desensitized to the rampant cruelty depicted in Earthlings, or so terrified of what might happen if they let it affect them that they simply shut down.
Many people have said to me that they believe if they started thinking about what they are responsible for, or what we do as a species to other species–and particularly if they have to see too much–they'd break down and don't think they'd ever recover.
This argument doesn't sit well with me and my response is always, "Well if you have an inkling of how bad it is, and you don't want to hear about it or see it, why not at least stop participating?" You don't have to have seen all of the grisly details to know, and then saying you think you'd break down and not doing something rings hollow.
Unsurprisingly (to me), this is the argument I frequently get from people who consider themselves "spiritual." It's "toxic" and "negative energy" and "messes with their chi" and "shifts their focus to dark thoughts and away from the light" to think about the torture of sentient nonhumans. Inevitably, I hear that "what you spend your time on multiplies and you bring to you what you spend time on." In other words, the Law of Attraction tells them that if they start thinking about the "evil" in the world, they will bring evil to them. They choose instead to focus on "higher" or "cleaner" matters.
What do you think about "evil?" (And yes, I realize there's another issue in here.) Is evil something you associate with religion so you don't use the term? Does pure evil actually exist? Are some people evil, and if so what makes them that way? Can nonhumans be evil? And what does mental illness have to do with evil? (People of the lie, now's your chance!) Is evil a label we use when we cannot fathom why someone does (or doesn't do) something? Is evil something you do but not who you are?
Are people who work in slaughterhouses and who vivisect their fellow sentient beings evil? Does evil imply you know better and you choose X anyway? Is evil an excuse we make for people?
Do you use the idea of "evil" in your thinking and processing of animal rights and veganism?