THE FEAR OF EVIL

Evil and fear are inseparable: evil is what we see and hear, whilst fear is what we feel.

Franci-Škurina. Nadan Rojnić – Biondo, oil on canvas, 80×80, 2010.

The fear of a god or many of them is, in fact, a moral problem connected to the fear of evil. It is difficult to answer the question about what is evil, unlike crimes and sins that are codified in culture and society by laws and commandments. For our ancestors evil was exclusively manifested or awoken during the act of some sin and returned to the sinners in the form of some punishment. So, all forms of evil which affected individuals and communities – such as natural disasters, diseases or food shortages – were, first of all, a moral problem. In this sense, repentance and atonement were the only way in the battle against evil. And in order to explain the inexplicability of evil more easily, evil would be identified with the various forms and acts of Satan. Or with some other supernatural being with equally evil powers and intentions.

Modern evils for which man is responsible – such as concentration camps, nuclear and natural disasters, the use of weapons of mass destruction – are difficult to be attributed to some supernatural being from today’s perspective. Regardless of that, it is still frustratingly difficult, or impossible, given the world that surrounds us, to solve the feelings of the fear of the invincibility of evil. It is also a fact that we ourselves can be participants and creators of such and similar fears. History constantly reminds us of that. In doing so these are thoughts of which we are aware and which we would greatly wish to see disappear. Each of us has the potential to become a monster.


Confrontation With Fear – Protection From Evil

Escape is the most natural and most common reaction to fear. A physical detachment from the threat is sought as well as a place that provides a safe refuge. If an escape is not possible and the threat does not go away, there is nothing left to do but to fight. In people, escape and fight, as well as preventative protection, often take on some symbolic expressions too. And with the help of apotropaic magic: objects or procedures with which it is possible to protect oneself from evil forces and misfortune.

Il color rosso ha un potere particolare di difesa dal malocchio e dalle forze maligne attirandole a sé, mentre gli amuleti assorbono i malefici, indebolendoli o distruggendoli del tutto; questo il motivo del filo o nastro rosso legato intorno al polso, o cucito a parti dell’abito. I nastri multicolori applicati alla cuffietta per il bebè esposta servono appunto a scacciare il malocchio, così come i vestiti – camicie, canottiere, calze – indossati all’incontrario. Oggetti contundenti quali coltelli, falci o forbici vengono variamente utilizzati come difesa dalla presenza della mora e da altre presenze maligne. Un coltello conficcato nella serratura serviva in particolare da deterrente contro la visita della mora: lo si nascondeva a questo scopo sotto il

cuscino dei bambini addormentati. Gli specchi sono un altro oggetto altrettanto potente per proteggere da queste e altre presenze maligne, come pure i campanelli. Acqua santa, crocefissi e croci vengono ugualmente utilizzati a questo fine. Ingredienti naturali quali l’aglio, il biancospino, l’incenso, il ramo d’ulivo, sale, la cenere, la cera di candela, terra e capelli sono ritenuti altrettanto efficaci dalle credenze popolari per proteggere dalle svariate forme in cui si presenta il male. Oltre che materiali, gli amuleti possono essere verbali (formule di preghiera, frasi ed espressioni), gestuali (il mostrare le fiche o le corna, sputare in terra) o comportamentali (vestire all’incontrario, camminare all’indietro).


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