Now that we have defined evil for the purposes of this essay, we may look at why people choose it over good. Every would-be author on the planet has to have heard a version of the tired adage that the villains do not believe themselves to be evil. What this brief phrase fails to explain is why the antagonists do not see themselves as evil. They neglect to see their own evil because they have lied to themselves repeatedly, to the point that they truly believe their own fabrication or they truly believe they can make it a reality.
Article is The Problem of Evil, Part 1 – What It Is, and Whether It Is the Fault of Others or the Choice of the Villain.
About a quarter of all authors need to be beaten over the head with this until it sinks in. 🙂
About the only thing I’d add is a definition of a “white lie”– from context, I’d guess it’s a “this won’t hurt anything” misinformation, which always goes into the “it won’t really hurt them” and usually has “but I benefit so much from this, it’s worth the harm” type ‘white lies’. I prefer the definition of “lie” as something like “deliberately with holding accurate information to which someone is entitled,” with a “white lie” being something where either they are not entitled to the information– say, the endless string of “didn’t you want a boy, you already have a girl?” when our second daughter was born– or where you are saying something untrue, but it is not to mislead the questioner– “she isn’t in” when there’s an inquiry at the door about seeing the lady of the house, even if she is in, but either isn’t seeing visitors or doesn’t want to see the questioner.