Why do villains do what they do? Some do it for fame and glory, others do it for power. They each seem to have their own misguided reasons. In their own sick way, they believe they’re doing what’s right, despite negatively affecting others lives in the process. This is mostly because they aren’t healthy.
If a villain can’t be emotionally healthy, what do they rely on? Their intellect. I think the one commonality between all villains in the Final Fantasy series is their often high intelligence. Even someone like Kefka was intelligent enough to learn high-level magic faster than our characters. And in the end, even he realized that his pursuit of power was meaningless. Without emotions “getting in the way”, villains often have time to devote themselves to destructive intellectual pursuits.
They’d probably would pass the shortest IQ test, the Cognitive Reflection Test:
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _____ cents
If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _____ minutes
In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? _____ days
How did you do? People who score high on this test have high rationality; they usually consider a much more utilitarian approach to their ethical choices. Utilitarian philosophers often measure the utility of a choice with the consequence.
Under this philosophy, two deciding factors of utility are pleasure and pain. In The Principles of Morals and Legislation, Jeremy Bentham states:
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand, the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think…
His version of Utilitarianism sought to maximize pleasure while minimizing pain. Most humans do this. However, it doesn’t take in account the other higher level concepts of pleasures, such as love, honor, and justice. Psychopaths are usually intensely concerned with basic needs such as food, drink, and safety, most of the time at the exclusion of higher pleasures. And most of the time, they’ll do what they can to obtain these things. Whatever helps them achieve their goals is right.
Exitus acta probat. That is, the ends justify the means. But here, the rightness and wrongness of an act depend on what will produce a good outcome for them.