First Step In Demonizing Something : Frame It As A Choice

Jeff Fox
9 min readOct 24, 2022

Whether it actually is a choice or not.

A completely black face mask being held, cupped in two hands before a blurry colorful background.
Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash

In a strange irony we feel safer when there is a villain. Bad guys are dangerous, a malevolent presence threatening our lives with a promise of potential doom. But if at all possible we would vastly prefer a black-hat wearing villain to random and unpredictable uncertainty. We feel far safer when we feel we know what the danger is and where it might come from. Even if that means completely fabricating our villain out of whole cloth.

Whenever we feel harmed or threatened we immediately want two things at a visceral and instinctive level. We want the harm or feeling of danger to stop and we want to feel some sense of being able to protect ourselves from it ever happening again. Assigning blame and villain status achieves both of those feelings for us.

Having a specific target enables our fears to morph into directed anger, which feels more powerful and empowering. And if any future danger has a specific source we know where to look, which means we will have a much better chance of seeing it coming and thereby keep ourselves safe from it.

This only works, however, if the perceived danger has a clear and specific source. A villain. The primary ingredient which makes someone a villain is their deliberate desire to cause harm. They have…



Jeff Fox

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.