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vanir
06-01-2009, 10:47 AM
Since many SW fans seem to find the Dark Side diametric a little too black and white, and many young people have a similar complaint about established religion, I thought it might make an interesting discussion.

Is life black and white to your thinking?
What do the words good, evil and neutrality mean to you?

Feel free to come from philosophy, religion, reference or any source you like.

jrrtoken
06-01-2009, 11:03 AM
One thing that really gets me is the notion that if you do morally "good" deeds, then you, yourself, must be inherently and strictly good, and vice-versa with "bad". The same goes for those who consider the only way to fulfill our purpose in life is to be strictly good or bad.

I feel that the only way to live life to its fullest is to experience, and therefore do, what is considered good and evil in the world, without aligning to any particular end of the moral spectrum. By this, knowledge and experience becomes the prime aspiration of life, and through it, one gains a broader sense of the world as a whole.

Jae Onasi
06-01-2009, 12:15 PM
Well, when you do evil to 'fully experience life' without the thought about the moral spectrum, I promise to come visit you in jail anyway. ;P

mur'phon
06-01-2009, 01:07 PM
I believe there is no good or evil because I A: don't believe in free will, because B: we always seem to make the choice that benefits us the most. clicky to thread where I explained it more fully (http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=189726)

Trench
06-01-2009, 01:40 PM
One thing that really gets me is the notion that if you do morally "good" deeds, then you, yourself, must be inherently and strictly good, and vice-versa with "bad". The same goes for those who consider the only way to fulfill our purpose in life is to be strictly good or bad.

I feel that the only way to live life to its fullest is to experience, and therefore do, what is considered good and evil in the world, without aligning to any particular end of the moral spectrum. By this, knowledge and experience becomes the prime aspiration of life, and through it, one gains a broader sense of the world as a whole.

So... When you go to prison, can I have your profile?:D

Miltiades
06-01-2009, 02:14 PM
Morality is a human thing, it isn't natural. Therefore, I don't believe "good" and "evil" exist as universal terms.

Alkonium
06-01-2009, 02:24 PM
I personally don't believe in moral absolutes, or at least not as rigidly as other people. Personally, I think that matters the most about a person's actions are how it affects others, not actually what the action is.

Q
06-01-2009, 02:35 PM
Is life black and white to your thinking?
Yes, it is. I think that gray is just black in disguise.
good
It's desirable, but it can be a real liability around people who practice evil, because it enables them. It's best when equipped with an "on-off" switch, and that only comes with practice.
evil
I derive no pleasure out of doing evil, so I try not to do it as a rule, but I also acknowledge that sometimes it is very necessary and I no longer feel any guilt for doing evil when I believe the situation calls for it.
neutrality
No such thing, AFAIK. It's just evil in disguise, and evil can wear some very clever disguises.
Feel free to come from philosophy, religion, reference or any source you like.
Just my personal experience. ;)

vanir
06-01-2009, 06:30 PM
About to get picked up for work so I'll make this hasty.

Interesting that many associate good/evil with only moral choice, or regional politics. What about where it is thought of applied to the simplest easily observable life, plants? Something which kills it is bad. Something which makes it grow is good.

Does this sort of context change our view of good/evil?

Naturally it quickly gets about as complicated as we do about behavioural choices. What if the plant lives by usurping the nutrients of many more other types of plants? What if it grows by even more directly killing other plants?

Where does corrupt life fall into good/evil, good but with evil intent? Whereby in this hypothesis evil would be a lethal plague or an unlivable environment.

Ray Jones
06-01-2009, 06:53 PM
There is no good and evil.

vanir
06-02-2009, 12:11 AM
There is no good and evil.

...

Hitler will be pleased to hear you say this. Not so sure about his victims.

: |

Q
06-02-2009, 08:05 AM
This isn't the first time that Ray has stated this, and my response would have been exactly like yours had I not known that Ray is German. ;)

Perhaps I should have said it anyway.

Salzella
06-02-2009, 08:57 AM
There is no good and evil.

I agree. too simplistic.

vanir
06-02-2009, 06:04 PM
I agree. too simplistic.

Apparently not.

This isn't the first time that Ray has stated this, and my response would have been exactly like yours had I not known that Ray is German.

Me too (family escaped postwar Germany). I've spent several years learning to understand my Grandmother by getting to know Hitler and the Nazi regime and have become convinced he is the most public, excellent example of evil if we are to quantify its human existence. Certainly there are others we could pick but none got so far, none are such common knowledge and have been examined in such detail and with Mein Kampf you even have his own thoughts plainly presented.

Of justification, devolvement presented as revolutionary, subjective renditions of common ideals, dismissive regard for any concept of considerate behaviour. And always the undercurrent of hatred, arrogance and frustration.



I think the key point is that some behaviour must necessarily be considered aberrant if government is to exist. The day there is no good and evil among human behaviour is the day governments will no longer be required.
But then much aberrant behaviour may be attributable to economics and industry, so perhaps this will also be the day we construct or discover a slave race to replace the Third World and disadvantaged among us with...

Ray Jones
06-02-2009, 09:13 PM
Are we gonna discuss who is 'evilest', and how bad mankind is, and are we gonna compare who has got the biggest Hitler card, are we gonna bitch about how the common 'Hitler-victim' has gone through the worst hell imaginable to man, or is this rather about the concept of good and evil? :rolleyes:


Feel free to come from philosophy, religion, reference or any source you like.
Very obviously not. ::

Lord of Hunger
06-02-2009, 10:39 PM
First of all I do not believe in human nature. While I may be half-Catholic (and half-Buddhist) in my religious beliefs I do not accept the Book of Genesis as valid not only due to the issue of evolution but the idea that somehow because two people made a transgression we are all born with some sort of inherent spiritual flaw. I do believe evil can be passed on by a disease, but I don't think that it is impossible to remove that evil without Christ since other religions do it as well. I do think that His teachings, however, are along with the Buddha's some of the most revolutionary ideas possible. I generally live my life on the principle of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Now what is good and evil IMO? Good is the state of harmony, where reality functions as it should and people aspire for a higher state of being while not denying their own natures. Evil is the state of disharmony, where reality is dysfunctional and the spiritual condition of individuals is disrupted, causing them not only to function in extremes but pass on their disrupted state to others. What I would call sin is the harmful deeds done as a result of disharmony.

Thus I don't see the LS/DS/NS (neutral side) in my life or even in Star Wars. Most of what we consider good and evil is based on outdated societal norms or the teachings of abstract ideologies. Indeed, the greatest evil is the abstract, which has no relation to reality but causes disharmony by imposing itself upon it. That's why my view of "God" (whatever omnipotent, omnibenevolent progenitor that may exist) is not one of an abstract entity but one that is one in its creation. I feel that most religions see an abstract God and act in an abstract manner, causing disharmony and sins such as Islamo-terrorist and the Crusades. Yet since all beliefs in God have some base in the truth, they are nowhere near as bad as secular ideologies such as communism, nazism, utilitarianism, and nihilism. These have been the most damaging to the human condition.

Look at our society and try to tell me that there is not something wrong at the core of it. You have almost six billion people who have shatter personalities: who they are in relation to different scenarios is completely different from each one and from who they truly are. They lack true fulfillment, since most sources are scams that feed upon the ignorant. They are stuck in a state of triviality, their goals bound by a set of societal laws based upon no real life truths but the personal disharmony of the wretched idealists that form them (me being one of them once :( ).

One can only hope for harmony when one ignores the falsehoods of ideologies and society, and seeks truth in one's self. When one stops denying one's problems, one's nature, one can solve those problems and begin to find fulfillment.

This is why I favor the Sith over the Jedi in Star Wars. The Jedi inhibit their emotions and bind themselves to an abstract code which does not grant them the strength they need to survive and function in reality. The Sith created a code based upon accepting one's nature and seeking fulfillment. Unfortunately, their teachings have been corrupted by the idea that random cruelty and betraying one another advances one's self. In reality, it does not strengthen a Sith but weakens him/her. The Sith could achieve so much is they exhibited self-control after accepting their passions!

Arcesious
06-03-2009, 03:08 AM
I generally live my life on the principle of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Definitly a great absolute to live by, but it's not always that simple.


Now what is good and evil IMO? Good is the state of harmony, where reality functions as it should and people aspire for a higher state of being while not denying their own natures. Evil is the state of disharmony, where reality is dysfunctional and the spiritual condition of individuals is disrupted, causing them not only to function in extremes but pass on their disrupted state to others. What I would call sin is the harmful deeds done as a result of disharmony.


Ah but what are good, evil, harmory, and chaos but words representing our human interpretations of things? Good does not neccessarily equate to harmony, and neither does evil always equate to chaos. The thing we like to call morality is entirely subject to change because the idea of morality is a human construct.


Thus I don't see the LS/DS/NS (neutral side) in my life or even in Star Wars.


QFT.


Yet since all beliefs in God have some base in the truth,

Arguable...


they are nowhere near as bad as secular ideologies such as communism, nazism, utilitarianism, and nihilism. These have been the most damaging to the human condition.


Those are just the bad ones; but you have to admit, there are good ones too! ;)


Look at our society and try to tell me that there is not something wrong at the core of it. You have almost six billion people who have shatter personalities: who they are in relation to different scenarios is completely different from each one and from who they truly are. They lack true fulfillment, since most sources are scams that feed upon the ignorant. They are stuck in a state of triviality, their goals bound by a set of societal laws based upon no real life truths but the personal disharmony of the wretched idealists that form them (me being one of them once :( ).


Perhaps, but not when a person 'thinks outside the box'.


One can only hope for harmony when one ignores the falsehoods of ideologies and society, and seeks truth in one's self. When one stops denying one's problems, one's nature, one can solve those problems and begin to find fulfillment.



Why would I deny/accept my problems when I can confront, dissect, and then correct them?

Is truth in us - mere primates, prone to error and irrationality; or is truth in that which is to be learned and discovered?





This is why I favor the Sith over the Jedi in Star Wars. The Jedi inhibit their emotions and bind themselves to an abstract code which does not grant them the strength they need to survive and function in reality. The Sith created a code based upon accepting one's nature and seeking fulfillment. Unfortunately, their teachings have been corrupted by the idea that random cruelty and betraying one another advances one's self. In reality, it does not strengthen a Sith but weakens him/her. The Sith could achieve so much is they exhibited self-control after accepting their passions!

This discussion is getting interesting. I think you're approaching the concepts of natural law with these ideas. :D

vanir
06-03-2009, 09:45 AM
Are we gonna discuss who is 'evilest', and how bad mankind is, and are we gonna compare who has got the biggest Hitler card, are we gonna bitch about how the common 'Hitler-victim' has gone through the worst hell imaginable to man, or is this rather about the concept of good and evil? :rolleyes:



Very obviously not. ::

Well, we'll be rushing to you to see how to be dismissive about discussion topics. Thanks for the input Ray.

First of all I do not believe in human nature.
I haven't the slightest idea what you mean. It's an important sounding statement, something you seem to have put some thought into. Care to extrapolate?

in my religious beliefs I do not accept the Book of Genesis as valid not only due to the issue of evolution but the idea that somehow because two people made a transgression we are all born with some sort of inherent spiritual flaw.
Due to the nature of religion there are so many variables involved in perceptual renditions of scripture it is always more academically sound to quote specific references of it and examine those directly. Keep in mind both the Hebrew and Christian religions have been used for political purposes as well as philosophical ones through the ages, and many popularisations of scripture aren't entirely accurate.

I do believe evil can be passed on by a disease, but I don't think that it is impossible to remove that evil without Christ since other religions do it as well.
This is a fascinating sentence. I'd like to hear more.

I do think that His teachings, however, are along with the Buddha's some of the most revolutionary ideas possible. I generally live my life on the principle of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".
An excellent rendition of secular Christianity. Very popular from about the Seventies.

Now what is good and evil IMO? Good is the state of harmony, where reality functions as it should and people aspire for a higher state of being while not denying their own natures. Evil is the state of disharmony, where reality is dysfunctional and the spiritual condition of individuals is disrupted, causing them not only to function in extremes but pass on their disrupted state to others. What I would call sin is the harmful deeds done as a result of disharmony.

By this state of "harmony" of course you are referring to what secular Buddhists describe as "enlightenment" whereupon a "state of Grace" is achieved via determined although not anxious, personal development. In one sense it is the retention of the incorrupt Self, in another an evolution of the spirit. A state of clarity is one good description, productive behaviour towards other life is a consequence, generally quite some academic potential is inherent.
But like fundamentalist Christians assert literal interpretations of often third party translated scripture, fundamentalist Buddhists assert that reincarnation is involved until such time as the immortal spirit attains such a state of nirvana, and rather oddly that it is the role of the otherwordly spirit to achieve this enlightenment whilst the human self simply goes through life doing what they are told. Fundamentalism of any flavour just loses the entire plot in my view.

Darth Avlectus
06-04-2009, 02:44 AM
Good and evil. Hard to say.

I don't think anyone truly believes they are evil. Nobody does. It is more or less others' perceptions, and yours whether or not you truly are evil.

While it is not perceived in, say, the animal kingdom...it seems to be more or less a continuum in the world of those with higher awareness. And yet even so, nothing is quite so clean in our definitions...

I believe intent and will is the vital thing in making such determinations. Fate also is determined by your desires and wills, nothing more, nothing less. That is not to say, however, one can just make everything how one wishes. So oft, is it that persistence is underrated and talent overrated. But I digress. One can do what would be perceived as evil, but be doing it for the greater good.

A laxity in morals can be said to be a great evil. So often though we make compromises. So I really do wonder if self desire isn't an ultimate motivation. Self desire should not be confused with selfishness, though.

I don't care to get phillisophical about it, good and evil. My brain is tired right now. I'm sure I'll have much to say later on. Anyone curious as to my thoughts or beliefs on things, just ask.

There are, despite our wills and desires, inevitabilities. Things that cannot be stopped from happening ultimately--maybe delayed or altered in some way, but never really stopped.

I will give something to think about: Fighting for peace is a lie; a slogan. It is something, as a simple concept, to be championed. Peace is an unnatural state. Real, but unnatural. Which can only be achieved within society. Society is what is fought for. There are inevitable side effects with society: corruption, gangs, greed, outcasts, abuses, subversions, underhandedness. Ineffectiveness, inefficiency, ineptitude. Some way all these must be lived with one way or another: either culled and purged as one would dirt and trash in the house. Or lived with, maybe out of necessity. Then there is the other: that which is chosen; used on purpose. Careful though--you are being used back. But, all these follies exist in one form or another. It's how these are dealt with which, again, puts individuals at the center. Part of this was inspired by SW:Shatterpoint novel, in Matthew Stover's writings. Very morally gray, so's his version of ROTS.

What truly is evil or good...I have prettled on in other threads. I'll do again I suppose here, but for now, I'm tired.

I'll just end off on this one last note:
I personally don't believe in moral absolutes, or at least not as rigidly as other people. Personally, I think that matters the most about a person's actions are how it affects others, not actually what the action is.

So you're a moral situationalist?

Moral situationalist/situational ethics practitioner--I believe this is someone who, though believing in values/morals/beliefs etc. "rules" as their general code of ethical conduct, does not think every situation requires that you apply the same "rule" the same way. In other words it depends on the situation how you will act but you will try to maintain some significant semblance of a particular belief or another.

I.E.Thou shalt not kill can be interpreted a number of ways: Thou shalt not kill in the absolute sense means you'll never take another life no matter what. Situaitonal: maybe you won't murder another unprovoked or in cold malicious blood, but you'll defend yourself or others from harm or death from another, even if it means you must take an assailant's life.

You may believe something but you don't necessarily practice it the same as others.

vanir
06-04-2009, 05:27 AM
I don't think anyone truly believes they are evil.

I really feel this is a primary point. In fact I don't think anyone is truly evil, but an act or pattern of behaviour I believe certainly can be.
I'll leave the case in point of Hitler, one mention is more than enough for any thread unless the topic is willingly pursued, although this is easily (as I mentioned) the best scholastic study example.
But a more winsome example might be say, have most of you seen the Keanu Reeves movie The Devil's Advocate? Look at how evil is portrayed here, not just the puppeteering Satan but Keanu's character, who through a series of eventualities finds himself alone on a deserted street with only one direction left to go, and a new father to inherit. Of course he used the default Catholic fineprint and made sacrifice, the only other option left, but the rendition of how he arrived there I think is a good one. He certainly didn't believe he was evil until he literally ran out of arguments otherwise and realised one shouldn't need to argue such a point, when all is said what's done is done and you are judged...you judge yourself.


Goodness per se I feel is a subject pertaining the most confusion. I feel it is the role of the manipulative to assert that evil is the absence of good (ie. do this, do that, or you are evil). Truth be told, and according to scripture, goodness is merely the absence of evil (careful not to do this or that and if you do, take some responsibility please because you'll wind up with it anyway).

I think understanding how not to be evil, learning as much as you develop is far more worthy of concern than stressing over what it means to be good. It's been said it doesn't buy you anything, but eventually or perhaps sooner, you'll find what others call good are the very things you quite enjoy doing, live for in fact.

Ray Jones
06-04-2009, 08:41 AM
Well, we'll be rushing to you to see how to be dismissive about discussion topics. Thanks for the input Ray.
The idea that there is no good and evil has been offered multiple times in this thread, so I don't really understand why you started whining about Hitler when I said it. So much for being dismissive I guess.

Jae Onasi
06-04-2009, 12:39 PM
It's pretty hard to dismiss good and evil when you see things like Mother Teresa's altruism or Jeffrey Dahmer's brutal torture, murder, and cannibalism of young boys.

Fredi
06-04-2009, 12:56 PM
As Palpatin said, Evil is a point of view, for me good and bad is given it's own significance from each and everyone, My point of good might not be the same for you. Good, Evil and neutrality depends on you're believes and I am pretty flexible on this.

Jae Onasi
06-04-2009, 01:30 PM
As Palpatin said, Evil is a point of view, for me good and bad is given it's own significance from each and everyone, My point of good might not be the same for you. Good, Evil and neutrality depends on you're believes and I am pretty flexible on this.

In some cultures they say 'love your neighbor'. In some cultures they eat their neighbors. Which 'point of good' do you prefer?

Fredi
06-04-2009, 01:34 PM
In some cultures they say 'love your neighbor'. In some cultures they eat their neighbors. Which 'point of good' do you prefer?

haha I would choose Love your neighbor of course cause I have been thought that way, but if I wasn't maybe I would have picked the other option :P

jrrtoken
06-04-2009, 01:39 PM
In some cultures they say 'love your neighbor'. In some cultures they eat their neighbors. Which 'point of good' do you prefer?Ah, so a different and alien culture is considered evil, simply due to the fact that it is a far cry from what we are accustomed to in Western society?

I believe the conquistadors practiced that very principle when they ended up enslaving, massacring, Chrisitianizing, and toppling a society and its culture. Should this same practice be applied to other alien cultures of today?

Jae Onasi
06-04-2009, 01:58 PM
haha I would choose Love your neighbor of course cause I have been thought that way, but if I wasn't maybe I would have picked the other option :PI suspect you'd be thinking a little differently if you were going to be the main course for dinner. ;)


@PastramiX--So you're saying cannibalism or infanticide are not evil? I'm asking if particular activities are evil, and you're answering it with a question that isn't directly related.

The Conquistadors' massacres, etc. was evil. Forced conversion to any religion is wrong. Therefore, those activities should not be forced on anyone. The fact that they got away with it doesn't make them 'good'.

I don't think anyone truly believes they are evil.On very rare occasions, I've met people who knew they were evil to the core. They reveled in their evilness. They had no qualms whatsoever about hurting anyone or killing someone to get what they wanted. They were quite frightening to be around.

jrrtoken
06-04-2009, 02:06 PM
So you're saying cannibalism or infanticide are not evil?When done with the intent of causing direct harm to the victim, then yes, I suppose it is evil.

Yet, seeing something as evil, although it is simply a norm of a certain society's culture, is ignorant. We can kill and eat cattle in a Western society, yes? Put that same practice through the perspective of an orthodox Hindi, and it is seen as a sin. Should we consider similar practices as evil, or simply as a society's teachings, adapted from one's natural habitat?

Jae Onasi
06-04-2009, 02:13 PM
Humans aren't cattle, so that analogy doesn't apply. :)

I would call killing a baby or killing a human so he can be dinner as causing direct harm, wouldn't you?

jrrtoken
06-04-2009, 02:25 PM
I would call killing a baby or killing a human so he can be dinner as causing direct harm, wouldn't you?If it was in the most dire of situations, then how would you act in that manner? Out of imminent danger, then yes, I suppose so, but only if it was that necessary.

There have been hundreds of documented incidents of cannibalism in which humans have been pitted against appalling environmental conditions, and have resorted to cannibalism. The same practice is seen in the animal kingdom, where animals have often eaten their own young to survive in the wild. This same instinct is seen within man, therefore, is it nothing more than a carnal survival instinct, or an act of murder?

Arcesious
06-04-2009, 03:06 PM
Such things as cannibalism are definitly what a person could call evil.

See, here's where I think that the concepts of natural law come into place. Natural law is essentially the naturally derived standards of nature. We humans, being sentient and very intelligent, are capable of creating a far more complex system of natural law for ourselves. We are naturally a social species, and we are a race spread far and wide. So social interaction and cooporation are vital to our survival. To note, what we call 'natural rights' are considerably derived from our own natural law, and the concept of natural rights is even part of the US Declaration of Independence.

Different forms of natural law in human society branch from different cultures and group ideologies.

Naturally, most people, I suspect; would; if they lived outside of modern society would develope their own form of natural law. Most commonly, the new culture would probably have concepts of 'murder is bad' and stuff like that. We're like a wolf pack- we've got to work together and it's not a good idea to harm the pack.

But there are exceptions in the history of the human race. Oftentimes there have been and are 'bad apples' in our culture. As a person's philosophy advances with age, the complexity of our psychology can develope different personalities in people. Hitler became one of those to develope a selfish, arrogant, and genocidal personality.

Every person you've ever met, they're different than you, yes? (rhetorical)

Every human developes at least a slightly different personality based on the different factors that effect them, their experiences, and decisions as they grow older.

Somehow, I suspect Hitler, as a child and up until he was a man, must have had factors influencing his life that caused him to become such a tyrant. Now, I'm not blaming the factors of his life for making Hitler a DB, because humans have a unique ability to interpret situations in very complex ways and easily make naturally errant decisions.

Generally it is a good thing to keep a standard of morality for ourselves, knowing what is right and what is wrong.

I'll posit one example of a natural law that differs human society from animal society.

Due to the natural law established by a few cultures in our society, there is wide-felt beleif that homosexuality or same-sex marriage are wrong. This discrimitory beleif is based on fallacies created by the complexities of human thought.

In the animal kingdom, however, there are many examples of homosexuality where heterosexual members of the same species do not 'bully' the homosexual ones. This is due to natural law in the animal kingdom.

To say that we should do exactly what the animal kingdom does in the matters of natural law is not my intention here; I was simply positing a comparism of two positions of natural law.

In conclusion, it would be unwise to base our society completely on natural law. But here we humans are, so anthrocentric and arrogant. "Oh, we're sentient and uber-smart, so we're better than animals."

I still think that if we threw aside our preconceptions of superiority to animals, we could learn a few things about what we consider 'good and evil' and improve ourselves. Just look at dogs and cats. There are numerous examples of dogs and cats domestically living together as 'friends' despite their natural dislike of each other. Why can't we humans, despite all our cultures and ideological differences; get along like my dog and cat do?

Miltiades
06-04-2009, 03:16 PM
In some cultures, the elder are left behind so the group as a whole can survive. In some cultures, children were sacrificed to the gods in rituals in many cultures in the past (any different than sacrificing a goat?). Of course it seems barbaric and evil from our (Christian) point of view. But we do as much evil, if you'd ask cultures all over the world.

Humans aren't cattle, so that analogy doesn't apply. Why? Because we are more than animals? Because we are the ultimate product of evolution? We're all nature's creation. We all do what we must to survive.

Fredi
06-04-2009, 04:07 PM
Exactly, We are seen it on a different way. As same as we believe that dead is a bad thing. If we look at bad and good, what can you tell me of all the destruction we do to our nature, polluting our world, most don't care. We humans kill and destroy, it's our nature. Evil and Good is something that we created to maintain control among us as a society, and yet we don't apply to our surroundings only on a few cases.

Ray Jones
06-04-2009, 05:07 PM
It's pretty hard to dismiss good and evil when you see things like Mother Teresa's altruism or Jeffrey Dahmer's brutal torture, murder, and cannibalism of young boys.I find it rather quite difficult to judge about who's got the worst fate, the guy who died in a concentration camp, the guy who jumped out of the WTC, or the daughter of Josef Fritzl, who was forced to live in a cellar, for 24 years and to have 7 kids with him, of whom three didn't saw sunlight but once until the case was discovered. No question, immoral acts caused all the pain and death, but is it more immoral to kill a million people in a couple of years, or to incarcerate and rape and whatever else your daughter for over two decades? It seems that those who die face a lighter fate, somehow. It's hard to say, really.

However. the reason why I say there is no good and evil is that Teresa's altruism or Jeffrey's cannibalism, the diversity of war crimes, or whatever else, nothing of all this does matter the slightest bit when you're anything but human.

Jae Onasi
06-04-2009, 07:01 PM
I believe it does matter. If we didn't stop Hitler or other people who have committed war crimes over the centuries, more would have suffered. If we didn't stop the Taliban, more women would have died from starvation because of the draconic ways the Taliban used the Shari'a to impose their power on Afghanistan, and we'd have others trying to fly more planes into buildings WTC-style. If we didn't say "Rape and incest and locking your daughter up for decades to breed your children in the dark is wrong and evil", Fritzl's daughter and their children would still be living in abject horror in a dark dungeon of a basement. If Mother Teresa and her nuns didn't care for the poorest of the poor, many would have died of starvation, some who were destined to die anyway would have died alone in an alley instead of in a warm bed with someone holding their hand, and others would have died because of a lack of even the most basic health care.

If we have no right and wrong, then everything is 'right, depending on your point of view'. That means 'incest is right, depending on your point of view'. 'Murdering your child because you want to is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Throwing people into ovens is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Rolling over peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Torturing people is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Letting people die of starvation is OK depending on your point of view'.

We clearly know these things are wrong. You're asking what act is more immoral--that's an entirely different question, and it's like asking 'which woman is 'more pregnant' when they're all 10 weeks pregnant.' Those acts I listed above are all immoral. The acts that lead to the people dying in camps and ovens, or crushed under tons of WTC rubble, or the girl suffering in her father's dungeon for 20 years were all evil. How we punish people for those kinds of acts is not always entirely just, but we must punish evil just the same, or it will continue and get worse.

As to your other comment--other animals don't have the full mental capacity required to truly know right from wrong, but we do. That is one of the things that makes us different from other creatures. What other animals think is irrelevant to our unique human state. Humans do care about what's right and wrong, and good and evil, because our capacity to hurt or help each other in unique and varied ways is far, far greater than other animals.

mur'phon
06-06-2009, 11:02 AM
We clearly know these things are wrong.

How? Because we feel they are wrong? Because they cause us discomfort?

Drunkside
06-06-2009, 12:13 PM
This happens every time: someone pulls out the "nazi-card"... Hitler, even him, cannot be dealt with as a purely evil man who just disliked some people like jews and gays and killed them. He hated those things about himself, and he was mentally very unstable.(Theres a debate on wether Hitler had a jewish background, Hitler is a jewish name, and i watched a documentary that showed some evidence on his bisexuality. My history teacher also said that.)

Now, to the point: Hitler saved Germany from a serious inflation that was bringing the whole country down. He was a pacifist ( :eek::confused: ) and loved animals. Not kidding. And lastly: Nazis helped us people of Finland by selling us weapons to defend our homeland from the Soviet and by lending their air force to us in a couple of battles.


So my conclusion: There is no "black" and "white", just some shades of grey. Usually very dark shades of grey. People are greedy, selfish and stupid and think first of themselves and after that about others. Now flame me for defending Hitler!

Arcesious
06-06-2009, 12:53 PM
This happens every time: someone pulls out the "nazi-card"... Hitler, even him, cannot be dealt with as a purely evil man who just disliked some people like jews and gays and killed them. He hated those things about himself, and he was mentally very unstable.(Theres a debate on wether Hitler had a jewish background, Hitler is a jewish name, and i watched a documentary that showed some evidence on his bisexuality. My history teacher also said that.)

Now, to the point: Hitler saved Germany from a serious inflation that was bringing the whole country down. He was a pacifist ( :eek::confused: ) and loved animals. Not kidding. And lastly: Nazis helped us people of Finland by selling us weapons to defend our homeland from the Soviet and by lending their air force to us in a couple of battles.


So my conclusion: There is no "black" and "white", just some shades of grey. Usually very dark shades of grey. People are greedy, selfish and stupid and think first of themselves and after that about others. Now flame me for defending Hitler!

I never knew that about Hitler before. It was never even mentioned in the history books in elementary school. If this information you have provided is true, then this puts Hitler in a very different light than I was taught. Now I think Nazi's are as horrible as the next guy, but; how many of us have actually tried to come to an understanding people like Hitler? I'm not very much a studier of history, and I've never actually even heard as much as a summary of 'Mein Kampf', not to mention I've never given much thought to try to understand people like Hitler, Attila the Hun, etc, etc.

Drunkside
06-06-2009, 02:59 PM
Heheheheheeey! I got a very, very smart question about this cannibalism you peple like to talk about:

You are a member of an army, fighting their enemies in the middle of nowhere. The food supply line has been broken, and all the people in your unit are starving. There are dead bodies everywhere (see where im going:p ). SO: Which is more evil, eat the fallen enemies and friends OR leave the corpses, corpses that care of nothing anymore, on the ground and let say 25 people die of starvation?

Lord of Hunger
06-06-2009, 03:14 PM
Definitly a great absolute to live by, but it's not always that simple.
True, which is why I put "generally". :thmbup1: There are some areas that you have to rough it.
Ah but what are good, evil, harmory, and chaos but words representing our human interpretations of things? Good does not necessarily equate to harmony, and neither does evil always equate to chaos. The thing we like to call morality is entirely subject to change because the idea of morality is a human construct.
True, morality is a human construct while one that is need for stability. However, the best forms of morality are the ones closest to actual objective truths (which are few but magnificent when you find them).

And when I speak of disharmony I do not mean chaos. Chaos is a natural state where there is a lack of order. I refer to disharmony as an artificial state of conflict between man and nature and/or man. And by nature I do not mean Mother Earth or Gaia or the environment. I mean nature as in the system of reality we live in.
Arguable...
Well if you are an atheist or agnostic I suppose it is arguable that there is no progenitor. I've noticed however that most atheists don't have a problem with a progenitor but one that is separate from creation (Abrahamic God in other words). A progenitor that is one with creation seems to be harder to refute because it is more plausible. But that's just my experience.
Those are just the bad ones; but you have to admit, there are good ones too! ;)
I disagree. I've examined many of them, and the problem is always the abstractions. Hell, America's two major political ideologies (conservatism and liberalism) have no grounding in real life whatsoever. They are a bunch of randomly selected positions. By definition, it'd be liberals who would be in support of less gun controls and conservatives who would be against it, liberals who would be pro-religion and conservatives who would be anti-religion. They are all minimally tied to real life, and thus they bring misery. Please, point out some good, non-abstract secular ideologies.
Perhaps, but not when a person 'thinks outside the box'.
Few do, and fewer still truly look outside the box. A lot of people think that they've managed to transcend our society only to be part of another one of its constructs.

Wow, my view is bleak, isn't it? :D

Why would I deny/accept my problems when I can confront, dissect, and then correct them?

Is truth in us - mere primates, prone to error and irrationality; or is truth in that which is to be learned and discovered?

Or is it truth inside us - God asleep, dreaming that he/she/it is not God at all but some limited primate posting on LucasForums?
This discussion is getting interesting. I think you're approaching the concepts of natural law with these ideas. :D
There are three paths I see the human race taking:

1) Bring man's laws in accordance to the way reality works for maximum efficiency and harmony.
2) Have man's laws unsuccessfully opposed to reality.
3) Have man's laws successfully opposed to reality, leading to the fruitless and empty conquest of reality itself.
I haven't the slightest idea what you mean. It's an important sounding statement, something you seem to have put some thought into. Care to extrapolate?
As in we are not born with this "dark seed" with in us. We are not built to essentially commit flaws thanks to our two greatest-grandparents eating some magic apple. We make choices or are affected by choices.
Due to the nature of religion there are so many variables involved in perceptual renditions of scripture it is always more academically sound to quote specific references of it and examine those directly. Keep in mind both the Hebrew and Christian religions have been used for political purposes as well as philosophical ones through the ages, and many popularisations of scripture aren't entirely accurate.
True. In fact, everyone thinks that the Crusades were entirely motivated by religion and racism. There was a social, financial, and political aspect involved: extend the reach of the Church, get ride of Europe's overpopulation problems, and let the monarchs consolidate power. The latter two were successfully achieved.
This is a fascinating sentence. I'd like to hear more.
All five religions are but different sections of the overall divine truth. They each have a divine value or virtue they focus on:

Christianity - Love
Judaism - Hope
Islam - Faith
Hinduism - Justice
Buddhism - Truth

I respect all five religions, but follow Christianity and Buddhism because I'm the kind of person of functions best with Love and Truth.
An excellent rendition of secular Christianity. Very popular from about the Seventies.
I'm part of family of people who think in a very secular way but believe in some sort of progenitor irregardless. Thus we have a thorough understanding what we believe in.
By this state of "harmony" of course you are referring to what secular Buddhists describe as "enlightenment" whereupon a "state of Grace" is achieved via determined although not anxious, personal development. In one sense it is the retention of the incorrupt Self, in another an evolution of the spirit. A state of clarity is one good description, productive behaviour towards other life is a consequence, generally quite some academic potential is inherent.
I would not equate harmony with enlightenment since the later requires absolute harmony, but we're on the same page I think.
But like fundamentalist Christians assert literal interpretations of often third party translated scripture, fundamentalist Buddhists assert that reincarnation is involved until such time as the immortal spirit attains such a state of nirvana, and rather oddly that it is the role of the otherwordly spirit to achieve this enlightenment whilst the human self simply goes through life doing what they are told. Fundamentalism of any flavour just loses the entire plot in my view.
Fundamentalism has the problem of being too limiting. It is only useful for those who are not seeking advancement but to preserve their status quo. The opposite extreme, religious anarchy, has the problem of lacking any form of stability and thus has no point of view at all. A person with a pair of eyes can only see with those eyes. A person with no eyes at all just doesn't see. I learned this from the teachings of Kreia in TSL. You either limit yourself to one perception or don't perceive, but you can search for a world view that fits your lifestyle and is not too limited.

Arcesious
06-06-2009, 04:03 PM
True, morality is a human construct while one that is need for stability. However, the best forms of morality are the ones closest to actual objective truths (which are few but magnificent when you find them).


True.


And when I speak of disharmony I do not mean chaos. Chaos is a natural state where there is a lack of order. I refer to disharmony as an artificial state of conflict between man and nature and/or man. And by nature I do not mean Mother Earth or Gaia or the environment. I mean nature as in the system of reality we live in.


I understand what you mean here, that makes sense.


Well if you are an atheist or agnostic I suppose it is arguable that there is no progenitor. I've noticed however that most atheists don't have a problem with a progenitor but one that is separate from creation (Abrahamic God in other words). A progenitor that is one with creation seems to be harder to refute because it is more plausible. But that's just my experience.


Even though atheism does not imply rationality in an individual, most secular people I know prefer to call themselves 'agnostic atheists', in that they are open to the existence of a deity if sufficient evidence is provided.

The thing with this progenitor concept is that its easier to refute than you think. There isn't any solid evidence for a progenitor present. And in all simplicity, no evidence means that the progenitor idea only a hypothesis. And until there is sufficient evidence to support the idea, it will remain a hypothesis. If a person tries to claim that hypothesis to be a theory without evidence, it will be very, very easily refuted.

And as I'm sure, all you people have gotten really tired of the "Zomg but you have no evidence!!!" card. But it's a completely valid card to play.


I disagree. I've examined many of them, and the problem is always the abstractions. Hell, America's two major political ideologies (conservatism and liberalism) have no grounding in real life whatsoever. They are a bunch of randomly selected positions. By definition, it'd be liberals who would be in support of less gun controls and conservatives who would be against it, liberals who would be pro-religion and conservatives who would be anti-religion. They are all minimally tied to real life, and thus they bring misery. Please, point out some good, non-abstract secular ideologies.


Those are political ideologies. The good secular ideologies I am speaking of are those such as secular humanism and freethought. Given, a religious person can be a humanist too, which is called religious humanism.

Secular humanism is, by my definition, the philosophy of person who wishes to help other people simply because that person wants to help people, without beleif that a diety wants them to help people. No strings attached, therefore not making it abstract.

Freethought is not at all abstract either. Freethought is simply a philosophy of independence and making decisions based on logic.

As for the two political ideologies- they aren't that bad. People just take ideologies too far to often. Liberalism is at its core is defined as 'open-mindedness to change'. Conservatism is at its core defined as 'preference to tradition but also willingness to accept moderate change'.


Few do, and fewer still truly look outside the box. A lot of people think that they've managed to transcend our society only to be part of another one of its constructs.

Wow, my view is bleak, isn't it? :D

A realistic POV about people, but I'll offer a different train of thought here:

Whenever you have looked at a crowd of people gathered at an event, perhaps a political one, how often have you thought along the lines of 'look at all those sheeple'?

As it turns out, the majority of people really aren't truly 'sheeple'. They may do stupid things quite a lot, but how can you or I excuses ourselves of being guilty of 'sheeplism'?

For example, take a person from the hypothetical crowd, and become their best friend. You learn everything about them, and they learn everything about you. At first, that person might have seemed like just another 'average joe', but after you get to know them, you'd find that you and that person are far more alike than you first thought.

When I first became a full-blown atheist, I was essentially uber-militant to religion, swept up in the 'atheist movement' of modern day. Eventually though, I realized I was becoming as fundamental and 'sheeplist' as I had thought religious people were at the time. I was lumping all the religious together as sheeple and fundamentalists, which was very irrational and sheeplist of me.

My point is, in summary; the next time you begin to think 'the majority of people are morons', think again and try to put yourself in their position.


Or is it truth inside us - God asleep, dreaming that he/she/it is not God at all but some limited primate posting on LucasForums?


I wouldn't go that far... If we go down this road of thought it's just another one of those migraine-causing 'what if the world is the matrix' threads. :p

Lord of Hunger
06-06-2009, 07:08 PM
Even though atheism does not imply rationality in an individual, most secular people I know prefer to call themselves 'agnostic atheists', in that they are open to the existence of a deity if sufficient evidence is provided.
So they are moderating their position? Good on them, they'll generally be less stressed out and angry.
The thing with this progenitor concept is that its easier to refute than you think. There isn't any solid evidence for a progenitor present. And in all simplicity, no evidence means that the progenitor idea only a hypothesis. And until there is sufficient evidence to support the idea, it will remain a hypothesis. If a person tries to claim that hypothesis to be a theory without evidence, it will be very, very easily refuted.

And as I'm sure, all you people have gotten really tired of the "Zomg but you have no evidence!!!" card. But it's a completely valid card to play.
The only problem here is not a lack of evidence but the validity of existing accounts. Religious groups point to their respective holy books as their evidence, but atheists will follow the integrity of their position and seek to dispute the validity of these holy books. So far the Book of Genesis has been outright proven to be inaccurate due to the theory of evolution, though that theory in turn is incomplete as there is very little explanation as the why the very first organism came into being. However, I find it best with Christianity to think of the Old Testament as a book of stories rather than a valid account. I hold more stock in the New Testament, whose account of Christ is given more weight by containing four different Gospels.
Those are political ideologies. The good secular ideologies I am speaking of are those such as secular humanism and freethought. Given, a religious person can be a humanist too, which is called religious humanism.

I will dissect these ideologies.
QUOTE]Secular humanism is, by my definition, the philosophy of person who wishes to help other people simply because that person wants to help people, without beleif that a diety wants them to help people. No strings attached, therefore not making it abstract.[/QUOTE]
For humanism I would point out one teaching of Kreia: charity can be dangerous. In some cases humanism can reverse great injustices, but in others it can create a culture of dependency, such as welfare in the USA. While some sort of safety net is necessary, the essential American spirit is if you got what it takes you may succeed, but if you don't have what it takes you'll fail. Trying to prop up those who fail only hinders both those who succeed and those who fail since there is no reason to succeed any more. The only reason why I'm vaguely okay with our government propping up failed companies right now is because the global economy would collapse. Otherwise, I'd be better for those companies to just fall and someone better succeed.
Freethought is not at all abstract either. Freethought is simply a philosophy of independence and making decisions based on logic.
Um, there is a difference between life philosophy and secular ideology. And this is one life philosophy I also follow. :)
As for the two political ideologies- they aren't that bad. People just take ideologies too far to often. Liberalism is at its core is defined as 'open-mindedness to change'. Conservatism is at its core defined as 'preference to tradition but also willingness to accept moderate change'.
I've heard it said often that the ideologies are not at fault, people just screw everything up. But maybe it's the other way around, considering the division between left and right has consistently reduced the efficiency and prosperity of the USA.
A realistic POV about people, but I'll offer a different train of thought here:

Whenever you have looked at a crowd of people gathered at an event, perhaps a political one, how often have you thought along the lines of 'look at all those sheeple'?

As it turns out, the majority of people really aren't truly 'sheeple'. They may do stupid things quite a lot, but how can you or I excuses ourselves of being guilty of 'sheeplism'?

For example, take a person from the hypothetical crowd, and become their best friend. You learn everything about them, and they learn everything about you. At first, that person might have seemed like just another 'average joe', but after you get to know them, you'd find that you and that person are far more alike than you first thought.

When I first became a full-blown atheist, I was essentially uber-militant to religion, swept up in the 'atheist movement' of modern day. Eventually though, I realized I was becoming as fundamental and 'sheeplist' as I had thought religious people were at the time. I was lumping all the religious together as sheeple and fundamentalists, which was very irrational and sheeplist of me.

My point is, in summary; the next time you begin to think 'the majority of people are morons', think again and try to put yourself in their position.
Ironically I've had very similar experiences. Ultimately I did get to know the sheeple better and become good friends with them, but in the end they were still sheeple.

It isn't their thought, they've just been raised that way. There is actually a difference between a follower and a sheeple, but over time that difference has been blurred within our society.
I wouldn't go that far... If we go down this road of thought it's just another one of those migraine-causing 'what if the world is the matrix' threads. :p
It isn't? :D

Arcesious
06-06-2009, 07:36 PM
So they are moderating their position? Good on them, they'll generally be less stressed out and angry.


The position does not cause people stress. People cause stress in people. At most, the position indirectly causes stress due to other factors.


The only problem here is not a lack of evidence but the validity of existing accounts. Religious groups point to their respective holy books as their evidence, but atheists will follow the integrity of their position and seek to dispute the validity of these holy books. So far the Book of Genesis has been outright proven to be inaccurate due to the theory of evolution, though that theory in turn is incomplete as there is very little explanation as the why the very first organism came into being. However, I find it best with Christianity to think of the Old Testament as a book of stories rather than a valid account. I hold more stock in the New Testament, whose account of Christ is given more weight by containing four different Gospels.


Erm, abiogenesis is what tries to explain the origin of life, not evolution. :thmbup1:


I will dissect these ideologies.

For humanism I would point out one teaching of Kreia: charity can be dangerous. In some cases humanism can reverse great injustices, but in others it can create a culture of dependency, such as welfare in the USA. While some sort of safety net is necessary, the essential American spirit is if you got what it takes you may succeed, but if you don't have what it takes you'll fail. Trying to prop up those who fail only hinders both those who succeed and those who fail since there is no reason to succeed any more. The only reason why I'm vaguely okay with our government propping up failed companies right now is because the global economy would collapse. Otherwise, I'd be better for those companies to just fall and someone better succeed.


That's only when you take the philosophy to too far of an extreme, IMO.

Still, helping people is a great thing to do, and Kreia is just a cynicist.


Um, there is a difference between life philosophy and secular ideology. And this is one life philosophy I also follow. :)


Well if you wanted to take it farther, I'd be arguing that religious beleifs (IE: absolutes the religion tries to establish, convictions a person gains, fallacies that the person accepts unknowingly) can hinder freethought...


I've heard it said often that the ideologies are not at fault, people just screw everything up. But maybe it's the other way around, considering the division between left and right has consistently reduced the efficiency and prosperity of the USA.

That's caused by what we call group mentality/mob mentality.


Ironically I've had very similar experiences. Ultimately I did get to know the sheeple better and become good friends with them, but in the end they were still sheeple.

It isn't their thought, they've just been raised that way. There is actually a difference between a follower and a sheeple, but over time that difference has been blurred within our society.


Indeed. Still, even the most conformist and brainwashed of 'sheeple' can become 'smug, nonconformist, heretical rebels'. Just look at me... I'm the perfect example of a person who has been a sheeplist from both sides of the road and come out of it standing in the middle of the road. :xp:

Edit: Okay maybe not exactly in the middle...


It isn't? :D

Yeah, it has, hasn't it? :p

Wasn't this thread about good and evil or something, though? I think I've gone off-topic with all of this... Maybe we should split this into another thread about sheeplism and ideologies/philosophies...

Samuel Dravis
06-06-2009, 09:10 PM
How? Because we feel they are wrong? Because they cause us discomfort?More likely because that's what "wrong" means. Words aren't independent of the culture that uses them. Jae obviously learned how to use the word in this way; I'm not sure what more is required or expected of her. Even Kant, who is usually respected for giving a "logical grounding" or a sort of justification for what is moral and what is not, didn't try to justify moral concepts as you imply; he just codified moral concepts already extant (IIRC). I imagine the reason for this is simply that there is nothing to appeal to for justification, nothing to decide the issue one way or another (i.e., it's nonsense to ask for justification here since "justification" is undefined in such a context).

I for one agree with Jae that there is good and evil, and that some good and some evil are very, very obvious. Emperor Devon springs to mind. :p

Q
06-07-2009, 09:05 AM
Funny, but when I think of obviously evil LucasForumites, it isn't Emperor Devon who springs to mind. :p

mur'phon
06-07-2009, 09:11 AM
SD: Fair enough, though that would be a very relativistic way to look at things (from what I understand, my english is far from stellar), and AFAIK Jae is sorta against moral relativism.

Q: Is there a prize for guessing who came to mind first? :P

Q
06-07-2009, 10:04 AM
You get 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count. :p

Seriously, though, religion aside, wouldn't empathy, or lack thereof, serve as an adequate point of reference regarding good and evil?

Samuel Dravis
06-07-2009, 12:54 PM
SD: Fair enough, though that would be a very relativistic way to look at things (from what I understand, my english is far from stellar), and AFAIK Jae is sorta against moral relativism.I am against moral relativism also (I certainly do not think e.g., Fritzl's actions as morally neutral), I just refuse to keep going with regards to justification because there's nothing to go to. It's similar to this story:

"William James, father of American psychology, tells of meeting an old lady who told him the Earth rested on the back of a huge turtle. "But, my dear lady," Professor James asked, as politely as possible, "what holds up the turtle?" "Ah," she said, "that's easy. He is standing on the back of another turtle." "Oh, I see," said Professor James, still being polite. "But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second turtle?" "It's no use, Professor," said the old lady, realizing he was trying to lead her into a logical trap. "It's turtles-turtles-turtles, all the way down!"

But it's not "turtles all the way down"; it's meaningless to ask what is beneath the tortoise if that question's answer is undefined. It's like a child asking, "Why...why...why...why...?" Eventually reasons run out and the question becomes senseless to ask; there is nothing more to ask for. What sort of a question has no possible correct answer, anyway? For we do want the right answer. An illusion-question, a ghost-question, a mistaken-question. Justifications for morals come to an end; if they didn't they wouldn't be justifications. There's a quotation from Faust which I like: In the beginning was the deed. So it is here. Either you act morally or you don't...and that decision is entirely up to you. My essential point is that the question "what is the right action" cannot be divorced from the situation it is asked in; if it is, it becomes meaningless.

Edit: Another quotation seemed relevant here, from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics Book 1 section 4:

"Let us resume our inquiry and state, in view of the fact that all knowledge and every pursuit aims at some good, what it is that we say political science aims at and what is the highest of all goods achievable by action. Verbally there is very general agreement; for both the general run of men and people of superior refinement say that it is happiness, and identify living well and doing well with being happy; but with regard to what happiness is they differ, and the many do not give the same account as the wise. For the former think it is some plain and obvious thing, like pleasure, wealth, or honour; they differ, however, from one another- and often even the same man identifies it with different things, with health when he is ill, with wealth when he is poor; but, conscious of their ignorance, they admire those who proclaim some great ideal that is above their comprehension. Now some thought that apart from these many goods there is another which is self-subsistent and causes the goodness of all these as well. To examine all the opinions that have been held were perhaps somewhat fruitless; enough to examine those that are most prevalent or that seem to be arguable.

Let us not fail to notice, however, that there is a difference between arguments from and those to the first principles. For Plato, too, was right in raising this question and asking, as he used to do, 'are we on the way from or to the first principles?' There is a difference, as there is in a race-course between the course from the judges to the turning-point and the way back. For, while we must begin with what is known, things are objects of knowledge in two senses- some to us, some without qualification. Presumably, then, we must begin with things known to us. Hence any one who is to listen intelligently to lectures about what is noble and just, and generally, about the subjects of political science must have been brought up in good habits. For the fact is the starting-point, and if this is sufficiently plain to him, he will not at the start need the reason as well; and the man who has been well brought up has or can easily get startingpoints."

For these and similar reasons my view of ethics is conscience-based, i.e., virtue ethics.

Edit Edit: I thought of another example that is similar to what I'm trying to say. There have been discussions on this board about what happened "before the big bang." One answer is: there is no "before" the big bang, that being logically impossible given that time started at the big bang (i.e., "before" can only be used in a situation involving time). And this kind of answer is like to my answer here: there is no such thing as "justification" except in a context that provides a framework that allows things to be justified. If one can accept the big bang argument, it should pose few problems to accept mine.

Jae Onasi
06-09-2009, 12:45 PM
How? Because we feel they are wrong? Because they cause us discomfort?My code of right/wrong is based on the Christian religion, that's not secret. Regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), removing someone's right to live, or harming them, or violating other basic human rights, is wrong.

I don't buy into relativism. It's philosophically self-destructive: saying "Everything is relative" is an absolute statement, not a relative one.

Ray Jones
06-09-2009, 05:08 PM
If we didn't stop Hitler or other people who have committed war crimes over the centuries, more would have suffered.But there were more people suffering. A-bombs, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf Wars, WTC, etc.


If we didn't stop the Taliban, more women would have died from starvation because of the draconic ways the Taliban used the Shari'a to impose their power on AfghanistanYes, but now many people died due to military operations. Plus, we now have the Taliban imposing guerilla warfare and terror acts upon the "invaders", and in some regions they gain back some power too.


If we didn't say "Rape and incest and locking your daughter up for decades to breed your children in the dark is wrong and evil", Fritzl's daughter and their children would still be living in abject horror in a dark dungeon of a basement.The fact that we do say it's wrong didn't keep him from doing it, actually.


See, I'm in no way saying let those things happen and go by unimpressed, but I think nothing really got better, whatever we did.


If we have no right and wrong, then everything is 'right, depending on your point of view'.Or 'wrong, depending on the point of view', for that matter. However, I said there is no good and evil, not no right and wrong.


That means 'incest is right, depending on your point of view'. 'Murdering your child because you want to is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Throwing people into ovens is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Rolling over peaceful protesters in Tiananmen Square is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Torturing people is OK depending on your point of view'. 'Letting people die of starvation is OK depending on your point of view'.I think morality is an absolute thing. Right and wrong, however, is not.


You're asking what act is more immoral--that's an entirely different question, and it's like asking 'which woman is 'more pregnant' when they're all 10 weeks pregnant.'Yes, because it's an binary attribute, I think. Either you act moral or you don't. There's nothing in between.


As to your other comment--other animals don't have the full mental capacity required to truly know right from wrong, but we do. That is one of the things that makes us different from other creatures. What other animals think is irrelevant to our unique human state.I think it is not irrelevant. To take the 'non-human' world by human measures doesn't seem logical to me.


Humans do care about what's right and wrong, and good and evil, because our capacity to hurt or help each other in unique and varied ways is far, far greater than other animals.I'd say otherwise. Empathy is the driving factor, and the will to attain goals.


I don't buy into relativism. It's philosophically self-destructive: saying "Everything is relative" is an absolute statement, not a relative one.Most relative things are absolutes anyway.

Totenkopf
06-09-2009, 05:15 PM
Or 'wrong, depending on the point of view', for that matter. However, I said there is no good and evil, not no right and wrong....I think morality is an absolute thing. Right and wrong, however, is not.

What then determines right and wrong from your pov? If it is not anchored in some form of morality, then perhaps expediency? Efficiency? Or...?

Ray Jones
06-09-2009, 05:55 PM
You'll have to put 'right or wrong' in perspective to determine whether something is 'right' or 'wrong'. That could be morality, but also anything else.

Totenkopf
06-09-2009, 07:31 PM
But that is exactly what's being asked of your position. What types of parameters are you using for dertermining right and wrong if not some type of moral code? Afterall, I didn't get the sense we were talking about whether it was right to use a hammer or screw driver when trying to nail something together. Or to use a gun instead of a knife to kill someone/thing.

Ray Jones
06-10-2009, 07:42 AM
But that is exactly what's being asked of your position. What types of parameters are you using for dertermining right and wrong if not some type of moral code? Afterall, I didn't get the sense we were talking about whether it was right to use a hammer or screw driver when trying to nail something together. Or to use a gun instead of a knife to kill someone/thing.If I wanted to act moral, not to kill any people would be one of the right things to do. If I wanted to kill my neighbour, telling the police about it beforehand seems like the wrong thing to do, but killing him would be the right since that is the goal.

If saving a million people from starvation meant mankind would go extinct 200 years later, what would be the right thing to do, regarding whether you wanted to trigger that event or not? And how does this relate to what you'd have to do 'right' to get laid every day?

Totenkopf
06-10-2009, 05:08 PM
then perhaps expediency? Efficiency? Or...?

Ok, most of your examples fit into either of the 2 categories mentioned above. Noone is saying (far as I can tell, anyway) that all "right/wrong" decisions are questions of morality. But good/evil do fall in that category (ie morally right/wrong). For instance, robbing a bank during a blackout might be tactically right vs doing it in broad daylight w/a ton of witnesses, but robbing the bank would be immoral. Threatening to kill hostages may be right b/c it enables you to escape, but making such threats would also be immoral, especially if you carried them out. Unless, of course, it helped get you laid later that night. :lol: (obvious hint: being facetious here).

EnderWiggin
06-10-2009, 11:38 PM
Even though atheism does not imply rationality in an individual, most secular people I know prefer to call themselves 'agnostic atheists', in that they are open to the existence of a deity if sufficient evidence is provided.

Well that seems dumb. Is this as opposed to 'atheist atheists' who would view this "sufficient evidence" (ie God talking from Heaven, etc) and then say, "I guess it was just thunder"?

I should hope that all atheists fall into your silly category. I've not met someone who has professed to being so anti-theism that they'd refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming Proof.

And if everyone falls into your category, why have a subcategory at all?

_EW_

Totenkopf
06-11-2009, 12:57 PM
Well that seems dumb. Is this as opposed to 'atheist atheists' who would view this "sufficient evidence" (ie God talking from Heaven, etc) and then say, "I guess it was just thunder"?

Never underestimate people's capacity for self-delusion.


I should hope that all atheists fall into your silly category. I've not met someone who has professed to being so anti-theism that they'd refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming Proof.

Agnostic-atheism stikes me as trying to have it both ways. While Skin assures that such creatures exist, seems more like they are agnostics than atheists. They don't really know whether God exists, but assume for the sake of argument He doesn't. The problem often comes in getting them to concede what would constitue irrefutable proof.
If such an entity appeared, to what extent would they believe it was an advanced ET or mind trick versus a supernatural being.

mur'phon
06-11-2009, 02:55 PM
Tot: I am such a creature, I do not believe that there is any god(s), as I have not seen any evidence. Until I see such evidence, I am an atheist, not an agnostic as I do not believe there is (a) god(s).
As for bothering to make it a separate category, I find it hard to fantom why someone wouldn't believe in god(s) given evidence, but then again, i find it hard to fantom why people believe in god(s) despite lacking evidence;)

Darth_Yuthura
06-11-2009, 03:06 PM
Tot: I am such a creature, I do not believe that there is any god(s), as I have not seen any evidence. Until I see such evidence, I am an atheist, not an agnostic as I do not believe there is (a) god(s).

There is nothing wrong with believing a god, so long as it doesn't infringe upon the rights of others. That is why religion ends up causing more harm than good, because the whole monotheism dilemma encourages people of a certain religion that anyone else's god is false.

Arcesious
06-11-2009, 05:06 PM
Well that seems dumb. Is this as opposed to 'atheist atheists' who would view this "sufficient evidence" (ie God talking from Heaven, etc) and then say, "I guess it was just thunder"?

I should hope that all atheists fall into your silly category. I've not met someone who has professed to being so anti-theism that they'd refuse to believe in the face of overwhelming Proof.

And if everyone falls into your category, why have a subcategory at all?

_EW_

Good point, you are correct that whether or not a person calls himself/herself an atheist or an agnostic atheist, there really isn't any difference. Thank you for correcting me on that. :)

If such an entity appeared, to what extent would they believe it was an advanced ET or mind trick versus a supernatural being.

Well if something appeared to be God-like, I'd expect that science would be attempted to be applied to determine exactly what that something was; before assuming it to be a diety, alien, illusion, or something else altogether.

It seems unlikely that self-delusion would end up being a factor in the conclusion of what the God-like thing was if logic was applied in analyzation of that thing.

Totenkopf
06-11-2009, 05:15 PM
Tot: I am such a creature, I do not believe that there is any god(s), as I have not seen any evidence. Until I see such evidence, I am an atheist, not an agnostic as I do not believe there is (a) god(s).
As for bothering to make it a separate category, I find it hard to fantom why someone wouldn't believe in god(s) given evidence, but then again, i find it hard to fantom why people believe in god(s) despite lacking evidence;)

Right and you call yourself an atheist, not an agnostic atheist (unless I misinterpreted you here). I have no problem with people not believing in dieties. I just think the term "agnostic atheist" is like try to have it both ways, especially when some of those people go to lengths to also mock other people and their beliefs. It's just not rational to expect people to take one seriously about being open to a possibility when one's behavior demonstrates the exact opposite. Doesn't help being cagey about what they claim they're willing to accept as "evidence". To your last observation, I guess that's why they're beliefs and not cold hard facts. ;)

Well if something appeared to be God-like, I'd expect that science would be attempted to be applied to determine exactly what that something was; before assuming it to be a diety, alien, illusion, or something else altogether.
It seems unlikely that self-delusion would end up being a factor in the conclusion of what the God-like thing was if logic was applied in analyzation of that thing.

Unfortunately, with no experience w/said type of entity or basis for comaprison, how would scientists really be able to distinguish one (God/god) from the other (extremely advanced ET)? I half imagine many of them exhorting "God" to create a rock so big that "He" couldn't lift it. :lol:

Darth_Yuthura
06-11-2009, 07:12 PM
Well given that I haven't been able to throw in my interpretation of the original question until now; good, evil, and neutrality...

I would say that good and evil do exist beyond a doubt. They ARE extremely relative, as they depend upon the perspective of the individual in question.

Good, kindness, and honor are all values generated by humans; but they are different from person to person. What some would call a terrorist, the opposite side would call a freedom fighter. What one side would call a liberator, the other would call an invader. What one would call revenge, another would call justice.

Any act which surmounts to a conflict results in two or more sides fighting to make the opposite side see things their way. Anything other than a mutual resolution will always cause evil/malice/cruelty on both sides. Each side will call the opposite 'evil.' Which side is evil? They both are from the perspective of their adversary.

ironheart
06-11-2009, 11:31 PM
I think religion is the source of almost all our problems. If we could just ditch it we'd all be a lot happier. I think of it as a human construct that helps us cope with the idea of death. It isn't so scary to die if you think you're going to get paradise or whatever after words.

Good and evil also a human idea. Everything else couldn't care less- animals, nature, whatever, they just -are-. A natural state of chaos, if you will. And then again, I don't think it's always as simple as good and evil. Sometimes we do some darned distasteful things for what we think is "right". It's all point of view. The tyrant doesn't think of himself as evil, but the people he's oppressing sure do.

If that makes sense at all.

Totenkopf
06-12-2009, 04:18 AM
I don't think it's religion so much as man's apparent need to force others to be like himself. Religion is one of the many types of ideologies that mark mankind, but its elimination isn't likely to make mankind any happier. People will kill and abuse each other for just about any kind of reason. Tribalism, nationalism, communism, etc...

The problem with reducing concepts like good and evil to arbitrary constructs is that you ultimately make allowances for all types of behavior. Once you call all things essentially equal, you lose any authority to condemn anything. Man serial kills/rapes 1000 women? Well...from his pov he had some kind of biological/psychological need to carry out those "crimes". Who are we to judge? I agree that sometimes the forces of good and evil use similiar tactics (there was an OT Trek episode that dealt with that problem). Frankly, I think many practioners of "evil" both know what they're doing is wrong and just don't care. Hell, may even revel in that knowledge.

Web Rider
06-12-2009, 06:02 AM
Is life black and white to your thinking?
Yes, and no. There is not simply 1 and -1, but there are opposites, where being one implicitly means that you are not the other, or cannot be the other.

What do the words good, evil and neutrality mean to you?
Good and evil are abstract definitions of motive and action based upon what others find, or do not find appropriate at the time. Assuming there are no others, then good and evil are more or less non-existent and their personal equivalents will only form when the individual has time to spend upon them. If a person does not devote time to this, then they simply are. Others may judge them to be good or evil, but in a vacuum, they just are.

We of course, do not exist in a vacuum, and good and evil, right and wrong, are not limited to humans, even if we claim to have the greatest development of the concept. Certainly animals do not express what they feel to be right and what they feel to be wrong in the same manner that people do, but that is then of course, their sense of right and wrong developed differently than ours.

Neutrality doesn't exist. And people commonly confuse "neutrality" with balance. Simply existing causes a person to take a stand on something, and they are therefore not neutral, even if the subject they are not neutral on, such as feeling they have a right to breathe, seems stupid. A person who takes no opinion on a subject is not neutral either, as subjects can't be looked at in a 2 dimensional perspective. Their opinions on other subjects, even if their only opinion is that they like breathing, will pull them away from the central "ideal" neutrality. Refraining from expressing a perspective is not the same as not having a perspective, and ignorance of the subject is not neutrality.

Neutrality, like the number "zero" doesn't really exist, it's a place holder for a lack of value. People can however be balanced in their actions and opinions, but that doesn't make them neutral on the subject, if you cut down a tree and plant a tree, you can call the equation balanced, but not neutral. Action was taken, and another action was taken to counteract the effects of the previous action. Inaction is still action, allowing good or bad to happen is not because you have no position, but because you have no side, or the side you're on says not to take action. But again, not taking action is still an action, and is still a statement, and therefore an expression of your position on the subject.


The source of all of mankind's problems is of course, mankind. Without it, mankind would have no problems(since not existing can't be a problem for something that doesn't exist). As long as there is any remnant of mankind, there will be problems, problems with others, problems without others, problems because of too many others, because of too few. I'm sure we could eliminate a few things to improve the general state of mankind, but I'm also sure that those "few things" would soon snowball into "everyone but me", and that would again, be a problem for mankind.

The problem with reducing concepts like good and evil to arbitrary constructs is that you ultimately make allowances for all types of behavior. Once you call all things essentially equal, you lose any authority to condemn anything. Man serial kills/rapes 1000 women? Well...from his pov he had some kind of biological/psychological need to carry out those "crimes". Who are we to judge? I agree that sometimes the forces of good and evil use similiar tactics (there was an OT Trek episode that dealt with that problem). Frankly, I think many practioners of "evil" both know what they're doing is wrong and just don't care. Hell, may even revel in that knowledge.

Yes, and no. On an individual basis, total relative morality means that no single person has any assigned power over another other than their own will to express their power over another. Which may or may not result in a successful suppression or support of another's own morality. On a social relative morality, yes, people do have the power to judge, as such power is assigned through social consent, through verbal, social, legal, and so forth contracts between individuals on what exactly "morality" is and how it should be implemented.

And again, a person couldn't commit a "crime" if morality was 100% relative. Once a person has agreed to live by a particular code of morality, then others who follow that code can take them to par for violations of it if they so choose.

Morality still remains relative to societies and cultures that do not have any interaction, but at this point relativity is less important than social power. It doesn't really matter if I don't have a "right" to judge you, if I'm stronger and can effectively enforce my social system upon you, then it doesn't matter whose system is right or wrong, I won.

Totenkopf
06-12-2009, 01:16 PM
Perhaps I should have said "moral authority", though I thought that implicit. I don't disagree that people with power can ultimately do what they wish if they can get away with it, but they lack the moral standing to condemn something if they make morality relative. If everything is essentially morally equal, than nothing is ever morally wrong. Morality then seizes to be a real factor in decision making. Some other yard stick is used as a consequence.

Web Rider
06-12-2009, 07:14 PM
Perhaps I should have said "moral authority", though I thought that implicit. I don't disagree that people with power can ultimately do what they wish if they can get away with it, but they lack the moral standing to condemn something if they make morality relative. If everything is essentially morally equal, than nothing is ever morally wrong. Morality then seizes to be a real factor in decision making. Some other yard stick is used as a consequence.

A "moral authority" is just a thing with a big stick to punish you for not following their rules. The only difference between God and the Government is that God has more power, and therefore, can make the rules. Sans god, moral authorities are what you make of them, books, rocks, people, places.

But all morality is is a compilation of "other sticks" by which we measure whether or not something is good or bad. You could use "social utilitarianism" in place of "morality" and you'd get essentially the same thing. A limiting of damaging effects on society due to a verbal, non-verbal or written code of ethics.

Totenkopf
06-12-2009, 08:22 PM
You can think of "having moral authority" here as being consistent and possessing defined parameters (whether divine or manmade). When you talk relative morality you're always dealing with shifting guide posts. Mass murder is ok today, but maybe not tomorrow depending on how society feels at any given moment. Actually, regarding utilitarianism, I didn't mention it b/c I figured it was close enough to "conventional" morality, but essentially w/o God/dieties. Almost wrote "utilitarianism, expediency, etc..take your pick" but opted instead for "Some other yard stick".

EnderWiggin
06-13-2009, 01:00 AM
Good point, you are correct that whether or not a person calls himself/herself an atheist or an agnostic atheist, there really isn't any difference. Thank you for correcting me on that. :)

I wasn't correcting so much as trying to rationalize it myself.

I was actually confused as to why the two terms actually existed separately, but I talked it over with Achilles and I understand it better.

Thanks though :)

_EW_

Darth Avlectus
06-18-2009, 01:57 AM
On very rare occasions, I've met people who knew they were evil to the core. They reveled in their evilness. They had no qualms whatsoever about hurting anyone or killing someone to get what they wanted. They were quite frightening to be around.

Well, now, I did say without exceptions, didn't I? :xp:

Actually, yeah, I believe have met some of these truly whacked out individuals. They take themselves way too seriously, though. Ultimately these types really bring it upon themselves.

However, I have met those who steal or betray in a situation of trust. Their justificaitons either are for loyalty, that the others somehow "deserved it" or were "asking for it". Never really any righteous justificaiton for it. Few people when comitting these wrongs have any fair argument or true conviction. What many cannot figure out is why nobody helps them in these situations.

The others will tell a boldfaced lie.

I really feel this is a primary point. In fact I don't think anyone is truly evil, but an act or pattern of behaviour I believe certainly can be. It manifests itself in a variety of ways. However intent would need to be verified in some way or another.

But a more winsome example might be say, have most of you seen the Keanu Reeves movie The Devil's Advocate? Look at how evil is portrayed here, not just the puppeteering Satan but Keanu's character, who through a series of eventualities finds himself alone on a deserted street with only one direction left to go, and a new father to inherit. Of course he used the default Catholic fineprint and made sacrifice, the only other option left, but the rendition of how he arrived there I think is a good one. He certainly didn't believe he was evil until he literally ran out of arguments otherwise and realised one shouldn't need to argue such a point, when all is said what's done is done and you are judged...you judge yourself. This is sort of the case in which I was hinting at, yes. That one does not see what he has become over a course until the walls are falling all around him. Then at which point these people are left with the eventuality of choice: do they continue redeeming themselves or will they take their enlightenment and use it for an even greater ill? That point is truly the definition of a character if not the journey before that.

The other (where they actually know it) was basically the dementia manifested. This is evil, but I wonder just how much higher thought and awareness is sacrificed. (Jae, excellent example.)


Goodness per se I feel is a subject pertaining the most confusion. I feel it is the role of the manipulative to assert that evil is the absence of good (ie. do this, do that, or you are evil). Truth be told, and according to scripture, goodness is merely the absence of evil (careful not to do this or that and if you do, take some responsibility please because you'll wind up with it anyway).

I think understanding how not to be evil, learning as much as you develop is far more worthy of concern than stressing over what it means to be good. It's been said it doesn't buy you anything, but eventually or perhaps sooner, you'll find what others call good are the very things you quite enjoy doing, live for in fact.

I suppose going at it from the other angle is too often overlooked. It does beg the question of intent again. However, you are touching upon contrast: the wisdom born of experience to actually both know and understand the difference of good and evil. Rather elusive concept, if I do say so myself. In order for there to be determination of some kind besides basis of some code of ethical conduct, some "reality testing" would be in order, yes.


At discussion:

I would say that there is a bit of a more primitive element to the sides of good and evil, though animals do not seem to show self awareness enough to know any difference between right and wrong.

Actually very frustrating in some ways, are the simpler creatures. I.E. My rat knows "Good Rat" and "Bad Rat", but she like a majority of past pets only knows this as what I find acceptable. She pushes the limits I give all the time. Not because she wishes to but due in large part of instinct and her being beholden to them. However I do think she is good natured.
Another rat I had, she cared nothing for human contact and wound up becoming my most vicious rat. She had a look to her early on like she's poised to attack. Not inherently good natured.

But, their behavior was largely independent of my handling; these creatures have little if any concept of/ability to process why. They do certainly know how b/c they do have enough cause and effect reasoning to realize action/reaction. They know basic logic. Source: The Rat: A study in behaviour, 1968. Confirmed by my own testing/training.


The human differs in that we do know why beyond just how. Maybe people need to be taught (I think indeed so). The types of evil we've discussed thus far is ultimately dependent on awareness and choice to act upon that one way or another. An animal alone cannot make that distinction, so far as I know. When people say that good and evil are human concepts not applicable in the animal kingdom nor found in nature, I'm inclined to say "no DUH". It's when people try to use the arguments that we are absolutely nothing more than animals to justify that there is no good and evil or right and wrong.

Darth_Yuthura
06-21-2009, 11:36 PM
I believe that good/evil are constructs, but they are very real.

The problem is that they are both relative terms. They exist, but that they change from one person to the next. There are some who believe that 9/11 was a heroic act of sacrifice by the terrorists. To some, they were the good guys. They were freedom fighters.

I would say that 9/11 was an act of good... to those who believe that a brave force took on a juggernaut like the US. Does that make their beliefs worth any less than those who lost loved ones in the attack?

I would say that 9/11 was an act of evil... to those who consider the mass murder of American civilians is a cruel and heinous act. To those who hate the US, but think that the murder of innocent lives is wrong, they likely would call it a mass murder by the terrorists.

These are BOTH true of the same act. But because good and evil are relative perspectives, it depends upon the person who would define the terms.

vanir
06-27-2009, 04:38 PM
It's pretty hard to dismiss good and evil when you see things like Mother Teresa's altruism or Jeffrey Dahmer's brutal torture, murder, and cannibalism of young boys.

I haven't been in the thread for a while (internet was down for a bit and um...some subjects leave me in need of respite to centre), so I'm starting on the back page not far from where I left off.

I'm sure I've mentioned a homeless youth background. I met this feller once, brother of a good friend, we shared a unit but he kinda freaked me out, a weird thing considering some of the company I'd been keeping (had guns pointed at me over stupid arguments, knew people who became major crime figures and such). I just thought the guy was crazy, most people said he was a bit off. Later I researched Dahmer and I mean the general mannerisms and curiosities this guy had were such a distinct parallel it was uncanny. This is definitely the type of guy who'd drill a hole in your skull because you were asleep on the couch and he was bored.

Anyway at the time my guard was up 24/7 and of course I wound up moving when I could. So I was on top of it when he made stupid passes, was a step ahead when he came into my room at night, etc. We had an understanding where I would go to jail for putting him down if he put me seriously in that position, but it wasn't like he didn't try it on every second day.

This was one of my first major encounters with true evil.

Q
06-27-2009, 05:44 PM
The thing is, are people like that evil or just extremely sick?

True_Avery
06-27-2009, 05:55 PM
The thing is, are people like that evil or just extremely sick?
I think, for some people, this is the distinction that has to be made. "Evil" is such a tainted word through thousands of years of religious influence.

I can't say I've ever met an evil person. I've met selfish people. I've met sick people. I've met challenged people. I've met brats and so on. But never an "evil" person as it is not a word I use to describe people.

Everyone I guess you'd call "evil" to me are people who are driven. I'd sooner use the word "fanatical" than evil, as it is the closest thing to the word that I think can reasonably be used. Hell, I wont even call the punching bag himself, Hitler, evil. He was a driven man, torn down by a war and a country that had been ripped apart. He either made some leaps of logic, or made it appear he did and, for the most part, he was a fanatical, possibly sick man (it is said that he had a twitch in one of his arms that could have been related to mental illness).

Evil is, in my opinion, a stupid, ignorant word used to describe things by people unwilling to look deeper into intentions, or what have you.

My 2 cents.

Q
06-27-2009, 07:48 PM
Really? I think that in a nutshell evil is an accurate description of people who know better, and choose to do wrong to others because they get off on it in one way or another.

That's my 2 cents.

mur'phon
06-27-2009, 08:25 PM
I've met selfish people.

Ah, you mean like every single person you have ever met?:D
I agree with your post though

Really? I think that in a nutshell evil is an accurate description of people who know better, and choose to do wrong to others because they get off on it in one way or another.

What is wrong? Is it whatever society defines as such at a given time? Your concience? Essentially, what defines a "wrong" action?

Q
06-27-2009, 08:42 PM
An action where empathy is either overridden or completely disregarded, and causes harm to an innocent.

EnderWiggin
06-27-2009, 09:50 PM
What is wrong? Is it whatever society defines as such at a given time? Your concience? Essentially, what defines a "wrong" action?

I know it's a bit rude to post links in response, but here goes:

A wrong action is something that is against a categorical imperative (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative), as seen in deontology. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deontology)

Unfortunately, I know that you don't agree with Immanuel Kant in this respect, mur'phon ;) Whereas I tend to believe him depending on my mood :xp:

_EW_

True_Avery
06-27-2009, 10:34 PM
Really? I think that in a nutshell evil is an accurate description of people who know better, and choose to do wrong to others because they get off on it in one way or another.

That's my 2 cents.
People do not do things unless it benefits them in some way. The exception to this are those that do something that they know will not have a benefit, or do something in known futility. Otherwise known as the medical definition of insanity.

Your definition of evil also seems selective, but I see it as being too broad to warrant such a word. What defines a wrong action? What defines getting off in some way?

I like cheap ****. Cheap **** comes from China, who's labor force is legal slavery. I know this. I know buying this object harms a group of people directly, and continues their day to day lives. It is justified by my continuation of their working economic ways.

I'll still buy it though, because it is cheaper. It saves me money, and directly benefits me at the expense of another. I am glad that I have saved money. Happy even. That selfish nature drives me to buy more from places like China, because that furthers my materialistic attitude towards the world and bring me artificial or real comfort.

That may be a poor example, as I am not directly beating them with a whip, but I am the one giving the guy permission to strike.

I could type more examples, but I'd eventually be repeating myself. I'll skip ahead to:

I don't think that is what you mean exactly. I am going to surmise what your meaning is one who rapes, murders, or some other similar action for self satisfaction. Directly causing physical and mental anguish for some sort of pleasure.

Part of this I think is simple human and animalistic nature, and is less evil and more apart of life. For those that do this because they directly -know- it is wrong (there is a difference. Rapists will rape for power, and similarly for murderers. There is still a selfish drive behind it, which creates a justification. Those lacking a justification and do it for a reason beyond selfish indulgence is what I mean), then they fit the broad, yet selective definition of insanity. Less a victim of "evil", and more of a mental disease.

For those that do these action for a directly selfish reason like satisfaction, comfort, pleasure, etc...

An action where empathy is either overridden or completely disregarded, and causes harm to an innocent.
See, I have problems with that word. Empathy.

We would like to say Empathy is our ability to feel compassion for others, but...

Ok, prick yourself on the toe. Your toe hurts. Every part of your mind is telling you your -toe- hurts, but there is actually nothing happening with your toe. What you are feeling is a sensation in your -brain-, not your toe. Every nerve you feel in contact with something on your entire body is doing nothing but giving a heads up to your brain, which gives the illusion that the pain is centered around an area of the body. This might be weird, but follow me for a second.

Empathy, as many people believe it to be, is just like your toe. Or, rather, the person is the toe. We would, in our naive fantasies, like to believe that we can genuinely relate and feel the pain of another. What is really happening is that, like the toe sending signals to your brain, it is all focused in your head.

Namely, how selfish you are. You do not keep a friendship because of the other person. You keep it because it benefits you. You are not mean to them, because then you feel guilty which is a negative side effect for you. Remember, only the insane do something because it negatively effects them.

You are nice to them because you get a return. This is why we are not friends with brick walls. But, at the same time, this is why children and even adults can develop imaginary friends.

I'll go ahead and say it: Mother Theresa was just as selfish as you or I. At a glance, she gave her life to others and seemed to be the epitome of empathy. You have to ask "why" or, I feel, the action is meaningless. The "why" is that she wanted to get to heaven, and being super nun was her cheat to get in. Her memoirs describe her as being pretty depressed throughout her life, so she relied on others for her own happiness. She helped others, but she did so only for a selfish desire and personal fulfillment.

If she never got anything positive from helping children, then she would never have done it.

The difference between her and a serial rapist is that she indulged her selfish desires by thriving off of the positive emotions of others, while the rapist thrives off of the personal power gained by the act. Both, in essence, do their actions for a personal, positive confidence boost and both are addicted to the endorphin rush gained from doing their actions.

I guess, in a looser sense, you could call "Empathy" the selfish indulgence of "positive" emotions gained from an action upon another entity. You also call that "good", or rather a mutual benefiting action that fulfills your own, and an others selfish self indulgence. A mutual relationship if you will.

What most would call "evil" is when this is one sided. When your benefit, and the person on the other end does not. That is, essentially, what most people's idea of a "bad" action is. However, as is the nature of life, selfish fulfillment is primarily a one-sided focus with the "good" mutual benefiting actions being side effects of a social animal, or even an unintended side effect like killing an animal, and have scavengers eat the remains long after you are gone.

Civilization, or rather social contract, is when a large group of social animals (primarily humans) stay in a large group and decide that a mutually benefiting, or "good" relationship has a positive side effect for most involved. If we gained nothing from being in groups, then we would isolate ourselves from others. Much like large predators, which isolate themselves from other predators as to have a better chance of catching enough food for themselves, many only indulging in others when instinct tells them to mate or a mutually benefiting relationship can be formed.

So, I contend that "empathy" is something that is not "overridden" or "disregarded", but pushed aside for an action that, in their mind or situation, benefits them more than a selfishly indulging in an other's emotions.

This is not to say, however, that "empathy" is something that someone can lack. I guess you could, but, as said above, they are either insane, sick, or have personally found a better way to help themselves. Rapists and murderers need two to tango, and the feeding off of the emotions of the moment require a second entity. Essentially, they are working off of the same "empathy" system you are, but to a different, and possibly more honest end. Less social contract, and more of pure self fulfillment.

A woman may murder a man who threatens her child. The parent is driven by the genetic disposition to material instinct, and the body naturally gives benefits to the caring of the child. When threatened, the "logical" response is to lash back. She kills the man. What she gains is the removal of a personal threat, and the self fulfillment of satisfying her maternal instinct.

A man walks into a 7/11 and shoots the Clerc to get access to the money. He takes money, gets away, and gains the means to self fulfillment to whatever drove him to do so. In his mind, or even situation, the money was a requirement for continued survival, or the continued comfort of conservative living (no I do not mean the political definition).

A rapist attacks a woman and rapes her. Her does this because of a selfish desire to fulfill a possible confidence issue or some sort. Like Mother Theresa, possible depression. He does this through a showing of power, as rape is most often a crime of power than a crime of pleasure. A confidence boost that he is better than another human being, which I, personally, think is a foundation for a and stable comfortable life. To know that another relies on you, or you have dominance over them in some way. Any sense of control. Why do you think people, religious and non-religious, have the obvious desire to see themselves as being right?

All are examples of selfish actions, but the outcomes are different. Some may be "good" as the help benefit another, like the child, and others "bad" as the negatively effect others, like the death of the clerc or the rape victim.

What is "good" and "evil" eventually just boils down to social contract. We, as a society, approve of the aiming of self indulgence to directly support an others self indulgence. Much how sharks allow cleaner fish to clean them. Fish get food, shark is saved of skin infections.

In other words, we prefer the shark/cleaner method and disapprove of the parasite method. This is why our society hates lazy people. People without jobs or careers. Those that don't go to college. Why we hate the poor. We see them as parasites feeding off of our own lives, and negatively effect the social contract of our society.

But, at the same time this is why we hate taxes and so on. We, as a selfish entity, do not wish to help others in ways we cannot see, and thus cannot gain direct fufillment from.

If you got to watch your tax dollars directly pay a police officer, or saw it directly buy concrete for a road, I think many would think differently on taxes. If you handed the money to a police officer and said "this is your pay for protecting my social contract", he would most likely approve of this in some way as it is a direct benefit to him. Through this, many would gain a fufillment of their own.

That isn't the way taxes work though. We see it as money being taken away, as we cannot emotionally gain the same feeling as we would if we directly gave it to a charity.

In the end, it isn't so much a shark/cleaner society we have but a long, long line of parasites feeding off of each other. We all harm each other, but turn a blind eye or choose which harms and good and which are bad. The rapist and the China shopper are both hurting people, but we find the rapist more offensive because it is a direct action. Much like tax paradox.

Now that my problem with empathy is out of the way, let me look at your quote again:

Really? I think that in a nutshell evil is an accurate description of people who know better, and choose to do wrong to others because they get off on it in one way or another.
After all I've written above, let me summarize with this:

What you have here is an impossible situation. This does not realistically happen, which is why I think "Evil" is a load of BS.

Again, people do not EVER do something they KNOW is wrong and gain a positive. You cannot physically or mentally do something that you KNOW is wrong and still gain a selfish boost.

Why? It is a directly contradictory statement. It cancels itself out.

Only the insane do something they know is wrong. Not the evil, the insane. The sick. The mentally disabled. They do this not because it positively effects them, but because it negatively effects them. Or, rather, it does not effect them. It is a whim, and this going against natural reason.

In order for you to benefit from an interaction, you have to have a justification no matter how irrational it may be.

This is hard to describe with words, so I'll try it with a picture:

http://i41.tinypic.com/nqwgw8.jpg

Ok, say, for the sake of argument, you have a machine that is perfect. This machine does 1 thing and one thing only: you press a button, and it uses a hammer to smack the ground.

You know this is what it does. You built it, know how it works, and know it cannot do anything more than hammer the ground.

However, every single day you come back and press the button expecting it to, say, make you a sandwich. You press the button over and over every day, genuinely expecting a sandwich. It does not come, because the machine cannot do this task yet you persist.

Pressing the button for a sandwich is an act of insanity. An insane person presses it expecting a sandwich, a rational person presses it to hammer the ground, but a "rational" person cannot press the button, expecting a sandwich, but also not expecting one. The feelings are exclusive.

A typical example of this kind of thinking is...

The joker.

http://i40.tinypic.com/4s05n8.jpg

Most would look at him and say "he is insane. He kills people" and so on. Joker is the fictional pinnacle of insanity, yet he embodies nothing of the sort.

Why?

Because he laughs when he kills people. He may be psychotic, but he is not insane. He has justifications for killing people.

In other words, when he kills someone he is doing it intentionally. Because he likes it. Because it gives him a thrill. He selfishly indulges in his own vices, and his vice is anarchy, or, rather, a person who does not follow the social contract of mainstream society.

His thought pattern may be crazy, but he is not insane. He also cannot fit your definition of evil, because it would imply that he knows that killing is bad and cannot positively effect him, but he kills anyway. Because he gains a thrill, a laugh, and so on out of the kill it means that his first justification is different: He knows he will get a thrill out of killing, so he kills, and thus gets a thrill.

Thats all I can think up right now for this.

I know it's a bit rude to post links in response, but here goes:

A wrong action is something that is against a categorical imperative, as seen in deontology.

Unfortunately, I know that you don't agree with Immanuel Kant in this respect, mur'phon Whereas I tend to believe him depending on my mood.
"The most pressing difficulty for deontologist philosophers is justifying constraints. Robert Nozick famously points out what has become known as the paradox of deontology. If we are truly concerned about rights (such as the right not to be harmed in certain ways expressed by Kamm's Principle of Permissible Harm) then it seems logical we should seek to minimize violations of these rights. However, deontological constraints themselves prohibit such action. For example, consider a case where someone has maliciously sent a trolley hurtling towards five innocent and immobile people at the end of a track. The only way to stop the trolley and save the five is to throw one innocent bystander in front of the trolley. If the five are killed, this would constitute five violations of the PPH. If the one is thrown in the way, this constitutes one violation of the PPH. However, the Principle of Permissible Harm clearly rules out throwing one in front of the trolley. Hence the paradox. In order to respect the rights of the five, deontologists tell us we must respect the rights of the one."

Q
06-27-2009, 10:56 PM
lol@walloftext. :p

Then the percentage of insane people must be very high indeed. :( I'm sorry to say that I've known plenty of people who knowingly do wrong and derive a positive result for themselves from it. At someone else's expense, of course.

It all just seems like you're rationalizing the concept away; to what end I don't know. Perhaps to justify any type of behavior, now matter how despicable?


This has all been argued before. Using your model, how do you explain the soldier who throws himself on an enemy grenade to save his squadmates? Is he insane? I'm sorry, but the human mind is not so simple and where it is concerned 1+1 does not necessarily =2

True_Avery
06-28-2009, 12:19 AM
Then the percentage of insane people must be very high indeed. I'm sorry to say that I've known plenty of people who knowingly do wrong and derive a positive result for themselves from it. At someone else's expense, of course.
Wrong by your definition perhaps. This is assuming, of course, that right and wrong and existing and permanent definitions within this universe.

Again, there is a massive difference between someone who knows something is wrong, and then does it. You'll have to give me an example of said people, as they could have done the deed to gain something.

Insanity is when you do something futility under a false assumption and gain nothing. There is a difference between knowingly doing something wrong, and futily doing something.

The difference is, rational people do not do something they know is wrong. Somewhere in their head, maybe peer pressure, depression, or something there has to be, even for a split second, rationalization for an action. Is this rationalization right or wrong? Again, that isn't my point. Regardless of if I personally think it is right or wrong, it doesn't change the fact the rationalization is made.

Now, if they were to say, crash headlong into a wall or something on purpose and somehow gain something good, then that would be an inadvertent gain. They did the action without knowledge, or care that they would gain something yet did anyway. This, I would argue, is from an outside source separate from the formula. They gain something from someone else's deeds, not their own. Thus the whole shark/cleaner, social contract stuff I wrote up.

True insanity is not common, however I will not argue that there can be insane, irrational actions. This is still insanity, and any positive gained from these actions is gained without knowledge or means of the person.

To clarify, you don't have to be insane to make an insane decision. Those that are truly insane, however, lack the cognitive skill to decipher what will, and what wont help them. Or, rather, lack "empathy" or ability to decipher social contract, even within their own actions. They do this for reasons they do not know, and so on and so forth.

Perhaps the people you know have done something insane, however you have to take in mind that things like... beating someone with a bat when angry is not insanity. Somewhere in their mind, they have justifed doing so to, say, vent anger, depression, or so on. Doing this for power, or under the assumption that the end result will help them.

The obvious answer is that, in the end, beating your wife to death with a bat will land you in jail. But, that does not make it into the equation, as the momentary justification still made him do it.

Now, if he just grabbed a bat, killed his wife, looked at her body and said "huh, why did I do that?" then it would be an insane action. He either did it on a whim, or knew it was a bad idea with no positive results.

That is true insanity, and it is by no means all that common.

It all just seems like you're rationalizing the concept away; to what end I don't know. Perhaps to justify any type of behavior, now matter how despicable?
Personally, I see the word "evil" as pushing the concept away. Blanket labels are the easier way to push a concept away, and good and evil are too of our biggest labels. Everyone justifies their actions somehow, and deciding that "this person is evil" seems more like an ignorant way to purposely choose to not try to understand what happened, and instead use an impossible concept to justify their hate of the person.

I am not "justifying" their behavior, nor condoning it. I am simply trying to explain why people do what they do. I, unlike some, do not see the word "selfish" as being a negative. All "despicable" and "evil" behavior has a motive, and if we just label as such and move on without trying to find the source, or understand the motives then we're no better than they are.

Yes, the rapist raped someone. He still has a mind, motives, and so on and I'd still be interested in hearing them. Thats just the way I am. I like psychology, sociology, and have personal gain in understanding why people think what they do.

Why else would I be posting in Kavars?

This has all been argued before. Using your model, how do you explain the soldier who throws himself on an enemy grenade to save his squadmates? Is he insane? I'm sorry, but the human mind is not so simple and where it is concerned 1+1 does not necessarily =2
How do you explain heaven and hell? The afterlife?

Not everyone believes that this is it. If anything, those that firmly believe in life after death, I think, put little respect into the life they have. If they firmly believe that something is waiting for them, then I don't see why someone couldn't rationalize killing themselves in a suicide, sacrifice, or what have you. While self-protection is rational, to those that believe that death is not detrimental... then what is there to lose?

Sure, he throws himself onto the grenade. But then we get back to the mother teresa idea: she gave everything she thought she could give in life to buy her way into heaven, and save her own depression. She helped others because it helped her.

Perhaps he threw himself onto the grenade in a frenzy of thought to protect someone. Maternal instinct and the like is something odd, and the protection of others, I think, is one of humanity few instincts we've held since gaining intelligence.

Maybe he is religious. Being a martyr and sacrificing himself so his friends may live. Maybe it was spontaneous, sacrificing himself to, in an ironic twist, protect those he cares about.

Again, I do not see death as being something that humans automatically irrationally fear. Selfishness does not have to exclusively mean "out entirely for ones self". Like I said, my definition of "good" would be the rat ionization to indulge one's desires in a way that benefits other's indulgences. Social contract.

I've know people who are now death to suicide. People throw themselves in front of bullets, cars, and so on for their own reasons. This happens enough that I am inclined to call BS on the "well, they can't be selfish if they gave up their life" argument. I believe humans are perfectly capable of finding rational justification for death in their own minds, as it happens on a day to day basis. Soldier dies to save his friends, guy blows himself up in a store and kills 100 people. Kid cuts his wrists, and mother jumps in front of a car for her son.

Not everyone fears death, and I think that is an important distinction to make.

And, again, take in mind what insanity means. Is he insane? Hell, I don't know. In order for that to be insane, he would have to know that jumping on the grenade would help nothing, that nothing good or him nor anyone else would come of it, and go ahead and do it anyway. However, from your scenario, he jumped onto the grenade -to save his friends-, which means he did it with a justification.

Thus, not insanity.

As with the positive/negative part of the diagram, your "evil" rational would fit into this situation like this:

Solider sees grenade. He assumes that if he stops the grenade, he can save his friend. However, he does the opposite and throws the grenade at his friends. When he throws it, he has made the justification that it will save them from the first grenade.

While the second rational is insanity, having both rationals makes this situation a logical impossibility. Again, that is why I don't believe in your definition of "evil".

Is the solider insane? Is the solider stupid? Is the soldier [insert here]?

In summary, his impulse to do something was stronger than his inhibition, so he jumped onto the grenade. That is the simplest explanation that can be given, and impulses are the pinnacle of split second justifications. He doesn't think "this is going to hurt" or "this is going to kill me", he just does it.

Why?

Simply put, if he was being truly rational and had time to think it out, then he'd throw his damn helmet onto the grenade, or toss the grenade. It isn't insanity, its an impulse and an impulse is still a justification.

Q
06-28-2009, 01:39 AM
Thanks for explaining. As long as there is still full accountability for one's actions (enforced if necessary), then I'd be okay with your way of thinking, even though I could never agree with it. I'm just afraid that there really isn't, though.

I've read Lord of the Flies and I'm old enough to have lived through the scenario it portrays several times now. Without the concepts of right and wrong and good and evil to go by, groups of people revert to savagery with amazing speed. It's almost as though they're being guided by a higher intelligence. :snear:

This type of environment then becomes a living Hell for anyone who tries to live their life by doing the right thing, because now they're walking around with a big, red target painted on their back (or the words "EXPLOIT ME" written on their forehead), and they'll either have to compromise their principles in the interest of their own well-being or get used to being a victim. Neither scenario provides a very positive outlook for the future, and they make existence look even more hollow and futile, and death becomes all the more attractive, afterlife or no.

The future looks damn rosy for the growing number who have no problem with being rotten to the core, though, since it's all relative, anyway.

True_Avery
06-28-2009, 03:46 AM
Thanks for explaining. As long as there is still full accountability for one's actions (enforced if necessary), then I'd be okay with your way of thinking, even though I could never agree with it. I'm just afraid that there really isn't, though.
I'm not entirely sure how its my way of thinking though. I'm basically repeating my psychology/sociology classes, classes and books based around dissecting the human mind and how it works. Now, mind you, everything should be taken with a grain of salt.

I'm not so much saying "I think everyone is selfish, and there should be no rules and blah blah blah". I'm saying that, regardless of this, "good" and "bad" exist in this world regardless through the social contract. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. I wont kill you, you don't kill me.

We all go along our merry lives, but in the end we're all just selfish animals. But, selfish is not a bad thing. We look out for ourselves, our interests, and by some miracle that translates to working together and creating something no other animal has done.

Accountability for one's actions? Don't we have that already? I'm not exactly explaining some futuristic world, or some concept I want to impose on humanity as much as I'm explaining sociology 101. What I've said about insanity is fact, and you can look up the medical definition if you'd like. There are a few, as the law is more flexible than biology, but the gist is there.

I guess I'll just leave it at this:

In what way is life, animals, and every single human not driven by selfish action?

Every person has some sort of justification for their actions, regardless of how crazy their action, thought processes, etc might be. Hell, don't even use the word "justification" if its too honor bound; use "thinking", as that is essentially what a justification is. You think about something, make a decision on what to do, and then your brain moves your body. It is what keeps us doing anything that our body doesn't force us to do on clockwork.

I don't like the term "evil" because 1) your definition is logically impossible and 2) it is a blanket term label used to dehumanize people and place them lower, giving us our own justification to neither relate, nor even discover what went wrong.

Everyone is "evil" I guess. Hitler's Germany? Human beings, like you and me. They actually did studies trying to prove that German's were more inhumane than Americans. What happened? Nothing. Humans are humans. You are just as capable of fighting along side a nazi in their situation as anyone in that country at the time.

Insanity aside, people are people and I've yet to be given a reason to believe that this is the way humans work. This isn't me trying to impose a new word order on you or anything, or start a religion, but simply point out what I think is an fair summary of humanity.

Although, you are doing the same so I guess my point is moot.

I've read Lord of the Flies and I'm old enough to have lived through the scenario it portrays several times now. Without the concepts of right and wrong and good and evil to go by, groups of people revert to savagery with amazing speed. It's almost as though they're being guided by a higher intelligence.
See, this is what I mean. How is it that we don't agree when you've basically summarized what I've said in one paragraph?

This type of environment then becomes a living Hell for anyone who tries to live their life by doing the right thing, because now they're walking around with a big, red target painted on their back (or the words "EXPLOIT ME" written on their forehead), and they'll either have to compromise their principles in the interest of their own well-being or get used to being a victim. Neither scenario provides a very positive outlook for the future, and they make existence look even more hollow and futile, and death becomes all the more attractive, afterlife or no.
No offense intended, but I believe that is the world we've been living in since the dawn of time. Call me a cynic, but all things consider we have it pretty damn good right now compared to, say, 100 years ago. Social contract has evolved and grown, and in reality this "bleak world" is one that our current society has taken pretty great strides is moving away from.

My point is that this compromise, forehead labeling world is one we've been living in the entire time.

The future looks damn rosy for the growing number who have no problem with being rotten to the core, though, since it's all relative, anyway.
Again, the world isn't such a bad place right now all things considered, and this "growing number" of rotten people still can't compare to a time like, say, the crusades where a -lot- of moral compromises were made.

Q
06-28-2009, 04:56 AM
Everyone is "evil" I guess.
You're 100% right about that. We are.

And you're probably right about society always being the way it is now, but that doesn't make it seem any less bleak to me. The only thing that has improved is our technology.

vanir
06-28-2009, 08:15 AM
I did make the earlier distinction of evil as a behavioural activity.

Evil is the word "live" spelled backwards. So obviously no living creature is evil, but all are capable of evil. The term best applies to humans due to conscious choice, though the argument could be made for comparatively intellectually developed animals such as certain primates. There is a species of chimp that was the subject of some study which hunted smaller primates and routinely tortured them as part of a ritualistic, excited frenzy before eating them, often still alive.

One may very well regard the shark which is presently eating them to represent primordeal evil. Though it is also true such a person should also consider that a shark's brain is not well developed enough to determine such choices. Pods of Killer Whale however have been studied also at length, there is one Alaskan bay which is frequented by two different pods, one hunts only small fish whilst the other goes for seals and is regarded by the locals as evil and a danger to human swimmers. They are adamant (and many scientists agree) it is not a matter of confusing us for seals but simply deciding we are another food source, targeting human swimmers specifically and hunting them down. This group also likes to torture seals during feeding, crushing its flippers and then letting it go and playing with it, tossing it among themselves for a while before somebody finally eats it. Other times of the year locals swim with the fish-eating Killer Whales regularly.
But even here it would be a fuzzy argument to level human political philosophy such as the contemplation of true evil.

But one can most definitely look upon the determined course of an individual with an accusation of evil. Whilst no person is evil in one sense, all people are capable of evil. It seems this much most of us can agree upon. So why is it so hard to contemplate that some have actually embarked evil?

To say "Hitler was an evil man" is really a statement of context. No he wasn't an aberrant series of genes, that's just ridiculous. But his manner of being a man, the character he chose to develop, the actions and assertions he chose to perform, were decidedly evil. Any doubts about this need only a copy of Mein Kampf to alleviate, I've one right here and believe me, moreso in our current culture of improving common education standards and at least some positive reinforcement of independent thought, it is very, very clear how vile and vindictive, callous, intentionally ignorant and venomous all his lines of thought are, all his contentions. If Hitler were born today he'd be laughed out of the classroom by the students themselves, only a psychopath would follow him, and only psychopaths did. Unfortunately it is the conspiracy of government that people have little say about it and its illusion that they do (which is the real lesson of the war, typically unlearned).

To say Dahmer is an evil man is the same token. In fact calling him insane is worse, it challenges both accountability and responsibility where we are talking about a man who premeditated, planned and executed and followed up terrifically vile, aberrant acts remorselessly and for little more than kicks and jollies. But most importantly calling him insane suggests that he has some genetic aberrance, ie. is evil incarnate. And that's just meaner than a religious fundamentalist who at least recognises salvation (ie. the fact no person is more evil than another by birth).

Insanity is simply the new age word for evil. It is misused in exactly the same way.



For all you theologians I've got a rhetoric for you:
I am the word which begat creation. I am the light, the truth and the way. I am that I am. I am...?

Live.

I am not...?

Evil.

Q
07-10-2009, 07:15 PM
I'm not entirely sure how its my way of thinking though. I'm basically repeating my psychology/sociology classes, classes and books based around dissecting the human mind and how it works.
:argh:
I suspected as much back when you wrote those walls of text. Is there any reason why you couldn't have clarified this earlier, because it seems rather disingenuous of you. I was going to let this slide, but recent events have caused me to change my mind about how to deal with this type of situation, which I seem to encounter often in conversations with you. ::

Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter, or are you going to continue regurgitate someone else's while declining to mention that they are not your own ideas until much later in the conversation? :dozey:
Now, mind you, everything should be taken with a grain of salt.
You don't say. :roleyess: You should have indicated this earlier. A lot earlier. As such, I'm just going to have to disregard everything that you've stated in this thread (and elsewhere) up to this point.
See, this is what I mean. How is it that we don't agree when you've basically summarized what I've said in one paragraph?
But I haven't. If you believe that, then you're missing the point that I was trying to make.

Totenkopf
07-10-2009, 09:16 PM
Again, the world isn't such a bad place right now all things considered, and this "growing number" of rotten people still can't compare to a time like, say, the crusades where a -lot- of moral compromises were made.

Curious as to how you see this age, globally, as any less morally conflicted (ie "compromised") than 800-1000 yrs ago. Our means have changed, but not our natures. Strip the thin veneers of civilization and we're about as savage as our ancestors. Remember, the "civilized" western world is only ~ 20% or so of the total global population. We're probably no wiser than we were even 5000 years ago, just more technically adept.

Darth_Yuthura
07-10-2009, 09:50 PM
Do you have any thoughts of your own on this matter, or are you going to continue regurgitate someone else's while declining to mention that they are not your own ideas until much later in the conversation? :dozey:


This kind of thing was leveled at me by another individual and I resent it when people attack the person for believing in a certain thing instead of trying to figure out why they came to believe it in the first place. I know EXACTLY what the statement was directed at (students,children,peers, ext. believing in their superiors instead of what they came to on their own)

Well I'll have you know that many problems in this nation could be eased if people actually relied MORE on what they get in a library and not less. Although experience may be regarded as more significant, reading should not be underrated. Although I do get exposed to the ideals and thoughts of my college professors, I do not simply mimic them without having any idea how the hell they came to think the way they do. When I get exposed to a source of knowledge that I can examine, evaluate, and comprehend; I come to my own idea on the matter by taking what I've absorbed into consideration while making it.

Q
07-10-2009, 11:23 PM
I perfectly understand what you're saying, D_Y, and I agree with you about thoroughly researching the subject matter first, but I think that every source should be questioned just as thoroughly before reaching your own conclusions. But in the end, that's not what my above post was about.

What got me in this case was that I got fed this line as a form of disclaimer after wasting several hours on a conversation that I would have ended far earlier had I known, because it would have been obvious to me that continuing said conversation was pointless:
I'm not entirely sure how its my way of thinking though. I'm basically repeating my psychology/sociology classes, classes and books based around dissecting the human mind and how it works.
The dismissive manner in which I was finally informed didn't help, either. I don't like having my time wasted by being lead on like that.