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Thread: How do you view evil?

  1. #1
    Lady of the Flowers How do you view evil? Anthiena's Avatar
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    How do you view evil?

    Ah, the debate between good and evil. It never seems to get out of the door-mostly because the people in said argument have no agreed upon definition of what is "good" and what is "evil".

    So. First off, what do you view as evil or immoral?

    I am a Wiccan and a scientifically-minded one. I first view it in terms of "harm" and then in terms of how a person's personal sovereignity is viewed. Personal rights, like right to keep a few things private, to say and do as they please as long as they do not intrude on the rights of others. As one said:

    "The right to swing your fist ends where my face begins."

    I also believe in the right to be able to fulfill your potential. In that sense, I feel that burqhas are evil. The Patriot Act was evil.

    Many established religions are evil to me, because of those stated beliefs.

    And yet, to them, I would be anathema to them because of those stated beliefs.

    Do not reply to my beliefs, I wish for people to share theirs. I am not advocating my beliefs, I merely wish to share and exchange information.
    I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
    I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Kunihiko Ikuhara "Ikuni"

  2. #2
    Sir Prize How do you view evil? Sinister's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    Taoism doesn't view the world with the same eyes as conventional religions or philosophies, particularly in this field. I do see injury and harm...and how they affect me and my world. I naturally dislike and attempt to stop/repair this harm, if possible. But to everyone else Evil seems to represent something that people have to seek out, end and punish with vengeance, almost in throes of paranoia... Something that must be feared and that we must indoctrinate our children to loathe or else they're not human. But Good and Evil?

    These terms are just the brain's way of polarizing experience and you cannot get anymore basic than good and evil. Do I believe in them? Absolutely, indisputably... But they're not the same good and evil everyone else is talking about...I have a hard time explaining it... Let me illustrate in a question that will expose the ridiculous situation I'm in...

    Am I good or evil? Do you see? I would never attempt to answer that question. Such a silly question. Good or Evil...to what? To whom? And how or why? What perspective am I judging this by? Mine!? Yours? Ours? God's? Either way, I'm not in a position to make these judgements.

    Suffering and injury is a reality that will be experienced...by everyone, multiple times. Sometimes that injury and suffering will have a name and a face with the emotion hatred behind it. And almost like they had been bitten by a vampire, people try and revisit more injury and suffering into the world. This is perfectly natural, but also all the more tragic. It's perfectly natural at feeling anger or hatred and reacting to harm in a violent way. I simply choose, like others, to do my utmost to not react that way. Not that I think it's more valiant or proper or more spiritual...but because it does less damage to me and takes up less of my time and effort. It is actually a selfish/lazy response.

    Hey, I found a quarter. That's good. Yipes, the vending machine ate it and won't give it back. That's an evil turn of luck. I should obviously...idk...beat the shit out of the vending machine!!! It all seems totally absurd from my point of view and sometimes more saddening than anything, ever. But it's especially frustrating when you give in and find yourself kicking the machine and shouting cusswords at it when you could be looking for a new quarter.

    -Sin
    Last edited by Sinister; 12-07-2010 at 01:23 PM.


    Fear not, this is not...the end of this world.

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good..."

  3. #3
    Mr. Person Taco-Calamitous's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    I believe that that which intentionally causes harm to your fellow man (or any other intelligent life form I guess, heh) be it emotional or physical, is evil. Some might mention things like "tough love," and that, I agree, has its place at times, but only if you have the best interests of the individual in mind and are not just doing it for selfish reasons. Also, if the other individual is causing harm to others, a certain amount of retaliation is in order, but only so much as to correct the problem; a look at your own motives is necessary in this.

    For example, you catch the individual who has raped and/or killed a loved one or multiple loved ones. There is going to be very little reason left in your mind at this point. If you are able-bodied, there is a good chance you are going to beat that individual within an inch of his or her life. Your actions are probably still evil, however, and you may realize this after the deed is done.

    I would also say that any behavior that could likely result in the harm of others, and you completely disregard that it could cause harm and just do it anyway, is evil.

    Also, unnecessary harm to animals is evil. However, there are times when harm to animals will be necessary for the survival of one or more of our species, and in that case, to sustain the survival of another human being, the death or harm of an animal is not evil.

    As a Christian, I believe that I should strive my hardest to follow the church's teachings, but I don't feel that it is my place to try to force those teachings on anyone else. It is not my place to tell others what they are to believe in; they have to come to that decision on their own. Anyone who does try to force their beliefs on someone is probably also guilty of inflicting some emotional harm on the individual. However, if I believe that someone is being an asshole, I think I have a right to tell them that they're being an asshole, that that is not forcing my beliefs on anyone but protecting myself or others, and that they are the guilty party. Whether they are being an asshole or not, I suppose, is open to interpretation.

    I don't know if I covered enough... I don't like posting in ID... >>" Anyhoo...

    Wuv, Yer Mom

    EDIT: I think I will add that every human being has some wickedness in them. No one is completely guilt-free; everyone has times when they are "evil." I am not exempt from this. Definitely not.

  4. #4
    Bananarama How do you view evil? Pete's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    Ooh, this is a tough one.

    I think that to define evil, you need to have the obligatory "good" to be it's polar opposite, because we all like for things to be that black and white. However, it's not black and white, because you have things like perspective. To Hitler, eradicating the Jews was merely taking care of business and making the world a better place for his followers. To the rest of the world, those tortures and murders were evil. Also, just because an action is not evil, does not automatically make it good, and vice versa.

    Now, the question isn't how the world sees evil, but rather my own personal view of it. I view evil on a more personal level, and not so globally. Do I view burqas as evil? No, they're just a shroud. I do view the forced wearing of them and the oppression that they represent to be evil though. It's a fairly evil thing to do, to rob someone of pretty much themselves, leaving them with literally no discernible identity.

    I think that acts and beliefs that go about oppressing people and denying them of rights are evil. Things like religion aren't evil, unless they advocate doing intentional harm (physical or emotional) to others. Those Fred Phelps church people are evil. The people who think the Koran is telling them to kill Americans are evil. Christianity and Islam, however are not; they're just ideas and words. What people choose to do with them is of their own volition.

    I don't think things like fistfights are necessarily evil. If I'm out one night, and someone pushes me, due to whatever reason, I'll push back, and there's a good chance that it'll escalate until punches are thrown. This isn't evil; it's more stupidity and testosterone. Now, if I start punching random people, with an intent to hurt them, then that's an instance of evil.

    I suppose the way I define evil would be to do premeditated harm to a person or persons, whether or not you know whom it may be. I would also view it as doing harm to those who you know cannot or will not fight back. I don't see hunting as an evil; most of the time the animals being hunted are in danger of overpopulating or are being found wandering in public, endangering humans. I also don't see the principle of Guantanamo Bay to be evil either, however, the acts done to the detainees there were evil. To imprison them with whatever rights they were afforded is one thing, but to humiliate and degrade them is an act of evil.

    That's all I've got for now
    SOLDIER
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  5. #5
    The Mad God How do you view evil? Heartless Angel's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    Big time moral subjectivist here. I believe that there is no good and evil. Only perspective. And none is superior to any other. We see good as that which is pleasing or benneficial to ourselves, and evil as that which is not. If our perspectives differ, so do our definitions of good and evil. The only reason most of us have an agreement on what is good and what is evil, is because by virtue of being human, we have certan values hard wired into our brains. For example, we see the taking of human life as evil, because we value our own human life, and are threatened by those willing to and capable of taking it away. As a species that naturally hunted and gathered to survive, we have an attachment to the things we gather and work to obtain, and see those that try to rob us of those things as evil. I usually mention Hitler, but Pete beat me to it. In his own eyes, he was doing good, and those trying to stop him were evil. His beliefs differ, and we can't judge him by our rules, because his brain isn't wired to play by them.

    For quite some time, I was a cultural relativist, beliving that right and wrong varied by culture, and that no culture could judge another. From there however, I realized that the theory left an extremely important question unanswered. What makes up a cuture? Location? That couldn't be it. Why would an area as large as the US be considered a single culture when two tiny countries somewhere else could be considered two distinct cultures? So it couldn't be as simple as territory or land area. Orgin? No, then we'd all have to have the same rules as monkeys, since we originated from them, that certainly doesn't make sense to me. I continued to go through theories like this, finding a way to shoot each and every one down, until I came to one. That a culture was nothing more than a group of like minded individuals. This made a ton of sense to me. WE could only have rational discourse about what's right or wrong with people who agreed with us on what the terms meant. Assuming we have two critically thinking rational individuals debating the morality of a subject, and both of their logic is sound, the only way they'd arrive at different conclusions of what is right or wrong, would be if their views differed at the most fundamental level. Morality is very much a deductive thing. There must be a set list of what is right and what is wrong with any given set of beliefs. If we're both using sound logic in valid deductive arguments, the only way we can fail to convince each other, is if we disagree on the basics of right and wrong. We agree on the conclusion of a valid deductive argument, if we agree with its premises. The rules of logic are absolute. If we already agreed on premises, and logic dictates what truths are derived from those premises, we would have already agreed on the conclusion, and have no reason to argue about it. In short, we can't convince anyone who doesn't already share our values that our values are correct with logic. After thinking on all of this, I am left with the conclusion that morality is compeltely subjective, and holds absolutely no meaning outside of our own individual values and perspectives.
    For Our Lord Sheogorath, without Whom all Thought would be linear and all Feeling would be fleeting. Blessed are the Madmen, for they hold the keys to secret knowledge. Blessed are the Phobic, always wary of that which would do them harm. Blessed are the Obsessed, for their courses are clear. Blessed are the Addicts, may they quench the thirst that never ebbs. Blessed are the Murderous, for they have found beauty in the grotesque. Blessed are the Firelovers, for their hearts are always warm. Blessed are the Artists, for in their hands the impossible is made real. Blessed are the Musicians, for in their ears they hear the music of the soul. Blessed are the Sleepless, as they bask in wakeful dreaming. Blessed are the Paranoid, ever-watchful for our enemies. Blessed are the Visionaries, for their eyes see what might be. Blessed are the Painlovers, for in their suffering, we grow stronger. Blessed is the Madgod, who tricks us when we are foolish, punishes us when we are wrong, tortures us when we are unmindful, and loves us in our imperfection.





  6. #6
    How do you view evil? Jin's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heartless Angel View Post
    Big time moral subjectivist here. I believe that there is no good and evil. Only perspective. And none is superior to any other. We see good as that which is pleasing or benneficial to ourselves, and evil as that which is not. If our perspectives differ, so do our definitions of good and evil. The only reason most of us have an agreement on what is good and what is evil, is because by virtue of being human, we have certan values hard wired into our brains. For example, we see the taking of human life as evil, because we value our own human life, and are threatened by those willing to and capable of taking it away. As a species that naturally hunted and gathered to survive, we have an attachment to the things we gather and work to obtain, and see those that try to rob us of those things as evil. I usually mention Hitler, but Pete beat me to it. In his own eyes, he was doing good, and those trying to stop him were evil. His beliefs differ, and we can't judge him by our rules, because his brain isn't wired to play by them.

    For quite some time, I was a cultural relativist, beliving that right and wrong varied by culture, and that no culture could judge another. From there however, I realized that the theory left an extremely important question unanswered. What makes up a cuture? Location? That couldn't be it. Why would an area as large as the US be considered a single culture when two tiny countries somewhere else could be considered two distinct cultures? So it couldn't be as simple as territory or land area. Orgin? No, then we'd all have to have the same rules as monkeys, since we originated from them, that certainly doesn't make sense to me. I continued to go through theories like this, finding a way to shoot each and every one down, until I came to one. That a culture was nothing more than a group of like minded individuals. This made a ton of sense to me. WE could only have rational discourse about what's right or wrong with people who agreed with us on what the terms meant. Assuming we have two critically thinking rational individuals debating the morality of a subject, and both of their logic is sound, the only way they'd arrive at different conclusions of what is right or wrong, would be if their views differed at the most fundamental level. Morality is very much a deductive thing. There must be a set list of what is right and what is wrong with any given set of beliefs. If we're both using sound logic in valid deductive arguments, the only way we can fail to convince each other, is if we disagree on the basics of right and wrong. We agree on the conclusion of a valid deductive argument, if we agree with its premises. The rules of logic are absolute. If we already agreed on premises, and logic dictates what truths are derived from those premises, we would have already agreed on the conclusion, and have no reason to argue about it. In short, we can't convince anyone who doesn't already share our values that our values are correct with logic. After thinking on all of this, I am left with the conclusion that morality is compeltely subjective, and holds absolutely no meaning outside of our own individual values and perspectives.
    I pretty much agree with this, but what interests me is the difference between moral subjectivity and moral nihilism. Those such as yourself (and myself) that view morality to be purely subjective and are aware (as you very accurately alluded to) that culture is a fluid, ubiquitous and multifaceted thing, are prime candidates for losing a sense of morality altogether. I sometimes feel it myself, mostly when I think about how culture tugs at our personalities and how much it has shaped our views, opinions and perspectives, rather than just being a system for categorizing these things. If my viewpoint was shaped by my culture, then how much of it is my own choice? When did I chose to find torture abhorrent rather than enjoyable? Obviously, I didn't, but my culture provided me with a moral template that held torture to be absolutely wrong. Thinking about this, I sometimes veer off of my own, subjective morality, into a realm that has no morals at all. I think about how these morals are not fully my own, but heavily influenced by the culture I was brought up in and come to view them as meaningless, even on a subjective, personal level. I always come back, of course, but it's interesting to think about how life can change when one can see the strings controlling him.

    Pseudo-incoherent and ill-worded block of text brought to you by: lack of sleep.

    Until now!


  7. #7
    The Mad God How do you view evil? Heartless Angel's Avatar
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    Re: How do you view evil?

    You made perfect sense to me mate, but then I'm also suffering from lack of sleep...

    Only real difference I can see betwen subjectivism and nihilism is that according to subjectivism, we can still say there is a right and wrong thing for us to do. IE, if you act in accordance with your own beliefs, you're a moral person, if you do what you yourself acknowledge as wrong, you are immoral, wheras a nihilist would say there's no such thing as being moral regardless of your beliefs and whether or not you follow them. While your culture does play a big part in shaping our beliefs from a young age, we do ultimately have the option of disagreeing with them. (An option I choose all the time, since I generally think the masses are stupid)
    For Our Lord Sheogorath, without Whom all Thought would be linear and all Feeling would be fleeting. Blessed are the Madmen, for they hold the keys to secret knowledge. Blessed are the Phobic, always wary of that which would do them harm. Blessed are the Obsessed, for their courses are clear. Blessed are the Addicts, may they quench the thirst that never ebbs. Blessed are the Murderous, for they have found beauty in the grotesque. Blessed are the Firelovers, for their hearts are always warm. Blessed are the Artists, for in their hands the impossible is made real. Blessed are the Musicians, for in their ears they hear the music of the soul. Blessed are the Sleepless, as they bask in wakeful dreaming. Blessed are the Paranoid, ever-watchful for our enemies. Blessed are the Visionaries, for their eyes see what might be. Blessed are the Painlovers, for in their suffering, we grow stronger. Blessed is the Madgod, who tricks us when we are foolish, punishes us when we are wrong, tortures us when we are unmindful, and loves us in our imperfection.





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