Do you believe in evil?



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Relix

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Just as the title entails I want to have a civil discussion on the concept of evil and if it is something that is, just that, a concept or perhaps an actual working force in this universe or a product of human understanding towards those who act against the common notion of "good" or however way you want to define or give shape to it. I know that was a long winded sentence but I've tried to rephrase it in so many ways. I suppose I should be clear in saying that this is NOT a religious debate. However, it does go without saying believing in evil or not is an aspect of one's belief system, so we're not here to argue who's belief system is right or wrong but rather learn about each other's views on evil.

Evil can boil down to something very specific for certain people or something very broad and general. I honestly don't know if I'm setting up the discussion very well but I suppose I can start on how I view evil and to be honest it is never really concrete or takes the same shape.

To begin, yes I do believe evil is real. I believe evil to be an active force that this world can't get away from. There are different categories, levels, tiers you name it. Natural evil (hurricanes, cancer, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc. basically evil without an agent to put moral blame on), moral evil (making choices that go against one's moral parameters such as murders, thievery, rape, etc. where an agent, mostly human agent, can be put to moral blame), metaphysical/spiritual evil (forces beyond our physical or understanding pulling strings to cause such evils. many beliefs over thousands upon thousands of years have created agents of malevolence). This conversation may open pandora's box to the existence of free will and morality and everything but I just want to have a conversation on what people view about evil.

Are there evil people? Are there evil beings? Is anyone and everyone capable of evil? If everyone is capable of evil does that alone make us evil? I'm just in need of some meaningful conversation and having one that may possibly shake my own beliefs both frightens and excites me. Plus I haven't done anything on these forums in months so please discuss.
 

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I don't think there is an "overall evil" for all of us. It's more like everyone's own evil and how they define it. For me, animal or child abuse is evil, but maybe for some it isn't? Maybe some people actually think of it as okay.
And of course there are things that I like that others would define as evil, e.g. eating meat or anything that isn't vegan. To me, good and evil are more like opinions other than anything else.
 

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I believe everyone is capable of being evil, because we have free will and choice. I don't think we're evil just because we have the choice of doing evil things, because we do have a sense of right and wrong. I feel like there has to be a balance unless something tips the scale to be called evil. Sometimes people blame being human as a justification of being evil.

What it comes down to it for me on being evil is mortality. As the saying goes, we our are own enemy. Which can be true depending on how you look at it. Furthermore, it isn't the matter of thinking evil things, because we all have our low moments when we're depressed or angry or addicted to something, but when we act and commit doing it... there's no turning back the clock after it's done. You can't really be redeemed from it. Especially if you happen to enjoy harming another human being. (Including animals.) Sometimes greed itself can push a human being into committing an evil act because, they don't want to lose, they want money, or ect. (However, I don't think stealing per se is evil unless it involves human trafficking, kidnapping a person, or robbing a person of their life's savings.)

However, I have given it some thought to another perspective on this: What if a person with a disability such as down syndrome didn't have the morality we have? Like they didn't know right from wrong and committed an evil act. I don't know if you could call them evil per se, because they could of easily been as misguided, or simple didn't know it at the time. (Some people do view them as evil. While others consider it a tragedy or accident when they do an act that can be defined as evil.) I haven't decided how I felt about it to give more concrete thought on this, but there have been fictional books I've read that made it come to mind. (Including a Criminal Minds episode in the past.) And before anyone flames me for this, it's an example only. I'm not saying people with a disability are evil.

Furthermore, I do think rape, torture, abuse, or killing a person is evil and considered an unforgivable act.

Then there's your sense of right and wrong in justice. Sometimes people think they're doing the right thing until it goes to far. And it ends up becoming an evil act they committed without knowing it or having a false sense of justice by doing it their way, when they were wrong from the start.

Another one is the idea of a fake or unrealistic utopia by enslaving others and forcing them under your will with threats and fake promises. Such as a cult. The problem with a cult is it often takes people who are misguided with nothing to lose or gain, or to give them safe and security by giving them hope, which isn't real. Those who manipulate them could be considered evil. (Also, not trying to use a cult as a religion. So please don't start flaming me for it. Just an example is all.)

So that's my view on it for right now. I might add more onto it later, because there was a lot I could of expanded upon each subject I listed. Definitely an interesting topic worth discussing!
 
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hemmoheikkinen

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Interesting topic.

Hmm, I think there is another "evil" of sorts that could be added. I think it was called structural evil or poverty or something alone those lines. It means a society or a system that has been constructed and build in way that makes peoples lives very bad. Like the system makes you to be born in poverty and there is no way to raise from it, or you are shunned because of your skin color or stuff like that.

I think I have seen the natural evil term makes me scratch my head. Is that a proper term really? Nature does things because.. uh..well nature just does things. I don`t think ti has a will or anything, it is just natural phenomena. Little similar what Kant says about animals, they are can`t be really blamed being evil when they have eaten a human, since they just eat to survive. In a way they are biologically chained, they do things because their body and biology demands it.

I am not sure I have anything more to say to this subject. I pretty much agree with KitKat´points, and VoidGear also gives and interesting point about the possibly subjectivity of this matter. Different ways of thinking and different cultures approach this matter differently.
 

Victor

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there is no good
or evil
the universe is just a bunch of subatomic particles randomly jiggling
shit just happens
 

Relix

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I believe everyone is capable of being evil, because we have free will and choice. I don't think we're evil just because we have the choice of doing evil things, because we do have a sense of right and wrong. I feel like there has to be a balance unless something tips the scale to be called evil. Sometimes people blame being human as a justification of being evil.
I can understand that and have no problem agreeing that just because we are capable of evil does not make us evil. However I remember reading somewhere (horrible at sourcing forgive me) something along that lines of "The presence of random injustice means that there is no justice. The fact that innocents can be destroyed means that there is no innocence." I suppose that philosophy adopts that "if something (or in this case if someone) is good than evil should not be capable and because evil is capable they are not good." What are your thoughts on that? But like you I believe that the ability, the free will, to have the ability to choose evil but decide to do good makes us good…

What it comes down to it for me on being evil is mortality. As the saying goes, we our are own enemy. Which can be true depending on how you look at it. Furthermore, it isn't the matter of thinking evil things, because we all have our low moments when we're depressed or angry or addicted to something, but when we act and commit doing it... there's no turning back the clock after it's done. You can't really be redeemed from it. Especially if you happen to enjoy harming another human being. (Including animals.) Sometimes greed itself can push a human being into committing an evil act because, they don't want to lose, they want money, or ect. (However, I don't think stealing per se is evil unless it involves human trafficking, kidnapping a person, or robbing a person of their life's savings.)
So humans are capable of both good and evil but are not inherently evil, correct?
However, I have given it some thought to another perspective on this: What if a person with a disability such as down syndrome didn't have the morality we have? Like they didn't know right from wrong and committed an evil act. I don't know if you could call them evil per se, because they could of easily been as misguided, or simple didn't know it at the time. (Some people do view them as evil. While others consider it a tragedy or accident when they do an act that can be defined as evil.) I haven't decided how I felt about it to give more concrete thought on this, but there have been fictional books I've read that made it come to mind. (Including a Criminal Minds episode in the past.) And before anyone flames me for this, it's an example only. I'm not saying people with a disability are evil.

Furthermore, I do think rape, torture, abuse, or killing a person is evil and considered an unforgivable act.

Then there's your sense of right and wrong in justice. Sometimes people think they're doing the right thing until it goes to far. And it ends up becoming an evil act they committed without knowing it or having a false sense of justice by doing it their way, when they were wrong from the start.

Another one is the idea of a fake or unrealistic utopia by enslaving others and forcing them under your will with threats and fake promises. Such as a cult. The problem with a cult is it often takes people who are misguided with nothing to lose or gain, or to give them safe and security by giving them hope, which isn't real. Those who manipulate them could be considered evil. (Also, not trying to use a cult as a religion. So please don't start flaming me for it. Just an example is all.)

So that's my view on it for right now. I might add more onto it later, because there was a lot I could of expanded upon each subject I listed. Definitely an interesting topic worth discussing!
That’s very interesting! I’ve also thought how can we judge someone who does not have the same or similar mental capacity as we do (or rather the majority do)? What makes their view warped and our view normal? Simply because we’re the majority? There are those who are not able to grasp the concept of what we consider right or wrong. Does that make them evil even when they choose what we consider “wrong?”


Interesting topic.

Hmm, I think there is another "evil" of sorts that could be added. I think it was called structural evil or poverty or something alone those lines. It means a society or a system that has been constructed and build in way that makes peoples lives very bad. Like the system makes you to be born in poverty and there is no way to raise from it, or you are shunned because of your skin color or stuff like that.
Wow, I definitely missed that one. I suppose that form of evil is probably more “unjust” compared to natural evil seeing how fellow humans are responsible for it. That’s if we’re believing in justice and injustice and if that is governed by humans or we don’t have the right to call anything just or unjust.

I think I have seen the natural evil term makes me scratch my head. Is that a proper term really? Nature does things because.. uh..well nature just does things. I don`t think ti has a will or anything, it is just natural phenomena. Little similar what Kant says about animals, they are can`t be really blamed being evil when they have eaten a human, since they just eat to survive. In a way they are biologically chained, they do things because their body and biology demands it.

I am not sure I have anything more to say to this subject. I pretty much agree with KitKat´points, and VoidGear also gives and interesting point about the possibly subjectivity of this matter. Different ways of thinking and different cultures approach this matter differently.
Yeah it’s a proper term, to my knowledge. I believe one of the first examples I’ve read of natural evil was of two philosophers debating on whether there was a greater good in the universe. One argued “yes” and the other argued “no.” The one who argued no created this scenario that deep in a jungle down in the darkest cave somewhere there is a new born bat that is defenseless. The bat falls to the ground of the cave floor and is eventually slowly killed by insects. This was natural evil without an agent to blame.
And definitely, I recognize that there are probably millions of different ways to interpret “evil” seeing how even the slightest difference in belief could be made by literally everyone.

there is no good
or evil
the universe is just a bunch of subatomic particles randomly jiggling
shit just happens
That’s an interesting and valid stance on the concept of evil. I have a couple of friends who have taken a similar stance to evil and good in general. I’m curious, what is your stance on “law.” What is wrong with murder, thievery, and other “atrocities”? If we are truly particles randomly jiggling and nothing more what gives other particles the right to tell me what I can or can’t do? Anything dictated by morality in a sense should be meaningless. There shouldn’t be crime in a sense because the concept of “wrong” doesn’t truly exist and therefore those in prison shouldn’t be imprisoned because they did nothing wrong, but then that would be considered “injustice” but we already established that injustice is a stance on morality and technically shouldn’t be real so it’s fine that they are in prison. I’m writing myself in a circle. Back to the question, what is the meaning of a structured society governed by laws or anything for that matter when we should be free to do as we please?
 

hemmoheikkinen

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Wow, I definitely missed that one. I suppose that form of evil is probably more “unjust” compared to natural evil seeing how fellow humans are responsible for it. That’s if we’re believing in justice and injustice and if that is governed by humans or we don’t have the right to call anything just or unjust.
Yeah, that is an rather cruel form of evil. There is just so many forms it can take. Whether it`s a human born into poverty and miserable conditions, or an society which does not treat it`s citizens equally.

Yeah it’s a proper term, to my knowledge. I believe one of the first examples I’ve read of natural evil was of two philosophers debating on whether there was a greater good in the universe. One argued “yes” and the other argued “no.” The one who argued no created this scenario that deep in a jungle down in the darkest cave somewhere there is a new born bat that is defenseless. The bat falls to the ground of the cave floor and is eventually slowly killed by insects. This was natural evil without an agent to blame.
And definitely, I recognize that there are probably millions of different ways to interpret “evil” seeing how even the slightest difference in belief could be made by literally everyone.
Oh yeah, now that I think of it I have heard that term before.

What is also interesting is that a scenario which the philosopher described actually exits in nature. I watched an documentary about South America, and there in the depths of a jungle there was an massive cave full of bats. The bats laid waste on the floor of the cave and as time went on, there would be huge amount of uh... well bat poo in the floor. All sort of insects would start to live there, for example cockroaches, and the they would eat any bats that had fallen from to ceiling of the cave.

Hmm, also if there are different ways to see evil, can we say that there is an absolute and universal definition of evil that everybody shares?
 

Victor

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Back to the question, what is the meaning of a structured society governed by laws or anything for that matter when we should be free to do as we please?
We have evolved as a social species that relies on intelligence and working together to climb to dominance and stay there. Society works that way because that's the way it had to work in order for us to stay around. Most people don't go around in total anarchy because they've been a) raised to not do that b) have evolved to have empathy c) the benefits don't outweigh the consequences
 

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I don't think nature is inherently evil. It's harsh, sure. It almost seems as though the universe isn't a place for life at all... and the minuscule pockets of space that aren't freezing vacuum or intense fusion reactions still do everything they can to kill what's there. But is there really an intent behind it? I don't think so.

... Thinking about the definition of evil is reminding me of what I learned in philosophy class about Socrates and Plato's Forms of justice... and so, I don't have a real answer on what true evil is, even though I know it exists and I certainly believe in it.

However, even though the specific definitions of "evil" vary wildly from person to person, let alone culture to culture, what one can do is to take in all those ideas and definitions of evil and compare them. What do all of those qualities share in common, with no exceptions, that gives them the label of evil? Find that... and you find your answer.
 

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Morality (or some manner of code of conduct) is a social animal thing. There is no such thing as good or evil in the universe because the universe is not a thing which can conceive of it. It simply exists, and things happen within it. Human morality is much more complex, but it's just a bigger scale and more involved version of what other social species do. Good and evil are things that we decide.

So on the question of the purpose of law if we should be able to do whatever; the answer is that we shouldn't be able to do whatever. It's common to look to the universe for absolutes by which we should conduct our lives, but they aren't there and we don't need them. We made them, so we'll use them, and they seem to work (we're doing pretty good as a species, after all). Just because the universe itself does not have our laws built into them does not make them diminish in value. Because they are our laws, so they matter to us, and they are important to us. And when we're talking about our society, that's about all you really need to justify it.
 

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I don't believe in evil.

To me, evil is the infliction of misery without reason. Every act that I have observed has been to the ends of self-satisfaction, and therefore is justified to the person performing the act. This applies for even the most extravagant of cases, such as murder, genocide, and war. That is not to say, though, that I do not believe in ethics. As has been touched on, I think that as humans, we have decided how humans should act, and I also believe in just punishment for not complying with the way that laws command us to behave. Despite there being no evil, I still believe there is a right and wrong way to act.
 

Relix

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Yeah, that is an rather cruel form of evil. There is just so many forms it can take. Whether it`s a human born into poverty and miserable conditions, or an society which does not treat it`s citizens equally.
Both have been portrayed a lot more frequently over the years. It’s sad because I know a great number of people who think only recently things haven’t gotten bad but in actuality, things have always been bad it is just thanks to modern technology that we have access to such knowledge.

Oh yeah, now that I think of it I have heard that term before.
What is also interesting is that a scenario which the philosopher described actually exits in nature. I watched an documentary about South America, and there in the depths of a jungle there was an massive cave full of bats. The bats laid waste on the floor of the cave and as time went on, there would be huge amount of uh... well bat poo in the floor. All sort of insects would start to live there, for example cockroaches, and the they would eat any bats that had fallen from to ceiling of the cave.
Yup, the very same scenario. This was described by the philosopher as “natural evil.” I should comment though that the philosopher was arguing that evil doesn’t exist because if it DID exist than scenarios such as the one you mentioned above would be categorized as natural evil and an evil without a direct agent to blame is unjust therefore the concepts of a greater good and evil cannot exist because any good force would keep such an “evil” thing from happening. I believe that was the thought process, forgive me my memory sucks.

Hmm, also if there are different ways to see evil, can we say that there is an absolute and universal definition of evil that everybody shares?
It’s very difficult to say (for some more than others, depending on your belief system). Is there an absolute definition of evil that everyone shares? Someone can argue that despite the many different forms evil takes for countless people it has a single source, if that makes sense. In other words evil appears differently to those it is presented to but it is still evil. Presuming it exists. What one person might view as “evil” another person might view as “necessary” but who has the right to make that call? Is there a universal moral code that we all have to follow? Or do we each, down to the very individual, have the right to command what we believe is right or wrong? Obviously that is not the case seeing how we have laws and regulations as a society we are “meant” to follow.


We have evolved as a social species that relies on intelligence and working together to climb to dominance and stay there. Society works that way because that's the way it had to work in order for us to stay around. Most people don't go around in total anarchy because they've been a) raised to not do that b) have evolved to have empathy c) the benefits don't outweigh the consequences
Fair enough. But couldn’t one argue that “working together” is a ruse? On paper yes we can say “society has come together to climb to dominance” or “the way it had to work” but in actuality only a fraction of people are truly “benefitting”? I mean take things like the Baghdad Airstrike or, “Collateral Murder” as WikiLeaks calls it, things like this operated within this “climb to dominance” not acts by your common anarchist but those who are not only members of society but leaders of it. I suppose what I am getting at is, wouldn’t this technically be viewed as people climbing to dominance naturally? I’m probably getting a little touchy there. I suppose what I am saying is what if those who truly have dominance in this world (let’s be honest in a perfect world we’d all be moving towards a society together but we have people calling the shots towards that “vision” for us) decide that human progression involves committing something heinous. I guess a clearer way to put it is, haven’t people like those responsible for covered mass murders, intentional poverty, ignorance of those in need etc , haven’t these kinds of people already committed “total anarchy” against the rest of society? Just trying to change the face of the anarchist here; Instead of a person of society rebelling against authority it’s a person of authority ignoring society (which should be an authority in itself if we are “working together”). Would they still have a moral obligation?

Morality (or some manner of code of conduct) is a social animal thing. There is no such thing as good or evil in the universe because the universe is not a thing which can conceive of it. It simply exists, and things happen within it. Human morality is much more complex, but it's just a bigger scale and more involved version of what other social species do. Good and evil are things that we decide.

So on the question of the purpose of law if we should be able to do whatever; the answer is that we shouldn't be able to do whatever. It's common to look to the universe for absolutes by which we should conduct our lives, but they aren't there and we don't need them. We made them, so we'll use them, and they seem to work (we're doing pretty good as a species, after all). Just because the universe itself does not have our laws built into them does not make them diminish in value. Because they are our laws, so they matter to us, and they are important to us. And when we're talking about our society, that's about all you really need to justify it.
Excellent points; because we’ve created them they matter to us and that is what matters. I believe this is the point that Victor was trying to make as well (Victor can confirm that if I’m wrong). I suppose following that thought process those who do not value them, those who it does not matter to, should be expelled from society as well. I suppose that’s what imprisonment is for (although they are judged by the very laws that do not believe in). And by no means should the value of a law diminish because they were created by us, but what do you say to someone who finds no value in the law?

I don't believe in evil.

To me, evil is the infliction of misery without reason. Every act that I have observed has been to the ends of self-satisfaction, and therefore is justified to the person performing the act. This applies for even the most extravagant of cases, such as murder, genocide, and war. That is not to say, though, that I do not believe in ethics. As has been touched on, I think that as humans, we have decided how humans should act, and I also believe in just punishment for not complying with the way that laws command us to behave. Despite there being no evil, I still believe there is a right and wrong way to act.
I agree believing in ethics is a completely different thing (though the discussion of ethics can be used to answer, or at least help answer, the very question we’re discussing). Talking about ethics, specifically meta-ethics, the question of “What is the nature of moral judgments?” which touches on whether moral judgments are “universal” or “relative.” I guess that goes back to if moral judgments are could be argued as relative why adhere to someone else’s relative moral judgment? I believe Victor argued the need to survive or fear the consequences but are these consequences “just”? Which is another meta-ethics frequently asked question: “How may moral judgments be supported or defended?”

Doing some research on this I suppose the argument I am making to the stance that we created laws therefore they should be followed is the person who adheres to “Moral nihilism.” It is described as “consider[ing] morality to be constructed, a complex set of rules and recommendations that may give a psychological, social, or economical advantage to its adherents, but is otherwise without universal or even relative truth in any sense.” Do you guys believe people who would adopt this philosophy are dangerous to our society or don’t belong it?

Nothing to do with thread: I hope I am not rubbing anyone the wrong way here, the most interesting conversation I’ve had on this forum in a while so I’m not much for filtering.
 

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Now this is a topic I can get behind. I've had discussions similar to this with friends, and it's great to be able to have serious conversations on subject matter like this.


On the topic: I have very dulled senses when it comes to good and evil, right and wrong, or just morality in general. Perspective has a very big deciding factor on what you can see as right and wrong. I've had people try and tell me that morality is an instinct, but I personally think it's just a social construct to keep us from killing each other.


For example: In a situation of total anarchy with no social standing, can you really say what is right and what is wrong if no one there tells you? Or look at the double standards there. Murder is wrong, but if it's a soldier fighting for freedom or someone protecting their home and family from an intruder, we look the other way and call them a hero. If someone 'steals' human beings and trades them on the sex market, that's just evil but if someone steals a loaf of bread because they're homeless and have nothing to their name, we are willing to look the other way.


Might sound like a broken record, but again: I think evil is just an abstract concept that morphs to fit your own definition, and it changes based on perspective.



This is going to be a hell of an example, but I feel it's a good one. Take Big Boss from the Metal Gear Franchise. He's the main villain of the first two games, and from then on we just think he's this horrible person that was ready to nuke everything to protect his Army without Borders. Then Metal Gear Solid 3 comes along, and we're playing as Big Boss before he got the title, his origin story as it were. More games come out, and fans wonder when, and why he started becoming the villain we knew from the original. Along comes MGSV: The Phantom Pain, a game that would tie everything together and close all open doors. Only, it doesn't. I won't explain why, as the game is still fairly new.

Superbunnyhop on YouTube and a few others summed it up best: We didn't get to see Big Boss go down that path to become evil, because he already had. As of Portable Ops and Peace Walker, he was kidnapping soldiers to fill his own ranks, even women and children, conscientious objectors, and all to his ranks. All were employed as soldiers, scientists, Comms specialists, etc. Sure, some volunteered, but the vast majority of his business was from kidnapping.


So, then, knowing this why is it that we couldn't tell? Because we were seeing it from Boss' perspective. His charisma and jaded views of The Boss' will and seeing his actions through his eyes instead of those of, say, the United States, took away that tone of 'Evil'. If you look at it from else where you see this man kidnapping men, women and children to fight for him, sometimes against their will at first. He's not aligned with any country, owns a nuclear weapon and has a weapon that could launch said nuke anywhere if he so wills it. His business is war, so he tries to keep countries fighting, or else everything he established is for naught.


I felt that that is the best example to get across my view of perspective skewing 'good' and 'evil'.
 

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scientifically speaking no. evil doesn't exist.

on an emotional level yes, we have terrorism which ranges from blowing up the twin towers to shooting 50 theatergoers. pharmaceutical companies who raise the cost of medicine people need to further their financial gain (being a more motive-driven sort of evil), like stated by OP is rape, murder, thievery, etc.

if you want to really get to the core, it can be subjective. taking a life is cut and dry, but in cases of self defense or making a decision for the "greater good" (somebody, prove me it's existence and then i'll be impressed), its justifiable. rape is completely inexcusable, sew your oats because you can't get laid is absolutely fucking sick, go jerk off like a normal basement dweller. thievery? are you breaking into someone's house? stealing their life savings to feed a habit or addiction? for fun? or is it to survive? its a grey area.

i don't believe in natural evil. your body breaks down and our planet does shit. of course i haven't even begun to scratch the surface of the whole subject but take it as you will.
 

KingdomKey

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What comes strongly to mind is human beings are irrational and contradictory all of the time. Therefore I've decided there is no right or wrong answer to this fascinating question. And evil can be used in certain context but, on a realistic scale, it'd be like calling or labeling a person a monster or evil. You can't really label anyone or anything evil because, what one person may call evil might not be evil at all. (A tricky thing for me to say.) And finally all human beings have a conscience.

[Also, I really hope I don't offend anybody with what I say below either.]

Relix said:
I can understand that and have no problem agreeing that just because we are capable of evil does not make us evil. However I remember reading somewhere (horrible at sourcing forgive me) something along that lines of "The presence of random injustice means that there is no justice. The fact that innocents can be destroyed means that there is no innocence." I suppose that philosophy adopts that "if something (or in this case if someone) is good than evil should not be capable and because evil is capable they are not good." What are your thoughts on that? But like you I believe that the ability, the free will, to have the ability to choose evil but decide to do good makes us good…
Oh boy. I had to ponder this for a time, but I think I understand the concept of this philosophy and it's hard to argue against. I know I mentioned free will, but again, it's like newton's law of physics. I think in order for this philosophy to be right something has to be literally set in motion for there to be good or evil. Even if there's a presence of random injustice where there is no justice, something has to make it happen in order for there to be random injustice in a place without justice. It has to exist there to begin with. I feel like this could apply to a person, but I'll elaborate more on it later. (I got a headache right now from thinking too hard. xD)

Relix said:
So humans are capable of both good and evil but are not inherently evil, correct?
Actually, something came to mind that may of disapproved my own hypothesis.

I realized that when we are born we have clean slates until our own brains develop enough to mature into speaking, talking, and walking. As we age, our own behavior can exhibit signs of being serial killers, murderers, terrorists, and ect. Hypothetically speaking, say that I know someone who has ADHD and exhibits behavior unfitting for society: stealing cars, bullying, slitting a rabbits throat then posting it on youtube, lying, manipulating others, and getting into fist fights. These things could escalate into something we'd call or label evil depending on how far that hypothetical person goes. So it is possible to be inherently evil. [I don't believe it matters if a person is raised right or has repercussions on what they do until corrected enough to become a benefit to society. They'll still do it because it gives them self satisfaction.]

But here's the thing: How would you measure evil in a person to begin with? [For example: A ten year old boy goes out into the woods and uses a magnify glass to murder harmless frogs and ants. No one else knows about it and the boy goes about his daily tasks each day with a loving family. Does that make him evil? Now what if he grew up to be a man without a guilty conscience for hurting something weaker than him to kill in the past. Would you throw him in jail for his past deeds? Would you not let him marry and have a family of his own? Now think about it. Was it survival of the fittest for him to kill something weak and harmless to him? Was it for power? Or was it merely curiosity?]

What I was trying to get at with my example is there is no real way of knowing, if a person is truly inherently evil. Somewhere out there somebody created laws and guidelines for us to follow in order to not commit mass murder or anything remotely evil. We can't prevent people who we think are inherently evil because it'd be a witch hunt and a genocide. The thing about us humans is we give people the benefit of the doubt the moment they're born; we let them grow up and hope they'll follow the guidelines in society to become a decent person. However not everyone turns out to be a good apple like the rest, despite whatever circumstances they fall under. Regardless, no matter what there's no excuse for a person committing what we call evil deeds.

Relix said:
That’s very interesting! I’ve also thought how can we judge someone who does not have the same or similar mental capacity as we do (or rather the majority do)? What makes their view warped and our view normal? Simply because we’re the majority? There are those who are not able to grasp the concept of what we consider right or wrong. Does that make them evil even when they choose what we consider “wrong?”
The beauty of this is it's a trick question with no real answer because there isn't one. We'd go mad by trying to come up with a right answer. What we consider evil or normal might not be the same thing in another person's eyes. There's no way to say one person's perspective is right while the other person with a mental disability is wrong. I suppose that's why we have democracy in society to make it fair, or close to fair. (I'm getting off track.)

To put it in a better view: If a person who is merely touched by a disability (they're close to what we call normal but have limitations,) and understands what they're doing is evil and voluntarily does it. Yes, this makes them evil.

If a person who has more than a touch of a disability and can't function or grasp a concept a normal person can despite the help they get from others and commits something evil: No. So many factors can fall into place on why they choose the wrong thing. It can be an accident. It can be manipulation from a third party. It can be something they don't understand because they simply can't or don't have the brain capacity to do so.

----

I also agree with what Pandymint said about evil as well.
 

Nyangoro

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While it's by no means the only thing that influences morality, it's important to remember that empathy is a crucial part of how we decide whether something is ethical or not. And empathy is an evolved trait. Even in a state where there are no explicit laws, members in a society will still generally avoid actions that cause harm to those in their group. Law, though it influences and is influenced by culture, provides a way to identify and deal with "deviants," not a means to prescribe morality.

Put another way, morality exists before law does. It's just that both are made by us for us.
 

Pinwheel

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It is not a matter of believing in evil. Evil exists whether you believe it or not.
Not really, no. There's no objective evidence to say evil exists, unless you've got something to show that can prove so. There's subjective evil - what different people interpret as being evil. It's all perspective on how you see what people define as evil or not.

There are plenty of things I find abhorrent and would call evil personally, but it entirely stems from my opinion of what I dislike about certain things morally.
 

Tartarus

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"Evil" is like the word "crazy." Nothing's that one-dimensional, it's just an easy way to describe behavior that is incomprehensible and/or immoral/unethical.
 

bgizzles45

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Not really, no. There's no objective evidence to say evil exists, unless you've got something to show that can prove so. There's subjective evil - what different people interpret as being evil. It's all perspective on how you see what people define as evil or not.

There are plenty of things I find abhorrent and would call evil personally, but it entirely stems from my opinion of what I dislike about certain things morally.
There is no objective evidence to say good exist. Do you agree with this?
 
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