The Nature of Evil

Isn’t it true that every evil, and I mean every, stems from the preposition that “power corrupts”. If something is not powerful, or is weak, then calling it evil is only a half truth. Something has to be powerful for it to constitute evil.

Or good, for that matter.

What say you? Prove me wrong, for once.

Hmm… such a thing to ask. :smiley:

I would say (and often have) that the very seed of all “sin” stems from presumption, acting without sufficient forethought. “Sin” literally means “missing the mark”, making a mistake. So if a proposition is given and it is a mistake or leads to a mistake, the giving of it was a sin.

A mistake for a living entity isn’t a mistake unless it is evil (anti-life) because life strives only for life, else it isn’t life although might stem from the effort of life. Thus all actual sins are evil. To not sin is to be counter to evil.

But every sin is not concerned with power. It is a sin to not be concerned with enough power. It is a sin to be concerned with too much power. And it is a sin to not be concerned with the corruption or stability of power. But the greater sin is to simply ignore power entirely, fore that would be to ignore evil. If one ignores evil, he cannot be counter to it for long and thus must sin and become the very evil that he was ignoring.

Evilness is misdirected faith. The faith that power cannot be corrupted is just as evil as the misdirected faith that power is always corrupted. Properly directed faith is keeping tabs on both hope and threat, on both “good and evil” before presuming to act, decide, or judge. The corruptibility of power is merely one of many issues to consider before presuming in error.

…but don’t ask me if that proves you right or wrong. :laughing:

Every week I have to work in a stressful environment, with miscommunication and problems abound. People make false judgments, accuse each of others of mistakes. People don’t want to take responsibility for wrongs, but only rights. People want to be good, but blame evil on others. Mistakes, accidents, falsity, everybody errs eventually. But in a position of authority, you are never allowed to admit mistakes, ever. Because this will cause people to question your authority.

I agree that good and evil revolve around knowledge and ignorance. People make mistakes, based on ignorance. Human knowledge is extremely small and limited. I’ve seen people blow up and blame each other for their own mistakes. It would be embarrassing, if exposed.

I also believe fear, therefore hatred, revolves around the unknown. People only fear the unknown or cannot be known. And people correctly associate fear with evil.

People also fear the aspects of themselves, which they cannot or will not admit to. People maliciously hurt others, sometimes. Whether innocent or guilty, doesn’t really matter. What matters is the intent or responsibility of harm.

But that’s the periphery of true evil. As You enter the heart of darkness, you will see, that real fear, concerns the abjegation of your self. This becomes an unresolved duplicity between the depth of enigmatic masks, and the lightness of being. The lightness tries to take you upward, whereas long lost appearances of evil beneath pull you down. They are the lost ones, and their lostness is the eternal dynamic of memory. Being does not remeber, although is attentive to every nuance they have ever entertained.

All too true.
And yet void of presumption, none of it would take place. It isn’t required to be all-knowing anf void of ignoance, as long as one doesn’t presume, act without careful forethought.

And in life a degree of presumption is required. But that degree of presumption is forgivable … by those not ignorant of the need to forgive.

The lack of forgiveness, just like the over abundance of presumption, leads to evil and thus is itself evil.

And as Obe said;

Presumptions are most often founded upon remembered experiences, tempting hasty judgment; “Judge not, lest…” Or more simply, “Presume not, lest ….”

One cannot certainly identify evil without being certain of anti-evil.

Clarify, Verify, Instill (remember/document/form), and Reinforce…
… the Perception of Hopes and Threats…
… unto Anentropic Harmony.

… Else evil abounds undeterred.

By doing it to itself, one learns if it is true to do it at all.

There are two contrasting views of the criminal mind. Paul Menninger wrote, crime is everybody’s temptation, in each of us there is some criminal temptation. “The latest biological theories of crime, however, stress that criminals cannot help what they do, it is all in their genes”.

Bad men do what good men dream, Frantz Fanon, a West Indian psychiatrist, believed that a little murder did wonders for the psyche of the downtrodden. The view in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, that in each of us there is a dark side, and if we deny this it can impede our ability to know ourselves and control at times our own unacceptable impulses.

Secondly, the alternative view to the above of criminals, is that the violent criminal is really a monster, is an evil different breed to “ourselves”. This person may masquerade as normal but really is a sociopath, different from the rest. This is the view of psychiatrist Hervey M Cleckley, who wrote The Mask of Sanity. Do serial killers, primarily need to gain control, is it a dissociation from reality, the thrill of finally gaining control, or is it simply a biochemical condition.

There have been novels about such people, In Cold Blood (based on fact) and Badlands and there have been real life people who have masqueraded as normal. Harold Shipman, the physician who has the distinction of killing the most people in Britain and Michael Swango, a physician in the U.S. What are your feelings on this, do you understand and sympathize with a person’s impulse to “trespass”. Is crime everybody’s temptation and does the ability to know our dark side give us the power to control ourselves, or is the violent criminal really a monster, masquerading as normal, does the sociopath criminal really differ fundamentally in his psychological makeup. Are the criminals an evil different breed, or are they just like “us” but maybe they have lost the ability to control their impulses.

People, anyone, under the right conditions can do evil. Are people born evil or are they shaped into evil by society.

Evil is hubristic disrespect for ecosystems. We may all die from that.

In fact everyone entertains presumtions of some kind. To overcome them on a conscious level is not possible for most people, simply because of conditioning at a very early age, into various adaptive models of behavior, mis-appropriating them to their own short term benefit.

Presumption is of various kinds and degrees, it can take the fom of assuming certain social niceties on a personal level, presumably not with the intent to change another person’s point of view, or it can go to the gamit of overstepping bounderies to try to convince people ofthe rightness of their views.

An analogy, which may not sound convncing,is the one involving ISIS. The fall of the Soviet Union as a viable power, left an indistinct power vacum in it’s wake, due to political and economic motifs, the most of which was an ideologically unresolved struggle between a German idealsocial democracy, which sought an ideal resolution. The Soviets carried the banner of socialism on the left, and the West, the insignia of freedom. Germany tried to unify the dialectic, in it’s pure sense, and that became a presumption, which needed to be substantiated.

That it was not, left the ideology , albeit in substantive terms, (so that it could be popularized),

Whether ISIS is a metaphor on that hinging idea, or an actual reaction to the lack produced by that difference, would raise the question, of whether that
front was a presumptive effort to an early diffusion of
unresolved ideological issues, by legitimising one system against another. Thje object being, a need to make that diffusion understandible and legitimate.

Why the front? It is necessary in this case for various reasons, economic-oil- being primary. But,evil in this scenario would effect a far worse scenario, if, things were left un attended, and left to it’s own devices, since the world economy would fall apart, if this area of the world would be de-signified as anything but most important.

Alot of people have troube in justifying why the US took out Saddam Hussein, and those very people are saying that that isthe primaryn reason for the emeegence of Isis. But perhaps, this was a presumtion which may not hold water, the best bet is that a front had to be built up, and a dictator, who presumed otherwise, made a bad miscalculation. Evils in this scenario are only based on miscalculating effects which certain actions have consequence on.
Like a bad chess move, where forseeability of
consequences will make the difference.

But moves on the world chessboard need to be very carefully anayzed, and if there was an appearent mistake, it certainly was made only to appear that way. Diffusion rather than confusion works reversely here, the appearance of less confusion will trump opinion, and the ideological struggle will seem only a remote idea, not worth discussing.

If this is not within the scope of the discussion, i apologise, however, true evil resides in veiled but possibly mistaken common objectives.

I view ‘evil’ as an adjective (not a noun) that encompasses human acts (intentional or unintentional) that has a serious threat to the survival of the individual(s), groups and the human species.

‘Evilness’ comes in degrees, say 1(low) and 9(high).
For example, an individual beheading the neighbors pet dogs and cats may be ranked 1 and the genocides of Hitler, Stalin, ISIS would be ranked 9. All other evil acts would be somewhere between 1 to 9 based on common consensus.

IMO, it is critical that we get the concept of “evil” correct in the philosophical sense for the following reasons;

For a detailed coverage of the concept of evil, note this;

Something doesn’t necessarily have to be “powerful” for it to constitute evil, Wizard. By the same token, power can be for the good, for the beneficial.
I suppose it might also depend on your perspective of what is powerful? Perhaps you would not consider a Mother Teresa or an Albert Schweitzer or a Martin Luther King, or any great personage who influenced and changed the world for the better, as powerful.

Evil stems more from a lack of awareness or self-awareness. Power which can corrupt stems from a lack of awarenss or self-awareness, a lack of “knowing” what we are truly capable of as human beings, and from misdirection. Power is only a tool with the potentialfor good or for evil. It just depends on how that tool is used.
Someone who looks on their self as weak or as having no purpose or meaning, no affirmation of their existence, can become as equally evil or corruptible as its opposite…someone who views him or her- self as some kind of ubermensch and above all the rest of us.

I don’t really believe evil exists in a literal sense.