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The Nature Of Good And Evil

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posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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What is evil? What is good? No one has what can be considered a "de facto" answer, but we all have our own opinions on the subject. ATS permitting, I'd like to share my own view.

Let's start out by saying that I am part Taoist, as in I believe that both good and evil are very necessary in this world. Candle and the shadow, you know. Dark and light. So we have people who believe that evil exists in a tangible form, that we have spirits that are completely evil or serve an evil master, or we believe that leaders of various groups are evil.

We're all about calling things evil. But why do we say evil? How do we define it? What is evil?

What most people don't seem to realize, is that what we call "evil" is simply our term for something whose very nature is to TAKE AWAY. In terms of "evil", whatever object or creature is exhibiting it will always take, take, take...and that hurts anything that is around it because of our survival instincts. Losing something is akin to losing a chance to stay alive. Food, clothing, weapons, tools, shelter, health, whatever. Evil is to take. Good is to give. But see, to take and to give are both necessary in life. We must take in order to live, but give in order to have a life.


We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
- Sir Winston Churchill


So see, evil is not a NATURE, or a QUALITY, so much as a PERSPECTIVE. It's all about how we look at it. For instance, someone can kill a black man, and you will have controversial viewpoints all around. Some people are happy because they believe that blacks are unworthy, some are mad because they believe in equality. The ones who call blacks unworthy don't see it as evil, and therefore they do not call it evil. Vice versa for the equality guys.

So when we talk about "good", what does that mean? How do we define good, now that we've briefly examined evil? Good is the act of giving, but giving all the time is not a good thing. Many times, we must take in order to survive. Of course, if everyone was always giving to someone else, there's no doubt that we'd all be covered. Either that, or we'd be playing hot potato for the rest of the time we're around.


Good is service to all others at the cost of the self. It is absolute selflessness...something I would never expect of a human being, regardless of its deity *ahem*. That's about it. But see, again, it's all perspective. What's considered "good" to one nation, person, or culture, is considered an abomination to another group or individual.

So here's the question: If good and evil are largely based on perspective, how do we know what's right and wrong? Is morality a cultural trait, or a nurture effect, or does it really come from somewhere else?

Take your time answering, I want a good discussion out of this.
Thanks for reading!
edit on 31-7-2012 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


Explanation: S&F!

I use an independant standard by which to define WHO is good or evil.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]


Article 1.
•All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


And it is this simple to determine who fails or meets that simple independant standard by asking a single question ...

"Will you take a 'No' for an answer?"

If they hesitate it is clearly because they are looking to squirm out of answering it! That is logical but unreasonable and therefor both that act and the person are evil.

If they immediately answer "NO!" they wont take a 'No' for an answer then that is also logical but is also unreasonable and therefor both that act and the person are evil.

If they immediately answer "Yes!" they will take a 'No' for an answer then that is both logical and reasonable and they have identified themselves to be a human being ... who by default ARE INHERENTLY GOOD AT ALL TIMES REGARDLESS!

However if later on they are shown to be liars and untrue to their words of course that was also logical but highly unreasonble and both the act, of lying, and that person are evil.

Evil people are NOT human beings ... they ARE MONSTERS!

Monsters are OUTLAWS and as such can be killed anywhere at anytime with no legal ramifications.

Personal Disclosure: I am an unreasonable Monster who will logically and reasonably defend themselves against anybody, human or monster at anytime and in anyplace ... and to think or feel otherwise is unreasonably stupid, let alone illogical.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by AfterInfinity
What is evil? What is good? No one has what can be considered a "de facto" answer, but we all have our own opinions


I stopped reading there because I ran into some serious problems with this statement.

If we are discussing mere opinions here, then there is nothing to debate and the conversation becomes trivial. There'd be no difference between this discussion and "Oh, you like strawberry ice cream? Well, I like chocolate!"



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


"So see, evil is not a NATURE, or a QUALITY, so much as a PERSPECTIVE. "

If this is true then nobody can ever be incorrect when they make a moral judgment.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:25 AM
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reply to post by Reasonous
 


If good and evil were absolutes, they wouldn't change over time, or differ from culture to culture.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:28 AM
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reply to post by Reasonous
 



I stopped reading there because I ran into some serious problems with this statement.

If we are discussing mere opinions here, then there is nothing to debate and the conversation becomes trivial.


85% of this site is nothing but opinion. If you have a problem with that, why are you here? Why did you even bother posting?



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:29 AM
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reply to post by Reasonous
 


Hence the question at the end of the OP. Did you answer it, or are you asking me the same question?



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:33 AM
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So here's the question: If good and evil are largely based on perspective, how do we know what's right and wrong? Is morality a cultural trait, or a nurture effect, or does it really come from somewhere else?


I think it is a combination of culture, and personal experiences that shape our morality.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:36 AM
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reply to post by TKDRL
 


So morality could actually be considered a science? When we kick a dog, we feel bad. Where does that come from? Is that also nurture?



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:42 AM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


I am not sure it will ever be possible to have anything psychological down to any real science. Too much variation. You have one kid grow up in a violent home, turns out the same way. Another kid in the same situation grows up to abhor violence. Just one example.

Killing animals for food is another, even being raised among hunters, there are always some kids that never get into it, and end up choosing not to hunt.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by TKDRL
reply to post by Reasonous
 


If good and evil were absolutes, they wouldn't change over time, or differ from culture to culture.


The scientific method is an "absolute" but that doesn't mean it's binding to anybody- they can believe whatever they want and it won't change a thing. Same with morality- ideas about good and evil may differ from culture to culture but that doesn't change any facts. Reality is mind-independent.

Morality is something that exists despite personal preferences. That's my point. If we are going to say "X is good" instead of just "I prefer X." then we must have a logical foundation for such a statement.
Here's a quick proof:
1. Reality is objective and consistent.
2. “Logic” is the set of objective and consistent rules derived from the consistency of reality.
3. Those theories that conform to logic are called “valid.”
4. Those theories that are confirmed by empirical testing are called “accurate.”
5. Those theories that are both valid and accurate are called “true.”
6. “Preferences” are required for life, thought, language and debating.
7. Debating requires that both parties hold “truth” to be both objective and universally preferable.
8. Thus the very act of debating contains an acceptance of universally preferable behaviour (UPB).
9. Theories regarding UPB must pass the tests of logical consistency and empirical verification.
10. The subset of UPB that examines enforceable behaviour is called “morality.”
11. As a subset of UPB, no moral theory can be considered true if it is illogical or unsupported by
empirical evidence.
12. Moral theories that are supported by logic and evidence are true. All other moral theories are
false.
(From Universally Preferable Behavior: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics

edit on 31-7-2012 by Reasonous because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 11:50 AM
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reply to post by TKDRL
 


That's because one thing we also haven't mastered, the human brain. We still don't know exactly what the mind is.

However, that's not the question here.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 12:01 PM
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If I look at it from the outside, I see good and evil as abstract terms used to describe the two extremes of one's semicircular moral compass. I picture this compass as a protractor, with 0º being good and 180º being evil. Even though there are 180º of gradation in between both extremes, those who we perceive as good fall below the 90º mark while the evil are above. This analogy is of course another abstraction on my part, and it can never be that simple, but I think it shows how many degrees of gradation we are failing to define in favour of the more convenient 'good and evil.'

I'm not quite convinced it's about giving and taking, as sometimes someone needs to take in order to do what he thinks is good. Likewise with someone giving for the purposes of doing evil. Despite the good intention behind the action, the result and effect can in the end prove evil depending on who looks at it.

Of course, objective morality is defined by culture, as every culture shares different versions of what good and evil is.

Thanks for hearing my opinion.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 12:56 PM
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Maybe your question can be better answered by asking this type of question.

Is the action done out of Love? or is the motive different?

This is the perspective you need to be judging actions upon.

If an action is not done through the guise of Love then it is evil. In my humble opinion.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 12:59 PM
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reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


What if we have to forget everything before we can really start learning?

Hey, just saw your thread here.....s/f...
will be back later to read more.
1pm is quittin' time for me....time for study, reading and meditation.

(Finally, a decent thread.....been getting boring round these parts!)
~wild



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 01:17 PM
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reply to post by Reasonous
 


The only place good and evil exist, is in the human mind.



posted on Aug, 8 2012 @ 01:18 PM
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It all boils down to a "Point of View". One must ask several questions to determine what is good and evil to an individual. Much like many arguments there is no absolute in good and evil unless one believes there is in which case there will also be those that do not. One can treat good and evil like a democracy and go with the vote of a majority. Do you believe in God or gods and if so is what they say good because they say or do they say it because it is good. If they say it because it is good then where did they get their point of view? If you believe in fate then choices really should not matter because the future is already determined. Or some follow the end result and whether or not the actions leading to it justify it.



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