IS EVIL REAL? OR, LIKE GOD, A HUMAN INVENTION?
April 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm #8794
Can you operate with never using the word ‘evil’? Would there be an obstacle to your communications without this word? It’s a ‘magic thinking’ word, and since no human is all bad or all good, it would appear to be an invalid termApril 17, 2018 at 3:32 pm #8795
Strega, in some instances those adjectives are insufficient to express the degree of malevolence. If the word evil is reserved for the nadir in human behavior then i support its use.
Besides, what fun would it be to chant EVIL MONKEY unless those precise words are chanted? Do we want to be limited by spiteful monkey? Or worse yet, unkind monkey!April 17, 2018 at 7:53 pm #8796
We could say that those other kinds of horribleness are just different degrees and types of evil.April 17, 2018 at 8:24 pm #8797
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
What would you call or label the absence of evil?April 18, 2018 at 3:08 am #8798
Why do we need an antonym to validate a word or concept?
Absence of evil might be identified with absence of humans…April 18, 2018 at 6:11 am #8799
How does that work?
TRANSCENDENTApril 18, 2018 at 7:41 am #8800
“What would you call or label the absence of evil?”
– peace.April 18, 2018 at 11:23 am #8801
Discussions of evil are much better with epic film and music
The concept works well for simpletons.April 18, 2018 at 4:21 pm #8802
This is excellent tooApril 18, 2018 at 6:38 pm #8803
So, I think that evil is not so much a human invention, as an emergent property of: 1) all being competitive individuals 2) in a world where we have to cooperate to survive.
Natural selection is relative to those around us, so it’s not enough to be doing well, there is a tension between doing better than others and helping others.
Competition and self-interest can become distorted into domination and spite.April 18, 2018 at 11:47 pm #8804
The thing about the word evil is, it strongly implies some kind of consistently malevolent agency as its sponsor, in fact, consistently malevolent enough to define the agency’s over-riding character. Think Satan, for instance. Like Strega says, there’s the implication (if not certainty) that what’s behind the evil is supernatural agency.
It is human nature to demonize an enemy, especially an enemy that foments atrocities. Hitler’s a good example, and some if his henchmen. Here’s the thing… when theists use the word, they know what they’re saying, and it’s not only a valid word to them, but it’s clear to (e.g.) atheists what they mean. I’ve used the word often, but always with a flavor of hyperbole, just like a lot of other hyperbole that’s common in human language. And language is completely a human construct.
I’d say ISIS is evil. Ok, that’s hyperbolic, but I’d say it to their faces. After all, that’s how they think.April 19, 2018 at 1:46 am #8806
I don’t at all appreciate a necessary implication or association between evil and supernatural. The word evil does not bar the supernatural but neither is it required.
In a philosophical perspective evil is perhaps a silly human construct and we and everything else in the universe is simply matter in motion or reducible to physics. Evil is also a concept that is used by simple-minded people who mostly see black and white. But ya know what, we are human and it is a really useful concept and word. It oughtn’t be used frequently and when a literal meaning is conveyed it ought to be reserved for seriously depraved cruelty. I am reminded of the issue of free will and strict determinism. For those of us who subscribe to it we may compartmentalize our day to day lives in which we judge and become emotional all the while realizing that there is no real blame or justifiable condemnation of anything or any person.April 19, 2018 at 2:16 am #8807
The words good and evil have a political use, which is the first purpose of government: to control large numbers of people.
They have synonyms, which are I like and I don’t like respectively, and they are masks for the rulers’ motives.April 19, 2018 at 9:28 am #8809
@tomsarbeck – I think the terms can be manipulated for political purposes, but surely the “others” only go from “weird” to “bad” when they become a threat to “us”.April 19, 2018 at 1:59 pm #8811
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.