Existance of Evil

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by g0pher, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Does evil exist? Or, does it exist only as the term we have given to the "lack of" or "void of" good or accepted perfection?
  2. Hmmm, good thread, shame it won't let me rep you. I think the hard part is finding a common meaning of the term 'evil', one that we'll all accept. We can't grade the things that people do to each other and say that these acts here we count as simple badness and immorality, and those over there as evil - because the trouble is that what constitutes badness or evil is different for every one of us. Person to person, culture to culture. We can only assess people's behaviour by judging it on our own moral values.

    What is evil? How would you personally define it?

  3. It seems that without the concept of something being "right", the concept of "wrong" cannot exist. A little child may act in destructive ways not because he is evil because the concept (social, moral, or religious) has not been instilled yet.

    It's similar to saying that without a law system, one cannot know what is illegal or legal. However, goodness and evil are rather different from legalities, but a good enough comparison.
  4. The same can be said for many adults.
  5. I don't think evil exists as an entity in and of itself. I believe it's a composite of perception, imagination, and mental illness.
  6. I assume evil is not a traditional "thing". It is a thought. Since it is based on your perception it is relative. If it is relative it is fairly pointless to discuss but Ill try anyways.

    Evil is a characteristic that we apply to things that are wrong/untrue. Wrong and untrue are actual things. You can objectively show that they exist. Evil is something you think about something that exists so evil is, at best, a pseudo-real thing.

    I would equate evil to an emotion. Its the way you feel about something, not the way something is. People apply values to facts. The facts are real, the values are relative.

    Im defining evil as an applied characteristic to things that are wrong. I suppose someone could argue that wrong is applied characteristic to things that are evil and that I have it all backwards.

    I get the feeling that this is one of the problems that could have been avoided if language was created by logicians. This seems like more of a word game than a discussion of what exists and what doesn't.
  7. Care to elaborate? Not sure if objectively they could be proven if just before you said it is all relative...
  8. I didn't say that wrong and untrue were relative. I said the characteristics, such as evil, that you apply to them in your own mind are relative.

    2+2=5 is wrong and untrue because 2 more than 2 is by definition 4. If you want to call 2+2=5 evil then I think that would be relative.

    I think we should define evil before we take this discussion any further. I am actually torn on this topic. Evil is a value, is a value a thing that objectively exists or is it an emotion or thought? I am leaning towards an emotion but I am not sure that I could prove it. Are evil and wrong the same thing? Is this all a language game? Im perplexed.
  9. Good and Evil are simply a perspective.

    Hitler thought he was doing "good", but to the majority of the world it was "evil".

    Therefore it only matters to the culprit...

    It makes no difference what everyone else thought about him, to him he was a good man...
  10. Matter/Anti-Matter



    the concept of evil is an expression of the dualities of the universe, if we are 'good' then those who disagree are 'evil', and therefore I feel its just another political tool, and too subjective, most of the time. A better gauge of behavior might be less critical of the subjects, and more in touch with all the forces involved.
  11. No matter how you define good/evil or what your perception of what good/evil is, there will always be a balance. You cannot have one without the other. Good/evil could be a metaphor for balance.
  12. well if good exists then i am 99.99999 % sure evil would . i believe in balance.

    actually scratch that i only know i am real . i dont know if anything else is real. im pretty sure this life is real but i m not sure about anything else. "I think Therefore i am" - Hypocrates
  13. Quoting the Tao Te Ching:

    When everyone recognizes beauty as beautiful,
    there is already ugliness;
    When everyone recognizes goodness as good,
    there is already evil.
    "To be" and "not to be" arise mutually;
    Difficult and easy are mutually realized;
    Long and short are mutually contrasted;
    High and low are mutually posited;...
    Before and after are in mutual sequence.

    And a Zen poem to top it off:

    The perfect Way is without difficulty,
    Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
    Only when you stop liking and disliking
    Will all be clearly understood.
    A split hair's difference,
    And heaven and earth are set apart!
    If you want to get the plain truth,
    Be not concerned with right and wrong.
    The conflict between right and wrong
    Is the sickness of the mind.

    Just some food for thought.
  14. Evil is doing anything that you think is wrong. If you belive it to be wrong, yet still pursue it, that is Evil. Otherwise its just a disagreement and what is and isn't right.

  15. Actually; it was René Descartes who said that. ;)

    In my opinion, evil and good are subjective, mutually exclusive concepts. In some cultures, cannabalism isn't seen as immoral, wrong or evil; yet to most of the world it is.

    Evil exists, but only in the mind of the perciever.
  16. Once your consciousness recognizes "evil" it exists for your consciousness...through the manifestation it was.

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