Lost in Translation

The Advantage of Evil

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Posted (edited)

george.jpg

 

( edit and pasting a  missed quote in  doesnt work like it used to ? )

 

 

 

 

:D

 

I think the best way to observe the good  / evil polarity ,  within the context of  socio-cultural  dynamics, is in  one of our earliest still , extant , religions :  Zoroastrianism .

 

Everything in their scripture that was detrimental to their specific society was termed  'evil'  .

 

And everything  that advanced it was good and holy.   Eg, some types of ants were evil and some not .  The  ' grain carrying away' ants were 'evil' but other kinds were not .   Bad deeds (like killing an otter )  could be atoned for  by killing hundreds or thousands of 'evil' creatures ! So much for being the first religion to introduce animal rights !  ( Well, it did , for horses cows and dogs ... all beneficial to their way of life ) 

 

Even their prime concepts and understandings of 'spiritual' evil , and 'every day evil'  were originally  based on the people they were at war with, 'Davaeo , Daeva, Div ,  etc  (or , as history knows of them , Turanians *.    Their religion was even officially named as a movement against those people .  In Avestan : Mazdayasno Zarathushtrish Vidaevo Ahura-Tkaesho, that is, Zarathushtrian Mazda-Worship opposed to the Daeva through the laws of the Lord (Ahura).   Div and daeva can even be traced, via  Proto-Indo-European linguistics to such modern words as   devil, evil , deviate, etc .

 

*   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turan#Avesta 

 

( the original  'evil ones'  ;)  )

 

Edited by Nungali
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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Nungali said:

Everything in their scripture that was detrimental to their specific society was termed  'evil'  .

 

And everything  that advanced it was good and holy.   Eg, some types of ants were evil and some not .  The  ' grain carrying away' ants were 'evil' but other kinds were not .

 

That's what I call "word inflation". 

 

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Edited by Lost in Translation

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2 hours ago, Lost in Translation said:

 

That's what I call "word inflation". 

 

nzxi36p.jpg

 

:huh:

 

 

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On 7/27/2018 at 8:35 AM, Lost in Translation said:

I wasn't sure whether to put this in General or Off Grid, so I split the difference and here we are.


I'd like to discuss the advantage of evil. By this I mean the advantage an individual receives towards the realization of their goals by being willing and able to act unethically and immorally.

 

Some examples: A businessman who grows wealthy by engaging in inside trading; A politician who gains office by lying about his opponent; An athlete who wins a competition by cheating; A cultist who gains a loyal following by preying upon the weakness and fears of believers.

 

It's commonly understood that evil will eventually lose. We see this trope appear again and again in    good storytelling and it does appear to hold    some truth in real life. Most people prefer to live in a good society and most criminals are eventually caught (for something, at least). But some evil people do flourish.

 

So I leave the topic at that. What is the advantage of evil?


 

"Under Heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.
All can know good as good only because there is evil."

 

If there were no evil, could we even comprehend good?  Good compared to what?  If evil as we know it was gone, would "okay" things then be considered the ultimate evil without a darker evil to compare it to?

 

If good and evil didn't exist at all, maybe the world would be a more shallow place, lacking, stagnant.   Perhaps both good and evil have their purposes and places where they belong in the world. 

 

I wonder what would happen if we were able to eradicate the major evils?   Poverty, suffering, wars, disease, death.  It would be great at first, but then after several generations, would utopia be incredible boring and full of lethargic people?  Is there a way to curb evil on a world scale and further the good without chopping ourselves off at the waist?

 

Are psychopaths evil?  They are born without empathy, they are capable of horrifying things.  Yet they were born that way, their choices not to do evil revolve around avoiding herd retaliation.   Does that make them good?  Their choice of good because of their fear of punishment?  What about ignorant people born in terrible conditions, who have to do awful things to just survive?  Are they evil?   

 

Good and evil exist in nature, but both are more exaggerated in the human world.  Are we cosmically/karmically punished if we choose evil?  Maybe, maybe not.  Do we punish ourselves and punish others in the world when we catch them in an evil act? Certainly.  

 

Could the advantage of evil be to give value, meaning and depth to goodness?

 

Perhaps evil is only a disadvantage if you get caught, and/or if you aren't able to "drop" the evil action, most of us hold on to a kind of stress, guilt, or expectation of divine punishment.  

 

I think it was socrates that said - he who is capable of the greatest evil is also capable of the greatest good.

 

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10 minutes ago, ChangingYang said:

Could the advantage of evil be to give value, meaning and depth to goodness?

 

I think this is certainly the case.

 

11 minutes ago, ChangingYang said:

I think it was socrates that said - he who is capable of the greatest evil is also capable of the greatest good.

 

I don't know if Socrates said that first but I think this is true.

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Has this chapter been mentioned already:

 

Quote

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 53

If I have even just a little sense,
I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it.
Keeping to the main road is easy,
But people love to be sidetracked.

When the court is arrayed in splendor,
The fields are full of weeds,
And the granaries are bare.
Some wear are gorgeous clothes,
Carry sharp swords,
And indulge themselves with food and drink;
They have more possessions than they can use.
They are robber barons.
This is certainly not the way of Tao.

 

Source: http://www.wussu.com/laotzu/laotzu53.html

 

Note particularly the last two sentences. So according to Lao tzu there are forms of evil he would rather not have around. I think Lao tzu is much less of a moral relativist than Chuang tzu.

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True, Lao Tzu never had a problem with stating what was unacceptable.

 

Chuang Tzu normally went off topic and asked, "Does it matter?"

 

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Posted (edited)
Terebess
Lin yutang on ch
53.  Brigandage

If I were possessed of Austere Knowledge, 
Walking on the Main Path (Tao), 
I would avoid the by-paths. 
   the Main path is easy to walk on, 
   Yet people love the small by-paths.

The (official) courts are spic and span, 
(While) the fields go untilled, 
And the (people's) granaries are very low. 
(Yet) clad in embroidered gowns, 
And carrying find swords, 
Surfeited with good food and drinks, 
(They are) splitting with wealth and possessions. 
   - This is to lead the world toward brigandage. 
   Is this not corruption of Tao?

 

 

Which is stated as a question , and brings up a question , can the Tao be corrupted ? since it cannot , any injustice seen in this is the invention of men. 

The Tao is fine with bees, volcanic eruptions , plague , and death. No , Tao cannot be corrupted.

And so this, then, is the corruption of men, as seen by men, not from the perspective of Tao. 

 

What good would it do you , to be upset and hating the actions of others, or oneself, yet more?

From an alternate perspective which is not judging virtue, one may still want things to be other than they are , but are not in enmity necessarily, with ones fellow.  

You could still enforce the law, but conserve ones internal composure. 

 

And so , by this mechanism , seeing from the perspective of Tao , one can preserve ones composure . Reject this impartial view , at the risk of dividing yourself against others , creating hatreds. You may feel these things justified , but is your own punishment justified for seeing brigandage for what it is? 

 

 

 

Edited by Stosh
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I have had plenty of chance to get rich in morally complicated situations.

Personally I have a strong ethical code and I am not willing to break it for anything. I don't judge those who haven't as I believe in free will, and I have pretty much seen karma take care of them too.

I know a way of making major amounts of money with a seed capital of around $10k, but I choose not to because it means kinda selling people stuff they don't need, or selling something that promises to help them but doesn't for example. Not Evil per say but... not exactly moral either.

And even if I had $10M, what do I do with it? Buy cars, buy sex, buy houses, still be unhappy, then 80 years die and end up back to square one due to karmic reincarnation cycle?

I guess to me it seems stupid to compromise morals and generate negative karma for something in the fake reality, in the movie, when I know what I am outside of the movie is perfect already.

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The advantage of evil doesn't exist when reincarnations and karma (or heaven and hell) are real. In that case evil is just stupidity.

 

But how about the (not so implausible) case that reincarnations and karma (or heaven and hell) are just invented stories to keep people on the right track?

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I don't believe that evil people, or people who do evil deeds, see themselves as evil. It requires goodness to see evil. There are many people who grow weak and fall short of their ideal selves. They engage in evil behaviors and know it is evil, hence the guilt and repentance. But the truly evil sleep like babies.

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Evil is bad faith, I think that's a definition.

But even those who experience bad faith often come out of it.

People live in many illusions formed by the mind and it's need to make hard concepts .... which it does because it does not understand what it is > so one answer is to awaken the mind.

Another is to undomesticate yourself.

Another is to wipe clean all the rubbish ideas of life vomited out at present, and take better ideas either from TTC or from a healthy society of the past when people were happy.

Another is to get busy.

Another is to ask God to help.
Another is to begin to utilize your intelligence more and more, which maybe is were Lost is really pointing.

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This is a curious and interesting topic. Sorry I missed it for so long. 

 

Evil is a label that arises, as Laozi would suggest, because one labeled something as "Good" and thus, an opposite was given birth.

 

In nature, there is no evil because there is no language of labels.

 

In mankind, there is a concept of evil: Stamped, sealed and delivered, I"m yours

 

Spoiler

 

 

Consider that tribe that has almost no exchange with modern man.  They kill anyone who attempts to go there.  Is that evil?  likely they would label it survival instinct to kill outsiders.   I think that concept is incredibly old but still exists.

 

So let's take a city like NYC... is there evil going on?  It may depend on one's own concept of labels and how they would classify the actions that occur.  So Evil is a 'bin' of what occurs based on a database field we may call 'evil'.

 

Change to something in-between like China... where Kids are kidnapped, people wantonly killed (despite no guns), bribery is rampant, knock-offs are king of the commerce hill, officials get rich (oh, I mentioned bribery), where a wife would slit your throat for cheating on her (well, a northern one at least)...  They have a saying about:  "A good person who does bad things".   Curious balance. 

 

Consider the label and concept of Satan...  who is he/her ?   If you try to connect on an energy level, you will find it empty.   It is more a cultural concept embedded in our consciousness.   There are other examples but I won't bore folks.  

 

So, what is evil?    Whatever you want it to be.   But remember, it is but a label.

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24 minutes ago, dawei said:

Consider the label and concept of Satan...  who is he/her ?   If you try to connect on an energy level, you will find it empty. 

 

Label or not, Satan (and others of similar function) is  (are) the embodiment of evil. If you try to connect to the embodiment of evil on an energy level it will not be empty. What it will be and how it will affect you can be debated, but something is definitely there.

 

I strongly advise people to not dismiss evil like this. It is real. Label or not it has an underlying will. To blind oneself to evil by making it out to be just a label is dangerous in the same way that crossing the street without looking both ways is dangerous.

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The lost children who forgot were they came from and where they return could be consumed by this world and become evil people. they could learn of a higher life then the life of misery they make for themselves.  OR just kill them, it depends on the situation. Being humane is not always humane. 

 

We have a high tolerance for evil deeds we live with systems that are inherently evil under the disguise of goodness.

 

Scooby Do nails it, the only evil on this planet are people.

 

Evil has no power it can only steal power from the people who allow it. Man made stuff, I hope it all works out for everyone.

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For those who wonder: is there an objective difference between good and evil, or, can anybody provide an objective definition for "evil?" ... I have heard a good explanation/answer.  In my opinion it is very clear, simple, and agreeable:

 

Good is that which benefits life and brings more freedom.

 

Evil is that which harms or destroys life and takes away freedom.

 

Of course there is some subjectivity to certain things being "good" or "bad."  There are customs, taboos, etc., that vary from culture-to-culture.  And yet, most people around the world would agree that doing something like hitting a child, enslaving someone, etc. are wrong.  People who disagree with that would be considered psychopathic or mentally sick, and rightly so.

Edited by futuredaze
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37 minutes ago, futuredaze said:

For those who wonder: is there an objective difference between good and evil, or, can anybody provide an objective definition for "evil?" ... I have heard a good explanation/answer.  In my opinion it is very clear, simple, and agreeable:

 

Good is that which benefits life and brings more freedom.

 

Evil is that which harms or destroys life and takes away freedom.

 

Of course there is some subjectivity to certain things being "good" or "bad."  There are customs, taboos, etc., that vary from culture-to-culture.  And yet, most people around the world would agree that doing something like hitting a child, enslaving someone, etc. are wrong.  People who disagree with that would be considered psychopathic or mentally sick, and rightly so.

I like your definition, nonetheless, We used to have a thread called something like Destroy A Wish, where someone made a wish for something and another said, Wish granted but.. some awful but logical thing happened because of it.

So in that vein, hitting a child in order to stop them from causing a catastrophe is good, ie hitting them on arm to stop them from firing a gun.  If resources were very slim, its better to enslave a person and be kind to them, then let them and there children starve. 

 

At times some Evil may be is necessary.  Evil gets things done quickly while good and justice are beginning a long debate.  Sadly when times are hard and resources few, evil flourishes and tends to take the lead.  If evil make the hard unpopular decisions, then steps down afterwards, maybe that's not so bad.  In that good intentions can wreak havoc with there unintended consequences.

 

maybe my 50% Nihilism score on the personality test was fairly accurate. 

 

 

Edited by thelerner
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29 minutes ago, thelerner said:

I like your definition, nonetheless, We used to have a thread called something like Destroy A Wish, where someone made a wish for something and another said, Wish granted but.. some awful but logical thing happened because of it.

So in that vein, hitting a child in order to stop them from causing a catastrophe is good, ie hitting them on arm to stop them from firing a gun.  If resources were very slim, its better to enslave a person and be kind to them, then let them and there children starve. 

 

At times some Evil may be is necessary.  Evil gets things done quickly while good and justice are beginning a long debate.  Sadly when times are hard and resources few, evil flourishes and tends to take the lead.  If evil make the hard unpopular decisions, then steps down afterwards, maybe that's not so bad.  In that good intentions can wreak havoc with there unintended consequences.

 

maybe my 50% Nihilism score on the personality test was fairly accurate. 

 

 

Yeah, what I was implying and maybe should have said was, "hitting a child for no reason."  Really, hitting anyone for no reason is clearly wrong both morally and spiritually.  Of course people can justify it but that doesn't make it right.  Mostly people, in their hearts and their minds, know it is wrong.

 

Evil is never necessary.  For instance, killing is wrong, but killing in self-defense is a right we have both legally and biologically.  Thus, something that is normally wrong can be right in given circumstances.  That doesn't prove that right and wrong are up to us to define, just that what is right and wrong not only depends on the action, but the situation.  I am not proposing that all opinions and scenarios have a clearly defined "right" and "wrong" -- however, there are many scenarios which do, based on the definition of "good" and "evil" that I mentioned before.

 

When people grey the boundary between right vs. wrong, it can be easy to justify something which, to somebody with a fuller understanding of right and wrong, is clearly wrong.

 

Evil does not "get things done quickly."  Perseverance, prudence, focus, and good work-ethic do.  Both good and fucked up people have those qualities.

 

"If evil make the hard unpopular decisions" - That only depends if the decision is an overall good.  If a bunch of people call a person evil, that doesn't necessarily make them evil, but it might depending on the circumstances.

 

"Good intentions can wreck havoc" - While that is true, I could say that bad intentions and actions can ultimately bring about good things.  Does that make them "good?"  No.  Actions are right or wrong irrelevant to the consequences.  Generally, if you do good things, good things will happen to you.  However, like I said before, it is not just the action, but the situation, too, that makes something right or wrong.  Bad things do happen to good people, but generally more bad things happen to bad people than good people.  Karma exists, but good luck understanding how it works!

Edited by futuredaze
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4 minutes ago, futuredaze said:

 

Evil does not "get things done quickly."  Perseverance, prudence, focus, and good work-ethic do.  Both good and fucked up people have those qualities.

 

Hey, I didn't say they were good things. 

Sadly destruction's easy, building is hard, for all the reasons you list above.

Pointing out the evil in others is easy,  being able to see it in ourselves is tough, cause imo Man is more rationalizing then rational much of the time. 

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I don't really know if it is easier to be good than evil.  I think we are both naturally a little bit of both to varying degrees, but then based on our life choices, we can drift more on the path of truth and virtue, or the path of lies and infantile wish-fulfillment.

 

You are correct though, it is very hard to see our flaws and negative actions.  I try hard to, and still fall short quite often.  Most people don't even really try to see themselves. They are on the surface, splashing around in the waves like a kid, never diving deeper into those mysterious depths -- beautiful, strange, and sometimes scary.

 

A tragic flaw of humanity is that so many people aspire towards positive action, and yet they are blind toward the truth.  They are not even looking in the right direction, and many have not even begun to open their eyes.  First we must know the truth (outer truths about the world), know thyself (inner truths about our selves), and only then can we actually act to make the world a better place.

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