User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 36

  1. #1
    Writing... Tamske's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    MBTI
    ENTP
    Posts
    1,764

    Default What does it mean to be truly evil?

    The "truly good" thread and a couple of other things made me think about evil.

    I think humans are basically good. They try to do the things they think/feel are good. Of course, you'll get conflicts of interests.

    If two guys are in love with the same girl, there could be a fight among them, even if the guys aren't really violent to begin with.

    A suicide bomber sees himself as a hero, sacrificing himself for his country, family, hoping his sacrifice will give others a better world. I'm sure a competent fiction writer could just tweak some details (eg change America into Undead Country) and make a story where the suicide bomber will be seen as a hero by the readers. Samson from the Bible killed more Philistines with his death than during his life, and this was, according to the Bible, a good thing. Hero or terrorist?

    But now I'm reading a book about Mao Tse-Tung (Mao, the unknown story; by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday). It's written by an enemy of Mao. I do not know whether the book portrays the historical Mao or not. It contains of course a very negative view on his character. Now, regardless whether it's historically correct or not, the character Mao as portrayed in the book intrigues me. It seems a realistic character. Such a person can exist in the real world.
    The character is totally uninterested in other persons. He seems to lack any morals. He's only interested in getting himself power and luxury. He sees himself as a great hero - someone whose task is to shine and reap the benefits during his life. He doesn't believe in communism, it's a tool to get him to the top.
    And this sort of person, who seems realistic enough for me, wrecks my theory of "everyone wants to be a good person". I don't understand this. Are there really humans who disregard their fellow humans that much? How is this possible?

    I think it's too simplistic to assume some people are "just evil" and regard them as a sort of human demons who have nothing to do with us. I think that's the first step to become a suicide bomber - think some sort of humans are "just evil". I want to know whether there is an evil Tamske inside me, if maybe with another upbringing I wouldn't care about good or evil at all and just try to get power. I want to get into the mind of such people and understand them, because to understand evil is the way to avoid it.
    Got questions? Ask an ENTP!
    I'm female. I just can't draw women

  2. #2
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    MBTI
    ENFP
    Enneagram
    4w5 sp/sx
    Posts
    9,491

    Default

    I'm one of those that don't believe true evil exists, just various shades of selfishness and ignorance. I suppose the closest to evil you can get is find the cleverest, most selfish ignorant person and give them a lot of money. But if you think about it, even the most selfish person is trying to fill real honest needs: the need to be loved, have material needs met, though in a diseased way.

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    MBTI
    FREE
    Enneagram
    594 sx/sp
    Socionics
    LII Ne
    Posts
    42,333

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamske View Post
    A suicide bomber sees himself as a hero, sacrificing himself for his country, family, hoping his sacrifice will give others a better world. I'm sure a competent fiction writer could just tweak some details (eg change America into Undead Country) and make a story where the suicide bomber will be seen as a hero by the readers. Samson from the Bible killed more Philistines with his death than during his life, and this was, according to the Bible, a good thing. Hero or terrorist?
    From "Wicked" (which addresses the same issue -- that good and evil are more ambiguous and labels that are typicaly applied to those who chase alternate 'goods' rather than true 'evils'):

    WIZARD
    (spoken) Elphaba, where I'm from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it - "history."

    (sung) A man's called a traitor - or liberator
    A rich man's a thief - or philanthropist
    Is one a crusader - or ruthless invader?
    It's all in which label
    Is able to persist
    There are precious few at ease
    With moral ambiguities
    So we act as though they don't exist
    Amusing... but far too true...

    The character is totally uninterested in other persons. He seems to lack any morals. He's only interested in getting himself power and luxury. He sees himself as a great hero - someone whose task is to shine and reap the benefits during his life. He doesn't believe in communism, it's a tool to get him to the top.

    And this sort of person, who seems realistic enough for me, wrecks my theory of "everyone wants to be a good person". I don't understand this. Are there really humans who disregard their fellow humans that much? How is this possible?
    I don't really know if this is the historical Mao or not, but I don't see it as impossible. If his definition of good IS getting himself into power and luxury, and reaping the benefits, then he's just being good. People basically do what they think is right; as an alternative, they sometimes do what they think is wrong, but the guilt then influences their future behavior because of their own perceived inconsistency between their moral code and their behavior.

    And I've actually met a handful of people who were purposefully harmful to others, or wanted to be... albeit it seemed to be a response born of prior hurt in life -- "They screwed me, I am going to screw them and show them who is boss." But again, in a weird sick way (to me), to them they were doing good... they were balancing old wrongs, restoring dignity to themselves by tearing it away from those they felt did not deserve it. Maybe that belief in itself, I could deem as evil; but they felt they were doing good.

    I think it's too simplistic to assume some people are "just evil" and regard them as a sort of human demons who have nothing to do with us.
    I think people either do what they think is right, or they do what they think is wrong and then war with themselves inside over it. If they do something YOU see as "evil" but THEY don't think it's wrong, then for them it IS "good."

    I want to know whether there is an evil Tamske inside me, if maybe with another upbringing I wouldn't care about good or evil at all and just try to get power.
    I would doubt it, because you see things differently than that. There is nothing "lurking with you" that sees things otherwise; what you are defining as evil is really just a part of yourself that would try to justify some other value (expediency, self-gratification, whatever) to be LARGER than your current conception of good. So you are still perceiving the same good, it's just that you would find some reason to do things differently in order to pursue a "greater good."
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Oberon
    Guest

    Default

    I remember reading M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie. It was trendy pop psychology, but I think Peck was on to something. The examples he cited were of individuals so incredibly self-centered that the term "selfish" didn't even apply... it wasn't so much that a person was out for everything he could get, but that he or she was so much the center and sum of his own universe that no other way of thinking could ever enter his mind.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    9,133

    Default

    To truly match some definition of evil.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    MBTI
    ISTJ
    Enneagram
    1w9
    Socionics
    LSI
    Posts
    40

    Default

    (In class right now, so i'll edit this post when I have time to read the whole OP.)

    Generally, I don't think there are evil people, but rather evil actions.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    MBTI
    ISFJ
    Posts
    6,020

    Default

    ^the same could be said about good people. The label compromise I use is the average of all your actions and thoughts.

    Evil is a state. It is characterized by lack of empathy allied with self-serving ego.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    MBTI
    ESTJ
    Enneagram
    9 so/sx
    Posts
    21,675

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I remember reading M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie. It was trendy pop psychology, but I think Peck was on to something. The examples he cited were of individuals so incredibly self-centered that the term "selfish" didn't even apply... it wasn't so much that a person was out for everything he could get, but that he or she was so much the center and sum of his own universe that no other way of thinking could ever enter his mind.
    I know Peck's got a real spiritual slant of a sort I couldnt warm to, its worse that psychosynthesis or the weirder post-Jungians, although that book in particular I think wasnt bad.

    Eric Fromm's book The Heart of Man is good, its hard to get and has a couple of theories which he gives strange titles or content to but which resemble more recent findings in attachment theory or emotional literacy, the idea hinges on prophetic books including the admonision to "harden not your hearts". He suggests that there's about three ways in which people do that, all of which involve a chronic narcissism or sado-masochism.

    Second to that some of the Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence books are pretty good, they take about a toxic triad and I think it sums up evil pretty well, it includes machavellians, narcissists and psychopaths, the lack of conscience being the common criteria.

  9. #9
    ThatGirl
    Guest

    Default

    If good is essentially defined by conscious awareness and respect, wouldn't evil be the opposite?

    To act without regard.

  10. #10
    Permabanned
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    ISFP
    Enneagram
    6w7 sx
    Socionics
    SEE Fi
    Posts
    25,301

    Default

    Evil (destruction) can be conscious.

    Although 99% of "evil" isn't really...it's just fucked up people doing fucked up things and they're really not intending to do what they do...as you say, acting without regard.

Similar Threads

  1. What does it mean to be "open minded"?
    By Grayscale in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 01-24-2012, 11:51 PM
  2. [NF] What does it mean to be an idealist?
    By am_i_evil666 in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 06-29-2011, 07:16 PM
  3. What does it mean to be passionate about something?
    By Rail Tracer in forum General Psychology
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2011, 08:29 AM
  4. What does it mean to be a human being?
    By raz in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-01-2009, 06:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO