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  1. #1
    Senior Member lightsun's Avatar
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    Default Evil: Evil and its root cause, Ignorance: What causes Evil? Can you forgive evil?

    Evil: Evil and its root cause, Ignorance: What causes Evil? Can you forgive evil? What is to be done about evil? Who defines what's good and evil?

  2. #2
    Out riding fences Coriolis's Avatar
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    I disagree that ignorance is the root cause of evil. I do think that the evil are able to exploit ignorance for their own purposes, but that is not the same thing.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...
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    darkened dreams Ravenetta's Avatar
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    Ignorance can produce a type of evil that people can recover from if they find a way to learn. Ignorance is a source of tremendous harm, but it also implies the inability to correctly perceive reality and so it doesn't speak to the core motivation. An ignorant person can have a non-evil motivation and cause harm.

    In my understanding, evil is that deepest motivation to cause suffering for which the only reward is the suffering itself, or perhaps a feeling of power over those who suffer. Even acts of harm in which people receive another type of benefit (like stealing money for personal pleasure) contain some possibility of rehabilitation. I see actual evil as that extreme destructive, cruel state of intention, perception, action, and reward, for which there is no possibility for enlightenment because it is a completely closed system of absolute cruelty.
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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by labyrinthine View Post

    In my understanding, evil is that deepest motivation to cause suffering for which the only reward is the suffering itself, or perhaps a feeling of power over those who suffer. Even acts of harm in which people receive another type of benefit (like stealing money for personal pleasure) contain some possibility of rehabilitation. I see actual evil as that extreme destructive, cruel state of intention, perception, action, and reward, for which there is no possibility for enlightenment because it is a completely closed system of absolute cruelty.
    I like this. It's roughly what comes to mind when I think of evil. I often think of the depravities of the concentration camps as an example. The exhilaration of totally dominating another and being able to systematically dismantle their humanity.

    Some very clever person on another forum used to say that "evil is an aesthetic". I can only assume he was coming from a position of moral relativity. A "closed system of absolute cruelty" goes beyond moral relativity in my view. It feels inadequate to say, for example, that "what's evil to the victim is good for the perpetrator" and that sort of sixth-form common room argument. That's a vacuous response. It's far from clear that it's merely "good" for the perpetrator. It could be degrading, or out of a felt sense of lack. An immature relationship to one's power?

    If you subtracted humanity from the world life would still be as brutal as it's always been. Suffering is the engine house of evolution and evolution and its effects and its victims are everywhere. The evil you describe has a particular identity that goes beyond its effects on the victims. It's a form of relationship between perpetrator and victim and this is where the real abomination is taking place. I think it's banal to say that it's an "aesthetic".

    Good job on opening this one up.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Madboot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I disagree that ignorance is the root cause of evil. I do think that the evil are able to exploit ignorance for their own purposes, but that is not the same thing.
    Almost verbatim what I thought when I read the OP.
    The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.

    Ieyasu Tokugawa

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    I want evil to die, literally.

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    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Evil is actually pretty subjetive term in many cases. Since not everyone has the same values.
    The only exceptions are matters of "life and death" and general safety, where it is possible to make more objective judgements.

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    ☦️ Senior Member ☦️ Isk Stark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    Evil is actually pretty subjetive term in many cases. Since not everyone has the same values.
    The only exceptions are matters of "life and death" and general safety, where it is possible to make more objective judgements.
    What specifically about life and death and safety qualifies them for objective judgements? Wouldn't it be the choice of every individual to value those or not?

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    Digital ambition Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isk Stark View Post
    What specifically about life and death and safety qualifies them for objective judgements? Wouldn't it be the choice of every individual to value those or not?

    I said "more objective" for a reason.
    They aren't necessary fully objective but if you like to build your worldview on common sense then this is all very easy to rationalize. Since life and death is pretty black and white dilemma in most cases.

  10. #10
    ☦️ Senior Member ☦️ Isk Stark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virtual ghost View Post
    I said "more objective" for a reason.
    They aren't necessary fully objective but if you like to build your worldview on common sense then this is all very easy to rationalize.
    You also said "The only exceptions..." So, I'm wondering how you determined life and death and safety to be the only exceptions to a subjective worldview. Common sense would also be subjective since you left that out of your list of "only exceptions".

    Since life and death is pretty black and white dilemma in most cases.
    Why?

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