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[NF] Radical Evil in human nature?

cafe

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Are you sure it is the real good and not just an appearance of it?
When someone does something kind for me when they are not required to and the person gains nothing from it but my gratitude and the satisfaction of having been kind, that meets my personal criteria for having been good.

When my little boy is crying in pain and terror because he just woke up from surgery with a huge cast on his leg and the pain medicine isn't working yet and I am not able to calm him because I am so upset by his suffering that I cannot bear to be in the room, and the nurse who doesn't know me or my little boy from Adam climbs into that bed with him and comforts him until he is calm, so that when I come back into the room, he isn't so afraid, then that is good enough for me to think it is good and be thankful.
 

SolitaryWalker

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When someone does something kind for me when they are not required to and the person gains nothing from it but my gratitude and the satisfaction of having been kind, that meets my personal criteria for having been good.

.

Do you suspect that the nurse may just have been doing her duty? In that case she was required to...
 

cafe

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Do you suspect that the nurse may just have been doing her duty? In that case she was required to...
She went above and beyond her duty. She was not required to get in my son's bed and cuddle him and say soothing things to him. No one would have faulted her for saying "We've given him the pain medicine. He will calm down once it starts to work." then gone back to the nurse's station. I wouldn't have faulted her for doing exactly that and it was my little boy screaming. No, she was kind and that was good.
 

Ivy

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Do you suspect that the nurse may just have been doing her duty? In that case she was required to...

I think people tend to choose careers that allow them to do what comes naturally to them. For many nurses, that's compassion and helping. (For some others it seems to be bossiness and power over people in pain, but that seems to be a minority.)
 

SolitaryWalker

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She went above and beyond her duty. She was not required to get in my son's bed and cuddle him and say soothing things to him. No one would have faulted her for saying "We've given him the pain medicine. He will calm down once it starts to work." then gone back to the nurse's station. I wouldn't have faulted her for doing exactly that and it was my little boy screaming. No, she was kind and that was good.

Maybe she was still acting on her selfish impulses. Was disturbed by the child screaming and her natural reaction was to do whatever it takes to stop that.

That NF ability to convince themselves to see the best in others and believe in human goodness is as magnanimous as child-like innocence... I wish I could buy into it.. but I just cant..
 

Siúil a Rúin

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What I'm not clear about is the context for 'radical evil'. Human beings have proven themselves to have the potential to be bent towards destructive inclinations beyond reason. It's difficult to discuss this without agreeing on the context for it. Is it a Christian philosophy context? A naturalist context?

I see no reason to assume that everyone's intentions are sincere/good, or that every human being is bent towards evil. What is the proof or reasoning behind either extreme?

There are individuals who display behavior that is unreasonably and insistently destructive. There are explanations for it based on genetics and environment, but not always completely satisfying explanations. People also display altruistic behavior whether or not altruistic motivations can be proven to exist. Human beings do belong to the animal kingdom, so it is reasonable to draw some parallels behaviorally. From a naturalist point of view there are instinctual drives towards self-preservation and towards the preservation of the group. Even with that, the worst behaviors from human beings are difficult to explain entirely.

I've heard it said that to understand all is to forgive all. Since I don't understand all, I have yet to forgive all.
 

SolitaryWalker

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There are individuals who display behavior that is unreasonably and insistently destructive.
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Its very easy to explain. Our natural tendency is to serve self by all means necessary. This is what people do, who dont put in a lot of effort into fighting it. My questions is, why is our tendency to serve self so strong as we know that it is the root of all evil. Why is it that this is all that we are about?
 

cafe

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Maybe she was still acting on her selfish impulses. Was disturbed by the child screaming and her natural reaction was to do whatever it takes to stop that.

That NF ability to convince themselves to see the best in others and believe in human goodness is as magnanimous as child-like innocence... I wish I could buy into it.. but I just cant..
That pure altruism is probably not possible does not mean there is no altruism at all. The nurse's station was a good ways away and she would probably not have heard the screaming much at all if she had gone back there.

The thing that makes screaming so disturbing to most people is the awareness that the screamer is suffering and the thought of a fellow creature suffering disturbs us. We are empathic from a very young age. But we can come to tune out the suffering of others and not attempt to ease it. Many people do just that. But some do not. Some attempt to help when they don't have to.

When you or someone you love is the one screaming and someone comes to try to ease the suffering, their motives are not an overwhelming concern. You are just happy that someone is trying.
 

Brendan

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Why did the Eastern sages practice asceticism? Because they had to purge their inner evil nature.

Nonetheless those that we consider good are that way not because they've acquired some positive virtue, but because they, with great difficulty--managed to purge very few of their negative qualities. All of the good that we can do on this world is essentially, negative only what is evil is positive and can be acquired. Look at the New Testament, all the rules say Dont, none say do, because you can only not do Evil, you cant do good, do by definition implies evil because this is all that we are capable of.
You were abused as a child, weren't you.
 

SolitaryWalker

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The nurse's station was a good ways away and she would probably not have heard the screaming much at all if she had gone back there.

.

If she really did this... dont you think that would just look horrible on her part in front of her supervisors and colleagues? and if they werent there... she would be ashamed to look you in the eyes again if she ran away..
 

SolitaryWalker

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You were abused as a child, weren't you.

And what can you do about that post... other than say that it just sounds so terribly depressing, which it does. But again, how does this make in untrue?
 

Siúil a Rúin

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Its very easy to explain. Our natural tendency is to serve self by all means necessary. This is what people do, who dont put in a lot of effort into fighting it. My questions is, why is our tendency to serve self so strong as we know that it is the root of all evil. Why is it that this is all that we are about?
But you see, the most evil behaviors destroy others at potentially great cost to self. That is the mystery. Individuals who can function rationally in society who can also commit private atrocities for no reason beyond self gratification. That is 'radical evil', or whatever term you use, distilled to its core. That desire to destroy others that is so insistent, that it is even worth placing self at risk to accomplish.
 

cafe

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Its very easy to explain. Our natural tendency is to serve self by all means necessary. This is what people do, who dont put in a lot of effort into fighting it. My questions is, why is our tendency to serve self so strong as we know that it is the root of all evil. Why is it that this is all that we are about?
Some people do evil when it does not serve them, but only brings them hardship, grief, and harm. And some people do good when there is very little to be gained. People are strange creatures, both evil and good.
 

Brendan

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And what can you do about that post... other than say that it just sounds so terribly depressing, which it does. But again, how does this make in untrue?
Quite frankly, I don't really care if it's true or not, I care about how the Hell you became so God damn cynical. Reading you is like reading a less grammatically fluent version of zeitgeist, and in case you were wondering, that wasn't a compliment. Zeitgeist has not exactly turned into the most psychologically stable individual in the world, and you hold the same views and attitudes that he does.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Some people do evil when it does not serve them, but only brings them hardship, grief, and harm. And some people do good when there is very little to be gained. People are strange creatures, both evil and good.


They are not thinking about consciously doing themselves good. They are driven by unconscious urges. We all are unconsciously driven by the desire to make ourselves happy. Some do this by cutting their wrists, massochism to them is just a way of making themselves happy. I doubt anyone sane would ever say that they dont want to be happy and this is the problem in itself...

Those who go at great lengths to do evil even if it in the end harms them... somehow end up acting on an impulse that this will make them happy... they consciously may not believe in this... but there is something in their unconscious that convinces them of this and forces them to act through on it..
 

cafe

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If she really did this... dont you think that would just look horrible on her part in front of her supervisors and colleagues? and if they werent there... she would be ashamed to look you in the eyes again if she ran away..
No I don't. It was a children's hospital full of sick children, some of whom were dying and I'm sure many of whom were in much greater pain than my son. I'm sure the screams of children are pretty commonplace and my son had something as minor as a benign bone tumor removed. The other nurses left, but she stayed.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Quite frankly, I don't really care if it's true or not, I care about how the Hell you became so God damn cynical. Reading you is like reading a less grammatically fluent version of zeitgeist, and in case you were wondering, that wasn't a compliment. Zeitgeist has not exactly turned into the most psychologically stable individual in the world, and you hold the same views and attitudes that he does.

Unlike zeitgeist, I am a logician. So I can support what I say with argument. He can not.

Read some of my essays if you want to see a higher gramatic quality of my writings. I am puzzled as to why now you're saying you care about someone not so long you ago you've sworn to loathe.
 

SolitaryWalker

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No I don't. It was a children's hospital full of sick children, some of whom were dying and I'm sure many of whom were in much greater pain than my son. I'm sure the screams of children are pretty commonplace and my son had something as minor as a benign bone tumor removed. The other nurses left, but she stayed.

So she could have ignored your son with impunity and still came through for help...

I really dont know... maybe she was doing penance for something she did earlier on that made her not think of herself all that highly... or perhaps she was acting with genuine compassion...

I dont know... but the bottom line is that we are unconsciously driven by an indomitable desire to make ourselves happy...

even those who act on compassion.. are still driven by this desire... as paradoxical as it may sound... many NFs believe that taking care of others will make them happy ... Many Buddhist teachers preach that this is how you find happiness on earth, by helping people...
 

cafe

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So she could have ignored your son with impunity and still came through for help...

I really dont know... maybe she was doing penance for something she did earlier on that made her not think of herself all that highly... or perhaps she was acting with genuine compassion...

I dont know... but the bottom line is that we are unconsciously driven by an indomitable desire to make ourselves happy...

even those who act on compassion.. are still driven by this desire... as paradoxical as it may sound... many NFs believe that taking care of others will make them happy ... Many Buddhist teachers preach that this is how you find happiness on earth, by helping people...
How does a person deriving pleasure from being good cause the good that they do to not be good?

Edit: and mightn't the fact that they derive pleasure from showing kindness indicate some goodness in humanity?
 
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