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[NF] Radical Evil in human nature?

SolitaryWalker

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Give some examples, if you please.

When we see a man give to the poor, we may think that he is doing a good act. If we equate selfishness with evil, or with something that has a very high potential to evolve into that, we can adduce that whatever is inspired by selfish motives (conscious) or urges (unconscious) is evil. In most cases he would do this not out of a pure concern for someone else, but entirely on selfish grounds. He probably prides himself on being generous and to uphold his self-image he would do this. Or in the best case scenario he would think that he is giving out of compassion, but the reality of it is that he is driven by unconscious selfish urges.

The reason why everything we do is evil because we are unconciously driven by an urge to keep on living. If we lived in paradise, where there were no threats to our being, we would not need to worry about what we need to do to survive. We could then easily be concerned with the welfare of others instead of our own. And then and only then will evil be rendered impossible, because we would not need to be selfish in order to just live.
 

cafe

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When we see a man give to the poor, we may think that he is doing a good act. If we equate selfishness with evil, or with something that has a very high potential to evolve into that, we can adduce that whatever is inspired by selfish motives (conscious) or urges (unconscious) is evil. In most cases he would do this not out of a pure concern for someone else, but entirely on selfish grounds. He probably prides himself on being generous and to uphold his self-image he would do this. Or in the best case scenario he would think that he is giving out of compassion, but the reality of it is that he is driven by unconscious selfish urges.

The reason why everything we do is evil because we are unconciously driven by an urge to keep on living. If we lived in paradise, where there were no threats to our being, we would not need to worry about what we need to do to survive. We could then easily be concerned with the welfare of others instead of our own. And then and only then will evil be rendered impossible, because we would not need to be selfish in order to just live.
You have a very broad definition of evil and a very narrow definition of good. That someone's acts do not flow from complete selfless altruism does not make their acts or even their intents evil. Selfishness is not evil. Being selfish to the point of causing harm to others is evil. Hurting others when it does not even bring the person causing harm any good besides the pleasure of seeing another suffer is evil. Ideally, when a good act is done, it will benefit both the giver and the receiver. Every once in awhile doing good will bring harm to the person who did the good thing, but they are willing to pay that price in attempt to bring about some good because that is reward enough. What they did is still good and their intent was good, if not pure. Why does something have to be perfect in order to be good?
 

SolitaryWalker

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You have a very broad definition of evil and a very narrow definition of good. That someone's acts do not flow from complete selfless altruism does not make their acts or even their intents evil. Selfishness is not evil. Being selfish to the point of causing harm to others is evil. Hurting others when it does not even bring the person causing harm any good besides the pleasure of seeing another suffer is evil. Ideally, when a good act is done, it will benefit both the giver and the receiver. Every once in awhile doing good will bring harm to the person who did the good thing, but they are willing to pay that price in attempt to bring about some good because that is reward enough. What they did is still good and their intent was as good, if not pure. Why does something have to be perfect in order to be good?

If we define good and evil with the way you've envisioned the defintion, there certainly is good. Yet again, just because nearly all of our actions stem from selfish causes, it is highly likely that in the end we will end up doing much more evil than good.

Kant once said stupidity is caused by a wicked heart. Vice versa would make more sense. Wicked actions (not wickedness itself, as this is the conscious satisfaction in observing others suffer) stem from thoughtlessness, from appeasement of our base urges and unreflective behavior. We have plenty of this. Acting out on urges is what we have in common with beasts. And this is fundamental to our nature.

In a vernacular sense of the word, there is good as some of us do take satisfaction in making others happy, yes I will concede that. Yet again, even the most bleeding heart of philanthropists have to admit, this is much rare than even those who intentionally hurt others and take pleasure in it. And its clear that those who do good, our of the kindness of their heart, tend to influence a lot less people to a much lesser extent than those who do evil.

Think about it. This virginia Tech shooter will be scrutinized for years... yet noone dwells on the kindnessthose few gallant men and women who in the 9/11 plane held down the suicide bombers and prevented it from flying into Capitol Hill..

And shortly before 9/11 it has been reported that the terrorits found another ingenious way to repeat the act... this time the substance was concealed in the gatorade bottle.. we dont see the names of those people who risked their lives to turn the terrorists in on our front page newspapers dont we? Nonetheless, it is within human nature to dwell on the negatives and be more influenced by evil than by good. This suggests that evil tends to have more say in the world good... even if it is not our nature to do more evil than good... we naturally are more focused on it and more influenced by evil than by good... who knows... maybe this is the reason why we actually end up doing more evil than good... because we pay more attention to it and in effect more influenced by that..
 

Ivy

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In a vernacular sense of the word, there is good as some of us do take satisfaction in making others happy, yes I will concede that. Yet again, even the most bleeding heart of philanthropists have to admit, this is much rare than even those who intentionally hurt others and take pleasure in it. And its clear that those who do good, our of the kindness of their heart, tend to influence a lot less people to a much lesser extent than those who do evil.

Think about it. This virginia Tech shooter will be scrutinized for years... yet noone dwells on the kindnessthose few gallant men and women who in the 9/11 plane held down the suicide bombers and prevented it from flying into Capitol Hill..

No? They made a movie about them, a few books.. that's not dwelling?

I disagree that those who take pleasure in kindness are more rare than those who take pleasure in evil. You state those as if they are incontrovertible facts, but I don't think they are.
 

SolitaryWalker

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No? They made a movie about them, a few books.. that's not dwelling?

I disagree that those who take pleasure in kindness are more rare than those who take pleasure in evil. You state those as if they are incontrovertible facts, but I don't think they are.

I never used the word fact... nothing here is incontrovertible... everything is negotiable... I'd gladly listen to an argument that places the primacy on good over evil. Very few philosophers in history have been able to state those cogently.
 

macjoven

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<<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.>>

umm not exactly....

"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." -- Gospel of Mark ch 12 v 28-31

These two "most imporant comandments" are doing comandments. In fact most of what Jesus said was about doing things: Go, sow, reap, build, love, forgive, help, pray, give, trust, hope, and on and on...

Other then that I got nothing. If Plato couldn't explain or even really figure out what actual pure goodness was, I know I can't.

Also I have to add I love your bio, solitarywalker "I am a sick man.. I am a spiteful man..' That is one of the best lines in all of world literature! (Though my translation says "wicked" instead of spiteful) Dovsteskey... ahhhh.... "Notes From Underground" is genius, I praticularly like how he undermines everything he says throughout...
 

Totenkindly

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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.

:)

Dude, you will get there someday. It's entirely possible to be very frustrated with someone, yet care about what happens to them simply because even as they annoy and frustrate you, you still feel "bonded" to them as a human being and can sense the potential in them and what they could become, and empathize with the pain and misdirection they seem to be experiencing in life. Some people's personal boundaries are "expansive" enough to include lots of others within them, even people they rub elbows with.

Just don't give up.

Having a spouse and kids help develop this sort of sense, as well as long interactions in a community-style setting.

(Of course, that's what you irritating mortals would say, if I asked you such a question about why you include me, Q, in your reindeer games. The Continuum just doesn't understand you in the least... thank goodness!)
 

SolitaryWalker

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:)

Dude, you will get there someday. It's entirely possible to be very frustrated with someone, yet care about what happens to them simply because even as they annoy and frustrate you, you still feel "bonded" to them as a human being and can sense the potential in them and what they could become, and empathize with the pain and misdirection they seem to be experiencing in life. Some people's personal boundaries are "expansive" enough to include lots of others within them, even people they rub elbows with.

Just don't give up.

Having a spouse and kids help develop this sort of sense, as well as long interactions in a community-style setting.

(Of course, that's what you irritating mortals would say, if I asked you such a question about why you include me, Q, in your reindeer games. The Continuum just doesn't understand you in the least... thank goodness!)


My point is that Brendand ought not to be saying that. He doesnt know what he does or what he talks about. He is just acting on whim.
 

Bushranger

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From the individual's perspective, all motives, actions and relationships are perceived in relation to the self.

An individual will generally interact with their environment in a manner that will procure something of value to their self.

Neither of these facts equate to evil or selfishness, whether considered together or independently. Evil and selfishness stem from a disregard for others. Do not confuse selfishness with being self oriented.

When a person behaves charitably they do so because it makes them feel good. That feeling is what they get out of the exchange.

The cause of that good feeling is a process in the brain that decides that charitable activity should be associated with a reward stimulus. This is a physical process.

The cause of this association is likely to be related to empathy, which is in turn related to theory of mind.

Empathy is a process that, through theory of mind, allows us to transplant our sense of self into the reference frame of another person's viewpoint. When we use empathy, we are partially equating our self with another person's self. People with a high capacity for empathy personally identify with the suffering or happiness of others through this imagined linkage of selves. It is my theory that it is this capability that is a prerequisite for a species to be called social.

If charity has an empathic basis then I cannot call it evil or selfish as I do not see in it a disregard for others.
 

SolitaryWalker

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From the individual's perspective, all motives, actions and relationships are perceived in relation to the self.

An individual will generally interact with their environment in a manner that will procure something of value to their self.

Neither of these facts equate to evil or selfishness, whether considered together or independently. Evil and selfishness stem from a disregard for others. Do not confuse selfishness with being self oriented.

When a person behaves charitably they do so because it makes them feel good. That feeling is what they get out of the exchange.

The cause of that good feeling is a process in the brain that decides that charitable activity should be associated with a reward stimulus. This is a physical process.

The cause of this association is likely to be related to empathy, which is in turn related to theory of mind.

Empathy is a process that, through theory of mind, allows us to transplant our sense of self into the reference frame of another person's viewpoint. When we use empathy, we are partially equating our self with another person's self. People with a high capacity for empathy personally identify with the suffering or happiness of others through this imagined linkage of selves. It is my theory that it is this capability that is a prerequisite for a species to be called social.

If charity has an empathic basis then I cannot call it evil or selfish as I do not see in it a disregard for others.

You're talking about conscious human behavior. Behavior as we perceive it. Of course there will be things in the world that we perceive as the good. Yet if you look carefully you'll see that they are actually evil as we dont have free will and all the things that prompt us to act are evil in themselves.
 

Bushranger

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Yet if you look carefully you'll see that they are actually evil as we dont have free will and all the things that prompt us to act are evil in themselves.

An absence of free will and a capacity for evil are mutually exclusive. Things within ourselves, over which we have no concious control, are not evil, they just are. Evil depends on conciousness.
 

meshou

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An absence of free will and a capacity for evil are mutually exclusive.
Absolutely not. I don't really believe in free will per se, but I absolutely believe in the existance of evil.
 

Eileen

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The judgment of people as basically good or basically evil seems like a pretty... well, F-oriented thing to do.
 

Lookin4theBestNU

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In regards to the OP though I am late here are 2 quotes that I find to be true. Sorry that I cannot debate philosophy as this is the first time I earnestly tried to read it-so don't trying "Kanting me" :). I picked these out for this discussion. I think you attribute too much naivety to NFs honestly SW.

Reflections on the human condition-Eric Hoffer
Good and evil grow up together and are bound in an equilibrium that cannot be sundered. The most we can do is try to tilt the equilibrium toward the good.

______________________________________________________________

In the alchemy of man's soul almost all noble attributes-courage, honor, love,hope,faith, duty, loyalty etc.- can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us. Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.

Nature has no compassion. It is, in the words of William Blake, "a creation that groans, living on death; where fish and bird and beast and tree and metal and stone live by devouring." Nature accepts no excuses and the only punishment it knows is death.
________________________________________________________________

I only bring these in to show what I believe in. I believe human nature (standing alone) is neither good nor evil. I as an NF have natural leanings towards being compassionate. NFs understand human nature as surely as an NT.
 

Ivy

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Absolutely not. I don't really believe in free will per se, but I absolutely believe in the existance of evil.

Doesn't being capable of evil require agency? Or do you mean an evil independant of the human experience?
 

meshou

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Doesn't being capable of evil require agency? Or do you mean an evil independant of the human experience?
I suppose I believe there is a thing that makes choices you could call you (but not the thing which you'd normally identify as "you"), those choices are the direct result of forces in the world, and that there is generally enough agreement on the quality of some actions that you could call them very evil.

It's not that I don't believe in choices, it's that I don't really believe that the conventional idea of a "youness" is what is making choices, but rather, a complicated set of interactions which we can't possibly be fully aware of that result in a choice made.

Subsaquently, the quality of that choice can be judged by an individual or a set of individuals.
 

SolitaryWalker

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An absence of free will and a capacity for evil are mutually exclusive. Things within ourselves, over which we have no concious control, are not evil, they just are. Evil depends on conciousness.

'We' are not evil. It is the stuff that makes us act that is.
 

faith

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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..

LOL. You've obviously never been a patient in the hospital! Nurses do that all the time without a bit of shame.
 

nightning

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Dearest NFs?

How do you go about convincing yourselves that it is not really there?
Where on earth do you get this unrealistic notions that we pretend radical evil does not exists? Some of us may believe in "naive fairytale" goodness, and some of us may not. But I think the key point you missed is that life isn't so definitively black and white. Evil intent exists, so does good intent... however extreme cases are rare incidents indeed. Most people have both the desire to be selfish and giving/caring. I don't see why you have to isolate good to be absolute pure altruism. Because if you do so, radical evil can only be about inflicting harm on other people at the cost personal expense without even gaining emotional satisfaction... As Cafe mentioned such definitions are way too restricting. The probability of either event is so low that you might as well say it is highly unlikely one of us will encounter it. So we work more or less with people who have both good and evil intents with them. Kind of like the interpretation behind chinese "ying yang"... "Within all good there is evil and within all evil there is good." If it suits us to value the positive side of people more than the negative then it is our right. We acknowledge the existence of both, but we perfer to focus more on one than the other. Besides... what's so bad in deriving personal pleasures in helping others? Intents that benefit self need not always harm others. If both sides gain something out of the interaction... why not have it? It's still "good" in my mind.

Again... so many of you NFs say that life is more than an absurd tragedy... yet noone can support that..
Does that help explain why life isn't an absurd tregedy? Life is only a tregedy if you insists radical evil is out to get you. Of course that is not the case.
 
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