Evil reconsidered
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22-11-2011, 08:57 AM
Evil reconsidered
The definition and nature of evil has been discussed many times. Some people staunchly contend that evil doesn't exist at all - and, of course it doesn't, in any palpable sense, any more than Love or Music or Mathematics exist. But it's a persistent enough concept that we have to keep dealing with it.

Greed [the love of money] has been posited as the root of all evil, and so has Satan, original sin, predation and scarcity.
I propose that evil is the celebration of suffering.
This idea pervades all our philosophies, moralities and theologies:
from "spare the rod and spoil the child" parenting, through 'eye for an eye' justice and the starving artist icon; the 'how else would we appreciate pleasure?' chestnut and fisticuffs or war as a means of resolving differences; vivisection and enhanced interrogation; virtual and actual torture as mass entertainment, all the way to the religious dogma of redemption of the guilty through the sacrifice of an innocent.

If we could let go of the notion that pain has a spiritual power - that pain has any purpose or function beyond warning of damage to the organism - then we could begin, slowly, slowly, to rid ourselves and our societies of evil.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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22-11-2011, 09:36 AM
RE: Evil reconsidered
(22-11-2011 08:57 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  If we could let go of the notion that pain has a spiritual power - that pain has any purpose or function beyond warning of damage to the organism - then we could begin, slowly, slowly, to rid ourselves and our societies of evil.

This statement resonates with me this morning. I'm not sure I'm ready to say this is the solution to societal evils (not ready to fully agree simply because I've only just now started mulling it), but I agree that individuals (starting with me) need to let go of the notion that pain has a spiritual power. In dealing with anxiety and depression, I've had to realize that this is not spiritual warfare as I had been indoctrinated to believe, but it is my body and mind's way of warning of damage and problems that need to be addressed. So that will help me. Will that be enough to rid ourselves of larger evils? Maybe? Not a bad idea to consider.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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22-11-2011, 12:34 PM
RE: Evil reconsidered
Local entropic minima, sayeth the evil that exists. Woke up yesterday morning, felt sick enough to be dying; pain in my noggin, nausea, dehydration... it made me smile, thinking I might be going back to sleep one last time. But, alas, here I am; with more neck. Am I a validation or a repudiation of Peterkin's point? As a child, I was forged in the fires of pain; am I made of pain, or have I transcended pain?

Lack of compassion has always been my standard definition of evil.

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22-11-2011, 06:38 PM
RE: Evil reconsidered
Lack of compassion, without action, is mere indifference. The celebration of suffering demands that we actively hurt ourselves, other people and animals. It demands self-mutilation, self-flagellation, self-immolation, self-sacrifice - and we do onto others a thousandfold.
And worship brutal deities.

If you can release yourself from the notion that pain is redemptive .... Demand to know: from what can you save me? Of what can you absolve me? For what can you ennoble me? And if it doesn't give a satisfactory answer, you don't need that pain. And if you don't need it, you are free to reject and fight it.
Suffering doesn't make you stronger - it incapacitates and cripples and exhausts you; wears you down and renders you bitter.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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22-11-2011, 08:29 PM (This post was last modified: 22-11-2011 09:04 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Evil reconsidered
(22-11-2011 08:57 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  If we could let go of the notion that pain has a spiritual power - that pain has any purpose or function beyond warning of damage to the organism - then we could begin, slowly, slowly, to rid ourselves and our societies of evil.

I grok you if you replace the word "pain" with "suffering". "Pain" initiates a whole set of defensive responses. I do think that pain is good in that sense. No pain would be bad. "Dude, I think your appendix just burst?" "Really, I don't feel a thing." I think "evil" is just a deranged mental state where you are capable of recognizing that chronic, unalleviated pain amounts to suffering, you realize you are in a position to alleviate that suffering, and you do nothing with a smirk and a smile, or even just a wink and a nod. And if you not only recognize, but intentionally increase the suffering, well then you are not just "evil", you're on Hamata K's prick list. ... But I think most people either are not even capable of recognizing suffering or just prefer not to.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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22-11-2011, 09:13 PM
RE: Evil reconsidered
I did mention the biological function of pain.
My problem is with the elevation of pain to a metaphysical function.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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22-11-2011, 09:35 PM (This post was last modified: 22-11-2011 09:41 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Evil reconsidered
(22-11-2011 09:13 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  I did mention the biological function of pain.
My problem is with the elevation of pain to a metaphysical function.

If you restrict the metaphysics to within the system, it's not a problem. It's all God then. Wink

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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22-11-2011, 09:41 PM
 
RE: Evil reconsidered
We embrace pain in childhood when we watch Bugs-Bunny cartoons. We embrace pain when we laugh at a joke at someone's expense. We embrace pain when we root for the good-guy putting a bullet between the eyes of the villain -- we are addicted to the worship of pain -- we are just too damn hypocritical to admit it: we want our enemies to hurt and we want to drown them in pain.

Deep down, we are all evil -- our parts we constantly have to subdue.

Here lies human tragedy.
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22-11-2011, 09:48 PM (This post was last modified: 22-11-2011 10:06 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Evil reconsidered
(22-11-2011 09:41 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Deep down, we are all evil -- our parts we constantly have to subdue.

Here lies human tragedy.

Yeah, but it's only recently that we have become capable of even recognizing that deep down we are all pricks. Now that we realize it, I'm pretty sure each of us is capable of rectifying that bullshit. Whether or not we elect to is a different matter.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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22-11-2011, 09:56 PM
 
RE: Evil reconsidered
We have a new cat -- she showed up starving, begging for mercy. We already have five cats. We are stretched to our limit. The new cat costs $2-300 for shots and fixing. We had a chance to reduce pain and suffering in the world -- we took it.
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