I could not help but notice that the word "evil" is overused and abused. Evil this, evil that, evil, evil, evil... Do we label things evil because we don't want to think about them, because certain concepts are too complex? For example, I don't believe people are evil, people are people, neither good or bad, they can be both at one time or another. But EVIL? Maybe it's time to pay attention to this loaded word?
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I think it is a very good, thought-out, well structured and, honestly, welcome answer. Generalized statements like "this is evil" do more harm than good, in my opinion. I agree that awareness is the key to understanding and maybe peace.
Well, better luck next time. It has nothing to do with luck, though, but rather with the lack of our knowledge of psychology, ourselves and our needs. These skills have to be learned. I am still in training.
I was afraid that by saying "religion is evil" you are asking for the onslaught from the religious people. But so far, the answers confirm that the word itself is strongly associated with religion.
But it means again that what we call "evil" is simply ignorance (which is sometimes is mixed up with stupidity which is not the same as "ignorance"). The best example is "I can be ..." vs. "I am ...". "I can be a coward at times" vs. "I am a coward
I am the result of my own actions. Whatever I want to be always begins with an action. Make the wrong choice, you'll be the effect of that choice. For example, Take a bad step coming down the stairs, the consequences could be severe.
I would suggest 3 levels:
wrong choice, error, leads to suffering
ignorance, lack of awareness of wrong choice and its consequences, repeated suffering
being attached to to ignorance & wrong choices, willfully repeating & encouraging them: ev
I guess I did not express my thought well enough. There is a bad behaviour, but not a bad person. Behaviour can be changed. There is a whole idea of learning - trial and error.
Hi Kallini - I think we agree: error leads to suffering once; ignorance is persistent error leading to persistent suffering; evil is attachment to ignorance and error in a worsening spiral.
Behavior can be changed and a person can follow a certain path, although, through whatever path, there is always going to be errors in his/her actions. Humans are imperfect beings.
What do you think about mental illness? If you believe in God, then it is God who chooses who should be afflicted, but isn't it evil/cruel to make people suffer from mental illness?
For me its not God who chooses who is going to be afflicted, rather the soul chooses to experience before even coming to this world. God has granted free will to us. God never make anybody suffer. Its us who chose what to experience here in life.
Then I have to have a serious talk with my soul and its choices. It is really not amusing.
I would add systemic blindness. Melville's Billy Budd is about this. There is an evil man, but the bureaucracy that allows him to do evil, though lacking intent, is ultimately more evil.
But what if God wanted you to murder somebody?
I don't know about others, but God does not send me any wishes, good or bad - I go by what people tell, think and believe. I don't think God wants me to do anything - it's all up to me.
God is good, it's the other side which would impel you to murder.
I think it would be interesting to read about psychology of people and about sociology to re-frame thinking about evil and start thinking about the true nature of things. The day when everybody will be loving will never come. It's utopia.