Some people believe "there is no good and evil, its only a state of mind". I do not know how i can respect that belief or concept.
Then i thought, If good and evil does not exist and since there is no good and bad, then the following things are OK:
tyranny, brutality, slavery, rape, murder, greed, carelessness, bullying, disrespect, hypocrisy, lies, stealing, ignorance, oppression, abuse of freedom, abuse of rights, self abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, child abuse, all forms of abuse, all forms of violence....
If good and evil is just a state of mind, then there is a good state of mind and bad state of mind. Whether its mental or by heart or spirit, evil exists.
If good and bad does not exist, what is the basis of your relationship with your family? your friends? Your work mates? or even the people meet in the streets? What are the basis of your morals?
'Good' exists. Love is good. Love is substantial. Love is selfless. (What can be better than unconditional love?)
Caring and understanding is good. Generosity is good. Respect is good. Peace is good. Freedom is good. Being alive is good. Being grateful is good. Being grateful that you have a job is good. being grateful that you are able to eat more than 2 times a day is good. Education is good. Inspiration is good. Music is good. Art is good.
I believe good and evil exists. We just have to know the difference between the two.
Imagine if no one fought for what is GOOD..... where or what would you be now?
Love and peace,
'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in meut it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.'
Philippians 4: 8-9
For me, I believe that morals, and the difference between right and wrong, are only man made ideas. I believe that for as long as there are men, there will be codes of morality that guide us and bring peace out of the chaos. Having said that I do not believe in absolute morals, I still openly admit to adhering to society's moral code and the ideas of right and wrong, but I do not believe that those ideas were there when I was born. I believe that those morals were instilled on me by my parents and my ancestors before me. Having mentioned my ancestors, it is important to note the differences between their moral code and my own. The ideas of good and evil have not stayed constant for all of time. They have changed and shifted from face to face and what I consider moral today would probably be considered immoral by my great great great grandfather.
I would never try to deny that things like the Holocaust, Trail of Tears, the Atlantic Slave Trade, or Stalin's exterminations in Ukraine were evil, but I would do so knowing that my perception of those events have been altered by a lifetime of societal influence. Pushing all of that aside, I would have to look at those events and realize that they were just events, not good or evil. They happened, many people lost their lives, and the world went on. Even as heartless as that sounds, and as bad as that might make me feel, I can't help but see it from that perception, or that lack of perception as it is.
My goal is not to convince anyone that good or evil does not exist, as that is a pointless venture for the reasons stated above, but instead I just want to put out an idea different from the others, and let it be known that some people aren't convinced.
Hi There. first of all sorry for the late reply. I've just been going thru a backlog of unread messages. thanks for the comment. i appreciate and enjoy discussions like this.
Id like to say that my views have slightly change since i wrote this about 5 years ago, but is still the same in principle.
Though most of laws today are based on morals and i can say man made to a degree, there are things like starvation, trauma, emotional pain, physical pain, and a lot of other basic stuff that aren't man made. we all have a choice to remedy those things caused by imbalance. and i think that imbalance is the evil that i am talking about here. imbalance such as greed, social injustice, apathy, lack of education and lots of other real things happening around. those 'events' you have mentioned could have been avoided. We can learn from history. and we have a choice to make them happen again or avoid it, and so did the people who caused those events. in this present time, lets say you are a leader and you want to empower your country, and you think that exterminating a race of people would help, would you do it?
anyway, this good vs evil thing is all too generalised topic, we can just go to a more basic level like your neighbourhood or your family. though you might say we don't need laws to be good to our neighbours, true but still you have a choice to treat your neighbours well or unwell. treating our neighbours well always bear good fruit dont you think?
In any case, I think I had better begin. You define "evil" as it is relative to yourself, based on your own personal perception of reality. I would agree that this "imbalance" you speak of would characterize the majority of mankind's definition of "evil", but I do not believe that the popularity of such a notion makes it "correct". In fact, I do not relate having a "choice to remedy" the hardships of this world as being a justification for the absolute existence of "evil". The fact that the events I mentioned could have been avoided and are unpopular among the vast majority does not, in reality, prove that they are "evil". The only thing this proves is that they could have been avoided and are unpopular. If I were a leader, bent on genocide, I would most certainly do so out of "moral obligations" as defined by my own personal perception of "morality". For me, genocide would seem a moral necessity, as would all of my followers, to whom I preached its necessity and convinced to aid me in accomplishing my goal. No doubt, others would look at my actions and deem them "immoral" and probably "evil", but who would be right? Socrates preached that two beliefs, in opposition to one another, cannot both be "correct" at the same time, so by default, one must be correct and one must be incorrect. Many an absolutist has quoted Socrates to me as if his very name would end the argument right then and there. But no, not when it comes to morality. I would hold that notions such as "right" and "wrong", or "good" and "evil", are neither correct nor incorrect, because there is no underlying moral reality (absolute morality) with which two opposing beliefs can be compared. In other words, morality exists as a bi product of our imperfect ability to interpret sensory information and perceive deeper meaning where none exists to perceive. In conclusion, my belief that my genocidal actions are "moral", and your belief that they are "immoral", while both in opposition to one another, are neither correct nor incorrect, nor are they "good" or "evil", as such notions are confined to our individual perceptions and do not exist beyond our own interpretations.
That was rough. Its been a while since I've talked about this subject.
first of all, im not as good with words as you are and im not as learned with classic philosophy as you seem to be. my basis is my own experience and with interactions with people, and maybe some philosophy and some wisdom i agree with and i as i guess its same with you. like i said, this good and evil right or wrong thing is too generalized to be discussed in a thread like this. we can talk about what governments of the world and what theyve have done but what about things like rape, and greed, child abuse? what are your personal opinions about that? dont you think they have to be avoided at all cost?
going back to my question which was "lets say you are a leader and you want to empower your country, and you think that exterminating a race of people would help, would you do it?"
you are OK to exterminate a race of people just so your country will be powerful. that means i guess sits a theoretical question with theoretical answers so its really easy to say things. would you consider other friendly means to empower your country, if power is really that important?
i guess we are free to do what we want but there are consequences.
are you a university student? just a friendly question.
In order to further illustrate my point concerning the nature of perception and reality, allow me to quote your own words:
"my basis is my own experience and with interactions with people"
This is a perfect example of perception. You believe in the existence of "good" and "evil" based on your "own experience" and "interactions with people". This is completely acceptable, as there is no other way for human beings, restricted by the limits of our own sensory organs and means of interpretation, to absorb information about the physical universe and attempt to discover patterns, which may or may not exist, that make the task of existing a less chaotic experience. We form such notions as "good" and "evil" based on what we perceive in life and what we are taught by others. There is no evidence that these notions are absolute, existing beyond our perception of reality. In fact, the evidence would say otherwise.
Naturally speaking, rape, greed, and child abuse are all natural phenomenon that occur in nature. Rape, or sexual intercourse without consent, is actually beneficial for a male wishing to spread his genes. Greed gives certain people a distinct advantage over others and helps to ensure that the fittest individuals survive to reproduce. Child abuse, like rape and greed, ensures that the fittest offspring survive to maturity, which benefits the species. If you look at it from a naturalistic perspective, human society is actually in imbalance, by protecting the weak and unfit, while nature is the one in balance, only allowing the fittest to survive and thrive. Of course, an "orderly" human society cannot use nature as an example of "order", and so we are taught that naturalistic urges and behaviors are inherently "wrong", and possibly "evil". In actuality, such "evil" behavior is a part of our genetic makeup and only years of training and conditioning keep us from acting the way we were meant to. Personally, I quite like this "imbalanced" society, as there is less death and suffering, which I have been conditioned to dislike, but death and suffering are two factors which help to define balance in nature, and my own personal feelings and conditioning will not change that reality. It is also important to note that such behaviors as rape, greed, and child abuse have been, and are currently considered, perfectly moral by many societies throughout history and the world. What makes our definition of "morality" any more "correct" than their's? The fact that their actions make us feel bad inside? This seems unlikely, as their actions probably make them feel good inside, and much of what we consider "moral" would make them feel bad themselves. No. The way we personally feel about behaviors deemed "immoral" by society does not change the underlying reality, that such actions simply occur, regardless of such notions as "good" and "evil". Personally, I am against all three of these behaviors, and would not encourage them, but I do not claim to have reasons for being against them other than societal influence.
If I was a leader of a theoretical nation choosing between genocide and less "immoral" actions, I would obviously be swayed by my own personal "moral code" and the influence of my society and culture. I would not be making decisions based solely on physical gain and loss. That's not how our society works. Currently, our society values the lives of each individual human being, but that is not the default position. The default position is one of "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest". Only in the last couple thousand years, and really only within the last few centuries, has the value of a single human life been valued so much compared to the well-being of the species as a whole. Even the quality of that life is valued. But again, this is not the only position, and there is no reason to label our current position as the "moral" position. All such positions on "morality" are baseless and inherently incorporeal.
We are free to follow our desires, but our actions, whether they be "moral" or "immoral", will have repercussions. The important thing to realize, about these repercussions, is that they don't have to function like "karma" or "what goes around comes around". They can simply affect other people, or other things. Determinism, or this cause and effect relationship, does not require "justice" as a factor. It simply requires physics, and physics is more powerful than an interpretative notion like morality.
I am actually attending a Texas university.
interesting observation yours is. i appreciate your effort for your long write up.
if u live in a share house and theres 3 of you. one girl and 2 boys. all 3 of you are there at the same time, and the girl is being forced into sex by the other housemate. would you stop the other boy from raping her?
im not sure i agree with your usage of the word 'Natural'. wel its a big world, its a big eco system. one gets eaten by the other, and another gets eaten by a bigger fish. there are natural laws. yes. but because we are human we tend to be natural, but it is also natural to seek better options. defining things. naming things. discover things. making laws. electing a leader. making laws. make mistakes. design thing to make things better. name the mistakes. correct the mistakes. and sometimes the things lead to things like hurt and suffering, which exists and what you may say "natural' and there are choices to make that can make things better or worse, especially if we want to live life to the fullest in this planet.
To answer your question, and any other questions concerning my personal "moral code" and the choices I would make when placed in certain situations, I would have to first make one thing very clear. I am a member of society, what most would refer to as a "moral paragon", and do not claim to live life separate from cultural influence and "moral" norms. I, like you, make decisions based on society's definition of "morality" and my personal experiences and interactions. I follow this "moral code" not only because it makes functioning within society easier, but also because it genuinely affects my conscience when I act in a way which conflicts with this code. If I were witnessing a sexual assault, and I knew that I could prevent it, then I would do so. If I didn't, then I would not only be making life harder for myself, but I would also cause myself pain knowing that the girl suffered as a result of my actions.
Is that evidence that rape is evil? Well, how can be answer that question without first determining whether or not "evil" exists in the first place? We simply cannot. From the above paragraph, the only thing which can be determined is this: I disapprove of sexual assault, because sexual assault goes against my "moral code" and affects me negatively. Nothing in that conclusion could be used to determine the existence of "evil", nor could any other such conclusions. There is no evidence for it.
The choices a person makes in certain situations reveals more about their societal upbringing than it does the absolute existence of "good" and "evil". To ask me what I would do is about as definitive as asking yourself the same question. It proves next to nothing. If anything, it supports the subjectivity of the topic at hand.
"better or worse", "live life to the fullest", and "mistake" are relative notions. They are ambiguous and have no absolute meaning. I'm not 100% sure what point you are trying to make in the last paragraph. That progress is natural? Technically, although then we start discussing the "nature" of, well, nature. That seems off topic.
were looking at things from different prospective.
you know i feel like somewhere along the lines we are agreeing with somehting.
i believ everyone has an inner good in them and sometimes you do not need a 'moral code' to do these things, and sometimes moral codes help.
by you saying that, then tehre is a good and bad then. this is what i was pointing out. you have a basis for your decisions.
these moral codes whether yours or the society is based on somehitng.
we dissaprove of rape not only because it goes against our moral code, and also because we care. id liek to separate the word 'code' from emotions.
"Nothing in that conclusion could be used to determine the existence of "evil", nor could any other such conclusions. There is no evidence for it."
go to a third world country and tell me of the injustice and imbalance there. there are a lot of bad things happening in this world. we define it as bad because it is.
""better or worse", "live life to the fullest", and "mistake" are relative notions. They are ambiguous and have no absolute meaning"
What makes that correct?
re nature. i mentioned it becau e you said that 'rape, greed are natural' the point i was sayin is that we as human can be as unnatural becuase that is also our nature.
and yes, i think that progress is also natural. to define rape and greed as wrongs then i belive its progressive.
thanks for dropping comment.
its true that there are people who are hurt, hungry, raped, oppressed and suffering, and they are or could be caused by someones definition of their own reality and meanings of living. i think that is bad. and there are people who ignore the suffering. i think that is bad also.
but there are good remedies and possible solutions to that.
thats why people revolt, and asks for a change....
Sometimes i think am i really lucky? or is my way of living hurting another person in another side of the world....?
peace be with u neautralboy
Hitler and the other Nazis didnt think themselves evil, just thought id say that hah
i guess if we put to perspective who/what is for abundant life and who/what is for abundant death and who/who doesnt benefit from whatever ideology, principles...etc..etc... then that is where i find a more defined good or evil(bad).
blessings to you...