Evil

TAJ, EXACTLY:

"Evil" can only exist in any real sense as an adjective - because in THAT case it is part of an actual observable specific event. This is all very easy to grasp if one views it form the fields of linguistics or semantics. We are dealing here with ideas - very abstract ideas in the case of the term "evil".

I wrote this on another thread and will add it here, because it is pertinent:

The problem is with the use of identification. With A = B, with Hitler IS "evil".

He did certain things that were viewed as "bad" by a great majority of people.

People get all nutty about "evil" because some or many have taken the observation of "bad deeds" or "harmful deeds", and extrapolated some "force of evil" - like Satan, a devil or a demon. People have come up with this notion of "pure evil", where some total blackness exists to deceive, trick and cause Man to harm others. IN this sense MAN has created both the actions and the IDEAS that result in the word "evil". There is no separate "force of evil". There is no Satan, and there is no God, not in the sense that tangible unique forces exist out there nurturing, promoting and causing "good" or "evil".

Anthropomorphism or personification is any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to other animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities.

The concept of "evil" is the result of similar anthropomorphism. It is an abstract concept.

To me, it is quite simple. Man has free will. Man's poor and ego-driven use of free will is at the bottom of anything anybody calls "evil". He can do what he wants, and sometimes some do very nasty and destructive things to others that cause great physical, mental and emotion pain and suffering.

From General Semantics, "absolutes don't exist". I agree. Absolutes exist ONLY as ideas and do not exist "out there". There is no person anywhere who is "100% evil". Just as Leon said, if a person behaves in ways that exhibit MANY harmful acts or SEVERE harmful acts, then people MAKE THE IDENTIFICATION and call this person "evil". There is no "evil". Point to an "evil". Go ahead, and try. There are only specific examples in time and space where some person commits harmful acts that are named "evil". An ACT can be evil - such as sending people to gas chambers, or tossing the baby in the blender. One must look at specifics to fly down from the lofty heights of abstract ideas.

In truth, any determination of ANY quality involves "degree" and "frequency". The guy who slips in his marriage and has one isolated affair is viewed as someone who made a mistake, but the guy who has done so numerous times over the past 11 years, while his wife has been a devoted and loving wife (even if somewhat naive), will be called a "cheater" and "liar". His wife may "see him as evil".

Things that are done that hurt people are called "evil deeds". And the person who has done them has committed evil deeds. But, it is doubtful that there is actually any "evil in him", or that it is correct to call him by the abstract term "evil".

And especially, when a person has done "bad deeds" that are so severe and/or in such large quantity, in THAT context, people will ignore any other "good he has done", and simply call him "evil". But, such abstract labels always omit MANY details that contradict the label. That is the way linguistics and people function. That is the way any of our "thinking minds" function.

There is no "evil". Point to an "evil". There are only specific examples in time and space where some person commits harmful acts that are named "evil".

Hitler may, in many ways, have been an "evil man", because he did many harmful things to many people, but he was not (equal to) "evil". Only because there can be found at least one instance where he wasn't "evil". Yes, he was often evil, or he exhibited very evil behaviors at times. One need to include the adjectives and qualifiers when using any horrendously vague and abstract term like "evil" (or "good").

Reversely, there is no wholly "good person".

Absolutes don't exist. Really. It is not true because Hubbard happened to say that. It is true because if one takes a careful look at the world, and how language is used to define and describe that world, simply, absolutes don't exist. Not outside of your mind anyway.

Some people do bad things. Some people do very bad things. The specific "bad" actions are confused and misidentified with a larger general tendency or force or idea. That is what "evil" is. It is largely an IDEA in this sense.

Evil? Too abstract.
Evil person? Still too abstract.
A person who has done some things that many consider to be evil? Now, we are getting closer to the truth (specifics).

People confuse the realm of idea and reality all of the time (it is built into language). The general and abstract are IDEAS. To get to reality one has to look at, and observe the specifics in time and space. To connect ideas with reality, one needs to cite specifics (examples).

Also, many people seem to derive satisfaction by labeling things. Some mistakenly imagine that they "understand" just because they place a label on something. But, it is all largely subjective - this false sense of "understanding".

"Hitler is evil". That is too general. In truth it CAN'T be true, not from any sensible sense of linguistics, or a connection to all the specifics of reality.

"Hitler did a great many horrible deeds, and it is easy to thus place the label of evil upon him as some all-inclusive defining characteristic". That is a true statement.

"Hitler caused more evil deeds than many others". That is a true statement.

In many ways, he was NOT a nice person!


"evil" can be used as a noun.
 

PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
:hysterical:

I type with two fingers. :duh: I make MANY typos in my haste to get the ideas and observations into words. I am constantly correcting them (which adds even more time). I then also use a spell-checker.

I do best if I watch my fingers and connect visually when I am typing (I never learned how to do it "correctly"). Same with the guitar - I can play insanely fast and precisely at times, but I do best when I "watch what I am doing". I suppose I have well connected my vision (observation) with the realm of my mind (ideas). That is an example of how someone with a familiarity with General Semantics might apply the idea of connecting the "map with the terrain" in music. :coolwink:

But, at times it is a hindrance, because it seems really good typists (and guitar players) NEVER LOOK at what they are doing when they do it! :ohmy:

It is my "mind" that works fast - not my fingers. But, I suppose, I have gotten pretty fast with the two fingers . . . . :biggrin:

Indeed! I type similarly. Although I don't much have to look to play the guitar. But that doesn't make my playing any more pleasing, unfortunately.
 
lol, no it can't! prove it!

must be a "correct" use and therefore can't be done since it has been stated that it is an adjectivey type thingy so you will be shot down with out mercy as an evil that must be eliminated.

The evil in scientology is what makes scientology so hated.
 

PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
Discussions of good and evil can quickly devolve into ideological hamster wheels.

Maybe both are like pornography, can't define it but know it when I see it.

However, here's my take. Goodness stems from the urge to further the well being of another or others.

The most goodest people we know radiate a sense of caring for the well being of others. (exception: sociopaths can be excellent mimics and can radiate a sense of caring for the well being of others while actually wishing nothing but harm. Go figure.)

On the opposite side, the most evilest people we know radiate a sense of not caring for the well being of others, accompanied by a willingness to exploit them for personal gain preferably without benefitting those exploited. (see exception.)

Even more most evilester are those who exploit that willingness to care for others. As occurs in Scientology: you have all these individuals trying to help others being deceived into harming those they are trying to help.

The urge to help becomes corrupted and transformed into actions that harm rather than benefit. Distorted reasoning makes that harm seem justifiable as a "greater good is at stake."

Thus, goodness becomes a tool for evil.

Which confuses the issue.

As it's done for a very long time.

Sociopaths have no conscience. What's a conscience? A sense that what one is doing brings harm--and caring.

So, what is evil? I don't know. All I know is that if everyone tried to actually tell the truth and if everyone honestly cared for the well being of others goodness abounds.

And evil would disappear.

Caring is the root of the whole issue.

Theoretically.

What say ye to the idea that without evil there would be no standard against which to measure good. Telling the truth can sometimes cause another pain.
 

Gadfly

Crusader
Discussions of good and evil can quickly devolve into ideological hamster wheels.

Maybe both are like pornography, can't define it but know it when I see it.

However, here's my take. Goodness stems from the urge to further the well being of another or others.

The most goodest people we know radiate a sense of caring for the well being of others. (exception: sociopaths can be excellent mimics and can radiate a sense of caring for the well being of others while actually wishing nothing but harm. Go figure.)

On the opposite side, the most evilest people we know radiate a sense of not caring for the well being of others, accompanied by a willingness to exploit them for personal gain preferably without benefitting those exploited. (see exception.)

Even more most evilester are those who exploit that willingness to care for others. As occurs in Scientology: you have all these individuals trying to help others being deceived into harming those they are trying to help.

The urge to help becomes corrupted and transformed into actions that harm rather than benefit. Distorted reasoning makes that harm seem justifiable as a "greater good is at stake."

Thus, goodness becomes a tool for evil.

Which confuses the issue.

As it's done for a very long time.

Sociopaths have no conscience. What's a conscience? A sense that what one is doing brings harm--and caring.

So, what is evil? I don't know. All I know is that if everyone tried to actually tell the truth and if everyone honestly cared for the well being of others goodness abounds.

And evil would disappear.

Caring is the root of the whole issue.

Theoretically.

Great points! :thumbsup:

Again, it is tied in to this whole "free will" thing. And, WHO or WHAT has "free will"? An "ego". A consciousness that imagines itself to be separate and cut off form all else, with an aim to "survive" and "win over all others".

It is doubtful that many who "care for others" commit evil. When one has lost attention for "benefitting self or ideas of self", and concentrates on "helping others", acts of evil are not so common.

Of course, there are some who imagine and claim to be acting to "help others", often through some ideological framework (religions, politics), who also do cause great amounts of harm to others.

See, in Scientology, there is no loss of the ego. There is still MUCH "free will". And, this "free will" is used to "help us survive better", and also used to destroy others.

A person who has truly lost ones ego has also, for the most part, vanquished this things called "free will". The effects of Karma go away when one abandons "free will". In a sense, all "evil" stems from this thing known as the "ego", and which is the source of "free will". From a Buddhist perspective, all this talk about evil, Satan and so forth, describes products of a self-assured and firm "ego".

Most people who have committed great acts of evil have also been "very certain" in the "rightness" of what he or she was doing. That was true for Hitler. It was true for the priests of the Spanish Inquisition. It was true of the psychiatrist plunging an icepick into the brain of some patient. And, it was/is true of Hubbard and some Scientologists. These sort of morons still have MUCH "ego" and exhibit MUCH "free will" - they are "determined", "they are right" - and they wreak havoc on the world pushing their determination and rightness upon all others.
 

PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
Great points! :thumbsup:

Again, it is tied in to this whole "free will" thing. And, WHO or WHAT has "free will"? An "ego". A consciousness that imagines itself to be separate and cut off form all else, with an aim to "survive" and "win over all others".

It is doubtful that many who "care for others" commit evil. When one has lost attention for "benefitting self or ideas of self", and concentrates on "helping others", acts of evil are not so common.

Of course, there are some who imagine and claim to be acting to "help others", often through some ideological framework (religions, politics), who also do cause great amounts of harm to others.

See, in Scientology, there is no loss of the ego. There is still MUCH "free will". And, this "free will" is used to "help us survive better", and also used to destroy others.

A person who has truly lost ones ego has also, for the most part, vanquished this things called "free will". The effects of Karma go away when one abandons "free will". In a sense, all "evil" stems from this thing known as the "ego", and which is the source of "free will". From a Buddhist perspective, all this talk about evil, Satan and so forth, describes products of a self-assured and firm "ego".

Most people who have committed great acts of evil have also been "very certain" in the "rightness" of what he or she was doing. That was true for Hitler. It was true for the priests of the Spanish Inquisition. It was true of the psychiatrist plunging an icepick into the brain of some patient. And, it was/is true of Hubbard and some Scientologists. These sort of morons still have MUCH "ego" and exhibit MUCH "free will" - they are "determined", "they are right" - and they wreak havoc on the world pushing their determination and rightness upon all others.

Seems the bridge is a route to an ever increasingly powerful ego.
The strongest urge in this universe is to be right. :duh:
The supreme test of a thetan is too make things go right. :duh:

It's still a matter of viewpoint. Those deluded people still believe they are doing what they consider to be the right thing. I'm sure Hitler thought he was doing the very best for Germany.
 

BardoThodol

Silver Meritorious Patron
What say ye to the idea that without evil there would be no standard against which to measure good. Telling the truth can sometimes cause another pain.

I say, "damned the torpedoes, full speed ahead! We're out of beer!"

My experience: I have an innate sense of well being, of peace, of understanding. I think we all do. That is the standard by which I measure this stuff.

You can get all sorts of fabricated concepts of what is "good" and what is "bad." You get what is acceptable and unacceptable. Moral and immoral. All related to constructs. All very logical, very mathematical. These things give one a standard for comparison.

But, because they are based in opinions, you get this wide divergence between what one person or individual thinks and what another thinks is good.

Because we can become delusional and because these delusions can trick us into believing we are experiencing "well-being" when we are not (such as having a religious high which causes you to give away all of your wealth to your favorite guru, which brings homelessness and starvation to your family) those trying to grasp what is a sense of well being and what is delusional get trapped in a hamster wheel of logic.

I think it all comes down to demonstrable results. Is the experience relevant to the conditions to which one thinks they apply? Such as you can imagine knocking off a hat at fifty paces, but can you do it in the real world? And can you differentiate what is imagination and what is actuality?

Can you differentiate imagined well being and actual?

I think this answers your question, but, being married, I've found that my answers are not necessarily another's.
 
"evil" can be used as a noun.

That's true.

But I think the essence that this implies--that it is real thing outside of the particular case being discussed.

I'm not saying there isn't intentional injury, pain, and harm and satisfaction by the one that inflicts it on another.

Rather I'm discussing whether evil is a real thing outside of those particular cases.

Does it exist like air exist outside of those particular cases?

Is evil a real thing floating around looking for a place to happen?

I don't think so.

Don't misunderstand me though by thinking I'm indifferent to the pain and suffering or even think it is necessary.

I think acts we call evil are remediable. They can be alleviated and can be eliminated.

But it will take quite a bit of consciiousness raising for mankind for that to happen.

But this has been a great conversation!

The Anabaptist Jacques
 

Gadfly

Crusader
The evil in scientology is what makes scientology so hated.

And, conversely, if you want to think and talk in such abstract terms, the good in scientology is what makes scientology so liked (by some). :ohmy:

For example, I first read this idea from a book of Hubbard's:

WHAT IS TRUE FOR YOU is what you have observed yourself.
And when you lose that you have lost everything.
What is personal integrity?
Personal integrity is knowing what you know –
What you know is what you know –
And to have the courage to know and say what you have observed.
And that is integrity
And there is no other integrity.


I liked it back then when I first read it back in 1976, and I still like the idea now. To me the notion is a "good thing".

It doesn't say, "what is true for you is what is true for you", and any other similar distortion. It connects "truth" to "observations". That notion comes from General Semantics. Regardless, Hubbard stated it quite nicely. In this ONE case, in this one specific example.

Now, yes, Hubbard may have slipped this in as part of the bait 'n switch. Yes, Hubbard set up the Church of Scientology so that one cannot actually PRACTICE that as regards the subjects of Hubbard and Scientology themselves. But, regardless the IDEA exists somewhere within the larger subject of Scientology.

Just as there are certain good ideas, there are also certain bad ideas - ideas that when practiced result in harm. But, again to grasp this one needs to honestly examine SPECIFICS, in the real universe of time and space, and come down from the clouds of abstract thinking (get out of ones mind).
 
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Gadfly

Crusader
Seems the bridge is a route to an ever increasingly powerful ego.
The strongest urge in this universe is to be right. :duh:
The supreme test of a thetan is too make things go right. :duh:

It's still a matter of viewpoint. Those deluded people still believe they are doing what they consider to be the right thing.

I'm sure Hitler thought he was doing the very best for Germany.

That is why this phrase exists:

The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
 

BardoThodol

Silver Meritorious Patron
Great points! :thumbsup:

Again, it is tied in to this whole "free will" thing. And, WHO or WHAT has "free will"? An "ego". A consciousness that imagines itself to be separate and cut off form all else, with an aim to "survive" and "win over all others".

It is doubtful that many who "care for others" commit evil. When one has lost attention for "benefitting self or ideas of self", and concentrates on "helping others", acts of evil are not so common.

Of course, there are some who imagine and claim to be acting to "help others", often through some ideological framework (religions, politics), who also do cause great amounts of harm to others.

See, in Scientology, there is no loss of the ego. There is still MUCH "free will". And, this "free will" is used to "help us survive better", and also used to destroy others.

A person who has truly lost ones ego has also, for the most part, vanquished this things called "free will". The effects of Karma go away when one abandons "free will". In a sense, all "evil" stems from this thing known as the "ego", and which is the source of "free will". From a Buddhist perspective, all this talk about evil, Satan and so forth, describes products of a self-assured and firm "ego".

Most people who have committed great acts of evil have also been "very certain" in the "rightness" of what he or she was doing. That was true for Hitler. It was true for the priests of the Spanish Inquisition. It was true of the psychiatrist plunging an icepick into the brain of some patient. And, it was/is true of Hubbard and some Scientologists. These sort of morons still have MUCH "ego" and exhibit MUCH "free will" - they are "determined", "they are right" - and they wreak havoc on the world pushing their determination and rightness upon all others.

You know, this concept of "free will" makes me wonder about what is free and what is simply natural inclination.

Take pure energy from which electrons and such form. The manifestation of that energy would most likely be "preordained" to some degree. Resistance would precipitate predictable conditions. The resistance at a subatomic level would begin to manifest as subatomic "particles" which would interact with fairly predictable patterns.

I wonder if the same applies to consciousness. And that which precedes consciousness.

By which, I wonder if consciousness can actually operate as "free will" against its own nature.

Or whether it can only pretend to act as free will against its own nature.

And, if in acting against its own nature, consciousness brings about undesirable conditions.

As for those who act with certainty that what they are doing is right and good while bringing great harm, perhaps they knew it was evil and gloried in the power of that evil. The rest was merely a good PR campaign to convince others to go along. Much like occurred in Scientology.

You sell the idea that there is this greater good and that sacrifices are needed. What you want is the sensation of power in dominating others. You don't care about the greater good or those who must suffer. But you SELL that idea to others so you can get away with openly committing the criminal acts.

What a rush. A criminal rush. A sense of not only dominating, but of getting away with it, of having deceived all these fools into not only letting you but helping you commit heinous acts.

It's like being a rapist exponentially. Feeding off the helplessness of others to stop you. Feeding off a sense of personal power.
 

Gadfly

Crusader
Be careful of the chairs and tables. They are linguistic items and can be argued out of existence.

Read TAJ's above post.

Chairs and tables are NOT nouns anywhere even close to or in the same sense as "evil".

Do you actually believe this nonense that you write?

You can bump your shin on a chair, or knock over a table, but you cannot touch "an evil". Terms like "touched by evil" are METAPHORS.

There are some nouns that refer to actual things that can be seen and experienced, and there are some that do not.

Abstractions may be formed by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, typically to retain only information which is relevant for a particular purpose. For example, abstracting a leather soccer ball to the more general idea of a ball retains only the information on general ball attributes and behavior, eliminating the other characteristics of that particular ball.

In fact, the IDEA "table" doesn't exist as any real thing. It is a general category, and as an IDEA, it omits a great many details of any REAL table. Every noun out there is an abstraction. If you qualify the noun with specifics, with adjectives, as to time and place, size and shape, etc, then, and ONLY THEN does it begin to connect to some REAL thing of reality.

Ideas versus reality. The two are very different, and your comment exhibits a lack of understanding in this regard.
 
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