How to Instantly Tell Who's Evil versus Good

lkwdblds

Crusader
As regards good versus evil, to me, empowerment and control are a false dichotomy.

Good and evil are entirely relative, to some person or group. To a fanatical Muslim, it is "good" to send a busload of heathens to hell with a suicide bomb. A "good" Muslim fanatic "empowers" young Muslim kids with how to make the bombs.

I agree with TAJ that when you act out of the concerns of the other person or group, to help them, as long as they are not screwing somebody else over doing what they do, then that is "good".

This gets tricky because how any person views good or evil with usually depend on his or her set of beliefs, fixed ideas, philosophy, religion or political leanings. Often some dogma sets the framework for what is considered to be good or bad.

For example, a strict right-wing Christian fundamentalist might consider abortion "wrong", and empower a few friends to bomb the local abortion clinic ( to "help" the unborn fetuses). To them in their minds, they are "good". To them they are stopping "evil". If their assumptions are true, then their choices are correct (of course, the assumptions are not true). :ohmy:

This gets all so tricky, because ethics and morality are mostly relative to what one holds to be true. I don't see that there is ANY sort of absolute ethics or morality, at least not that most human beings will be able to grasp. To arrive at an absolute system of ethics or morality, one will have to make certain assumptions (that others will probably NOT agree with).

TAJ, you say, "Kant breaks it down to using people as a means to your end is bad but treating people as ends in themselves is good."

Okay, so my next door neighbor is addicted to pain killers. She comes over one night and wants about 50 bucks, and she is willing to do anything (she's really cute too). So, I don't treat her as an end for me, I don't take advantage of her, but I help her from her viewpoint - and give her $50 so that she can get her pain killers. I could try to talk her into what I think she should do, or even trick her into NOT doing the drugs, but per Kant, I should let her make a "decision based on her values", and just give her the information I have or understand.

To me there are so MANY wrinkles in this argument.

What would enable a higher morality or ethics to come about might occur IF there was an accurate understanding of what a person really IS, as a mind, as a spirit, etc. If each of us is 1) just some result of accidental evolution, where consciousness is some by-product of chemical and electrical reactions in a brain, and when we die that is it, then attitudes and choices will differ than if 2) Man were actually some more-than-temporary entity who traversed a great many lives and existences. If the latter were "the truth", then right and wrong would align with THAT set of facts. If there is a God in Heaven like some Christians think, and you wil go to Hell if you are "bad", then choices will again be very different. Determinations of good and evil always depend on the belief system held by any person or group. I am curious TAJ, have any philosophers tried to come up with a system of ethics that transcends that problem - that it is often so relative, based on the fixed ideas and assumptions of some person or group?

The problem is that the "set of facts about these great truths" is almost entirely OPINION. And thus, there are a great many different ideas of what "right" and "wrong" is. The Muslim fanatic sees western women in mini-skirts as "evil". And many in the west see women in long clothing that covers their entire body as "evil".

Hubbard was onto something when he talked about "mores" and "social habits". The determination of good and evil has much to do with those factors.

TAJ, I do agree mostly with what Kant said, but I see that there can be exceptions. Generally, I would say that acting to expand the awareness, understanding and knowledge of another, as applies to some relevant matter, concern or situation, is usually a good thing. Acting with trickery, lies, deceit, manipulation, control and force, to make others act or behave to benefit YOU, would be "evil". But I can conceive of situations where deception and trickery would be the right thing to do.

As Leon said, it often comes down to the right-hand versus the left-hand path. It is "love" as desire and a need for sensation versus unconditional (higher) love for others. It is concern for inflow versus giving (as outflow) and with no concern for what you get back "in return". Some notions of this "higher love" transcend "exchange" entirely.

This "good" versus "evil" thing is something that great minds have been pondering for centuries. One day I should give it more than a passing thought. :confused2:

I think your 3rd to last paragraph, which I highlighted in blue, is right on point. Using "good" and "evil" as if they are absolute terms is not valid or workable for the reasons which you state above.

If that is the case then to have the OP post make sense, one would have to declare up front what they mean by "good" and "evil". For example, someone could state, "I consider Judeo-Christian concepts as stated in the Bible to be "good". Another person could declare that they consider the concepts of Islam to represent "good". Someone else could declare that they consider the writings of LRH to represent "good" and another could declare that his writings represent "evil".

To get around having to declare up front what you believe to be "good" and "evil", the author of the OP article is saying that if one empowers people, basically giving them more freedom to expand their understanding and awareness, you will allow them to tap into their innate inner knowledge and doing so will assure the best possible result. IMO, for this concept to be workable, there has to be a concept that each person is connected intrinsically to some higher intelligence which will guide them to the best possible solution.

The opposite view would start with the precept that people are not connected to a higher intelligence and if left to their own devices, will not make wise decisions. For this view to work, adherents must believe strongly in some outside body of knowledge such as the Bible, the Koran, the teachings of Hubbard, Kant, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, etc.. Whatever it is that is looked to as source knowledge, the person holding this view decides that he/she is "enlightened" while most other people either have no doctrine or have bought into a false doctrine. The self proclaimed "enlightened" believe that allowing more freedom to individuals has been proven repeatedly to be the wrong approach and that they, as members of an enlightened class, have the duty to get the less enlightened people to do what they know is right, no matter what it takes.

This is where lies, trickery, deceit, manipulation and control come into play. People operating from this point of view believe that by doing these things, they are doing "good" by rescuing the less enlightened people and preventing them from making the same errors which did not work in the past. This is what the writer of the OP would consider "evil".
Lakey
 
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BardoThodol

Silver Meritorious Patron
If only life were so simple. Control versus empowerment.

I've got kids. Let them do anything they want? Control everything they do? Seems that a balance is best.

An evil person might very well empower those who are inclined to harm themselves or others. Why, that boy should have a gun if he wants one. Give him some extra clips. Sure he's thinking of shooting everyone in his school, but...heh...

Your kid wants to play video games instead of anything else, such as growing as a person? Hmm. Just needs to be a bit of control.

Your workers want to go out speed skating instead of installing the framing....

The question is always "empowerment to do what?" Without that answered, empowerment can become tremendously evil.

Control to do what? Prevent others from encroaching on the rights of others? Not such a bad thing to control. Empowering the CofS certainly isn't good.

Ability is always dependent on control. Part of coaching or teaching demands conveying the ability to control whatever media you're dealing with, whether it's writing, painting, dancing, pitching, whatever. You have to control.

What good is it to be empowered without the ability to accomplish? What good is it to empower someone to be weak? isn't that another term for enabling?

Is enabling a good thing?

I find the author biased and superficial in his reasoning. Certainly what he proposes has some merit, but his examples are just plain silly: Liberals are evil because they want to control?

Almost all of my good friends are liberal (without being Democrats) and every single one of them wishes the best for others, wants others to live the most successful lives they can muster to the degree they can stretch their abilities.

Empowerment while teaching control seems a better balance. As Gaddie writes, the two things are not dichotomies. Empowerment and control seem almost inextricably intertwined in practice.
 
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It's not so much a case of good and evil as I see it, but more a case of Priddy Good people, Bitches, Bastards, Really Neat people, Really Really Fantastic people, Fuckin Idiots, Arrogant Shitheads, Really Nice Guys, Really Nice Person, Bloody Fuckin Bastard, etc. Do you see that? If we ask a Degraded Being we get an answer to this question of Good versus Evil which has bewildered 50 thousand years of thinking Man. :yes:
 

BardoThodol

Silver Meritorious Patron
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It's not so much a case of good and evil as I see it, but more a case of Priddy Good people, Bitches, Bastards, Really Neat people, Really Really Fantastic people, Fuckin Idiots, Arrogant Shitheads, Really Nice Guys, Really Nice Person, Bloody Fuckin Bastard, etc. Do you see that? If we ask a Degraded Being we get an answer to this question of Good versus Evil which has bewildered 50 thousand years of thinking Man. :yes:

God, I'm getting a headache.

Must be 50 thousand years of past lives thinking about this stuff.

Plus, maybe a lifetime or two as a clam worrying about evil waves smashing my brittle ass against the cliffs.
 
Good and evil are not permanent conditions of people.

People are not always good and people are not always bad.

Kant breaks it down to using people as a means to your end is bad but treating people as ends in themselves is good.

In other words you don't deceive or fool people or trick people or even use an irrational or purely emotional argument to convince someone to do what you want them to do.

You treat people as the one who should make his own decision based on his values and just give him the information you have.

This is Kant's way of saying empowerment is good and manipulation is bad.

The Anabaptist Jacques

so what's your problem with using scientology for empowerment taj?
 

Ted

Gold Meritorious Patron

lkwdblds

Crusader
If only life were so simple. Control versus empowerment.

I've got kids. Let them do anything they want? Control everything they do? Seems that a balance is best.

An evil person might very well empower those who are inclined to harm themselves or others. Why, that boy should have a gun if he wants one. Give him some extra clips. Sure he's thinking of shooting everyone in his school, but...heh...

Your kid wants to play video games instead of anything else, such as growing as a person? Hmm. Just needs to be a bit of control.

Your workers want to go out speed skating instead of installing the framing....

The question is always "empowerment to do what?" Without that answered, empowerment can become tremendously evil.

Control to do what? Prevent others from encroaching on the rights of others? Not such a bad thing to control. Empowering the CofS certainly isn't good.

Ability is always dependent on control. Part of coaching or teaching demands conveying the ability to control whatever media you're dealing with, whether it's writing, painting, dancing, pitching, whatever. You have to control.

What good is it to be empowered without the ability to accomplish? What good is it to empower someone to be weak? isn't that another term for enabling?

Is enabling a good thing?

I find the author biased and superficial in his reasoning. Certainly what he proposes has some merit, but his examples are just plain silly: Liberals are evil because they want to control?

Almost all of my good friends are liberal (without being Democrats) and every single one of them wishes the best for others, wants others to live the most successful lives they can muster to the degree they can stretch their abilities.

Empowerment while teaching control seems a better balance. As Gaddie writes, the two things are not dichotomies. Empowerment and control seem almost inextricably intertwined in practice.

I think your post is excellent but I would caution that the road to hell is paved with good wishes and good intentions. Wishing the best for others and wanting them to be successful really does not count for much because virtually everyone who does anything believes that he/she is acting for the common good. How many people openly state that they hate mankind or individuals and want to destroy them? It's rare and the agreement in society is that such that such a person is considered mentally ill and is usually removed from society and often given mental treatment.

The vast majority of us believe we have good intentions for both mankind and individual people. No one is suggesting that liberals as a group are evil. The OP is just focusing on the best way to improve conditions and in particular about which means to improve conditions is best; to do it with the emphasis being on control of individuals or to place more of the emphasis on empowerment of individuals. I agree that this may be an oversimplification but that's one major reason why I put the OP up for discussion.
Lakey
 

Gadfly

Crusader
I think your post is excellent but I would caution that the road to hell is paved with good wishes and good intentions. Wishing the best for others and wanting them to be successful really does not count for much because virtually everyone who does anything believes that he/she is acting for the common good. How many people openly state that they hate mankind or individuals and want to destroy them? It's rare and the agreement in society is that such that such a person is considered mentally ill and is usually removed from society and often given mental treatment.

The vast majority of us believe we have good intentions for both mankind and individual people. No one is suggesting that liberals as a group are evil. The OP is just focusing on the best way to improve conditions and in particular about which means to improve conditions is best; to do it with the emphasis being on control of individuals or to place more of the emphasis on empowerment of individuals. I agree that this may be an oversimplification but that's one major reason why I put the OP up for discussion.
Lakey

:thumbsup:

The trick is to continue to wish good things for others, but to always maintain a strict requirement that this "good" exists from THE PERSON'S VIEWPOINT, and NOT based on any demands of YOUR OWN belief system.

For example, the Nazis truly believed that they were "helping make a better world" by eradicating the genetic slop of "Jews, gypsies and homosexuals".

One must always temper ones care and concern for others with a very heightened awareness of what the other person wants and doesn't want. In the case of Nazi Germany, they were far more concerned with this abstract idea of a "better world" than with actual "real people".

In Scientology, there is equally a greater concern for abstract ideas such as "clearing the planet" and "salvaging this sector", than for real people (i.e. Paulette Cooper). Nutty cults and oppressive dictatorships can be spotted because the unrealistic abstract ideas tend to direct all action and behavior.

The "road to hell is paved with good intentions" means that the real world of action and behavior is a product of ideas and thoughts (i.e. good intentions). This is true because this goes hand-in-hand with "the end justifies the means". The "end" is usually some abstract overly idealistic concept, it is an idea in some person's head that does not align with any possible or wanted version of reality, and this "end" excuses and causes the endless actions and behaviors that appear as the "ends" in the real world of real people.

This all very much has to do with how IDEAS connect to BEHAVIOR. This has to do with how the realm of the invisible connects to the real of the visible. This has to do with how nutty ideals, exaggerated hopes and inappropriate desires of the MIND connect and bring about the abuse, harm and evil in the real world of action.

There are many nutty ideas in Scientology, that when accepted and believed, come to justify, excuse and even cause various not-so-nice behaviors and actions.
 

Gadfly

Crusader
In his "Critique of Pure Reason" he basically asked if in a rational world based on science, is there a place for moral law?

His answer was his Categorical Imperative. That stated: "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

For example, if you want to break a promise you made to a friend.

The categorical imperative (categorical means in all cases and imperative means what you must do) tells you to imagine a universe were everyone broke promises.

You will see that this would be a very undesirable world to live in. In fact, promises would be useless.

This, of course, means that even little white lies are unacceptable, because a universe made up of people lying would be very undesireable and unworkable..

The Anabaptist Jacques

Is this Kant's example or yours?

The idea of never lying ignores CONTEXT. Also, the notion of "universal" law applied to human beings regarding morality is TOTALLY ABSURD. This is such an abstract idea, and it has almost no possible correlation with any version of reality.

For example, when my neighbors wife asks him if her ass looks too large with the new dress she just bought, he sure had BETTER LIE, or he will be in deep shit. All lies are NOT created equal. Not at all. The context CHANGES the MEANING of a lie. To treat all lies as equal ignores immense differences. To make such an identification of different thing is . . . well somewhat "insane". Just as Hubbard (and Korzybski earier) said, the inability to perceive and recognize differences, identities and associations is a sign of "mental illness". Failing to take context into account is also equally nutty.

Of course, once one accepts context as a key factor in ethics and morality, it gets taken out and away from "universality" and placed entirely into the realm of the "relative" (moral relativity). And while Scientology is a version of moral relativity, there a great many varieties, and I see that a decent version might be able to exist.

This is all fine and well, but as you said, "imagine a world". To me, too often philosophers IMAGINE worlds that have little or nothing to do with any actual world. I suppose that is because they are locked in some "ivory tower" (or in some ascetic room at the University of Königsberg). :hysterical:
 
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PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
Helena, it sounds like the empowerment of all people in a society is the antidote for believing that SOMEBODY has to be in charge. If NOBODY is in charge then there is anarchy which leads to chaos. I believe the American Founding Fathers were on the right track. Simply stated, for usage in the real world, they devised a system which attempted to empower each citizen to a collective state sufficient for the citizenry to vote in leaders who would further look out for the common interest.
Lakey

The founding fathers of the US constitution were not interested in a "collective state" (interesting to see how well the collectivists have succeeded with their propaganda.) The common interest? If you mean to protect the rights of its citizens, OK. More than that - no. You make the founding fathers sound like Marxists.

It is quite common today for citizens and leaders of the US to blather on about democracy. The founding fathers knew democracy was a crappy form of government, that's why they created a Republic.

Anarchy doesn't necessarily have to lead to chaos.

It is very interesting to see how ideas have been absorbed without complete inspection in society.
 

Gadfly

Crusader
It is very interesting to see how ideas have been absorbed without complete inspection in society.

Well, isn't that pretty much how it has been ever since the beginning of time? :confused2:

Also, a "society" doesn't adsorb an idea; it can't because the idea of a "society" is an abstraction, and not a real existing thing (and it changes every moment into something else it wasn't a moment before) - an individual thinking mind does "absorb ideas" (metaphorically speaking). It seems to me that accepting ideas without complete inspection is more the rule than the exception. Simple observation shows that to be true.

I mean look how Hubbard setup Scientology so that a great many ideas would be accepted "without complete inspection". For example, read History of Man. How the hell can ANYBODY verify what Hubbard states and claims? You can't EVER perform any sort of inspection of the data to decide whether the ideas are correct or not. Con artists and scammers are good at taking advantage of that very real human weakness. With regards to much information given in Scientology, all one can do is "think about" the ideas, and leave these ideas largely disconnected from any possible observation of relevant data.
 

Helena Handbasket

Gold Meritorious Patron
Helena, it sounds like the empowerment of all people in a society is the antidote for believing that SOMEBODY has to be in charge. If NOBODY is in charge then there is anarchy which leads to chaos.

If nobody is in charge, yes, that's anarchy which is by definition lack of a central controlling body. But anarchy need not lead to chaos. Only if it does must one fall back to the situation of putting sombody "in charge". In particular I'm talking about putting someone in charge first, before any problems develop that would require it.

Say three people are constructing a small building, each with different skills. It behooves them to talk things out beforehand, and not put water pipes where they will block the route heating ducts have to take (happened to me). CONSENSUS is the key word, deciding together what will work for everyone.

With larger projects, one could easily get to a point where there's more discussion than work going on, so some lines of authority need to be established. But even in large corporations, heads of divisions such as manufacturing, marketing, and personnel will negotiate rather than simply give orders back and forth -- orders that may not be workable.


I believe the American Founding Fathers were on the right track. Simply stated, for usage in the real world, they devised a system which attempted to empower each citizen to a collective state sufficient for the citizenry to vote in leaders who would further look out for the common interest.
Lakey

Regardless of WHO is making that decision, or HOW they are empowered to be able to make that decision, voting is by definition "putting somebody in charge". I'm not saying a country can do without a government, but what you are describing is the "leader principle" -- the voters vote then shut up for four years (or whatever) while the leader does ALL the talking. California in particular has the "initiative, referendum, and recall" where ordinary shlubs can participate in government WITHOUT waiting for the next election and hoping they get someone who will represent their needs better.

I'm disenchanted with voting anyway. Again using the United States as an example, the Republicans and Democrats have been trading places for years and things have only gotten worse.

Helena
 

PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
Well, isn't that pretty much how it has been ever since the beginning of time? :confused2:

Also, a "society" doesn't adsorb an idea; it can't because the idea of a "society" is an abstraction, and not a real existing thing (and it changes every moment into something else it wasn't a moment before) - an individual thinking mind does "absorb ideas" (metaphorically speaking). It seems to me that accepting ideas without complete inspection is more the rule than the exception. Simple observation shows that to be true.

I mean look how Hubbard setup Scientology so that a great many ideas would be accepted "without complete inspection". For example, read History of Man. How the hell can ANYBODY verify what Hubbard states and claims? You can't EVER perform any sort of inspection of the data to decide whether the ideas are correct or not. Con artists and scammers are good at taking advantage of that very real human weakness. With regards to much information given in Scientology, all one can do is "think about" the ideas, and leave these ideas largely disconnected from any possible observation of relevant data.

Yes, it seems that it has been going on for quite some time. I agree, people absorb ideas. Some ideas get more "play" than others. Those in power have a great deal of influence over which ideas get the most exposure. Yes. it has been this way for a long time as well. The victors get to write history.

Hubbard's ideas in HOM of course cannot be simply verified. To say that they could never be verified I think is pushing it a bit too far. I think it is possible to verify that what he wrote was hogwash (or not.) It would require a good bit of effort to do so, certainly not something a single individual is going to do. It isn't so hard to just take what he wrote and say - well, what he is writing sure sounds wacked to me and I'm not going to accept what he says without further validation. Hubbard preyed on people's ignorance. I was ignorant. Education is key. If I had studied philosophy before getting hoodwinked into scientology I would have been far better armed against Hubbard's con. Or perhaps had been educated in the ways of conning and controlling people. It is interesting how mixing truth with lies can so deeply shut down one's logical reasoning powers.
 

PirateAndBum

Gold Meritorious Patron
Is this Kant's example or yours?

The idea of never lying ignores CONTEXT. Also, the notion of "universal" law applied to human beings regarding morality is TOTALLY ABSURD. This is such an abstract idea, and it has almost no possible correlation with any version of reality.

For example, when my neighbors wife asks him if her ass looks too large with the new dress she just bought, he sure had BETTER LIE, or he will be in deep shit. All lies are NOT created equal. Not at all. The context CHANGES the MEANING of a lie. To treat all lies as equal ignores immense differences. To make such an identification of different thing is . . . well somewhat "insane". Just as Hubbard (and Korzybski earier) said, the inability to perceive and recognize differences, identities and associations is a sign of "mental illness". Failing to take context into account is also equally nutty.

Of course, once one accepts context as a key factor in ethics and morality, it gets taken out and away from "universality" and placed entirely into the realm of the "relative" (moral relativity). And while Scientology is a version of moral relativity, there a great many varieties, and I see that a decent version might be able to exist.

This is all fine and well, but as you said, "imagine a world". To me, too often philosophers IMAGINE worlds that have little or nothing to do with any actual world. I suppose that is because they are locked in some "ivory tower" (or in some ascetic room at the University of Königsberg). :hysterical:

I think you are arguing against reason. LOL

Yes dear it makes your ass look fatter. So what? His wife can't handle the truth? You've got a fat ass baby, that's not why I love you.

Really Gaddy, I expect more from you! :coolwink:

"Imagine a world" is certainly a good yardstick for examining these issues.

Imagine a world without people that have big bloated egos... LOL

You might be able to tell the truth in such a world.
 
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