Jump to content

Good And Evil - Human Concepts?


Evolution_beyond
 Share

Recommended Posts

The foundation of christian morality, the belief that there is some objective sense of good and evil over and beyond human affairs - it's really a lot of nonsense isn't it?

 

The concepts of good and evil (or at least right and wrong) make a lot of sense on a human level. That which works in the favour of human beings is classed as 'good' and that which is harmful and destructive is classed as 'bad'. So behaviours which allow us to live in peace and harmony with one another are seen as good and right, whereas behaviours that harm other people are seen as bad, wrong or in extreme cases evil.

 

But if we move beyond the human sphere into the realm of nature, the whole concept falls apart. What is 'bad' for us may well be 'good' for other life-forms. A lot of creatures live off the dead, so a human's death is only 'bad' from a human viewpoint. Ignorant humans sometimes call extreme weather conditions 'bad' and see them as evidence of evil in the world, or diseases are considered part of 'natural evil'. But this is just nature doing what it does. Diseases are bad for us, but obviously they are good news for the microbe that is able to reproduce by making people sick. Even if all human life died out - the creatures that evolved to replace us would view that event as a 'good' thing.

 

So when we go beyond the human level, morality is really very relative. How anyone can then assign these moralistic aspects to an all-powerful God of the whole of creation; an entity that must have to look after the needs of viruses, fungi, rats, mosquitos and termites alongside the needs of mankind; is totally beyond me. That religious folk furthermore want to claim that there are rules of goodness that aren't self-apparent that we need to adhere to because this God says so - just beggars belief. It's clearly just a control mechanism.

 

When a force behind all of nature (if you happen to believe in such a thing) is described as good and loving, this surely can only mean that it is tolerant to all different walks of life because all things come from it, and go back to it. However, our very concepts of 'good' and 'evil' are necessarily human-centred ones. So perhaps it is better to call 'God' neutral.

 

That's not to say that some sense of morality isn't highly important for human beings. It is very important. If we all need to live together then we all need to learn to get along - and that is the only morality worth having. But please don't claim that any of that comes from the creative, conscious presence in the universe. 'God' or 'the One Consciousness' has to look after all the stars, asteroids, seas, winds, rats, insects, animals, viruses, bacteria, fungi and plants as well as us. Good and evil don't (can't) come into it, only balance and neutrality.

 

What do you folks out there think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it is relative, though the only opinion that matters (in the long run) belongs to the majority or those in control. Good, evil, right and wrong are relative to those who are observing. I don't mean the person making the claim of good, evil, etc., but rather the the one observing the argument outside of yourself. We all have our own internal opinions, it is when we make those opinions public that it becomes truly relative.

 

For example:

If you think you are smart, funny, and good-looking; that is all well and good. However, when you make it known that you are smart, funny, and good-looking then the 'truth' of it becomes relative to the observer. In a room with ten other people, you might think you are the smartest, funniest, best-looking person in the room. But, does your opinion matter to the whole? Not really. You can try to convince the group that you are these things, but in the end it is the majority opinion that will take precidence over your own ideals since the majority will be able to do more about your ideals than yourself alone. If you are the only one who believes that you hold these qualities, then what effect can that do outside your own internal feelings and actions? It has very little impact on the outside world, and thus the majority opinion becomes paramount to your own ideals.

 

Therefore, the concepts of good, evil, right and wrong are only relative when they have an effect outside of your own beliefs. By persuasion and argument you can make a case for your own beleifs and sway the majority in your favor. Then, these concepts are relative to your group, but not necessarily to those outside your group since they are composed of a greater majority. Then, the opinions of your group do not hold 'truth' until you persuade more to your beliefs and it becomes the majority opinion.

 

With freedom comes division and segregation into majority and minority factions. It is the majority that can, and has, forced their relativism on the minority. They are the ones that make the laws and control the lives of the minority. I suppose you could say that everything has its price, and the price of freedom is that it creates anarchy and chaos and eventually the oppression of minority groups. So what could freedom lead to? I'll let you guys figure that out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In nature (excluding humans) there isn't really good or evil. Only a balance.

 

Good and evil in humans could be understood in the choices that one makes. That is, an "evil" choice is one which favours the subject at the cost of another and the good choice is a selfless act.

 

But some actions which can be interpreted as evil are actually just part of the above mentioned balance. For example, a person slaughter his pig and eats it with his wife and kids. While this may be considered cruel, it is the way that nature works, a "good" act (the guy feeding his family) and a "evil" act (the killing of the pig) cancel each other out (so to speak) which creates the above mentioned balance.

 

Truly "evil" acts such as rape, murder, theft etc. (for purpose other than survival or self-defense) are only commited by sentient beings, in our case humans. Ironically, with intelligence, organisms also develop things like greed, sadism and hatred which tip the balance of nature and create the concepts of good and evil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In nature (excluding humans) there isn't really good or evil. Only a balance.

 

Good and evil in humans could be understood in the choices that one makes. That is, an "evil" choice is one which favours the subject at the cost of another and the good choice is a selfless act.

 

But some actions which can be interpreted as evil are actually just part of the above mentioned balance. For example, a person slaughter his pig and eats it with his wife and kids. While this may be considered cruel, it is the way that nature works, a "good" act (the guy feeding his family) and a "evil" act (the killing of the pig) cancel each other out (so to speak) which creates the above mentioned balance.

 

Truly "evil" acts such as rape, murder, theft etc. (for purpose other than survival or self-defense) are only commited by sentient beings, in our case humans. Ironically, with intelligence, organisms also develop things like greed, sadism and hatred which tip the balance of nature and create the concepts of good and evil.

 

Humans are not the only animals which rape or murder or steal. Wolverines will tear another animal apart without eating it. They do it because it's fun. Dolphins will gang up on another dolphin and drown it by preventing it from reaching the surface for air. Monkeys will rape other monkeys. (Actually, rape is a dominance act. When we say, "fuck you", there's an unspoken "I" before it. It's symbolic rape) All of these things are how nature works, yes. These things are evidence of our ultimately being animals like any other.

 

Perhaps the difference is that we can make art and music and philosophy. We can feel empathy for another in pain. Elephants care for their sick and mourn their dead. They create art and can recognize themselves in a mirror. They, like us, know they will die one day. These things are all evidence of a higher nature. Evidence of striving beyond being just an animal who acts on its impulses. It's evidence that we conceive of a future. Art is meant to speak to the future. Music is meant to speak to many.

 

We and other animals who have these higher aspirations could be seen as good. I think of the people who claim that something so complicated as life could not possibly be random, which points to a creator. I silently think that yes, it is complicated, but it's anything but random. It's the result of adapting to circumstances. It doesn't need to point to a creator. We seem to be going beyond adapting to suit our basic needs, though. We seem to be reaching to be something besides an animal. Any reversion to the animal could be seen as bad, a setback to humanity acheiving his higher goal, his next evolution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What do you folks out there think?

I think I can call you Brother. Brother EB. Is that OK? :grin:

 

Very recently I called the Universe the ultimate neutral. It's never sat well with me to hear the binding "force" of nature as good or love. It doesn't add up. If so we should all embrace and celebrate and worship death, since death gives life. No, it seems it's hard for humans to see nature outside of our own eyes, and that's why a war god like Jehovah all the way to some cosmic-force seems to be unavoidably imbued with qualities that look surprisingly like humans and which shares those sort of human values.

 

Why don't we view God as the Great Mantis? Make love, then eat your partner? Could it be because we don't see the world through the eyes of the mantis?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In nature (excluding humans) there isn't really good or evil. Only a balance.

 

Good and evil in humans could be understood in the choices that one makes. That is, an "evil" choice is one which favours the subject at the cost of another and the good choice is a selfless act.

 

But some actions which can be interpreted as evil are actually just part of the above mentioned balance. For example, a person slaughter his pig and eats it with his wife and kids. While this may be considered cruel, it is the way that nature works, a "good" act (the guy feeding his family) and a "evil" act (the killing of the pig) cancel each other out (so to speak) which creates the above mentioned balance.

 

Truly "evil" acts such as rape, murder, theft etc. (for purpose other than survival or self-defense) are only commited by sentient beings, in our case humans. Ironically, with intelligence, organisms also develop things like greed, sadism and hatred which tip the balance of nature and create the concepts of good and evil.

 

Humans are not the only animals which rape or murder or steal. Wolverines will tear another animal apart without eating it. They do it because it's fun. Dolphins will gang up on another dolphin and drown it by preventing it from reaching the surface for air. Monkeys will rape other monkeys. (Actually, rape is a dominance act. When we say, "fuck you", there's an unspoken "I" before it. It's symbolic rape) All of these things are how nature works, yes. These things are evidence of our ultimately being animals like any other.

 

Perhaps the difference is that we can make art and music and philosophy. We can feel empathy for another in pain. Elephants care for their sick and mourn their dead. They create art and can recognize themselves in a mirror. They, like us, know they will die one day. These things are all evidence of a higher nature. Evidence of striving beyond being just an animal who acts on its impulses. It's evidence that we conceive of a future. Art is meant to speak to the future. Music is meant to speak to many.

 

We and other animals who have these higher aspirations could be seen as good. I think of the people who claim that something so complicated as life could not possibly be random, which points to a creator. I silently think that yes, it is complicated, but it's anything but random. It's the result of adapting to circumstances. It doesn't need to point to a creator. We seem to be going beyond adapting to suit our basic needs, though. We seem to be reaching to be something besides an animal. Any reversion to the animal could be seen as bad, a setback to humanity acheiving his higher goal, his next evolution.

 

 

Elephants also kill for fun...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Humans are not the only animals which rape or murder or steal. Wolverines will tear another animal apart without eating it. They do it because it's fun. Dolphins will gang up on another dolphin and drown it by preventing it from reaching the surface for air. Monkeys will rape other monkeys. (Actually, rape is a dominance act. When we say, "fuck you", there's an unspoken "I" before it. It's symbolic rape) All of these things are how nature works, yes. These things are evidence of our ultimately being animals like any other.

 

Shit, you got me there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In nature (excluding humans) there isn't really good or evil. Only a balance.

 

Good and evil in humans could be understood in the choices that one makes. That is, an "evil" choice is one which favours the subject at the cost of another and the good choice is a selfless act.

 

But some actions which can be interpreted as evil are actually just part of the above mentioned balance. For example, a person slaughter his pig and eats it with his wife and kids. While this may be considered cruel, it is the way that nature works, a "good" act (the guy feeding his family) and a "evil" act (the killing of the pig) cancel each other out (so to speak) which creates the above mentioned balance.

 

Truly "evil" acts such as rape, murder, theft etc. (for purpose other than survival or self-defense) are only commited by sentient beings, in our case humans. Ironically, with intelligence, organisms also develop things like greed, sadism and hatred which tip the balance of nature and create the concepts of good and evil.

 

Humans are not the only animals which rape or murder or steal. Wolverines will tear another animal apart without eating it. They do it because it's fun. Dolphins will gang up on another dolphin and drown it by preventing it from reaching the surface for air. Monkeys will rape other monkeys. (Actually, rape is a dominance act. When we say, "fuck you", there's an unspoken "I" before it. It's symbolic rape) All of these things are how nature works, yes. These things are evidence of our ultimately being animals like any other.

 

Perhaps the difference is that we can make art and music and philosophy. We can feel empathy for another in pain. Elephants care for their sick and mourn their dead. They create art and can recognize themselves in a mirror. They, like us, know they will die one day. These things are all evidence of a higher nature. Evidence of striving beyond being just an animal who acts on its impulses. It's evidence that we conceive of a future. Art is meant to speak to the future. Music is meant to speak to many.

 

We and other animals who have these higher aspirations could be seen as good. I think of the people who claim that something so complicated as life could not possibly be random, which points to a creator. I silently think that yes, it is complicated, but it's anything but random. It's the result of adapting to circumstances. It doesn't need to point to a creator. We seem to be going beyond adapting to suit our basic needs, though. We seem to be reaching to be something besides an animal. Any reversion to the animal could be seen as bad, a setback to humanity acheiving his higher goal, his next evolution.

 

 

Elephants also kill for fun...

 

So do we. Actually, I have a great admiration for the work of Abraham Maslow. His hierarchy of needs applies to just about all situations. In fact, there have been authors who believe that it applies to crime. We started out as a species by perpetrating crime which got our basic physical needs met. Then we turned to crime to meet our safety needs. Next, social needs, and so on. Right now we seem to be between esteem and cognitive. I very much doubt that it would end up with crime resulting in self-actualization, but at the same time, it makes me view the joy-killing of the wolverine as being similar to our own folks who kill for fun, to make themselves feel good. I wonder if we're really so superior to them. Yes, elephants are capable of a higher nature, like us. Like us, they are also capable of killing for pleasure.

 

Maybe the whole search for meaning in our lives, in many cases religion, is a search for self-actualization. It's a search for our higher nature. I'm not saying it's the right way to go about it, but perhaps religion is an artificial way of inducing a lowest-common-denominator form of higher nature. People who are not intelligent enough to seek it for themselves are prevented by threats and bribery to be in the highest nature they can acheive. Maybe it keeps the rest of us who are more intelligent safe from those who aren't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.