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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

What is evil

What is evil?

Evil is that which effects changes. It does so using methods that we can not understand or rationalize; or worse does so by a manners that we simply can not accept as the correct path by our own definition. Evil is the force that does things that we wish never happened in the first place.

Granted this definition almost suggests that evil is powered and fueled by our own limited understanding and comprehension.

I remember reading somewhere once that the Gods got their powers from the belief and acceptance of their worshippers. Thus the old Gods of Greece exist but are weakened by the fact that most people in Greek are now Greek Orthodox and follow the Christian deities.

It amuses me, that we could power evil just as much as any other personification of a concept with a combination of belief and naivety.

What is evil to you?

Edit: I always get affect/effect backwards. This has been fixed. Thank you to tiggr93 and jnanacandra

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Evil is being allergic to milk products in a world full of dairy and dairy derivatives.

Amen Sister, Testify!

I can't begin to tell you how much I hate Ben & Jerry's stores.

Not actually answering your question, but just wanted to say that these thoughts remind me a lot of an ongoing situation in my personal life right now, with a fresher perspective. Thanks.

Not to get too pedantic, I'm genuinely a little confused - do you mean that "Evil" affects (as in effects a change in) change, or that it directly effects change - I'm not being clear, are you saying that evil disrupts or perverts change or that change itself is evil?

Thanks for this one. I really need to double check myself on affect/effect. It's one that often gets away from me.


I am always facinated by the natural urge within humans to fear change - the urge to protect the status quo. Would you consider the change from valves to transistors "Evil", or is it merely that the cause was Evil?

In answer to your question I do not believe in Evil. I believe that the worst act you can do is not be true to yourself, hopelessly niave I know... But hey, c'est moi.

very thelemic here...

I believe that the worst act you can do is not be true to yourself

Please see my adjoining post on why I write 93. I absolutely agree.

BTW: Aded you to the journal. Thanks

Hmmm...I wonder if I can articulate this.

If we define "good" as "that which benefits as many people as possible, and causes harm to as few as possible", then my definition of "evil" is close to an antithesis of this: that which benefits very few people, while causing harm to a great many.

The perception of "harm" is, presumably, in the mind of each individual, but is not necessarily a matter of "beliefs".

Anything that harms more people than it benefits is on the "evil" side of the scale. For example, tobacco companies are demonstrably evil. They benefit relatively few people (those who profit from the sale of tobacco) while causing harm to the health of a huge number of people and causing discomfort to an even larger number of people.

Note that "evil", by this definition, is not necessarily a matter of intention; something may cause more harm than good accidentally. It would perhaps be better to add willfulness to the definition, and say that evil is the willful intention to carry out actions that will cause, by impartial measurement, measurably more harm than good, or the realization of such intentions.

I am not unaware that the "impartial measurement" can be the tricky part. ;-)

So you're saying more...

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.. or the one."

Which makes me try to find an evil act which benefited a larger portion of the community than the smaller. :)

Re: So you're saying more...

If I'm correct, you won't be able to.

Re: So you're saying more...

2004 US Election? ;)

Re: So you're saying more...

I'm not going to go there. A lot of that is really too close to call. Not only are the numbers on both sides of the argument almost equal, but not everyone would agree about the amount of harm being weighed against the amount of good, so an impartial assessment is harder to make.

It's easier to assess something like, say, someone who chops up kindergarteners and makes them into compost. Sure, he's got a nice garden, but pretty much everyone is going to agree that that won't tip the scale much.

DisHonorable acts used to destroy others for selfish reasons.

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