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What is the difference between good and evil?

Discuss deep philosophical topics and questions.

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RickyRetardo
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What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by RickyRetardo » November 8th, 2014, 12:19 am

What do you think? How do we define that which is good, and contrast it with that which is evil?

Could it be that good is merely the absence of evil?
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by fschmidt » November 8th, 2014, 11:03 am

Good is what benefits your tribe in the long run. Evil is what harms your tribe in the long run.

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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by RickyRetardo » November 8th, 2014, 11:17 am

fschmidt wrote:Good is what benefits your tribe in the long run. Evil is what harms your tribe in the long run.
What is the importance of tribalism?
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Cornfed
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Cornfed » November 8th, 2014, 1:10 pm

fschmidt wrote:Good is what benefits your tribe in the long run. Evil is what harms your tribe in the long run.
Right, or to put it another way, good actions benefit society generally whereas evil actions benefit a subgroup at the expense of society.

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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by fschmidt » November 8th, 2014, 2:12 pm

RickyRetardo wrote:What is the importance of tribalism?
Cooperative groups beat isolated individuals. So it benefits your genes to remain in a strong tribe.

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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Ghost » November 8th, 2014, 4:20 pm

RickyRetardo wrote:What do you think? How do we define that which is good, and contrast it with that which is evil?

Could it be that good is merely the absence of evil?
There is an old story, often attributed to Einstein as an experience he had when he was a student at university. (I'm sure that part isn't true, though. That's just how it often circulates online.) In the story, Einstein ends up saying evil is a lack of good just as cold is a lack of heat. That notion could get very complex and pointlessly philosophical, so in practical terms I agree with Fschmidt's answer and Cornfed's addendum.

Another way I've thought about is to consider what evil primarily does. The simplest answer is that evil applies force. (Hence the term "evil forces.") Feminism is the application of force against virtues. Political correctness is force applied against common sense. If something is good, it doesn't need to apply force. Ideally, it should just be reason, common sense, and virtue. Lack of these things could be considered evil because if they do not apply reason/virtue/common sense et. al. then it must apply force to promote itself. Socrates defined evil as ignorance. And that idea resonates with me.
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Moretorque » November 8th, 2014, 4:23 pm

fschmidt wrote:
RickyRetardo wrote:What is the importance of tribalism?
Cooperative groups beat isolated individuals. So it benefits your genes to remain in a strong tribe.
The problem here in the states and the world in general any way is the tribe is mostly shallow which equates to evil, the planet is going down the tubes and daa herd could not give a sh it. The tribe our children have been and are being set up to pay and that is plain evil.
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Winston » November 9th, 2014, 1:58 am

If you have a conscience, it should make you feel the difference between good and evil. We are born with a conscience. But some people aren't for some reason. Perhaps those who lack empathy have cold alien souls that are not part of the human race.

Good and evil are probably polarities, just like light and dark. They are both needed to cancel each other out in the union of opposites as depicted in the Ying Yang symbol.
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by The_Adventurer » November 9th, 2014, 4:04 am

"...if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its facets, not just the narrow, dogmatic view of the Jedi."
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Gadfly » November 9th, 2014, 7:52 am

You can't explain the difference without a spiritual life, and belief in God. Good and evil are spiritual terms.

Without belief in God, any behavior can be justified or approved of, as long as nobody gets hurt -- the short-sighted thinking of modern, secular, democratic societies.

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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Cornfed » November 11th, 2014, 8:50 pm

Ghost wrote:Another way I've thought about is to consider what evil primarily does. The simplest answer is that evil applies force.
Yes, and since evil requires force it tends to be energy inefficient, requiring the support of energy added from outside the system it is operating in. Related to this, evil tends to be parasitical. Good men can get along fine without evil men, but evil men need to somehow sponge off the efforts of good men. For these reasons evil tends to be somewhat self limiting and self destructive, but it can do a lot of damage before it finally dies out.

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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Paloaltoguy » November 14th, 2014, 8:29 pm

The whole question is framed in slave morality thus beneath me.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2% ... e_morality
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Winston
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Winston » November 15th, 2014, 7:08 am

I don't get how some of you, and many people too, can believe in good without evil. Everything in the universe has a polarity on both sides. That's like saying that you believe in white but not black, or up but not down, or positive but not negative, etc. Everything has an opposite polarity. The union of opposites is what makes existence possible. This is why Eastern philosophy teaches. Don't you guys know that?

The ideal situation is to seek a BALANCE between the polarities, not eliminate one or the other. Balance is the key here. You've got to have both polarities in moderation. Nothing in any extreme is good, not even positivity, love and goodness. This is what Eastern philosophy teaches. I don't understand why Western New Age movements think that the goal should be to strive for an ideal utopia world that is 100 percent good and peaceful with no evil in it. Or that a person can be always positive and happy 24/7 if they choose to be. It is not good for a person to be too positive or too negative. Neither are realistic or ideal. Such New Age goals are delusional and ignore the nature of reality, as well as the union of opposites concept.

Therefore, it makes no sense to believed in God without Satan, or good without evil. If there's a God, then there has to be a devil. Or at the very least, God has to have both a dark side and a good side, just like humans do. If God created evil, pain and suffering, then they must be parts of his nature too. Why would God create pleasure and vices if he didn't want you to have anything to do with them? Christian theology makes no sense. If there's a God, it's more reasonable to believe that he has both a good and bad side and is thus an imperfect being.

To assume that God is 100 percent good and perfect would be like the 50 trillion cells in your body thinking that you and your mind are 100 percent good and perfect because you are in effect "the God of your cells". It makes no sense. The universe is likely a living organism. We are just cells in it, or at least our planet is a cell in it. God is probably just the organism of the universe that we are a part of.

It's possible that God is a created being too, perhaps an offspring of "parent Gods". So in that sense, he is created as well, rather the creator. The universe probably has many scales reaching into infinity.

Just as you don't know what's going on with each of your 50 trillion cells in your body, it's possible that God doesn't know what's going on here either. If something divine is interceding in your affairs, it's most likely higher beings or entities from other dimensions, rather than "the one and only God that created everything".

Sorry for going off on a tangent there.
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by Ghost » November 15th, 2014, 5:52 pm

Paloaltoguy wrote:The whole question is framed in slave morality thus beneath me.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2% ... e_morality
I guess you're getting lazy. You didn't copy/paste like you normally do.
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Re: What is the difference between good and evil?

Post by fschmidt » November 15th, 2014, 6:20 pm

Ghost wrote:
Paloaltoguy wrote:The whole question is framed in slave morality thus beneath me.

See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2% ... e_morality
I guess you're getting lazy. You didn't copy/paste like you normally do.
But he couldn't copy/paste because the article he linked to contradicts his own point. This thread actually fits Nietzsche well.

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