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babybird
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20 Sep 2023, 1:49 pm

I was talking to my T yesterday and I can't remember properly the conversation but he mentioned something about some people being evil. I said that I don't know what evil means to be honest and then he tried to come up with an explanation but he struggled.

Can anyone come up with a simple explanation of what evil is?


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Misslizard
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20 Sep 2023, 2:14 pm

To willfully cause suffering to another being.
My best guess.We are all guilty of this ,to say otherwise is lying.


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babybird
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20 Sep 2023, 2:44 pm

Yeah he said something along those lines as well. I just think I have a problem with the word "evil" as it reminds me of religious stuff.


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DuckHairback
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20 Sep 2023, 2:58 pm

A person is evil when we don't care to consider the factors that might have led to them to do whatever awful thing they did. It's too uncomfortable to apply "There, but for the grace of God, go I" so we give them a supernatural attribute that separates them from the rest of us. They are simply evil. It explains unfathomable behaviour. It's an act of monstering.

It's very much a religious/superstitious concept as it places culpability outside of the human experience.


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babybird
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20 Sep 2023, 3:10 pm

Oh I like that answer


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20 Sep 2023, 3:15 pm

The word evil is actually going out of use because it suggests Heaven and Hell, and that suggests religion. Traditionally it meant someone who would go to Hell. DHB's answer is perfect. They're monsters like you and I have encountered. They're the people who did the unspeakable to kids or adults and don't have a lick of remorse.



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20 Sep 2023, 3:16 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
A person is evil when we don't care to consider the factors that might have led to them to do whatever awful thing they did. It's too uncomfortable to apply "There, but for the grace of God, go I" so we give them a supernatural attribute that separates them from the rest of us. They are simply evil. It explains unfathomable behaviour. It's an act of monstering.

It's very much a religious/superstitious concept as it places culpability outside of the human experience.


I'd like to co-sign on this. :nerdy:


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blitzkrieg
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20 Sep 2023, 4:10 pm

I would say evil is a state of being, as well as being something that can be encapsulated in an action.

People have evil thoughts, but when they act on them, is when they become recognized as evil by others who may witness such acts.

I think evil can be particularly given to describe folk who engage in premeditated evil acts.



techstepgenr8tion
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20 Sep 2023, 4:29 pm

It's hard to pin down but the components that I was able to come up with and still believe have some value:

1) The lesser consuming the better, not in a social status sense but ranging anywhere from the moral sense (like needing to become a worse person to survive other people - ie. forced regress) to watching needed institutions shut down or watching a country go from prosperous to starving or in states of perpetual riot. There are a lot of different ways you can apply 'the lesser consuming the better' or 'the lesser consuming the greater' but it centers around both individual and collective regress.

2) A complete lack of imagination in the face of problems which goes right for the worst path. It's lazy, it's prioritized defection or first-defector advantage. This part is more a game theory which itself is evil (Scott Alexander / Slate Star Codex wrote an essay back in the early 2010's called 'Meditations on Moloch' which gets into just how bad game theory, specifically Darwinian game theory, can get).


I do think the evidence against free will makes it increasingly difficult to call people themselves evil but dynamics, actions, outcomes, behaviors, etc. can be or bring evil - not in a theological sense but in the needless amplification of human suffering or even moral destruction of people who came in contact with certain dynamics that otherwise wouldn't have been trauma-fried in that manner.


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20 Sep 2023, 8:00 pm

Evil is kicking a puppy.


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2023, 8:07 pm

Misslizard wrote:
Evil is kicking a puppy.


Some puppies had it coming.


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20 Sep 2023, 8:11 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Misslizard wrote:
Evil is kicking a puppy.


Some puppies had it coming.

Yeah it looked at me wrong.


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20 Sep 2023, 8:47 pm

Evil is a man who paves the road to Hell with good intentions and takes pleasure in everyone's shocked faces when they get to the end.

Eviler is the man who paves the road to heaven with lots of pain, suffering, and oppression and takes pleasure on how far people are willing to torture themselves for a slice of paradise that may never come because the road seems endless.


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2023, 9:16 pm

Misslizard wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Misslizard wrote:
Evil is kicking a puppy.


Some puppies had it coming.

Yeah it looked at me wrong.


That's a bit much, but if the hypothetical puppy bit my hypothetical kid, it's going to catch a very swift non-hypothetical boot across the yard. I've got zero qualms about culling aggressive dogs on sight.

Then again, I live somewhere where the 3S approach is still widespread for dealing with wandering strays.


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Misslizard
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20 Sep 2023, 9:28 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Misslizard wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Misslizard wrote:
Evil is kicking a puppy.


Some puppies had it coming.

Yeah it looked at me wrong.


That's a bit much, but if the hypothetical puppy bit my hypothetical kid, it's going to catch a very swift non-hypothetical boot across the yard. I've got zero qualms about culling aggressive dogs on sight.

Then again, I live somewhere where the 3S approach is still widespread for dealing with wandering strays.

A puppy biting a kid isn’t much.
Adult dog mauling child is different.
Have multiple dogs.


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funeralxempire
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20 Sep 2023, 9:49 pm

Misslizard wrote:
A puppy biting a kid isn’t much.
Adult dog mauling child is different.
Have multiple dogs.


I'm not interested in excuses from the owner, it's on-sight.


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