?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Read "The Sword Without a Hilt: Concepts of Evil"
I've posted my article "The Sword Without a Hilt: Concepts of Evil" on the Greenhaven Tradition website.  This is a detailed discussion about the nature of wickedness that originally appeared in PanGaia  magazine.  It features quotes from many different sources including liturgy from different religions, speculative fiction, and history.

What do you think "evil" is?

Tags: , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

7 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 8th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
You probably would have enjoyed the entire month of Sunday services in September (or was it October?) the Unitarian Universalist church I go to had, then. They've been going for monthly themes, and one month the theme was "Evil in the Unitarian Universalist context." Had some interesting sermons as a result.

You might even be able to ask about which months had the sermons, and order CDs of the sermons if you were interested enough. Their website is http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/
terrycloth From: terrycloth Date: January 8th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm kind of partial to D+D's evil, where it's being willing to hurt people who don't deserve it for whatever reason (lawful evil: for a cause or principle, neutral evil: for your own benefit, chaotic evil: for your own amusement).

I like it in part because it means that sometimes being evil is the right thing to do, even if the action is inherently wrong, which makes 'good' and 'evil' distinct from 'good' and 'bad'.

But in a broader sense it's really just 'doing the wrong thing', which is why it can be subjective in some cases.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2012 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I like the D&D breakdown, yes.

>>I like it in part because it means that sometimes being evil is the right thing to do, even if the action is inherently wrong, which makes 'good' and 'evil' distinct from 'good' and 'bad'.<<

An evil person may help you for personal advantage; a good person may stand in your way. It's rarely absolute.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It can be very eerie to have a sense of the good and evil that lives in people. My experience agrees that most folks are a mix of the two.
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: January 8th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting article, Elizabeth.
I have just a note, while 'The end justify the means' is currently attributed to Machiavelli and often cited as being in 'The Prince' he never wrote it, that sentence (or any similar one) doesn't appear in any of his writing, either public or private.

Much like the familiar Voltaire quote about not agreeing with someone but being ready to defend to the death his/her right to speak their mind (which by the way Voltaire would have had many opportunities to do in his life if that had really been his belief), it is one of the many misquotes that got attached at historical figures and get passed down in 'popular knowleddge'.
paka From: paka Date: January 9th, 2012 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Self-centered grasping despite being quite conscious of the harm inflicted. Anyone can do something evil, as we all want stuff and occasionally we are willing to do some terrible things to get it, as per Ms. Lackey's definition.

I would be very careful in ever assigning evil as an attribute to someone, since most of us act in a viciously self-centered way at least several times. And I grew up on the receiving end of being judged evil, so it makes me nervous to do that to someone else.

Only people who cause harm in the most repeated, conscious, and widespread way might merit being called evil - we're talking about people on the level of a Lazar Kaganovitch, Ronald Reagan or George Armstrong Custer. There are very few people like that out there.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2012 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Self-centered grasping despite being quite conscious of the harm inflicted. Anyone can do something evil, as we all want stuff and occasionally we are willing to do some terrible things to get it, as per Ms. Lackey's definition.<<

I agree.

>>I would be very careful in ever assigning evil as an attribute to someone, since most of us act in a viciously self-centered way at least several times. And I grew up on the receiving end of being judged evil, so it makes me nervous to do that to someone else.<<

In my observation, people are what they do. Most are mixed. But some people do wicked things over and over again, as a life path. I think that qualifies them as evil, in the same way that someone who routinely does good works may be considered good. It doesn't mean there's no good at all in the evil person or no evil in the good person -- just that they've chosen their side and show it in their words and deeds.

>>Only people who cause harm in the most repeated, conscious, and widespread way might merit being called evil - we're talking about people on the level of a Lazar Kaganovitch, Ronald Reagan or George Armstrong Custer. There are very few people like that out there.<<

There are greater and lesser forms of evil. If someone beats their kids, or sexually preys on women, or thieves money in a way that causes families to lose their home -- they know it's wrong, they do it anyhow, they keep doing it -- I think they're evil. Just because they're not destroying the world doesn't mean their heart doesn't lean that way, they just don't have that long of a reach.
7 comments or Leave a comment