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Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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TryingMyBest
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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 6th, 2018, 5:43 pm

Thank you, @chewybrian, for bringing The Enchiridion to my attention. I am still digesting it and will comment fully when I have my milk and wool. =)
But I must ask about paragraph 27:
As a mark is not set up for the sake of missing the aim, so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world.
Do you know if Epictetus expands on this point in other writings? What do you think about it?

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chewybrian
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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by chewybrian » December 6th, 2018, 7:19 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 6th, 2018, 5:43 pm
Thank you... for bringing The Enchiridion to my attention. I am still digesting it and will comment fully when I have my milk and wool. =)
But I must ask about paragraph 27:
As a mark is not set up for the sake of missing the aim, so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world.
Do you know if Epictetus expands on this point in other writings? What do you think about it?
The quick answer is that the world is not set up to 'get' you.

You don't put up the target for the sake of missing it, and neither is the world, and (usually) neither are other people just out to get you. You should assume the world is set up to give you a fair chance to do your best. If you assume things are often against you, you will often find what you are looking for, even when you are mistaken, as events can be interpreted in many ways. The point is that you will usually have a better experience, and get things right more often, if you do not assume people and events in the world are against you.

He uses a lot of metaphors, and usually you will find that they make the point easy to understand. In that case, I think he might have done better, but you don't have to overthink it. He is always trying to make his message clear, rather than hide it.

Here is a brief explanation of that chapter, starting at about 20 minutes in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW9_kkCvKlQ

^This guy does a great job in explaining the works and ideas of many great philosophers. I recommend him very highly. He does the entire Enchiridion chapter by chapter here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv7gngX ... Cq&index=1

If you ever have a question about any classic of philosophy, you can probably search youtube and find something where Dr. Sadler explains it. It's almost always at a freshman/sophomore college level of understanding, sometimes because that is literally where he is speaking, but often just because that seems to be his style. Much like Epictetus, he is more concerned that you get the point than how he comes off in the process.

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LuckyR
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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by LuckyR » December 7th, 2018, 4:13 am

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 11:15 am
LuckyR wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 3:12 am
Humans live in a zero sum universe. Thus evil has it's origin in self interest, in the sense that giving to you takes something away from me. Thus my logic I show preference for me and mine over you and yours. In moderation that behavior is correctly labeled as normal, taken to extremes that is called evil.

The likelihood of humans abandoning self preference is about the chance of the universe changing to one of such abundance that it is not a zero sum game.
@LuckyR @Greta

The universe is filled with mutually beneficial things. While food, fresh water, and consumable energy are limited resources (or zero-sum as in if I get it, then you don't get it); many other things that humans find valuable (like values such as joy, contentment, satisfaction, progress, passion, clarity, trust, love, empathy, admiration, awe, freedom, peacefulness, closeness, dependability, loyalty, open-mindedness, creativity, humor, optimism, courage, knowledge, respect, creativity, and beauty) are typically mutually beneficial. For example, if someone creates a beautiful sculpture and displays it publicly, then that creativity and beauty may go on to inspire countless individuals. How is a beautiful sculpture zero sum? It has a net-positive benefit. Also, war is clearly mutually destructive (a net-negative result), an internecine affair where both sides lose lives. Having given examples of net-positive-sum things in the universe and net-negative-sum things, I claim that the assertion that the universe is patently zero-sum is therefore refuted.
Your next assertion is that evil has its origin in self-interest. I think that this cause of evil can be eliminated by expanding what the meaning of "self" truly is. Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit describes the progression of consciousness into ascending stages of realization. If the self is looked at from the perspective as an emergent authority over one's system of organs, then your assertion might stand true. If, however, the self is also viewed as a cell in a larger society of cells, then selfish interest would equal the interests of society. In fact, the self is available to be viewed in an infinite number of groupings and associations. The self may realize it is a member of the group of conscious living things, and "selfishly" protect and support this group. The self may realize it is a member of a family, a neighborhood, a country, a team, a belief set, a common ancestry, or all of reality.
Pure logic works in an equivocal way to speak to whichever "self" the person's perspective happens to be focused. For example, using "1=1" societal, individual, and group rights are derived equivalently: One (individual or group) has the right to be right. One has the right to be honest. One has the right to be real. One has the right to be good.
So I think that humanity should continue to act in its self-interest, yet by extending the true definition of self, self-interest becomes wholly admirable, constructive, and mutually beneficial.
Well, folks CAN behave as you describe. Problem is, they never have before. The practical matter is that a system of numerous selfish (in the classical sense) individuals is stable in the sense that their opposing interests balance each other. A society where everyone thinks of the group and not their self interest can be stable, problem is it only takes a tiny number of self folks in the system to unbalance it and create a hierarchy of power. Humans are naturally competitive such that observing someone with a lot more stuff makes most humans desire that stuff.
"As usual... it depends."

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TryingMyBest
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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 8th, 2018, 1:45 am

@LuckyR
Well, folks CAN behave as you describe. Problem is, they never have before.
TMB: This brings us back to the original purpose of the post, namely, is a cure to eliminate the "evils" of humanity possible?
I agree that it has not been accomplished already, novel inventions never have.

Lucky:
The practical matter is that a system of numerous selfish (in the classical sense) individuals is stable in the sense that their opposing interests balance each other. A society where everyone thinks of the group and not their self interest can be stable, problem is it only takes a tiny number of self folks in the system to unbalance it and create a hierarchy of power. Humans are naturally competitive such that observing someone with a lot more stuff makes most humans desire that stuff.
TMB: I find the current system quite chaotic and dare-I-say unevolved. The system of selfishness (in the classical sense) is chaotic and silly for a "civilized" society.

The next step to achieve the aim of the thread is to define a method to eliminate psychological pain. Physical pain and even anger are useful but I think psychological pain is not and therefore should be eradicated.
Psychological pain is an enduring pandemic on humanity and is preventing our evolution. The end of evil perhaps coincides with the complete annihilation of psychological pain. It is assumed to be an unavoidable part of existence; yet I think that this is patently false. Epictetus described a way in which to live that eliminates all perturbation, and I think he was right that it is possible. Yet 2000 years later and we still are suffering. So the question becomes, how do we make it easy? For if the cure is too expensive or difficult, it will not be taken.

I propose that a true understanding of emotions will do the trick. If we rate happiness on a scale of 0 to 100, then every human will fall into this range. What is false is to believe that your happiness rating is at negative 50... in reality, this does not make sense. Yet we possess words to describe exactly this. In fact, being completely devoid of any happiness is the lowest point a person may experience (in regards to happiness) - a zero out of 100. What then do "sad," "depressed," "misery," "agony," and "anguish" truly represent if not simply a zero on the scale of 0-100? They associate the lack of happiness + the pain of lacking happiness. This doesn't make sense. Being completely and utterly unhappy (0 out of 100) is as bad as it actually gets.

If someone were to be utterly lacking nearly all of the values (like ...) then I'm sure they would say they feel very bad or even awful; or they might more accurately say that they feel "nothing." Maybe bad is like a 5 out of 100, very bad is a 3, awful is a 1, and nothing is a 0? Either way, nothing is the worst it gets.
Each emotional value has this scale of words that act like you can go negative, but really you can't go below zero or it stops making sense.
Other examples include the list of values I mentioned previously (joy, contentment, satisfaction, progress, passion, clarity, trust, love, empathy, admiration, awe, freedom, peacefulness, closeness, dependability, loyalty, open-mindedness, creativity, humor, optimism, courage, knowledge, respect, creativity, and beauty): each one's "opposite" is simply a lack of itself! Yet we have false vocabulary that brings it down to a level of being false (or evil!) Even if we leave the vocab as is, we must admit that 0 is the floor of what is real, and emotional pain should start evaporating.

Spreading this idea alone is easy and useful - it's like a mild-altering antidote to the psychological pain pandemic.

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TryingMyBest
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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 8th, 2018, 8:49 pm

Perhaps I should have named this thread "Logical maxims for personal edification." I am feeling presumptuous to have thought that logic alone can lead to harmony between humans and the world. It clearly involves at least logic, physiology, emotions, will, and trust. That being said I still find it extremely valuable to receive feedback on my quest.

I struggled with patience today on a long trip back from a funeral. While I had all the logic necessary to tell myself accept reality as it is, to wish only for things I could control, and to accept that I freely chose to be in that position, my physiology nevertheless caused me perturbation (maybe it was just the desire for nicotine). At least I did not act on it. My next step is to define and categorize all the virtues and values so I may better understand patience and why I lack it.

The following is the second iteration of a quick way to keep myself logically centered and to renounce "evil." Whether others find it useful is not up to me; I accept that. I can only do what I can do.

1) One equals one. (This logic can be used in sentences and definitional statements.)
2) Definitions define.
3) Reality is what reality is.
4) I can control what I can control. I can’t control what I can’t control.
5) I can’t change what I can’t change. The past is the past. (This covers regret.)
6) What is true is true. What is false is false.
7) Reality is real.
8) All real things/concepts are useful.
9) False concepts do not exist in reality. False concepts are useless.
10) Values are valuable. Values are real. Values are useful.
Examples of real values include (but are not limited to): patience, joy, contentment, satisfaction, progress, passion, clarity, trust, love, empathy, admiration, awe, freedom, peacefulness, closeness, dependability, loyalty, open-mindedness, creativity, humor, optimism, courage, knowledge, respect, creativity, and beauty.
11) No negative values exist. (“Negative value” is an oxymoron.)
12) The opposite of a real value is the non-existence of that value.
13) Beauty can be abundant or scarce, but “ugliness” does not exist.
14) Anger and pain are real and useful.
15) Psychological pain is useless. Psychological pain is wishing reality not to be reality.
16) The self is both the individual and the groups of which the individual is a member/cell. (Groups common to most humans are: family, state, country, gender, ancestry, conscious beings, living organisms, energy consumers/transformers, all of reality. I am a(n) ___.)
17) Deceit is a lie. Deception comes from deceit. Lies can never be proven true.
18) Reality reflects reality.
19) When someone perceives being unjustly harmed (s)he believes the world is unjust.
20) When someone is harmed (s)he tends to reflect this by harming others.
21) The source of harm is deceit. The source of deceit is confusion. It is not my fault as I did not cause the first harm. Only truth will clear it up.
22) “Nobody,” “nothing,” “never,”“nowhere,” and “nonsense” signify the absence of what is real.
23) The divine in me recognizes/reflects the divine in you. Namaste.
24) “I hate evil” means that “I wish non-existence on that thing which has no value.”
25) “Bad” ideas are ideas that have no value. “Bad” things/people do not exist in reality.
The final four points I have borrowed from Epictetus.
26) "As a mark is not set up for the sake of missing the aim, so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world."
27) "When a person harms you, or speaks badly of you, remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty."
28) "... unless you perfectly understand the principle from which anyone acts, how should you know he acts ill?"
29) "Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don't lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried."
30) If Truth had a voice, it would be simultaneously univocal and equivocal.

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