What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Sonia Gonzalez
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Sonia Gonzalez »

I agree that evil, as you define it, does not exist. I also agree that evil has become a religious concept used to describe everything we should not be doing, thinking, or believing. Regarding the rabid dog, I would not describe evil in any definition. A rabid dog is sick, and it can be dangerous, but it is not evil and is not something that should not exist (diseases are part of nature and, to a certain point, necessary). We must be cautious because it can make us sick and even kill us, but it is never evil.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Jaidyn Taylor »

I believe that evil does exist in this world simply because good exists. One cannot exist without the other. However, most things people would call “evil” are not. A hurricane (as stated in your example) cannot be evil because it is a force of nature and cannot act for itself. A rabid dog is not evil because, again, it did not choose to become rabid. To be evil, someone must choose to become evil, which is why I believe that no creature besides a human being can be evil. There are evil men and women who do horrible things simply because they can. I would like to believe they are not clear in the head and can’t think clearly for themselves, but nonetheless, rapists, murderers, and a myriad of others exist in this world whose actions are evil.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Chimomaebuka Ejimchi »

I agree with you to some extent but I believe that evil exists so also do good people exist. You can see evil in the current world we live in. We see the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer. We see corruption in our world. This is evil.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Akangbe Opeyemi »

I understand your perspective about “evil". Evil has always been something that exists but should not have existed. We view evil as the bad, negativity, and sometimes misfortune. When something is not good, we tend to call it evil, or when it is very unfavorable. I don't know how to word my thoughts but evil exists, it is just that we all have different perspectives on what it is.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Dalia Chaouaf »

I don't know if I agree with the idea that evil should not be, or should not exist. Obviously, everyone would live better without evil in the world, but think about it.
I think that for something to exist, the opposite of that thing has to exist too, otherwise, it wouldn't have any meaning.
Think of life and death, happiness and sadness, war and peace, dry and wet, and so on.
Does what I'm trying to say make any sense?
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Fredrick Felix Mnjala Maneno »

Saying that 'evil' is something that ought not to have happened or something morally wrong in a way limits one to the way one may define the word, act, individual or 'thing'. I do believe that evil exists and that it can manifest itself in more ways than one. Take for example a person who willingly takes joy in the mistreatment of animals. This person's acts can be termed as evil and the person themselves as well. But what drives them? Is it just an inherent dislike for animals or is it something deeper which probably gives them pleasure in the act? Love for fellow humans and other living creatures should be something that comes naturally but there are instances where one could argue that this is not the case. If what drives a person to do 'morally unacceptable' things is not 'acceptable' in society then it is evil. If the person does what is not acceptable, they are evil. If the acts they indulge in are not acceptable, it is evil. Evil, in the broadest of terms, does exist.
Jessica Cole 3
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Jessica Cole 3 »

I disagree with your definition of evil as something that should not be or shouldn't have happened. There have been a variety of things that have happened to me in life that "shouldn't have" - some were delightful and some were not. I wouldn't regard the unpleasant ones as evil.

Should we regard an unplanned pregnancy as evil then, too? We should be very careful before regarding any living thing as something that should not be. I think that if it exists, it should exist. Simply because, in my mind, something that shouldn't exist is something that couldn't exist due to a lack of circumstances to make it exist. If there were circumstances that enabled it to do so, why should we connote it as negative for not agreeing with or liking the circumstances? The circumstances exist, therefore it exists. If something happened, it was supposed to. We don't need to understand why or make sense of it.

Furthermore, my definition of evil has everything to do with morality. However, I believe that very few people are actually evil. We all have good and bad in us. In any given situation, one of the those sides will take over more. Living things are either mostly good or mostly bad. "Good" people can be bad to others, and "bad" people can be good to others. Happens all the time. Evil, though, is the highest level of bad. I find that most people that would be considered "bad" are so due to negative circumstances in life or are often simply misguided. Most "bad" people have someone they care about and are "good" to. Evil exists only when they're good to no one outside of themselves. Anyone can have selfish moments, but to be purely selfish is evil.
Sondang Hotmauli
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Sondang Hotmauli »

It seems that your perspective on the concept of "evil" revolves around the idea that it refers to a judgment or rejection of unchangeable reality, which you believe is inconsistent with unconditional acceptance and love. You define "evil" as the notion that something unchangeable 'should' not have happened or 'should' be different than it unchangeably is. From your viewpoint, this idea of "should-not-ness" is a pseudo-thing, and you do not believe it exists.

Your philosophy centers on unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance of all beings and situations. You argue that resenting or hating anything, including what you call "evil," goes against this philosophy. You say that even when you might need to make decisions or take action, like defending others from harm, you do so out of love and without characterizing the circumstance or being "evil." Instead, you consider it playing the cards you've been dealt as skillfully as you can.

It is crucial to recognize that opinions on the nature of "evil" can significantly differ, shaped by various belief systems, moral frameworks, and personal experiences. For example, evil may be closely tied to notions of sin, disobedience to divine commandments, or alignment with evil supernatural forces within religious contexts. Religious traditions may emphasize specific acts or behaviors as evil based on their teachings and scriptures.

In a secular context, discussions on evil might involve philosophical perspectives. Some philosophical theories posit that evil arises from human actions that intentionally cause harm, suffering, or injustice. Others argue that evil is more complex, considering factors such as intention, consequences, and objective moral standards.

Cultural and societal norms also influence perceptions of evil. What is considered evil in one culture may not be perceived as such in another. Historical events, such as genocides or acts of terrorism, often spark debates about the nature of evil and the factors contributing to its manifestation.

Personal experiences shape individual understandings of evil as well. Traumatic events, personal losses, or encounters with malevolence may profoundly influence one's perception of evil and its associated emotions.

Therefore, it is essential to approach discussions on evil with sensitivity and an open mind, recognizing the diverse perspectives that exist due to the influence of belief systems, moral frameworks, and personal experiences.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Jessica Cole 3 wrote: July 4th, 2023, 3:07 pm I disagree with your definition of evil as something that should not be or shouldn't have happened.
I'm sorry; I don't understand what you mean. What does it mean to say that you disagree with someone else's definition of a word?

Keep in mind, two people can use the same word differently, meaning two people can define the same word differently. In other words, two people can use the same one word to mean two different things, and neither person is wrong.

I know what it means to disagree with a proposition (i.e. a meaningful statement), but I don't know what it means to say you disagree with a definition.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by OyeTimothy »

The concept of evil, as I perceive it in our present-day world, revolves around a predominant occurrence. Consider the relentless accumulation of wealth by the affluent, at the expense of those less fortunate. Reflect upon the worsening plight of the impoverished, while the privileged revel in their satisfaction. It is evident to me that compassion has lost its way in our society. The prevailing mindset revolves around self-interest, with individuals primarily concerned about their own well-being, oblivious to the struggles faced by their neighbors.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Selena R Romero »

I have a few questions that trouble my mind because although I would love to agree with you, I do in fact believe that evil exists. Do you believe that good exists in this world? If yes, what is the opposite of good? If evil as you used it does not exist, does that mean you believe everyone and everything is good then? If a rabid dog shouldn't be considered evil why then do you feel it deserves 'forgiveness?" If I said death does not exist, am I not in essence denying the existence of life too? Please indulge me, I would love to hear your thoughts.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Rupali Mishra »

What I consider to be evil is what now rules the planet. Imagine how the wealthy continue to accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor. And consider how the rich enjoy watching the poor go poorer and poorer. I think humanity has forgotten how to be kind. Everyone has their own interests at heart and is only concerned with what will benefit them personally.
Catherine Radford
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Catherine Radford »

I think people commit “evil” acts regularly and there are evil people. However committing an evil act does not make a person evil. Those people are few and far between.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Mounce574 »

I think evil exists in the form of malevolence in a person that is not provoked. I think the action of causing others grief and pain is evil. While it shouldn't happen, it still happens and in some way, the moral compass of a person directs their actions. Everyone is capable of controlling their actions and they are able to know what the result of those actions are. If they choose to hurt others, I find that evil exists.
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Re: What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Post by Dalia Chaouaf »

I was thought and I firmly believe that each and every person has free will. This means that each of us decides what he wants to be. Obviously, circumstances and background influence a lot, but in the end, we are the only ones that can decide to be good. So I don't think that evil doesn't exist, but rather that evil isn't born, but it's definitely made.
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