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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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Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm

I think that if the right ideas were to go viral then humanity could destroy evil like an antidote counteracts a poison.
Assuming that it is possible (or at least worth a shot):

Which qualities would be required in the message?
What ideas would absolutely need to be included?
Which philosophical truths ring true to all humans?
How would it take root?
What would give it the greatest chance of success of spreading?
Who would be the ideal agent to disseminate the spell?
Is timing important?
Is there any reason not to attempt this challenge?

I will be attempting this exercise after some preliminary feedback.

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

Post by h_k_s » December 1st, 2018, 8:42 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm
I think that if the right ideas were to go viral then humanity could destroy evil like an antidote counteracts a poison.
Assuming that it is possible (or at least worth a shot):

Which qualities would be required in the message?
What ideas would absolutely need to be included?
Which philosophical truths ring true to all humans?
How would it take root?
What would give it the greatest chance of success of spreading?
Who would be the ideal agent to disseminate the spell?
Is timing important?
Is there any reason not to attempt this challenge?

I will be attempting this exercise after some preliminary feedback.
Mysticism can only influence the body of believers who are subscribed to it.

And even then this notion would be touchy.

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

Post by TryingMyBest » December 1st, 2018, 10:22 pm

@h_k_s
Do you think that the subject matter belongs in a different forum category? Thanks.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 2nd, 2018, 4:41 pm

Here is an example of the type of argument that could rectify humanity; I do not expect it to have the intended effect, but perhaps its 100th iteration or so may have the intended effect in the future. The proof would have to be undeniable and universally sensibly true.

If I confront the mythical reason for evil to exist in humanity, then perhaps humanity will realize that evil should not logically exist... pulling evil up from its roots and vanquishing it from existence. Here is my attempt to finish the Garden of Eden story which, in a way, should eliminate the (nonsensical) motivations to commit evil actions.

Eve calls a family meeting.
"Spit that apple out; nobody made you bite it! You just got confused!
You thought I was intentionally trying to trick you? That is nonsense! I would never ever trick you my darling, you are precious to me.
The devil was only a bad dream; now there will be no more bad dreams and no more personification of evil! Everyone can and will be more sensible now; I will continue to do everything I can to remove any lingering confusion. I love you; do not doubt it."

Trust that every child is good; if just for a moment. Then know that every human thinks they are right (childish right?). Then know that the children are right and that every human is someone's child. So you are right; you are good; and so am I (a child's right). I trust you to do the right thing; you will not be forced. You have the right to be right. This healthy communication will continue until everyone knows the truth.

The source of deceit is simply confusion. Only truth will clear it up. If you didn't start the confusion, then you have simply been reflecting deceit; it's not your fault. I hereby call out the devil itself! You see the devil is nobody, as in it has no existence. The devil is a coward; the devil is BS. (The word "devil" is replaceable by the word "nobody"! As in the devil hates me... Nobody hates me, etc.) I'm asking the devil to dance and nobody is showing up. The devil is the personification of false objects, be right and the devil dies. It is literally no one's fault; we were all confused before. Adam is no longer confused and neither are you. Every negative should be coupled with another negative to cancel it out. "Ugly" does not exist. "Bad" does not exist. Bad people do not exist! To say that one is bad means that they deserve non-existence.

People will be more sensible now. There are exactly zero bad humans. Organizational methods (including internal, external, foreign, and domestic) that promote lies will be dismantled as everyone realizes and peacefully reveals truth as it is sensed.
I hereby expose that all evil is reflected deceit; evil is not real; evil is not. I expose that all that is real is already good.

And so on...
Could arguments like these have the intended effect?

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

Post by Greta » December 2nd, 2018, 6:44 pm

While humans remain biological they will need to kill and compete to survive.

The "spell" would be to digitise our minds that can animate synthetic bodies. We'd at least then be theoretically capable of complete morality if we no longer had biological needs. However, the realm of the biological contains both our worst fears and our favourite things. Thus, to be truly moral one need to essentially "flatline", to be without needs and wants or significant highs or lows.

The alternative to digitisation is to always be in a situation where you will give others trouble and they will give it to you. You might even think of some of them as "evil" but they probably won't see themselves that way. They might even imagine you to be the evil one.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 3rd, 2018, 1:08 pm

Greta wrote:
December 2nd, 2018, 6:44 pm
While humans remain biological they will need to kill and compete to survive.

The "spell" would be to digitise our minds that can animate synthetic bodies. We'd at least then be theoretically capable of complete morality if we no longer had biological needs. However, the realm of the biological contains both our worst fears and our favourite things. Thus, to be truly moral one need to essentially "flatline", to be without needs and wants or significant highs or lows.

The alternative to digitisation is to always be in a situation where you will give others trouble and they will give it to you. You might even think of some of them as "evil" but they probably won't see themselves that way. They might even imagine you to be the evil one.
If confusion about good and "evil" is causing the problems, then the clearing up of the confusion should solve the problems.
I'm proposing something way simpler and less intrusive than digitizing minds. I think an individual can stop believing in negative nouns like "evil" and "hatred"; this would have the effect of eliminating both. For instance, if all negative objects in the world disappeared in an instant, the world would be exactly the same and yet profoundly different. If evil is in fact not real, then it is the belief in evil that torments society and breeds fear. But it is illogical to believe in false concepts.
Through simple, universally understandable logic like 1=1, I propose that fear and evil need not exist is a logical and understandable concept. A stoic attitude would be the farthest one could fall before finding stable footing... I will live as long as I will live; I have to do what I have to do. What is real is real and cannot be false. What is false is false and cannot be real. "Sadness" is merely the lack of happiness just as "discontentment" is the lack of contentment. I think that "hatred" is the lack of love... and definitely does not exist in (my) reality.
Negated objects are false and have no existence in reality. All of true reality may be described sufficiently without the use of negative (false) language.
I propose that all "bad" words are indicating a false conception of reality and can be replaced by accurate yet positive descriptions.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by Greta » December 3rd, 2018, 6:13 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 1:08 pm
Greta wrote:
December 2nd, 2018, 6:44 pm
While humans remain biological they will need to kill and compete to survive.

The "spell" would be to digitise our minds that can animate synthetic bodies. We'd at least then be theoretically capable of complete morality if we no longer had biological needs. However, the realm of the biological contains both our worst fears and our favourite things. Thus, to be truly moral one need to essentially "flatline", to be without needs and wants or significant highs or lows.

The alternative to digitisation is to always be in a situation where you will give others trouble and they will give it to you. You might even think of some of them as "evil" but they probably won't see themselves that way. They might even imagine you to be the evil one.
If confusion about good and "evil" is causing the problems, then the clearing up of the confusion should solve the problems.
I'm proposing something way simpler and less intrusive than digitizing minds. I think an individual can stop believing in negative nouns like "evil" and "hatred" ...
I actually think that digitising minds is more a realistic possibility than the latter.

Throughout human history people have worked out ideas for ordering human society with the idea of "If only everyone thought like this". From there they undertake numerous atrocities against those who think "incorrectly" in the hope that the removal of "bad apples" and fear invoked in the weak will bring the desired uniformity. Of course, in committing the atrocities the society becomes more ordered for a while but now there's no good reason to keep a degraded and corrupted system, aside from power's sake.

I can't see cognitive uniformity amongst humans - by the time you spend millennia hammering things out between two dominant sides, other sides arise that feel marginalised, neglected and disrespected by the "battle of the titans". So the game begins anew.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 4th, 2018, 12:56 am

@Greta Thank you for your responses.
I am getting curious about your theories on mind digitalisation. Would you refer me to where you have expounded the theory? It initially makes me think of one of my favorite films, Abre Los Ojos (or Vanilla Sky).

My theory is more about achieving a coup (the second definition as in a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful stroke) in the minds of individuals that would encourage them to realize the truth about all the things they have in common with other humans, thereby motivating internal change in perspective; rather than seeking cognitive uniformity or to promote dogma.
There are many truths stemmed from logic that, when translated into language, cut right through parochial views and help the individual see the world more clearly how it truly is. I think this could be done through emergence or by an artful coup. If it were done as a spell (or coup) then it would have to be undeniable, sensibly true, delivered by a trusted source, and written for public consumption. If it happens by emergence then I think that methods (or a dialectic) of realizing truth would have to be demonstrated by leaders until these methods become common sense because of their natural benefit. This is already happening to some degree, especially in advertising.
For example, if "ugly" truly can be proven to be a false concept of reality, the perspective shift would be to see a more beautiful world. Same with simple logic like "1=1": I look the way I look; I am who I am; I play the hand I'm dealt, etc. I am a little obsessed with "1=1"; I admit this, but "1=1" is, I think, in the process of emergence into common sense. I hear it constantly on advertisements, in music, and yes, Trump's presidential campaign's initial philosophy of "Let Trump be Trump."
I also think that "deceit is a lie" is an example of "1=1" that points out the deception that accompanies lies; this also can become common sense.
Maybe in a future post, I will euphemistically ask for "common sense theories that benefit humanity"; yet in essence, making the world a better place with either a coup or emergence is the aim. Good, common-sense ideas spread by going viral, through emergence, or a combination.
I think humans have already discovered the necessary tools in order to thrive without violating others and without wanton violence... the derivative logic is just not yet common sense. Do privileged minds have a duty to spread useful common sense derivative keys when they realize them? I argue that yes, it's part of the love of wisdom.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by LuckyR » 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.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by Greta » December 4th, 2018, 4:14 am

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 12:56 am
@Greta Thank you for your responses.
I am getting curious about your theories on mind digitalisation. Would you refer me to where you have expounded the theory? It initially makes me think of one of my favorite films, Abre Los Ojos (or Vanilla Sky).
You will have to wait for my stories to be released :) I haven't seen that movie but the reviews sound good. It will be quite different to that, I think. It's just speculation, not even a testable hypothesis, let alone a theory (at this stage hehe).
TryingMyBest wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 12:56 am
My theory is more about achieving a coup (the second definition as in a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful stroke) in the minds of individuals that would encourage them to realize the truth about all the things they have in common with other humans, thereby motivating internal change in perspective; rather than seeking cognitive uniformity or to promote dogma.
We'd need to first get around the zero sum aspect that Lucky referred to above.

People have hoped that others would wake up throughout history. Trouble is, those others are waiting for the people to wake up.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » 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.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by Greta » December 4th, 2018, 7:12 pm

@TryingMyBest - a thought to ponder. What if reality is not all about humans and how they feel? What if that simply plays into much larger and influential processes?

I think that the human disregard for other species is reflected in the disregard the ultra rich have for the poor. In each case the "underling" is treated as expandable chattel, whose deaths are unremarkable and unmourned. But let one of the privileged fall and - oh my God - it's as if the world fell in!

This is a fault line in our psyches, born of our predatory evolutionary path, which we need to transcend if we are to fulfil our moral potentials. Until we actually care about other living things and whether they live, thrive or die then we will remain in barbarous cycles.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 4th, 2018, 10:44 pm

@TryingMyBest - a thought to ponder. What if reality is not all about humans and how they feel? What if that simply plays into much larger and influential processes?

TMB: When you use the word "not" you made the question confusing, would you mind rephrasing it?

G: What if reality is mostly about things other than humans and how they feel?

What if humans and how they feel don't much matter in the greater scheme of things, that our ideas and moralities are distorted by human self-obsession?

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by TryingMyBest » December 5th, 2018, 12:45 am

Thank you for that good question. If human feelings don't matter then why do they cause pain? Why does it hurt when someone calls someone a bad name? This matters a lot because we store up emotional pain and take it out on others, animals, or nature. We might be small from some cosmic perspective but at least we are significant to each other.
Concerning whether views about ethics are distorted because of self-obsession, I think that ethics/morality are logically solvable. Such that harmony will be natural and a lack of harmony will much much more rare. I think that the quality of the planet reflects on the educated individuals that reside there. I'm a problem-solver looking for solutions of how to achieve harmony and value. If human emotion and false conceptions of reality are not the cause of our lack of harmony with each other and the natural world, then I would simply move on to the next theory. If I had a distorted view, I would want the truth.

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Re: Is a spell to eliminate evil theoretically possible?

Post by chewybrian » December 5th, 2018, 2:44 pm

TryingMyBest wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 12:45 am
If human feelings don't matter then why do they cause pain? Why does it hurt when someone calls someone a bad name? This matters a lot because we store up emotional pain and take it out on others, animals, or nature. We might be small from some cosmic perspective but at least we are significant to each other.

Concerning whether views about ethics are distorted because of self-obsession, I think that ethics/morality are logically solvable. Such that harmony will be natural and a lack of harmony will much much more rare. I think that the quality of the planet reflects on the educated individuals that reside there. I'm a problem-solver looking for solutions of how to achieve harmony and value. If human emotion and false conceptions of reality are not the cause of our lack of harmony with each other and the natural world, then I would simply move on to the next theory. If I had a distorted view, I would want the truth.
I think you are really on to something, and I think the solution(s) you seek are here:

http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html

In case you are not familiar with Epictetus, his main focus is solving the problems you describe in (somewhat) the manner you propose. He tries to provide people with a more accurate and rational method of viewing the world and events, such that the world does not have such severe or so many negative impacts upon us. The critical cornerstone premise is that some things are in our control and others (lots of them!) are not.
"...Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed..."
We should reasonably focus our time and attention on those things we can control, and release all the anxiety and anger most of us would normally attach to those things we can not change. If it rains, this is a predictable event outside our control, and we are foolish to let it upset us. Similarly, if someone cuts us off in traffic, we should also withhold emotional reactions.
"...When you are going about any action, remind yourself what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, picture to yourself the things which usually happen in the bath: some people splash the water, some push, some use abusive language, and others steal. Thus you will more safely go about this action if you say to yourself, "I will now go bathe, and keep my own mind in a state conformable to nature." And in the same manner with regard to every other action. For thus, if any hindrance arises in bathing, you will have it ready to say, "It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my mind in a state conformable to nature; and I will not keep it if I am bothered at things that happen..."
(You probably don't go to the public bath, but similar instructions would apply to going to the gym, or to heading out into traffic)

But, there is where we instead enter the situation with preconceptions, and poor habits and lazy ways of thinking that get us in trouble. When we assume the other person intended to cut us off for their selfish reasons, we sense injustice, which we want to 'put right'. We get in the habit of making sure that person knows our opinion of them and their 'unjust' actions, perhaps giving them a signal that they are number one. If we step back and examine things rationally, without the habits, we see no need or justification for anger. We won't assume the other person's motives, so perhaps they actually did not see us, or maybe they have an emergency on their hands. The more likely situation is that their perspective is way off the mark, and they have made some trivial matter feel like an emergency to them. In this likely event, we should consider that they are damaged and suffering, and more worthy of pity than anger. We can choose not to be dragged into the negative emotions by their inconsiderate actions. They can't make you angry unless you consent.
"...If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you?.."
You can probably see already the clear connection between the philosophy of Epictetus and various twelve step programs and anger management courses. Cognitive behavioral therapy also has its roots in "The Enchiridion".

A related note on perspective...Epictetus reminds us to keep death and other seemingly terrible things daily before our eyes (at least figuratively, if you don't want to stop by the morgue before coffee). The idea is not to be sad, but rather to help you put the trivial troubles of life in their proper place. Injustice is genocide, slavery, racism and such; it is not someone cutting you off in traffic.

There is much more to this philosophy, and I encourage you to read the text rather than trying to pick it up from my clumsy summary. Probably the biggest thing I skipped over is working to align one's desires and aversions to nature, which goes right down the path you wish to tread. Read the book a second time, and it will really begin to hit home. It is clear and concise, but also densely packed with good advice on how to find tranquility in your life. When you have found it, you'll not only see little need to be upset by life, but also little need to cause trouble for others.

If everyone read this and took it to heart, you would have your wish. I agree with you that these problems can be solved. But, you will find great resistance. People are like alcoholics with their habits and preconceptions. They think it makes it easier for them to operate on autopilot and avoid thinking about unpleasant things. Ironically, though, it makes the regular, predictable facts of life come as a shock to those who fail to consider reality as it really is. So, back to your original question...
TryingMyBest wrote:
December 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm
Which qualities would be required in the message?
What ideas would absolutely need to be included?
Which philosophical truths ring true to all humans?
How would it take root?
What would give it the greatest chance of success of spreading?
Who would be the ideal agent to disseminate the spell?
Is timing important?
Is there any reason not to attempt this challenge?

I will be attempting this exercise after some preliminary feedback.
My advice is (assuming you have not) to read the book and practice some of the philosophy contained in it. One bit you will find is that you should not make much attempt to 'evangelize' the ideas you find there, but rather to work on yourself first and try to be an example. Here you will find folks with some ideas about philosophy, and some eagerness to discuss it and learn. In the 'real' world, not so much.
"...Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don't talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought. For remember that in this manner Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation. And when persons came to him and desired to be recommended by him to philosophers, he took and- recommended them, so well did he bear being overlooked. So that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned concerning philosophic theorems, be you, for the most part, silent. For there is great danger in immediately throwing out what you have not digested. And, if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun your business. For sheep don't throw up the grass to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they outwardly produce wool and milk. Thus, therefore, do you likewise not show theorems to the unlearned, but the actions produced by them after they have been digested...."
People are not big on unsolicited advice, no matter how well-intended or useful it might be. You solicited, so I've taken the opportunity to preach it a bit. I hope you find as much value there (in the book, I mean) as I did. I truly believe the ideas in this book are those that are needed for the greatest chance of success. He also gives the blueprint for getting the word out, which is to focus inward first, then outward primarily by example, rather than 'spreading the word'. I think he is right on all counts. Good luck in your efforts.

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