It seems that a modern day North American person assumes that there IS such a thing as evil…. After all, wasn’t someone like Hitler evil? Isn’t someone who commits murder evil? Do we not see people doing evil things in the name of this or that? Don’t we see psychopathic persons doing evil and twisted acts?
So, we all seem to agree that this type of definition has substance.
Is there an element taht we could class as evil? Even uranium and all its radioactivity wouldn’t be classed as evil…. it may be USED for evil purposes by humans, but it doesn’t make the physical element evil.
For myself, i am of the mind that everything in this world is neutral, and there is no “entity” that is evil. We can all close our eyes, and see some kind of “evil incarnate” without trying too hard. But does “evil” exist?
Do we as humans have a devil inside? i am also of the mind that there is no such entity as evil in human beings.
If a human kills another person, we all agree, that this is doing serious harm, and we say, don’t do harm! It is really a societal and moral “don’t do”.
But this type of committing harm by one human on another, is not the same as the idea that there is some entity called Evil. Where this whole concept came from…… the “Satan made me do it” concept… an evil entity… either residing inside a person or a supernatural entity of some sort…… has come down to us from superstitions and their deities who set up rules for mankind………….. Yet, even though a large part of Hollywood people do not necessarily agree with these superstitions, most modern day movies assume the existence of evil.
Even Star Wars, and its “dark side of the force” carries this concept of good vs. evil.
But in fact, it seems, apart from religion, evil is more of a sociological definition than anything else. Humans are the only animals who really “deal” in the realm of evil. It really seems to be more of a religious concept than anything.
For example, without humans, not one of the “ten commandments” would make sense…… animals kill other animals every day, but it is not classed as evil. Animals are jealous of food on another animals plate, and often steal it….. and animals mates have no “thats my husband” or “thats my wife” concept….. well, there are SOME animals who seem to mate for life….
So “Evil” as an entity, seems to be something in the human mind…… the concept seems to be more to do with “I Me Mine”, and “don’t take my stuff” and “don’t hurt my friends” than anything else…… But on the other hand, “causing harm” is something which has substance, and can be “quantified”. But while it can be quantified, there is no way to say “evil is an entity”.
Let’s look at an example:
If a person breaks into a house, and kills someone, steals their money to buy drugs, this falls within our normal concept of evil…… but in fact, it is “doing serious physical harm to another human being, and stealing their belongings”….
As one of the basic concepts in western society, it seems that the Ten Commandments, has the basis of both societal law, as well as the concept of “if you break these commandments, you have sinned”.
So, it seems, the concept of evil… namely “the existence of an entity called Evil”, personified by a devil, or Satan, is largely tied to the commandments of a deity to not do those things, and to the concept of sin.
The Ten Commandments
- You shall have no other Gods but me. (religious)
- You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it. (religious)
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. (religious)
- You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy. (religious)
- Respect your father and mother. (societal)
- You must not commit murder. (societal)
- You must not commit adultery. (societal)
- You must not steal. (societal)
- You must not give false evidence against your neighbour. (societal)
- You must not be envious of your neighbour’s goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour. (societal)
The first four of the Jewish scriptures’ 10 Commandments are religious based…. and very often, the breaking of these commandments is classed as evil… or sin. But it is only “sin” if it is “Sin against God”….. so the deity must be there, and the edicts are issued by that deity.
But the last 6 Commandments are really Society based rules, or “Rules for Humans to live by for a harmonious society” …… as in, without other persons, there would be no way to break these rules…. you need a father and mother in order to break the 5th commandment, and there needs to be a second human in order to commit murder…. there needs to be at least 3 humans in order for one to commit adultery, and stealing requires those “things” to be another humans things, and for us to envy someone else’s “stuff”, there needs to be someone else who has them….
So, from this perspective in discussing evil:
- Is disrespecting your parents evil?(???) Religious say yes, most others say – depends
- Is murder evil? – Many would say yes, and it seems this is the most likely act to get the “evil” tag…. Religious say yes, most others say – depends
- Is committing adultery evil? (??) Religious say yes, most others say – depends
- Is stealing evil? Religious say yes, Most would say it depends on the circumstances… at least since the days of land owners and peasants was over
- Is lying evil? (???) Religious say yes, most others say – depends
- Is envy evil? (???) Religious say yes, most others say – depends
So i am suggesting that the concept of an entity called evil, as well as the associated evil uses of things only arise from the human mind.
As i have mentioned elsewhere, imho, if something does not exist in Infinity, it is not possible for it to exist in the physical universe. For everything that exists in the physical universe, there is an opposite, or for example, if there is magnetic north, there is also magnetic south. But this does not mean that because there is a concept in the human mind, the actual thing exists in reality (thank goodness!) . The human mind can imagine a boogeyman under the bed, but that imagining does not mean it is a reality.
Perhaps we might state it this way:
“In the physical universe, where all things are pulled apart to a discreet distance, creating a “physics” where “things” can exist, yin and yang have a good and bad as opposites, and the classification of “evil” is placed by the human mind on some things it considers “bad”.
Further, the argument of the definition of evil is worthwhile mentioning, as evil, other than the “sin against a deity” concept, is always seen from one side, while the other side may have a totally different read on the evilness or goodness of what they have done, or the act they have committed.
So, finally, the issue has come down to its centre or crux.
Is there an “entity” called Evil in the Universe? Finally, it becomes a religious or philosophical question. If there is a base dualism in the universe, then there could be evil, but due to the fact that we cannot prove the existence of a deity which could define what is ACTUALLY evil, it is impossible to even know what it might be…. except for our own utter dislike of something or some act.
Is there an “entity” called Evil in some actual physical form? Only when we read scriptures, or watch movies with some religious connotations