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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: On the Origin of Good and Evil
Thread: On the Origin of Good and Evil This thread is 3 pages long: 1 2 3 · NEXT»
Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted July 21, 2011 04:52 PM

On the Origin of Good and Evil

Humans appear to be unique in that they make value judgements at all.  Other species do not have concepts of good and evil.  Most species also don't appear to factor long term consequences into their decisions.  They make choices mostly based on whatever the immediate risks and benefits will be, often instinctual.  Concepts of good and evil, and quality evaluations of future actions in general, must serve some purpose.  If it's not our genetics that cause us to evaluate our activities in this way, then what is it?

(You may start, if you wish, by writing of how you define or perceive good and evil.  And, as always, let's keep it civil.)

____________
I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2011 04:58 PM

Ok, since I'm still working, I'd like to bring in this article as a serious read. Some may know it or have even watched it on telly, but it's still rather fascinating. So have a look at this interesting species:

Dig this

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markkur
markkur


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted July 21, 2011 05:05 PM
Edited by markkur at 17:06, 21 Jul 2011.

I think it important to back up a bit.

I "believe" a certain book is spot on about "People-kind" being 3 parts. Spiritual, Mental and Physical.

All three combine to make each of us. Many elements are a part of each and all aspects. These all combine for the "work in progress" called You and I. Since there is no one recipe and genetics factor in, mental choices steer the course, environmental conditions and pressures can help or hinder, goals and personal-drives (and their lack) can strengthen or weaken a being and many other things have impacts...all combine to shape the person...at a given moment in life.




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Zenofex
Zenofex


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Kreegan-atheist
posted July 21, 2011 05:13 PM
Edited by Zenofex at 17:14, 21 Jul 2011.

You do realize that the topic will soon turn to yet another "religious" thread and all the Elodin stuff flaws that go with it?

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted July 21, 2011 05:20 PM
Edited by Corribus at 17:21, 21 Jul 2011.

Another example of the kind of post I don't want to see here.  It adds nothing to discussion and is intentionally provocative.  If your only point in making a post is to poke a stick at someone else, I'd prefer you didn't make the post in the first place.  I see no sense in criticizing someone before they've even posted in a topic.

OSM is a place to discuss non-HOMM topics, not a place to air your dislike of individual users or to predict the demise of interesting threads before they've had a chance to even get going.
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I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg

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Zenofex
Zenofex


Responsible
Legendary Hero
Kreegan-atheist
posted July 21, 2011 05:25 PM

Like I answered you on the PM, feel free to delete the upper post but I will be very surprised if I'm wrong.

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william
william


Responsible
Undefeatable Hero
LummoxLewis
posted July 21, 2011 05:28 PM

I don't think there's good or evil. I prefer to see it more as right or wrong. I mean, a lot of people think that Serial Killers are evil. I disagree. I just think they have made the wrong decisions throughout life and with the killing of people. That's just my interpretation of it though.
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Smithey
Smithey


Promising
Supreme Hero
Yes im red, choke on it !!!
posted July 21, 2011 05:42 PM

Wow, Mod making a thread and if I read it correctly dropping a joke at the same time "Most species also don't appear to factor long term consequences into their decisions" - Were you saying that humans as a specie do that ? Because that would be false for aprox 80% of people

IMhumble/brilliantO there is no such thing as good and evil, its just a concept invented by us humans to justify certain aspects of life (nonchalantly avoids opening a certain debate ), there is only good or bad deeds as done by us individuals, some deeds are seen as universally positive ones(not gonna call them good) because of the norms within the society (those as well might differ between cultures and different eras), while others are seen as universally negative (the same explanation as with the positive ones), besides that there are only our subjective standards and most of us are pretty certain that we are good mainly because of our awesome ability to lie to ourselves....
Good and evil are such radical concepts and as we all know grey area is where we reside (well of course except for HC, as we are all just amazing), hence there is no pure good nor pure evil...
Actions, Choices and Consequences....

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Tsar-Ivor
Tsar-Ivor


Promising
Legendary Hero
Scourge of God
posted July 21, 2011 05:46 PM
Edited by Tsar-Ivor at 18:06, 21 Jul 2011.

William what do you measure your "right & wrong" to, or is your sense of right or wrong based on personal feelings or a hunch? I'm curious.


As I said before that an individual should act according to what the situation requires as a necessity, regardless if it is viewed as 'evil' or 'good' in the end there is no good and evil, there's honorable humans and there are dishonorable humans.


And the history of 'good and evil' is of-course religion (not pagen religion the 'modern' ones) that you must obey the church and the king or be cast in to eternal damnation. (please correct me if i'm wrong).

The ancients had it right, shame all their knowledge is looked upon with distant eyes.





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"No laughs were had. There is only shame and sadness." Jenny

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markkur
markkur


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted July 21, 2011 05:54 PM
Edited by markkur at 17:56, 21 Jul 2011.

<imo> To "attempt" to discover how Humans arrive at Good and Evil, cannot involve animals at all. As you stated, right and wrong, (all the ways of expressing)it, is outside of the realm of "instincts and survival" that dictates animal life.

I made a joke about "my Dogs feeding me for a change" in the other thread but I was making a point as well. I've read many times that some folks are absolutely convinced that we are the same as dogs and cats and Good and Evil are merely m/l incorrect notions.

Good and Evil are very real and they play out on this blue marble everyday.

I will try to share my views in this thread and hang on when the going gets tough. I mean the normal difficulties of sharing ideas etc. about deep topics like this.

Corribus, one thing that I'm a little iffy about though is that when it comes to "source" explanations; they can be viewed either as; necessary related topics or undesirable fill-in-the-blank. But, I think you know how important it is to not let that happen. I'll try to follow the discussion and add my bit when possible. Not that I think my thoughts are anything grand or new.
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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted July 21, 2011 05:56 PM

Markkur, I don't follow your last point.
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I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg

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Elodin
Elodin


Promising
Legendary Hero
Free Thinker
posted July 21, 2011 05:59 PM
Edited by Elodin at 17:59, 21 Jul 2011.

Quote:

If it's not our genetics that cause us to evaluate our activities in this way, then what is it?



In large part, it is the thing that most separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. The human spirit. I share Markkur's viewpoint of man being a "three part" being. Spirit, soul (mind, will, emotions) and body intertwined. Man is innately religious and has an innate sense of morality. Although the human spirit is the primary part of man that communicates with God, the "parts" of man are interwoven and have their part to play. We have concepts of good and evil and make value judgments because we were made to be moral beings.

I find it interesting that a recent study showed man's brain is wired for religious belief. I find no reason from a purely materialistic evolutionary standpoint why that would be.  

CNN discusses recent Oxford findings:

Clicky

Quote:

London (CNN) Religion comes naturally, even instinctively, to human beings, a massive new study of cultures all around the world suggests.

"We tend to see purpose in the world," Oxford University professor Roger Trigg said Thursday. "We see agency. We think that something is there even if you can't see it. ... All this tends to build up to a religious way of thinking."

Trigg is co-director of the three-year Oxford-based project, which incorporated more than 40 different studies by dozens of researchers looking at countries from China to Poland and the United States to Micronesia.

Studies around the world came up with similar findings, including widespread belief in some kind of afterlife and an instinctive tendency to suggest that natural phenomena happen for a purpose.

"Children in particular found it very easy to think in religious ways," such as believing in God's omniscience, said Trigg. But adults also jumped first for explanations that implied an unseen agent at work in the world, the study found.


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markkur
markkur


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted July 21, 2011 06:23 PM

Sorry, I suppose it is vague.

I have not posted much. Simply for the reason my Faith is a precious commodity to me. It's not a mandatory thing that I thump the bible at people who could care less, in the defense of my beliefs. So, I have tended to avoid most discussions at the OSM because I'm not the sort of fellow who desires to make others ill or be judged and shelved before I've uttered a word. Btw, believe it or not, I blame this on the Church and not on people in general.

However, if people of different values are truly desired and welcome to participate in a constructive way, then I can be a part. But the truth is; the OSM has not felt like that at all or at HC in general for that matter. Case in point, when I made "my one thread" for the few of my sort present at HC, the drive-by pot-shots soon commenced and no one said a darn-thing. I think that you even said it would be quickly a flame-war, or something to that effect. Either folks here are big enough to accept we can be very different and yet be friendly or they cannot. If everything I say is taken as an attack no matter what's behind the sharing, then what would be the point of my particapating? I saw this same thing happen at a Christian site (but things reversed of course)where I was a Mod for 3 years. This universal-holy-roller-stuff is always ugly, and I stomped on it every time I could.  

So, I am iffy...as I said. But, I meant what I said, I think you are a good pick to remedy this.
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Smithey
Smithey


Promising
Supreme Hero
Yes im red, choke on it !!!
posted July 21, 2011 06:39 PM

@ Markkur, Not speaking for everyone else but there are at least two religious members here of whom I know and both of them are pretty damn awesome IMO, matter of fact one of them is my fav member, religion is not an issue, Im pretty sure everybody feels the same....
"We have no problems with people's beliefs as long as they are not harming others" however people do tend to have a problem with a manner in which members post, don't confuse ill feelings towards members with ill feelings towards member's beliefs....
If you arent feeling comfortable with posting your opinions then we as a community have failed, at least give it a few tries before judgin upon interactions you have witnessed with other members....

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JollyJoker
JollyJoker


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
posted July 21, 2011 06:41 PM

If someone followed the link - what make people think that other spezies have no concept of right or wrong.
Specifically, Corribus, IF concepts of good and evil do indeed serve a purpose and IF they were indeed genetically brought about - wouldn't we then have to assume that, on the contrary, a lot more species would have to have developed something like that?

If you read the link, these Emperor Penguins have QUITE an interesting social life, and comes the winter the males depend on each other to huddle a very long time together TAKING TURNS. That is, the pengies have to be in constant rotation switching from the outside to the inside to avoid freezing to death.

Clearly, genetically spoken, a good-evil distinction would be of use and serve a purpose. It's evil to keep to the centre and let yourself be warmed while others suffer on the outside and may die. It's good to take turns because that keeps everyone alive and warm.

So would you say that those Penguins have a concept of good and evil, of right and wrong?

By the way, they are also monogamic.

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Tsar-Ivor
Tsar-Ivor


Promising
Legendary Hero
Scourge of God
posted July 21, 2011 06:44 PM
Edited by Tsar-Ivor at 18:53, 21 Jul 2011.

Smithey were discussing the source of 'good & evil' and aye the church is responsible for the concept 'good & evil' in the long run. Though obviously not everyone here has religious ties, but wherever you received the 'good/evil' concept bears its roots in the church, In my opinion of course. (I mean modern religions and not pagens when i refer to the 'church')

Though Smithey yer sentiments I complement.
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"No laughs were had. There is only shame and sadness." Jenny

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markkur
markkur


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Once upon a time
posted July 21, 2011 06:47 PM
Edited by markkur at 19:04, 21 Jul 2011.

Quote:
If you arent feeling comfortable with posting your opinions then we as a community have failed, at least give it a few tries before judgin upon interactions you have witnessed with other members....


I appreciate that.

To clarify; it's not so much a my-feelings issue, it's more an awareness that this IS a gaming forum and some folks have had very bad experiences with those of "supposed Faith". I doubt anyone here at HC detests that more than I. For the most part, I've just tried to be sensitive to that reality. You know, fantasy/gaming is about recovery JRRT style(I dislike it being called an escape) and some RL topics are gasoline to the adventure.

TY again

Edit=
@JJ
Quote:
So would you say that those Penguins have a concept of good and evil, of right and wrong?


I read a lot there but I saw nothing that would imply they do. Did I miss something?

I used to have a huge old wooden hay-barn. Each year a myriad of wasps made their nests in it. I had several flavors of mud-daubers and each had their own kind of spider that they stunned and placed inside the various tubes to feed their larvae. That spoke of design, balance and purpose to me but nothing about their active cognitive processing on determining the future of the world.  

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"Do your own research"

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Corribus
Corribus

Hero of Order
The Abyss Staring Back at You
posted July 21, 2011 06:52 PM

Haven't read your link yet, JJ.  I intend to, have no fear.
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I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg

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Azagal
Azagal


Honorable
Undefeatable Hero
Smooth Snake
posted July 21, 2011 06:53 PM
Edited by Azagal at 18:58, 21 Jul 2011.

Quote:
Humans appear to be unique in that they make value judgements at all.  Other species do not have concepts of good and evil.  Most species also don't appear to factor long term consequences into their decisions.  They make choices mostly based on whatever the immediate risks and benefits will be, often instinctual.  Concepts of good and evil, and quality evaluations of future actions in general, must serve some purpose.  If it's not our genetics that cause us to evaluate our activities in this way, then what is it?


Well the concept of good and evil can not be found in nature as far as I know since the concept has its origins in our species unique form of society.
I say society because I severely doubt that genetics are the reason for this (unless you argue that our genetics are what enabled us to live together as we do now in the first place). Other species while also having some form of long term community like Elephants and Penguins don't have the complex interactions a human society has (wishing no offense to any Elephants or Penguins reading this thread of course). I believe that ever since humans formed a semi-sophisticated group and long term thinking became a neccesity for survival the concept of good and evil started. Sure at first they may only have been such things as right and wrong decision where survival was concerned but once we evolved past a point where our actions would either help us stay alive or see us eaten by a Tiger there had to be some new criteria to decide whether what we did was right or wrong since there was no immediate effect to validate the choice we've made.
So through interaction with each other we'd have a multitude of reactions and results, some of which would be beneficial to our society while others wouldn't and once we've learned what is good for us in general and what may help someone in short term while being disadvantageous in the longterm such a thing as good and evil could be established. I believe that there first needs to be some Status Quo or some commonly accepted principals before people could start to perceive things as good or evil, since nothing is good or evil in itself the action always needs context . Therefor thi concept served the purpose of helping us make decisions that helped us live together (atleast that's what they started out as). This may not be an answer to what I perceive as good or evil but I think that undertanding origin of the concept (and with it the concept at its simpliest/purest state) is key to understanding it.

We've obviously come a long way from these early days and as the decisions we have and have had to make become/had become more and more complex so too has the concept of good and evil become more complicated, or atleat clearly defineing something as either good or evil has become increasingly difficult in some cases.
Therefor I find it hard to give anyone a concrete definition of what is objectively evil or good.
I believe that at the core of the evaluation will always lie how universially beneficial an action is for all the people affected by it.
This applies to very simple cases such as somebody with plenty of income donating money to a homeless shelter/reconstruction of a tsunami hit area/etc. (therefor they're also called "good" causes) without ulterior motives or anything, as well as more complex cases where you for example have to decide for people with a lot of food to ration it and share it with people who have nothing anymore in times of war or crysis.
While limiting people who technically have every right to eat their 1 kg steak to only getting 200g of it may not be inparticularily pleasureable or fair for that 1 person we get 800g of food for others and a "greater cause". Of course it's not always that simple and the "greater cause" isn't always as clear as feeding the hungry and often enough the solution won't be that people will have to be less luxorious but like I said the terms good and evil become more complex with the magnitude of the problem and the people affected by the actions taken.

I'm not a big fan of the "there is no good or evil, only right and wrong" attitude since I believe it oversimplifies things. I mean why wouldn't there be something such as good and evil in our society? What we call good and evil may most certainly vary from our points of view, culture background etc. etc. but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that are evil or good, does it? Whethere there are principales which we can all agree upon (like for example human rights) or principale exclusive to certain cultures/ideologies we will always be able to come to a decision based upon these principales.
But to my understanding good or evil can not possibly exist outside of our society since we judge it based on our principales/ideas/ideaologies/what have you so there is no such thing as something universally/purely good or evil.

EDIT: Uuuugh it's been a long time since I've posted here haaha sorry for the long post xD. Will have to freshen that up a bit to make it less intimidating but for now I have to rest my brain juices.
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"All I can see is what's in front of me. And all I can do is keep moving forward" - The Heir Wielder of Names, Seeker of Thrones, King of Swords, Breaker of Infinities, Wheel Smashing Lord

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Tsar-Ivor
Tsar-Ivor


Promising
Legendary Hero
Scourge of God
posted July 21, 2011 07:02 PM
Edited by Tsar-Ivor at 19:17, 21 Jul 2011.

Mmmmm are we trying to establish what is good/evil and its existance or are we trying to establish the origin of the concept?
Because i'm game for either one (both if it comes to that), but this needs to be cleared up for me, before I can further contribute to this discussion.
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"No laughs were had. There is only shame and sadness." Jenny

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