• Gus Lamarch
    What if the fundamental entities of the Universe are not matter, or consciousness, but Good and Evil?leo

    There is no such thing as a "fundamental entity of the Universe", humans can't accept the fact that existence, the Universe, everything and nothing, are only cases of improbability and chance. There isn't a higher purpose for our existence and/or of the Universe.
  • leo
    So here Leo bases good and evil on happiness and suffering. He's actually a hedonist.Banno

    Hedonism is about pleasure and pain. Pleasure is not the same as happiness, pain is not the same as suffering, they are unmistakable, if you’re conflating them then maybe you haven’t really felt happiness and suffering. Happiness is not a high degree of pleasure, an extremely intense sexual orgasm is not necessarily accompanied with happiness. Suffering is not a high degree of pain, an extremely intense pain is not necessarily accompanied with suffering.

    So I’ll return your comment to you:
    That's what counts as quality philosophical thinking now?Banno

    Also, you seem to have hate for the ideas I am presenting, to the point that you want to censor them:
    This thread ought be removed.Banno

    The desire for censorship stems from hate and/or fear, it is the desire to prevent people from expressing ideas or prevent people from hearing them, to hinder communication between people, it is the desire to separate. Maybe with some introspection you would come to realize that the distinction between good and evil I am referring to is more profound than it currently appears to you.
  • leo
    Augustine was Manichean before converting to Christianity. And a point that is worth considering is Augustine's post-conversion teaching of 'evil as the privation of the good'. This is the principle that evil has no intrinsic or ultimate reality, that it merely comprises the absence of the good, which is real. So, as illness is the absence of health, and shadow the absence of light, then evil is the privation of the good. So it doesn't see the same kind of stark opposition, even though it can recognise evil as evil.Wayfarer

    It is interesting to read the story of how Augustine converted to Christianity:

    a disappointing meeting with the Manichaean Bishop, Faustus of Mileve, a key exponent of Manichaean theology, started Augustine's scepticism of Manichaeanism. In Rome, he reportedly turned away from Manichaeanism, embracing the scepticism of the New Academy movement. At Milan, his mother's religiosity, Augustine's own studies in Neoplatonism, and his friend Simplicianus all urged him towards Christianity. Not coincidentally, this was shortly after the Roman emperor Theodosius I had issued a decree of death for all Manichaean monks in 382 and shortly before he declared Christianity to be the only legitimate religion for the Roman Empire in 391.

    Is it more coherent to see the issuance of a decree of death for thousands of people as the absence of good or as the existence of evil? The issuance of such a decree is a willful act, that leads to suffering and death, it is hard to see it as a mere absence of good.

    It is interesting also to see how Manichaeans were persecuted and slaughtered globally, even by Buddhists:

    Manichaeism was repressed by the Sasanian Empire. In 291, persecution arose in the Persian empire with the murder of the apostle Sisin by Bahram II, and the slaughter of many Manichaeans. In 296, the Roman emperor Diocletian decreed all the Manichaean leaders to be burnt alive along with the Manichaean scriptures and many Manichaeans in Europe and North Africa were killed. This policy of persecution was also followed by his successors. Theodosius I issued a decree of death for all Manichaean monks in 382 AD. The religion was vigorously attacked and persecuted by both the Christian Church and the Roman state. Due to the heavy persecution upon its followers in the Roman Empire, the religion almost disappeared from western Europe in the 5th century and from the eastern portion of the empire in the sixth century.

    In 732, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang banned any Chinese from converting to the religion, saying it was a heretic religion that was confusing people by claiming to be Buddhism. In 843, Emperor Wuzong of Tang gave the order to kill all Manichaean clerics as part of his Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution, and over half died. They were made to look like Buddhists by the authorities, their heads were shaved, they were made to dress like Buddhist monks and then killed.

    Many Manichaeans took part in rebellions against the Song dynasty. They were quelled by Song China and were suppressed and persecuted by all successive governments before the Mongol Yuan dynasty. In 1370, the religion was banned through an edict of the Ming dynasty, whose Hongwu Emperor had a personal dislike for the religion.

    Manicheans also suffered persecution for some time under the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad. In 780, the third Abbasid Caliph, al-Mahdi, started a campaign of inquisition against those who were "dualist heretics" or "Manichaeans" called the zindīq. He appointed a "master of the heretics" (Arabic: الزنادقة صاحب‎ ṣāhib al-zanādiqa), an official whose task was to pursue and investigate suspected dualists, who were then examined by the Caliph. Those found guilty who refused to abjure their beliefs were executed. This persecution continued under his successor, Caliph al-Hadi, and continued for some time during reign of Harun al-Rashid, who finally abolished it and ended it.

    So many people who claim that evil doesn’t really exist, that there is only good (or its absence) and then go on to commit these atrocities. Calling evil the “absence of good” doesn’t make it any less evil, on the contrary it is a way to pretend it doesn’t exist, so that it can spread more easily.
  • Brett
    We see life and death in the cosmosleo

    I’m not sure that we do see that. I’m not sure if what we witness is the end, or death, of a star, or the birth of something. Using those as evidence of good and evil doesn’t help your argument.
    I can’t think of anything outside of a human context that I could call evil, or good. I know there has been evidence, supposedly, of an ape “murdering” another ape. But I don’t know if it was murder, I don’t know what the ape was thinking.

    Nor am I even sure, going along with your posts, that good is necessarily the opposite of evil. That seems a little too simplistic to me.
  • leo

    Let’s forget about good and evil for a moment and just talk about unity and separation. I think you can agree that there are forces within us and within the universe that work to unite while other forces work to separate. And I think you can agree that unity is the opposite of separation (or division, disunity).

    There are forces that attempt to unite ideas, beliefs, things, people, beings, while other forces attempt to separate them.

    We find increased unity in beauty, in people helping each other, caring about one another, agreeing with each other, while we find increased separation in people fighting one another, seeing the other as inferior or superior, in disagreements.

    Moving towards unity makes us feel love, happiness, compassion, while moving towards separation makes us feel fear, suffering, hate.

    Physicists look for a theory of everything because they attempt to unite ideas, to reach a unified understanding, some force pushes them in that direction, you could see that force as their will, or their faith that such unity is possible.

    However the world we observe cannot be described as total unity, a theory of everything in physics will not be able to see everything as unified, it is not possible to explain the existence of separation if fundamentally everything is unity. Put in another way, the world we see cannot be explained only in terms of attractive forces or repulsive forces, there has to be both: if there were only attractive forces all matter would shrink to zero volume, while if there were only repulsive forces everything would move towards an equilibrium where everything is separated and there would be nothing holding matter together. So a theory of everything in physics will necessarily have to see both attraction and repulsion as fundamental, it won’t be able to see everything as unified, attraction and repulsion cannot be unified, they are opposite.

    But this does not imply that existence necessarily requires both attraction and repulsion. The existence of matter requires both, matter has a degree of separation, but it could be that spirits have no such separation. And that could be the spiritual feeling of universal love and unity and connectedness that some people have experienced, that complete unity is not to be found in the material world but it can exist beyond that world. While on the opposite side there could be universal fear and separation.

    I made another thread yesterday that apparently has been deleted, it explored ideas in that direction and I think it made important observations, even if we could feel uneasy about some of them, but feeling uneasy about an idea doesn’t imply it is false. For instance killing leads to separation of a being from their loved ones, many people would agree that killing is evil, and we do that all the time in order to eat, or rather we let others do it for us so that we don’t have to face the bare reality of it. We attempt to cope with it in various ways, either by seeing other animals and plants as lesser beings (which is separating them from us), or by saying that it is okay to kill in order to eat (which implies a constant separation between beings competing with one another, and doesn’t consider that we could survive in this material world by eating much less). That’s something that most people refuse to look at.

    They say that existence necessarily has suffering, necessarily requires competition and separation, because they assume that existence ends with the death of the material body. They don’t have faith in unity, they see death as the ultimate separation, and so they do all they can to avoid that imagined separation, by creating more separation. But it is fear in all its forms, including fear of separation, that causes separation.
  • Brett

    Good is that which loves, which wants to unite and to create happiness, whereas Evil is that which hates, which wants to separate and to create suffering.

    So what is this ’evil’ that wants to separate? Can you name it?

    There are forces that attempt to unite ideas, beliefs, things, people, beings, while other forces attempt to separate them.leo

    What are these forces?

    Edit: and what is ‘hate’?
  • leo
    So what is this ’evil’ that wants to separate? Can you name it?Brett
    What are these forces?Brett

    I mentioned some of them in the post above, it’s important to read the whole of it.

    Love, compassion, understanding, attractive forces are forces that work towards unity. Fear, indifference, hate, repulsive forces are forces that work towards separation.

    In the post above I said moving towards unity makes us feel love and compassion, but love and compassion also move us towards unity, through love and compassion we spread love and compassion, which work towards unity, while on the other hand through fear and indifference we spread fear and indifference, which work towards separation.

    I believe that eventually in physics we will come to a unified theory that will see two fundamental forces: one attractive and one repulsive. But physics only focuses on a part of existence, mostly on visual motion and not on feelings, so the attractive and repulsive forces it describes are only a part of the story, they aren’t the only attractive or repulsive forces. Love, compassion, understanding, ... are other attractive forces that work towards unity, while fear, indifference, hate, ... are other repulsive forces that work towards separation.
  • Brett

    So where’s the good and evil? Why mention good and evil?
  • leo
    So where’s the good and evil? Why mention good and evil?Brett

    Good is that which we usually associate with love, compassion, understanding, unity. Evil is that which we usually associate with fear, indifference, hate, separation.

    Indeed they are not separate, they are just another name for the same thing, good is not a separate entity from the will that spreads it, and evil is not a separate entity from the will that spreads it.

    I might have said in the past that Evil is an entity separate from us but if I did I was wrong, when we spread it we are it. Through our will we decide whether to spread good or evil, whether to work towards unity or separation. The fight between good and evil plays out within every one of us.
  • Brett

    I don’t really think this adds up to much. In the end all you’re saying is that we should be good and loving, not hateful and indifferent.
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.