“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
― Dante Alighieri,
Subquestions and everyday relevance
- What does evil mean for you?
- What is good and what is evil? Axiology (theory of values);
- What’s gone wrong? Is violence inevitable?
- How is this question relevant to our everyday life?
- It is sad but it seems that nobody needs any help with that…
- If the evolution did not eliminate it, does evil has a function??? Is it evil and fear almost the same thing?
- Human malfunctions, it is what’s really interesting, is it?
How do you work on the answer to question #4
First, one needs to read “Inferno“.
The evil numbs us, it paralyzes our ability to think, we just watch the horrible stories one after the other and can not think. Maybe to be brave is to force yourself to think, to connect the evil to the fear, to the ignorance and the mob mentality.
If you doubt that working on your personal worldview can give you some clarity and improve your resilience, then working on the source of evil should make your doubt smaller.
An example by Tomasz Boron: “Evil is a necessity required for the good to be noticed and appreciated as a contrary, for the good thrives on fighting the evil.”
An excellent antidote for anxiety, unexplained dark cloud, post-traumatic stress syndrome.Putting unexplained in the words, demystifying it helps, also browsing Philozophy, seeing all very diverse answers, seeing how real people deal with the problem…
An Interview with my wife Linda
Linda wanted to talk about finding happiness but that interview was already done so she agreed to talk about evil.
Me: Is it possible to talk about evil and its origin as concepts separate from the “good” and “goodness”?
Linda: No, I don’t think you can, they are interdependent, just as male and female, black and white, moving and still, you can’t have one without another.
Me: Even if we accept the relational nature of these (maybe of all) concepts, could you try to separate them for now and talk about the origin of evil?
Linda: The evil has many origins, many causes in many dimensions. I would think that the main problem is the lack of empathy, of seeing other beings in the sympathetic light and vicariously being able to experience another person’s experience as your own – to the certain extent.
And, as I understand the science the lack of empathy can be traced to the deficiency of function of mirror neurons in the brain. I am sure there are other parts of the brain which are involved that I am not aware of, like, there is a genetic blip or defect and this would be the origin of evil.
I guess the people with normal brains can become evil, in the special circumstances, it has been documented in concentration camps and places like that, where perfectly normal people can be turned into sadists. How that worked, I don’t know, but the result is the same. The evil person, the person doing evil things experiences no empathy tormenting or torturing other people, that is what enable him to do it. Or for some weird reason, she learns to take pleasure in it. So, that part I cannot really attribute a cause to, how the brain can be changed so the non-sadistic person becomes a sadist and derives pleasure from the other person suffering. It is a mystery to me. But, probably it comes back to the lack or deficiency or manipulation of the function of the mirror neurons.
And, of course, greed can cause people to do harmful things and evil things. Again, if you have a normal set of mirror neurons it is going to prevent you from causing harm in pursuing money, or obtaining whatever you want, power, etc, etc…
Me: Do you think that origin of evil has anything to do with fear?
Linda: Yeah, I think, if people are afraid, maybe their mirror neurons are not working properly when you are afraid you can do evil things. One would say -and this is not an excuse- that the Nazi were afraid of Jews during the Second World War and in US Americans were afraid of Japanese and we set up our own camps and send the Japanese citizens of this country to these places until the war was over. So, yes, I think fear can create a lot of evil actions, but I don’t if it is an origin of evil itself. It is a transient thing, once the fear passes, the people can be appalled by what they have done. And, indeed, US was appalled and we apologized to the Japanese families who were interred during the war.
Me: Can open conversation and sharing opinions about the origins of evil help create a more humane world?
Linda: I don’t know. Hopefully. When we work on our worldviews the general and abstract ideas mingle with the personal issues. The concept of evil can be made very personal. One can think about “my evil”. We all have dark sides, our shadows, and it is most dangerous if we do not acknowledge it, and don’t explore it, try to know it.
Then it has us, we do not have it. We project it on other people and do terrible things to them.
Both concepts, the philosophy of evil and personal evil, are very much interconnected and important to discuss and share.