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Rose White

Is evil a concept that is important or helpful to you? If it is a relevant concept can you share your views on what it means, either from an ethical or religious perspective or??

Here Are some ideas I have.

Absence of, or turning away from God
Cosmic force locked in a battle with Good which will end in something messianic and apocalyptic

That which opposes qualities held in high regard by a cultural society

Religious to me has a kind of deterministic, fatalistic, empirical form (some people are evil)

Ethical has a relativistic, cultural framework, performative form (some people do evil things from a historic-cultural perspective)

For this discussion I would like to start from the premise that evil is a useful concept (so if it’s not useful for you then let’s save that discussion for another thread). How the concept is useful—from your perspective— is what I am curious to explore. I don’t want to limit it’s usefulness to my concepts, those are just a conversation starter.
Useful as a benchmark of right and wrong on moral, ethical, and religious standards. It’s important to me as an ingrained way of behaving through training in not doing things that do not promote justice or innate as in things considered outside one’s moral compass that I have no inclination towards doing, observing or being apart of. In the balance of things the term pure evil to me is part of some aspects of humanity for those having no conscience being at one end and those who avoid evil. From a religious perspective it was of much importance as it is used in the Lord’s Prayer as something we pray we are delivered from. What it truly means and how it is occurs seems to me to be on a continuum.
I don't believe that evil exists, morally or religiously. I tend to take a more deterministic view of things (that while we have the ability to choose a lot of our behavior and thoughts, we are also at the mercy of the way in which we are physically composed - when that composition is damaged, or malfunctioning, or inefficient, it will act badly). So I tend to take issue with "evil" as a concept at it essentially defies nature. People and animals and viruses and bacteria and tides and rocks alike are all capable of incredible destruction. Some of that is intentional and some isn't. Some of it is extreme, sadistic, cruel, horrific - and some isn't. But it isn't evil. It just is.

(Sorry - this cut off the relevant part of my post before sending it.)

Nevertheless, evil is a concept that has been relevant to me my entire life, for very obvious reasons. I struggle deeply with different types of obsessions and compulsions - and most of that cognitive dysfunction is centered around good/evil, pure/impure, victim/perpetrator - essentially a very black-and-white dichotomy. OCD as a whole is very concerned with evil and morality and whether or not you're behaving morally, and because of my past experiences with causing harm to others.

There is a sense within myself that while I don't believe evil is real, somehow I defy all logic and physics itself to insist that "oh, except for me!" I just don't think it's helpful. I can see how this ties in for you to your other thread about recognizing that other people caused you harm on purpose, so it makes sense that you are exploring these concepts and posing the question: does that make them evil? I think that is less about philosophy, and more about you. What would give you peace of mind? What would be most likely to ease your suffering? For me, judging my abusers as evil was not helpful because I struggle to meaningfully separate myself from them.

I had a lot more luck with actually completely overhauling how I even define basic, fundamental concepts like good/bad or weak/strong, or all the other binary dichotomies running around in here. Even if I am evil and bad - even if they are evil and bad, that would make evil something humans are capable of and thus it would still fall under the category of a human action. They are still human and will never stop being human. So then it becomes about how you, personally, choose to engage with the subject matter of evil humans, how you personally choose to view the humans who behaved evilly to you.

Some people just wash their hands and say, "well, they're not human, so it doesn't matter." That's a possibility, too.
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something we pray we are delivered from.
I forgot about that. Thank you also for the very concise beautiful description.
I struggle to meaningfully separate myself from them.
This I understand very well. So for me *if* when I am able to separate myself from them then it is helpful to use that term in order to protect myself from merging back psychically with them as that is my tendency.

But I’m not seeing myself as good in opposition to them. I’m seeing myself as neutral human. And them as something like chaotic evil in d&d terms, as a way of showing myself the separation. When I stay in the merge it hurts me. It might not hurt other people to see themselves as equal, and for you @Weemie I understand based on your recovery why you would do that because it keeps you human. That makes a lot of sense to me.

wash their hands and say, "well, they're not human, so it doesn't matter.
I know what you mean here. In the very beginning of my recovery I called the caregiver dad a monster and then I had to accept eventually that such a view was immature and so I said he was human. I think maybe I’m back to trying to put him in a box for the sake of my child parts who don’t understand? Also, for me, when I think they are human then it’s easy for me to wash my hands and say it doesn’t matter. But if I think of them as something like evil demons then I have to be vigilant and careful and make sure I don’t leave myself open to psychic penetration.

black-and-white dichotomy. OCD
Yes I agree that this is related to this. I’ve been thinking about that and come to the conclusion that I can’t have a non-binary mental state about everything in the universe. Because even on a sub particle level everything material is twinned and polarized. So from a materialistic perspective binary is helpful. But from a philosophical and religious view non-binary is helpful. Non-binary thinking is like Buddha and monotheism and the Universe and it is very helpful for coping. So I hold both but I think I was too non-binary for too long and it was hurting my mind maybe so that’s why I need to explore this and I very much appreciate the discussion as it helps me work it out and understand why my brain-body wants or needs to do this right now to feel stable.

It might seem strange that I’m saying religious view is non-binary and also talking about evil demons. I’m trying to think about evil in terms of materialism rather than empiricism though any religious materialism always goes back to empiricism so I’m straddling that and leaning toward the materialist side as a way of helping myself. What does that look like? Studying the esoteric and occult to try to understand what it’s like to live in a world where evil is a force that is observed like the weather and demons are harnessed to fight other demons. From a modern perspective it’s quite kooky because of or in spite of the fact that it’s not in the enclosure of a church.

Am very grateful for this conversation as I push ahead on trying to find and recover my self. And thank you for your willingness to share. My intention is not to contradict anyone, rather to elucidate my position in order to understand myself.
That which opposes qualities held in high regard by a cultural society
For me, more simply, “morally reprehensible”, a lack of morality.

Morality is an incredibly useful concept for me. But it has its limits of usefulness for recovery, because it’s subjective, rather than an absolute.

Evil is not necessarily an absolute. It tends to be used as though it’s an absolute, but someone can do evil things (things that are morally corrupt, morally reprehensible, or lack morality) and still, also, do good things. It is extreme (really, really bad), rather than absolute, and I think that’s where that nuance gets lost.
I've been trying to figure out how to post this ever since this topic went up. Setting aside the concepts of "religiously" or "ethically" or even "morally", what about "cosmically"? I am not speaking in a religious sense.
I believe human behaviour is made up of genetics and environment (a basic premise of psychology); that, hypothetically, if two people had the exact same genetics and were exposed to the exact same environments, they would engage in the exact same behaviours.

Also, I personally believe almost everyone has the same basic values, but that they're prioritized differently.

(That's what I believe intellectually, but obviously, I still judge people who hurt me, etc.)
I guess in a way its religious, but in Zen there is a concept of basic human goodness.

Turning away from basic human goodness - from helping those who can't help themselves, using others for your own gain or purposes, is evil.
Am very grateful for this conversation as I push ahead on trying to find and recover my self. And thank you for your willingness to share. My intention is not to contradict anyone, rather to elucidate my position in order to understand myself.

This was primarily why I made sure to include the caveat that, honestly? I do think there is a difference between what people, like, "ethically/morally" portray to others - this is the stuff that I am saying in my spoilered part - that is what I believe is ethical to impart to others and how I will share my views of those subjects in conversations where other people are involved. But there is also simply, the private/personal - the things that are personally meaningful to you.

And I am not convinced those things are actually incorrect in the same way as say, "oh, that argument is wrong/illogical."

The things that help you, the things that may seem "kooky" or contradictive. Like, I don't believe evil exists - but I also believe that sometimes? A person can say, "yes, evil exists, and this is how I respond to it-" and come to a conclusion that is helpful to them. That's why I think it sort of goes beyond philosophy and what is "actually right/wrong" on these subjects - which are so f*cking esoteric, anyway. Haha.

That most likely very much does exist in me on a non-binary spectrum; my mind is very good at holding contradictory thoughts and putting them side-by-side and just "existing" with them. But it's taken a long, long time. For me, I've had to lean into being more non-binary because like you, everything in my brain is binary. And it's down to literal particle-states. There may be one or two molecules of difference and that to me, makes it binary.

So I've had to learn how to just say, "I don't believe in evil / these people are evil / I am evil / everyone, including me, is good and bad" and move on from there. What do we do with bad or evil humans? How do we cope with that? How do we function in the world if they are real, and here? What should justice look like? Can we even bring any of these people to justice - and if not, how do we still keep on going?
@Aprilshowers yes please share about that
I'm going to put on my tinfoil hat and try to explain what I mean by "cosmically" evil. There is a scientific theory that our universe is a hologram. We could really get into physics and string theory and a bunch of academic jargon that has nothing to do with evil, but the simplistic point is that "some people" view the universe as existing on multiple planes or being multi-dimensional. People who buy into that theory - scientists, philosophers, conspiracy theorists, computer gamers, people who think they've been abducted by aliens, open-minded thinkers, the spiritually-inclined - believe there is a battle being waged on one of these unseen dimensions between good and evil. Author L.A. Marzulli (who writes from a Christian perspective) refers to it as the "Cosmic Chessmatch." In fact, Marzulli thinks we are a part of this warfare that has been going on for millenia. Other people think aliens are "out there" playing an evil game using us on earth as their pawns. There are books and documentaries about this cosmic warfare, but you need to be careful to choose your search terms carefully or you'll end up with church sermons. The point is whether you view the entities as angels and demons, good guys and bad guys, aliens and more aliens, or good things and evil things, there is a war being fought against basic good and basic evil "out there." Or you could choose not to believe it at all. It's interesting to ponder.

I am NOT religious, I am a Christian, so I believe the Biblical view of good and evil. As a student of the Bible and a passionate eschatology enthusiast, I am very well aware how current events and the state of our world are lining up with Bible prophecy. It's a subject I've been deeply researching for 20 years. What many refer to as the globalists and the great resetters, others refer to as the Luciferians. There is evil in our schools, corruption in our government, and violence in our communities. While our military concerns itself with pronouns and gender identity, America is no longer the great world leader it once was. No wonder it is no where in end times prophecy. Anyone who has studied Revelation and knows what Romans 1:18 says about good and evil and who also closely follows the World Economic Forum, the Davos meetings, Agenda 2025, Agenda 2030, and the statements by the U.N. and Klaus Schwab must have haunting chills! A podcast I listened to today spoke of "evil creeping through the cracks".

I debated mentioning this, but in a discussion of evil it seems appropriate. As part of my ministry I have worked with girls who were either raised in satanic cults or were brought into them as young children. All children in these cults are victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse. This is a culture I never ever expected or wanted to be immersed into. It is evil in the purest sense. What these innocent children endure is indescribable torture - horror at its absolute worst. Evil does exist in this world. Ordinary men and women that you see in Walmart and McDonalds, pumping their gas, working at the bank or the dry cleaners or doing your taxes are capable of committing atrocities on the most innocent members of our society in the name of evil. After my exposure to these girls and this culture I now have a new understanding of Ephesians 6:10 - 13:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."