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It boils down to selfishness in my opinion. The aspect of personal gain through an illegal act can change a crime from manslaughter to murder, from accessory to conspirator. Whenever a person shows us that they are selfish we are getting clues to the depths of their depravity, when their selfishness has no aspects of remorse or shows an inability to even consider the pain they cause others in pursuit of their own gain we start to assign the term psychopath to them.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, especially in regards to drunk driving. When the desire to drink away from home sets in, thats not selfish. Avoiding the inconvenience of a cab ride home (and another to retrieve the car) at the risk of causing great harm to others most definitely puts a drunk driver in the selfish arena.
I hate driving on the same roads with selfish people. I hate working with them. I hate having to be prepared for selfish thieves coming around looking for self gain at my expense, and being prepared for the worst cases that are willing to commit murder to assure they get away with the theft.
Basically, selfishness sets off my you suck radar, and that classification is hard to shed with me.
years ago, we had doughnuts available at break, honor system, .35 cents. We knew we were losing a few bucks every day to cheaters, no big deal, cover it from petty cash. Then we saw big losses, someone was putting down a fiver and taking change for a ten, or a 20! We warned people that the doughnuts were going to go away if it kept happening but of course that didnt matter to the thief (s).
I argued that we were missing an opportunity to rid ourselves of some selfish employees for the cost of a hidden camera and a few doughnuts. Others argued that it would be wrong to destroy a life for such a petty theft, that the company as a whole would suffer more for the loss of a trained worker than it gained by purging a selfish worker. The doughnuts and the opportunity to be rid if an employee that was probably steeling a lot more than doughnuts both went away. And every time we saw employee theft i wondered if it could have been avoided, easily, dollars to doughnuts and vice versa.
To me, the loss of a possible friend, a business associate, a relationship with any person that shows me that they are selfish is a loss but it is a finite loss.
the tolerance of and continued association with a selfish person exposes us to an infinite amount of EVIL. And that is my bottom line, selfishness is the root of evil, and most times the first clue we get and the one we wish we had paid attention to later.
Thinking about evil again tonight. I think evil is closely tied to cruelty. I’m pretty sure I have a good idea of what constitutes cruelty, and that is tied to evil, which is a useful concept for me as it helps me understand social and behavioral interactions and morality.