There's no such thing as evil?

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There's no such thing as evil?

Post by xenosimiana on Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:40 am

There's this blog called Chicana On The Edge and she mentions a book called "The Gift of Fear" and her summary of the book is as follows: 

"Gavin de Becker argues that defining people as evil is not only unproductive, it's dangerous. It's dangerous because we conceptualize evil as being so pervasive that you can see it in someone's eyes, you can sense it just by looking at them, etc. This is dangerous because it causes us to watch out for people who "look evil" while people who look perfectly ordinary swindle, rape, rob and kill us. De Becker tells us to stop looking for evil people because most murderers, torturers, robbers and rapists are just like everyone else, which is to say that we all have the capacity to do awful things. All of us do, so there's no point in trying to distinguish the good people from the bad people."

Ok yes people do have the tendency to have a preconceived idea of what a "boogyman" looks like, and sometimes we're not wrong either, but of course it would be silly to go off of just appearances as we've all known of someone that we didn't expect to commit horrible crimes. With that said, I still think it's a bit unfair to say there's no way of distinguishing good people from bad people, she uses some examples of someone given an ultimatum of killing a couple of people so their wife wouldn't die, but to me it's evil people that forced a relatively good person to stoop to their level, they are the victim. Of course there's other factors that would support what she and the author is saying being that the man trying to save his wife is a horrible person as well, which to me would probably make the wife be the only innocent and good person.  

To add, what about those that maintain their integrity despite threats and temptation? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I think they overlook those people who I consider to not only be "good" but have the strength to maintain it. I also think it's a bit of an insult to say "Well you never know what you'll do." It's almost like people who are very sexual and/or limerent tell you that given the chance under the "right' circumstances you'll be just like us. I understand the phrase in bold to a certain extent, but I'm confident that I won't rape someone, even under the threat of death because I refuse to stoop. 

She also uses the example of a cop who panics and kills an innocent child as someone people would consider evil, but it wasn't intentional, it was something extremely foolish and unfortunate that a child died as the result of it. I do think the cop should be punished for it but doesn't compare to those who gleefully and willfully seek out children to harm. For anyone who wants to read the blog here's the link:
http://chicanaontheedge.blogspot.com/2016/07/no-such-thing-as-evil.html

xenosimiana

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Re: There's no such thing as evil?

Post by SCH0206 on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:44 am

I definitely oppose the idea of evil being non-existent. I think some people adopt this idea because they want to see good in everyone. I can relate because there was a time when I believed all evildoers had the capacity to change, but that belief made me more vulnerable to their iniquitous behavior. Now, I'm less naive and apply scrutiny to those who've done evil and claim they're repentant.

The "we all have the capacity to do awful things" claim has some truth in it, however, evil people use this claim as a way to exculpate themselves since most evil people don't want to hold themselves accountable for their behavior. I experienced this first hand with my family. They paid (and still pay) lip service to being imperfect, yet take umbrage to criticism while nitpicking my mistakes. One can't have it both ways; it doesn't make sense to be flawed and exempt from criticism. That's like saying something or someone is perfect and open to criticism, another idea that doesn't make sense. Many evil people operate on a system of double standards: they want to be exempt from certain rules that they expect their victims to follow while being given rights they withhold from their victims. All and all, we should stop shielding them from being accountable and call them out for their despicable actions.

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Re: There's no such thing as evil?

Post by Biscotti on Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:07 pm

"Well you never know what you'll do." It's almost like people who are very sexual and/or limerent tell you that given the chance under the "right' circumstances you'll be just like us. I understand the phrase in bold to a certain extent, but I'm confident that I won't rape someone, even under the threat of death because I refuse to stoop. 

I've been worrying about this lately. Not for myself, but I've realized just how much people can be "bought" and it's very worrying.
I was always very (And taught to be) idealogically driven. I can say with certainity there's some things I won't do. And I'm starting to be very against selling oneself out.
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Re: There's no such thing as evil?

Post by xenosimiana on Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:04 pm

@SCH0206 @Biscotti I think that's one of many excellent ways of countering this because it does reek of not holding those accountable for evil acts and people selling themselves out when put under various conditions. And it also plays a bit into one of my recent comments about feeling regret or even fear for contributing to society a biological child that ends up being a horrible person.

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