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Thread: Evil

  1. #1
    Mostly Harmless nbdy's Avatar
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    Evil

    "Evil is simply misplaced force; misplaced in time, if it is out of date, or so far ahead of its day as to be impracticable. Misplaced in space, if it turns up in the wrong place, like the burning coal on the hearth-rug or the bath water through the drawing-room ceiling. Misplaced in proportion, if an excess of love makes us silly and sentimental, or a lack of love makes us cruel and destructive. It is in such things as these that evil lies, not in a personal Devil who acts as Adversary." Dion Fortune

    Agree? Disagree? Clarify? Very interested in thoughts.

    "No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical." -- Niels Bohr

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    Silver Member Tylluan Penry's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    Well, yes and no. I don't believe in a personal Devil,and I get really annoyed with the idea of 'the devil made me do it' as an excuse. But I wouldn't say that being silly and sentimental is necessarily evil, although sentimentality can certainly be used to mask evil... but then I would also add that there is a big difference between sentimentality and sentiment.
    There... I have talked myself round in circles. Time to go and boil my head, probably!
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  3. #3

    Re: Evil

    If something is placed out of time or concept doesn't make it evil, just awkward or misunderstood. A coal on the hearth rug is just a sign to remind us not to be so stupid next time and be in the present moment when dealing with live flame. Love making us silly or sentimental can be kind of nice actually, it let's us realize there's more to life than just work and discipline. Silliness in love gives us romantic and childlike vigor and joy.

    I can't understand how she views those metaphors as evil- if she mentioned some violent, pillaging future human race to conquer us that is coming out of time, or a coal with the intention to burn the house to collect our insurance because it is possessed by arson and genocide or silly love that is obsessive and seeks to devour our hearts, that would make more sense- the only evil metaphor I see is the cruelty from lack of love. It looks like her view of evil is no worse than farting during public prayer, or burping while kissing your lover. Not evil, just kind of awkward.

  4. #4
    Lilium of the Valley
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    Re: Evil

    agree and disagree....i find a lack of love can make people destructive and very cruel...but that again to me is just a personal way of life...you still have a choice, if you want to let it influence you that way or not.
    I find Love making humans sentimental and silly enjoyable...although yes it can be "dangerous"...nothing good comes without the bad side...i think its all about the right ammount of balance...the right amount of control and the right amount of just letting go and falling

  5. #5
    Supporter Kahlenda's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    I believe evil, isnt something open to interpretation, evil is when someone does something they know is wrong. for example i know that to call a person a name delibratly to make them feel bad is wrong so to do it would make it and act of evil on my part

    does that even make sense lol :S

  6. #6
    Mostly Harmless nbdy's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    I thought it was an interesting point of view, and certainly worthy of further consideration. My initial reaction was "misplaced according to whom?" Then I backed up and tried to fairly consider what merits may lie in this conceptualization.

    Evil is a tough one -- it's sort of like pornography, hard to define but you know it when you see it. Some people argue that evil does not exist in any real form, that is it simply a social construct, defined in and out of relevance by one's cultural background. I have had the misfortune of being in the presence of something truly evil and cannot agree with that argument. I did not even know the person, but proximity nearly caused me to lose consciousness. So, yeah, until about a decade ago I entertained the social construct argument, but I no longer have a doubt that evil exists in a very real sense. What I am not so clear about is whether there is such a thing as absolute evil, or whether it only exists as an energy pattern created and sustained by thoughts and actions. None of this really addresses what evil IS, though.

    Can't entirely agree with your intention-based concept, Kahlenda, though it makes sense in an "ordinary day" sort of way. Taken to its logical end point, though, it means that a completely amoral person can do no evil. Does evil require malice? I am reminded of a quote from one of the Manson family murderers that <paraphrasing from memory> "you have to have a real love in your heart to do this for some one." So, then, their butchery could not be evil if malice is a necessary ingredient. I think malice and evil are different creatures.

    I can sort of see where Lillium is coming from and evil could be considered a state of disequilibrium, which is actually pretty similar to what Fortune stated. Again, though, as a matter of degree. If things never got knocked out of balance we would exist in stasis, which is hardly a growth opportunity. Then we are left, again, with who decides that things have gone too far? Maybe there is some measure of subjectivity to some things people call evil, but maybe calling those things evil is hyperbole. Maybe those things are simply "mean" or some other lesser word for hurtful intentions that have not gone too far.

    I agree with Psyk that her examples are not very good. None of these are things I would call evil, and it is difficult for me to imagine a time or place when something like genocide would not be evil. Even cruelty from lack of love must answer where the source of feelings of love. If a person is born without the capacity to love, are they born to do evil things? The book belonging to this quote was published in 1935, and I have tried to bear in mind the sensibilities of the time in which it was written. I have had some major issues with some of the other things in it, but still appreciate a gemstone even if it is lying beside a stinky piece of dung.

    Tylluan, Right there with you on the Devil nonsense. Again, though, she wrote this some 80 years ago, at which time I am certain it would have been considered fairly radical.

    More questions:
    Does evil exist without action? Can a person just sit and BE evil if s/he never DOES anything evil? Once action is taken, is it the action that is evil, or the result of the action?

    "No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical." -- Niels Bohr

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    Supporter Kahlenda's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    i dont mean this in a horrible way nbdy, but how your posing the questions its sorta reminding me of those zen riddles,

    "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound*

    i think the concept of evil is the same, good exists in the universe and so does evil, but are they entities or actions, im wiccen orientated so id say no they arnt entities i belive they are actions i believe everything can be both good and bad depending on its mood.

  8. #8
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    Re: Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by nbdy View Post
    "Evil is simply misplaced force; misplaced in time, if it is out of date, or so far ahead of its day as to be impracticable.
    I don't agree with that. Evil is intentionally and maliciously inflicted harm. Be it mental, emotional, or physical. Ignorance does not make evil into good. Ignorance can, however, make the evil deed forgivable.

    Murder is evil, but not all killing is murder. Killing in defense of self or a loved one is not murder, even if you feel angry when you do it. Just an example of why "intent" matters. Yet intent is also not the ultimate escape, for clearly evil things can be done with a claim to "right reasons".

    Attempting to keep someone else from having basic human rights, no matter your reasoning and justification, is harmful and thus is an evil act. Even if you are taught (ignorance) that this other group of people is wrong, bad, or evil... the act of attempting to deny their rights is an evil act. Ignorance may make that action forgivable, but it doesn't justify it.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbdy View Post
    Misplaced in space, if it turns up in the wrong place, like the burning coal on the hearth-rug or the bath water through the drawing-room ceiling.
    That is not evil, that is inconvenient. That may even be harmful, but it's hardly evil. There is no dark intent behind these things, they are simply part of living in an environment of imperfection. The world itself is not out to get you, Dion.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbdy View Post
    Misplaced in proportion, if an excess of love makes us silly and sentimental, or a lack of love makes us cruel and destructive.
    Love is life's greatest joy. Being silly and sentimental cannot be over-rated. Anyone would be hard-pressed in the extreme to show most people how being silly, and / or being sentimental are in and of themselves, evil acts. Indeed, as stated, for much of the world, these are the times of greatest happiness... when loving freely, when laughing, when allowing a treasured object to recall within the heart treasured memories.

    A lack of love can have many effects, but doing evil acts, whether in or out of the presence of love, is an active choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbdy View Post
    It is in such things as these that evil lies, not in a personal Devil who acts as Adversary." Dion Fortune
    The only adversary is that which we create in our own minds, and in each other. This is one of the things that can be created by choosing against love.

  9. #9
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by nbdy View Post
    "Evil is simply misplaced force; misplaced in time, if it is out of date, or so far ahead of its day as to be impracticable. Misplaced in space, if it turns up in the wrong place, like the burning coal on the hearth-rug or the bath water through the drawing-room ceiling. Misplaced in proportion, if an excess of love makes us silly and sentimental, or a lack of love makes us cruel and destructive. It is in such things as these that evil lies, not in a personal Devil who acts as Adversary." Dion Fortune.
    For me the statement is false. I find evil to be a two pronged aspect within society.

    On one hand it is a morale perspective often derived from a societies religious influences as to what is right, wrong and the degree's each takes. Thus what is evil or wrong in one social system is acceptable within another. It has nothing to do with concepts or ethics being misplaced, mistimed or even misrepresented. It all has to do with how a social grouping defines it's existence and the constraints and boundaries of that system. One reason I think that the definition of "Evil" has changed not only by civilization but by generation as well. 20 plus years ago racial issues were the epitome of evil in a social construct.

    Within that social construct though I think evil is also defined by ones personal exposure or experience of things defined as evil. Thus a person who survived an attempted murder for instance would see evil as something far different than a person whose worst exposure was being cursed at lets say. What many in the military would define as evil is often far out of position of what the average civilian in society would acknowledge or recognize.

    The second prong of Evil though ties into things that are beyond culture and seen as truly horrific. Murder in the name of religion or freedom and it's perspective of those doing it. Murder such as the Vampire of Dusseldorf, Ed Gains and others which are seen as affronts in all societies and it's more of an absolute sense of evil. Yet most will never encounter something of that level or vileness and in order to comprehend or attempt to understand they place it upon some outside force. A force that might be the Christian Satan, the darker aspect's of Greek and Roman daemon's who influence or corrupt humanity.

    Of course this second arm also includes those things that are not normally though of but referred to as entities, beings, etc that do not adhere to societies social & cultural norms or even humanity as a whole. But again the odds of actually encountering one of these entities, beings, etc is probably so low that they become infused with urban legends, social legends and mythic lore itself.

    Sort of like white noise messages and the percentage of them that speak of killing, destroying humanity for its pleasure. Granted a small percentage compared to the many spirits of the passed that convey messages via that medium. Yet still a large enough percentage to suggest that humans are far from being the only beings upon the planet.

    Even the notion of an absolute evil I think is a misnomer in that it is still defined against ones own ethics, morality and cultural / social influences. From a shamanic perspective I know that I may encounter many things that to my vantage point are evil, yet inversely I to appear as evil to their vantage points and perspective. Yet how many are willing to admit their own recognition as beings of evil?

  10. #10
    Live and learn anunitu's Avatar
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    Re: Evil

    all I know about evil is Decaf coffee is evil,it is a demonic plot to make me fall asleep and bang my head on my keyboard.
    MAGIC is MAGIC,black OR white or even blood RED

    all i ever wanted was a normal life and love.
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