The Questioning of Good and Evil
Age Rating: 13 +
A discussion arose the other day and because of the varied responses--some good, some less than good--on the attributes, causes, even the reality of the existence of Good and Evil, it was thought that this was a discussion worth bringing here. Not for active debate, but for the reader's general considerations.
The basic premise was: are Good and Evil even really knowable?
This is more than a paradoxical question, it is a true mystery that has plagued mankind from the day he conceived the difference between Good and Evil.
These are conditions that we generally like to consider as being Universal. That is, they maintain the same values, regardless of any measure or indicator applied. They really seem to be, however, conditions that are subject to race, place, environment, history, economic status, personal needs or wants, education, social position, and even whether consideration is being made for church, state, political ideals, economic ideals, and, generally, the referent frame in which the comparison is being made.
Some generalities apply, of course. But those generalities tend to be very short-lived and re-interpreted as is convenient or necessary by those either in power, or those who want to be in power. A very quick recounting of some of the actions taken by world leaders to either maintain power or to achieve power, shows that very often man will achieve his goals in the name of one or the other---Good or Evil.
It isn't believed that there is an Absolute Good or Evil that is applicable to every instance. The two are variable as they must be, having been conceived by the most variable of all things--Man.
To live is Good. Unless you're sick and close to death, and just want to die.
Then death is, therefore, Good.
Death is Evil.
It robs mankind of a continued, productive existence of contribution.
But our planet cannot sustain an infinite number of people, forever.
Then life is, therefore, Evil.
Snakes are Evil.
But snakes help to maintain a balance by feeding on varmints and little pesky critters.
Snakes are, therefore, Good.
There is a natural order to all things, except Man. And that is only because Man is constantly trying to change, even inadvertently, the natural order of things around him.
Man causes death and destruction on a horrendous level. The sheer volume of death and destruction caused by Man, every year, is unimaginable.
Man is Evil.
But Man spends countless hours, and treasures, and efforts bringing relief and comfort, and aid to the sick, and wounded, and hungry.
Man is, therefore, Good.
Satan is Evil.
But without Satan, the goodness of God couldn't be recognized.
Satan is, therefore, Good.
The two, Good and Evil are relative terms that seem to be measured, each in terms of the other. Therefore, Good is Evil and Evil is Good.
These are, admittedly, oversimplifications of a rather complex consideration. Any dialog, however, usually begins with simplicity. As we bring more and more considerations that seem to influence the basic premise, then the dialog becomes more complex.
The discussion was of particular importance to me because we, as writers, very often present one face or the other of this Janus-like coin as a buffer, a tool, even as justification for some of our writings. It also seemed important because, through our writings, we can reach a great number of people and influence behavior, thought, speech, in fact all of the attributes which Man claims as his.
That seems a weighty responsibility and one which we should at least consider, before beginning any work.