# Root of all evil

1. Dec 10, 2005

I hold that the "root of all evil" (for humans) is when a human uses another human as a means to an end, even if those being used agree. Comments -- other roots for the tree of evil ?

2. Dec 10, 2005

### z-component

So, in other words, people taking advantage of others? I think while mentioning 'evil,' one has to also mention personal greed.

3. Dec 10, 2005

### *melinda*

Evil trees?

Actually, I'm curious. What is your definition of evil?

I don't think I could really comment on the 'cause of all evil' without knowing your definition of evil itself.

4. Dec 10, 2005

### sameandnot

perhaps, rade, the root would be more simply understood as "the idea that entities are seperate, in Reality and experience, at all." this idea of seperateness (in-dependence of things), appears to be the "root" of one's "taking advantage of others."
How could there be evil if all identified themselves with the whole? (everything else)
even science has come to recognize that all "things" are connected (and that their particular interactions bring about the state of the whole).

so, upon actualizing this knowledge, of non-seperateness, how could one do harm to another; as this kind of behavior is really doing harm to oneself? and even to one's children... grandchildren.

to bring upon ill-relations, to one's offspring is surely a scoundralous deed, in itself.

5. Dec 10, 2005

Let me first provide my concept of the "root of all good" = opposite of "root of all evil". Thus, from the above definition, the root of all good is when "a human uses self as a means to an end, even if the self disagrees". So, we have the two concepts:
root of all evil = when a human uses another person as a means to an end
root of all good = when a human uses self as a means to an end.
Thus I end with a tension dynamic between "another person + self" such that evil = (dynamics of another person + self) as negation of good. What I mean by this definition is that evil is obtained when a human fails to rationally internalize a moral axiom that her own worth (self), and the worth of fellow human beings (another person) form a neutral union (synthesis) to define the ultimate good for life as a human being qua living within Homo sapiens the species. Good is obtained when such internalization is consciously realized and acted upon.

6. Jan 9, 2006

### blackmama

sooo..........what are saying? if a person is evil, there not human!!!!:surprised :rofl: then i must be in troble!!!!

7. Jan 9, 2006

Consider what you just wrote ... a "person"...not "human". This is not logical, all people are human--when is the last time you saw a non-human person ? I can see that you are confused, but good news is that it really is up to you whether or not you are in trouble.
What I am saying is that you get to choose to be either good or evil or some mixture of the two. How ? To the degree that you maximize the root of all good path vs the root of all evil path that I present above. In short, never, ever use another human being as a means to an end. But you must decide this is how you will live your life, each and every day--you can never let up, never stop thinking about how you treat other people in your life. So this is the moral code for how to interact with others, that is, never follow the root of all evil. But, what about yourself--how should you interact with yourself ? Always use self (and only self, never others) as a means to an end. Take a walk in the woods because it makes you feel good, but has no negative effect on others, meditate, watch the sun rise % set. etc, etc. Do these things and you will live a good life, the life of the human being.

8. Jan 10, 2006

### sameandnot

lots of talking. little saying of anything.

9. Jan 10, 2006

### JonahHex

So Lady Montagu and Edward Jenner were evil?

They should have experimented upon themselves only? ...and if they happened to die from a failed experiment, leaving no one to carry on the work, that's ok?

What is this facination that people have with "absolute morality?" The human eye can discern 16 million+ colors. Why do you want to see it only in black and white?

BTW Rade, do you drive a car? Why are you polluting my atmosphere? Warming my planet? Consuming my dwindling petroleum reserves? ...should I go on?

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
10. Jan 19, 2006

Neither used other as a means to their own end, thus no evil--this is an example of helping the sick, the poor, which can only result when one does not use others as a means to their own end. And, if they had injected themself you then conclude that that event must be evil--completely illogical. Of course many others would be able to continue the work they started.
I drive a car to go from A to B, a means to my own end. You drive a car to go from point C to D, a means to your own end. In the process I may kill you, you may kill me (let alone pollute), yet no evil committed if I kill you by accident or you me. You have no argument of evil here, yes, please try again.

11. Jan 19, 2006

### WarrenPlatts

Defining 'evil' as meaning the same as 'using someone other than one's self as a means to an end' commits the naturalistic fallacy. You can't define moral predicates using nonmoral terms.

Besides, there are lots of times when people use other people where there is no reason to suppose there is evil going on. Hitchhikers use other people for their own ends, but most hitchhikers aren't evil.

12. Jan 19, 2006

Good point. However, would not the hitchhiker that forces one self into the car be evil ? Thus your post indicates important moral relevance to the term "uses" as relates to evil--that is, using other as a means to end is the root of all evil when the "use" is forced without the permission of the other (and the use must be volitional such that the prime motive for the action is to effect the other, not self).
I appreciate the few recent answers to the OP since as suggested by many absolute moral laws may be a condradiction in terms. Recall from my post above, I look to a dynamic between the root of all evil as I suggest it, and the root of all good. In any situation between 2 people (A,B), the total outcomes of the dynamics A <----> B I would think needs to be evaluated.

13. Jan 19, 2006

### WarrenPlatts

When someone shoplifts from WalMart, no use of force is involved, and when someone commits murder for $1,000,000 the prime motive for the action is to better the life of the murderer--he doesn't care about his victim except to the extent that the victim makes him better. If he kidnapped the victim instead and could get a$2,000,000 ransom, that would be even better.

14. Jan 20, 2006

### TheStatutoryApe

If a person were to not see themselves and others as individuals but a whole then the idea of "taking advantage of others" becomes a moot point. They are no longer "others".

15. Jan 20, 2006

### enlil

I agree with WarrenPlatts.There are hips of examples where is needed for someone to use another human being, evin for the good cause. It doesn't mean they are evil.

Look at thje hendicap people, for example. They use other people's help and time all their life. Is that their fault and can you call them evil for it?!

Personal question Rade:Where are you from? I'm very curios cause your name is very commen in my country-Serbia.:shy:

16. Jan 20, 2006

### sameandnot

well reasoned. but what does it take for one to perceive the One whole, absolutely? dissolution into it?

17. Jan 20, 2006

In your first example, the root of all evil is demonstrated--the property of others is used without permission of owner (WalMart) as a means to an end (no need to extend "force" action all such evil uses of others without permission). And clearly, the second action of murder is an example of evil derived from using others without permission as a means to end. And, of course he does not care about the other (e.g., the victum)--that is my point--that is why the action is an example of the root of all evil as I have presented it here with some modification based on comments. I find no falsification of the root of all evil axiom that I suggest in any of your examples (so far ).

18. Jan 20, 2006

Of course a handicap person never commits evil when others help them--in fact there is no "use" at all in this example. You do not "use" me if I agree to help you, and do not many that are handicap try hard to do for them self ? Why ? I hold because they attempt to maximize the moral code of the "root of all good" [only use self as a means to end]. However, should you as a moral rule help a handicap person if they hold you hostage ? -- no, not unless it is to follow the "root of all good" rule (that is, help only until one can escape). Recall from posts above that I hold there to be a neutral monism between two moral dynamics that form what "may" be a moral code of action:
[never use others as a means to end]<-> [always use self as a means to end]--of course with correct understanding of the terms "use", "other", and "means to end". Thus, the "self" and "other" cannot be separated--they are like the heads and tails of the coin--no such concept of pure self or pure other for the human being--each individual is part of a species and needs others for their existence. I do not know if this results in an "absolute morality", perhaps not, that is why I look for examples that logically show it to be false. Fire away. And, yes my name is the name of my grandfather, from Serbia, my spiritual home.

19. Jan 20, 2006