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Root of all evil

  1. Dec 10, 2005 #1
    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. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2005 #2
    So, in other words, people taking advantage of others? I think while mentioning 'evil,' one has to also mention personal greed.
  4. Dec 10, 2005 #3
    Evil trees? o:)

    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.
  5. Dec 10, 2005 #4
    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.
  6. Dec 10, 2005 #5
    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.
  7. Jan 9, 2006 #6

    :confused: sooo..........what are saying? if a person is evil, there not human!!!!:surprised :rofl: then i must be in troble!!!!
  8. Jan 9, 2006 #7
    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.
  9. Jan 10, 2006 #8
    lots of looking. little reading.
    lots of talking. little saying of anything.
  10. Jan 10, 2006 #9
    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
  11. Jan 19, 2006 #10
    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.
  12. Jan 19, 2006 #11
    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.
  13. Jan 19, 2006 #12
    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.
  14. Jan 19, 2006 #13
    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.
  15. Jan 20, 2006 #14
    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".
  16. Jan 20, 2006 #15
    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:
  17. Jan 20, 2006 #16
    well reasoned. but what does it take for one to perceive the One whole, absolutely? dissolution into it?
  18. Jan 20, 2006 #17
    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 :smile: ).
  19. Jan 20, 2006 #18
    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.
  20. Jan 20, 2006 #19
    I would suggest that we do not perceive the One, we "reason" into it, thus not a process of dissolution, the exact opposite, a process of integration. And, can we not reduce the term "One whole" to just "the One", e.g., if it is the whole there can only be one of it.
  21. Jan 22, 2006 #20
    Rade, I think I understand your idea of the root of evil: parasitism. If one uses another (and it hinders them) to achieve a goal, then it is evil. I am basing this off your later posts.
  22. Jan 22, 2006 #21
    As I thought about this I considered the idea of telepathy. If all people were truely of a single mind then the idea of personhood could become obsolete. As things are though all persons have individual and unique minds and I find it important to recognize and respect this as "personhood".
  23. Jan 24, 2006 #22
    Well, as long as we do not take the biological meaning of the term too far--yes, one could say that being a human parasite on another human being is in essence the concept of the root of all evil that I propose. It is an example of using another human without permission for personal gain--which also results in negative effect on the one being used (which is the meaning of the term parasitism). But, a tapeworm that invades your body is not evil, nor a human that eats a chicken for dinner--morality as a concept only applies to cause effect actions between two or more humans, not animal vs animal, nor human vs animal. Since you raise a biological concept, it is of interest that two forms of species interactions (mutualism, protocooperation) represent examples of the root of all good when applied to human vs human interactions, that is, both actors benefit from being involved in the play, and both agree to be part of the play. And, a third example, commensalism, allows for one species to benefit while the other is not effected in any way (this would be the hitchhiker example cited above). Now, an interesting case of commensalism between two humans would be where one uses another for personal gain without permission but does not in any way harm the person being used. Would this be an example of the root of all evil ? I would hold that the answer is yes.
  24. Jan 25, 2006 #23
    I hold that the "root of all evil" (for humans) was want for any particular thing thought of outside the wanter's human body. It was the 'thought' of something that prevents the wanter to be in the present. The 'dragon' that the wanter wants demands a "pursuit".

    The "root of all evil" was planted in soil from the past. Individuals will always have relationships based upon the perceived 'gain' of one or the other.

    The problem was when one individual intended to forcibly or not forcibly 'enlist' the support of an other individual to assist, somehow, in achieving a particular goal-action or set of actions either mental or physical.

    One individual chasing the dragon can lead many individuals on a 'wild goose chase', and thus, prevent them to be in the present also.

    Using an other human being is/was but a branch of the root.

    Chasing the dragon, knowingly or not, always ends by death of the wanter.
  25. Jan 25, 2006 #24
    Those are all good explainations of "evil". Evil being the extreme or highest of an opposite to a united agreement towards the advancement pertaining to a positive entity.
    Should such an entity loose the rank given to it by the perceivers of its advancement, its advancement would hault and reverse toward its counterpart which in effect would cause the counterpart to advance toward it until the two meet and cancel eachother out.
    Those who would fear such an event would continue to perceive the entity in an advancing state to "ease" such fears and keep its counterpart as far from it as possible.
    This being said, the root of evil would have to be the selfish feeling of holding on to our own existence.
    With such a feeling, one would refrain from "using another human as a means to an end, even the if human being used agreed" in attempt to keep such a united agreement towards the advancement pertaining to a positive entity in its advanced state and far from its counterpart.
    Should one commit an act of using another human as a means to an end, even the if human being used agreed, the human who was used might disagree with the advancement pertaining to the positive entity thus causing it to give in and ultimatly destroy the human race.
  26. Jan 25, 2006 #25
    Thank you for your thoughts. But I do not understand how pure conscious "want" of a "thought of something outside" must result in evil. For example, suppose I have a thought of wanting an apple on a tree--how do we then conclude evil ? Or, are you saying that the object of the thought must be wanting something from another human being ? But, even then, can it be an act of evil if I have a pure thought (no action) of wanting the love of a parent ?
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