Main Question or Discussion Point
I am currently working on an essay about evil. My basic premise is that evil is only meaningful in the context of community. That is, evil is defined as an action or event that works to the detriment of some predefined community. I am trying to show that many of the problems that our species face result from misunderstanding the nature of evil. For example, many people believe that the definition of evil is defined and imposed divinely. God said don't do this or that and if you do it that action is evil. The problem with this belief is that it doesn't say why disobedience is evil. This leads the devout to pursue PERSONAL righteousness in a letter of the law fashion. We should ask ourselves why it is important that we not murder, lie, covet or steal. The obvious answer is that a community cannot exist if its members are involved in commiting murder on its own members. Thus the question 'why' leads us to an idea of community righteousness. Devout individuals should always be seeking to further the community's best interest. Furthermore, devout communities should be avidly pursuing the individuals interests. Selfishness, whether individual or communal is the motivation that precedes evil as defined here. We can also look at this from a slightly different perspective. We can look at communities as individuals in a larger global community. This is where the above discussion really gains impact. Think of all the actions advocated by organizations, religions, philosophys, nations that offend the above standard of evil. Ironically, each group is able to label the actions of its opponents as evil. Logically, this is possible only if we accept the idea that evil is entirely subjective each community. That is that each community's definition of evil is determined internally. I prefer to believe that evil is valid only if objectively defined. Finally, while I have limited this discussion to evil in terms of humans a very similar argument can be made to a community in terms of other non-human inhabitants of our world, or even other worlds.