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15 May 2007 @ 05:11 pm
Tao of the Day  
[...] good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. All we can say is that this is a good deed, because it helps someone, or that's an evil one, because it hurts them. People are too complicated to have simple labels.

- Dr. Mary Malone, The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
RocketGirl: Darth Danceeonen on May 16th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
If someone does enough evil deeds, especially without enough good deeds to offset the balance, I'm thinkin' they're an evil person.
Kburgunder on May 16th, 2007 02:54 am (UTC)
Do you personally know any of those? I can list a lot of people in my personal life who've done a lot of evil deeds, but they all have redeeming qualities even if their evil deeds are unforgivable by all modern standards.
RocketGirl: Bunnyeonen on May 16th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Currently? No. Not personally. But I grew up around a lot of them. The sorts of people who take every opportunity to exploit the weaknesses of others, to torment them, to be cruel to them for their own pleasure or gain.

If these people ever performed a good deed in their lives, I never saw it or was told about it. And even if they had, they'd have to be performing a LOT of them to offset the shit they put others through.
yvetteserpentmoon on May 16th, 2007 06:47 am (UTC)
Re: Do you personally know any of those?
I do. That is to say, I don't believe in evil per se, but rather (as I interpret things) that some people possess such a void within themselves that both good deeds and bad deeds are done only to get what they want, that the void which they possess or which possesses them affords them little if anything to give and of what they do give is not only conditional, but they expect more in return. My ex has never redeemed himself to me, not even to our daughter. Will he ever? I don't know. Is there such thing as karma and redemption in that? After forcing me into debt and bad credit, he is now being divorced by his 3rd wife who racked up 10s of thousands of dollars on credit cards. As for his cohort, the one he enlisted right after I left him, she never redeemed herself to me nor my daughter before she died either (or is there redemption in suffering? She died a slow miserable death.) Did the good things she did for her kids and other people in her life make up for the bad things she did to me, my daughter and, perhaps, others? I don't know even though she seemed to be much like my ex.

If I didn't see evil as being a void (or considerable lack of whole selfness), I would agree with eonen and say they racked up enough evil points to be considered evil. But I agree with the tao of the day. People are far too complicated to label them as such. Fortunately, we have an area of study called Psychology and people who study people who exhibit bad/evil behavior. So, a better label would probably be Sociopath.

So, there are good deeds, bad deeds, (relatively) good people and sociopaths. How's that?


Varnvarn_ix on May 16th, 2007 10:49 am (UTC)
My strongest redeemable quality is a deep fear of the police.
Varnvarn_ix on May 16th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
OK, the above was meant to be modded up as Funny, but here's how it is. I don't recognize good or evil, things are the way they are. But I opt for playing nice rather than looking out just for myself, because I find the dynamics of a satisfied group (or groups) more interesting than a use-then-discard system. Also, screwing people is risky, what if you screw with the wrong one? And lastly, yes, crime can be lucrative, but even the relatively small risks (here) of getting caught and accruing a bad rep, far outweigh any material gain. To me, at least.