» N.S. Books
November 21st, 1999.
"Good & Evil."
I do not say evil does not exist, nor do I say that good does not exist: they both clearly do. However, they exist only to the extent that they fit our own personal inclinations. "Such things as please us, we denominate good, those which displease us, evil." (See Spinoza.) To the individual, good is that which is pleasant, agreeable and which involves the preservation of that individual's life; on the other hand, what is unpleasant and disagreeable, is evil.
"All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see
All discord, harmony not understood,
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right."
Alexander Pope's Essay On Man, 1734.
All the empiricists are of this view of "good & evil."
Interestingly, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, though completely at odds as to the fundamental nature of man, shared this same view.
"Things are called good or evil only in reference to pleasure and pain. That we call good which is apt to cause or increase any pain, in us; or else to produce or preserve us the possession of any other good, or absence of any evil." (Human Understanding, 1690.)
Thus, there are no forces outside of reality, no such forces as "good" and "evil"; and those who believe in such things, are, mistaken dualists.
"These words of good, evil, and contemptible are ever used with relation to the person that used them: there being nothing simply and absolutely so; nor any common rule of good and evil, to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves." (Leviathan, 1651.)
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November, 1999 (2019)