A definition of good and evil.
ESSAY NUMBER ONE
[Editor’s note: the numbering does not imply any grading and is solely for the purpose of identifying each article on this subject.]
From what you say, good is balanced, therefore evil is something which upsets the balance. If it was natural to be unbalanced, the universe could not continue to exist in its present form. If things are left undisturbed, there is a natural balance throughout the cosmos. So evil does not exist unless something contrary to the natural balance of things is done.
ASSUMPTION 1: balance is natural. Therefore:
ASSUMPTION 2: a natural thing cannot be evil, not even an event which is termed a “natural disaster” such as earthquake or flood.
An animal cannot act against its own nature (I do not yet know about other life-forms, therefore I will leave them out of my present considerations). So, if evil is an action against nature:
ASSUMPTION 3: only human beings are capable of evil.
Therefore evil is an action which is taken (or not taken – evil by default) by a human or group of humans. The intention to do evil is a not a requisite; they might not know or might not care that the outcome of their action was evil, or they might believe that they were acting according to their subjective perception of good.
If evil is an action which disturbs the natural balance, that is the definition. One can only elaborate by giving examples.
Is scientific progress evil? I think not, in principle. The desire to attain greater knowledge is natural (though should it be balanced by another need or can it stand alone?) And I do not see any imbalance created by using the advances of science. The imbalance (evil) would, I think, come about if progress was concentrated in one direction at the expense of others. Unbalanced science: Russia has the most advanced missiles but they cannot make a decent washing-machine. But the Russians would not be content to get their smalls whiter-than-white if at the same time they were afraid that the Yank’s were coming. If they cannot have both (that is, perfection), perhaps they have chosen which they think they need more – so according to their viewpoint, it is not unbalanced; and is anyone else qualified to judge?
An unbalanced thing is the opinion of the peoples of Russia and America about each other. But were the creators of that imbalance (that is, the propagandists, the governments) evil or were they themselves misled? It does not seem evil to be mistaken, but evil could come of it.
Pollution is created because science has advanced far enough in one direction to carry out the operations which create pollution as a by-product, but has not advanced far enough in another direction to be able to deal with that pollution. Pollution appears to be disrupting the natural balance of ecology, but does that make it evil? It does not think, therefore it cannot be evil (assuming sentience is required, as postulated above). The creators of the pollution may be unthinking or uncaring about the effects of their actions – that would make them evil according to my definition above – yet I am not sure. I cannot see whether pollution has a place in the scheme of things. If it is needed, perhaps to prevent overpopulation by any species, then its creators are not evil there. But would they be evil in some other part of the world where pollution was not required to fulfil that function?
How can anyone define good and evil unless they have a cosmic viewpoint, that is, unless they are an Adept? I started by accepting your statement about balance. I have thought about it a lot. Logically I agree with it. Emotionally I am not all the way there yet (yes, I do remember what you told me about my emotions).
For the consideration of the question of good and evil you gave me a starting-point, from which I have meandered on. Nothing wrong with that, I think. This is not a search for original ideas, but an acceptance of truth.
A lot of imbalance seems to be caused by ignorance. Not knowing or not wanting to know.
From the Dark Lily Journal No 7, Society of Dark Lily (London 1988).