Wednesday, 14 September 2011

What is evil?

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Modern man, me included, has great difficulty conceptualizing evil: what follows is my own attempt, which I have found useful so far.

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Evil is nihilism.

Nihilism is not nothingness, because what is created cannot be destroyed by any except the creator; but it can be ruined.

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If and when evil triumphs, there would not be nothing, nor would Good be utterly destroyed - rather, everything would be ruined (like Mordor) and all Good would be twisted to the service of evil: like the politically correct bureaucrat whose genuine kindness and compassion leads them to create a totalitarian state to crush those whom they perceive to threaten the possibility of universal harmony; like the (virtuous) courage of rapacious and destructive Vikings or other pirates; like the high principles of the young communist who (with his heart breaking) denounced his beloved parents for their ideological transgressions against the Utopian state; like the Nazi concentration camp guards who stayed until the last possible moment, expending their last bullets in killing as many Jews as possible, instead of retreating and defending themselves against the US/ British forces at the gates - this is as far as evil can go: to twist The Good (e.g. kindness, courage, loyalty, idealism) into the service of ruining The Good.

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Nihilism is the ruin, the marring, the twisting of The Good.

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The Good is (roughly) the unity of Truth, Beauty and Virtue.

Therefore evil/ nihilism is the ruin of TBV: it is LSD (lies, spin and disinformation) instead of truth; ugliness, shock and revulsion instead of beauty; and instead of virtue, the subversion, inversion and distortion of natural law and Christian revelation.

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Therefore, evil is quite precise, and (making allowance for human limitations and sinfulness) is objective.

Any form of dishonesty is evil - which means the mass media as a whole is evil (since it is not even trying to be honest), so is politics, so is bureaucracy.

Any marring of beauty is evil - which means 'modernity' in the arts and architecture is evil. A healthy girl's face is beautiful, so fashions like facial piercing and tattooing are evil. Silence, birdsong and (real) music are beautiful - so noise that overwhelms these is evil.

Any attack on natural law (spontaneous morality) and Christian law is evil: which means that the tendency of most modern mainstream public discourse - including many laws and state regulations - is evil.

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In a fallen world, some - many - evils are unavoidable - but unavoidable evil is still evil, and needs to be recognised as such (and repented).

Evil must not, ever, be re-labelled as Good - that act is in itself a triumph of evil.

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