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NerdyKeith's avatar

How do you define evil?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) March 30th, 2016

Or more to the point, what does it mean to be “evil” to you? My definition is performing selfish acts in which cause harm to others.

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15 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t define it. It’s one of those words that has a million definitions and they’re all situational, and they’re all from the point of view of the observer. One person’s evil is another person’s struggle.

I can tell you when I think a person is being evil, but that’s my opinion only, and it is dependent on what she/he is doing.

thorninmud's avatar

To me, it’s the opposite of compassion. In other words, evil is willing the suffering of others.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Extreme jealousy can also border on evil at times.

Bill1939's avatar

I largely agree with @NerdyKeith‘s definition of evil, “performing selfish acts in which cause harm to others.” The problem I have with that term is that it usually externalizes and often personifies evil. I view good and evil applying only to an individual’s motivations.

Animal nature is initially directed by instinct and becomes modified by experience. Without the ability to recall a long history of events effecting their kind or imagine a distant future, animals are limited to serving their needs and that of their specie. Beginning with an infant’s association with nurturing people, social interaction establishes an individual’s ego that coupled with their animal nature is self-centered and self-serving.

However, as individuals mature they can become increasing aware of their unconscious impetuses and more aware of the needs of others decrease the importance personal desires. This is good. Extreme selfishness is not.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Evil” is whatever is counter to your own beliefs and convictions.

Ayesha's avatar

Zero humanity.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Anyone ever notice that “evil” is “live” spelled backwards. Just realized that…carry on.

Rarebear's avatar

Well, there is lawful evil and chaotic evil. Lucifer Morningstar, lawful evil. Smaug, chaotic evil. Oswald Cobblepot, lawful evil. Poison Ivy, chaotic evil. Darkseid, lawful evil. Doomsday, chaotic evil.

There is also neutral evil, but those guys are dithering wusses and not worthy of mention.

Berserker's avatar

Purposely hurting others in whatever shape, way or form and being conscious of it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Evil is what happens after truth is rejected, and deception is accepted.

Good is what happens after deception is rejected, and truth is accepted.

It often doesn’t feel that way.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Extreme right wing Republican.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I define evil as knowingly perpetrating harm against others with little or no concern for the effect of your actions.

dxs's avatar

I use the typical mathematically-inspired definition: Not good.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

”“Evil” is whatever is counter to your own beliefs and convictions.”

@SQUEEKY2 ‘s comment proves the point in the post I wrote above. More on that in a moment.

Evil is those who fly airplanes into buildings. Evil is those who blow up buses and subways.

But evil is also a President that will not even use the word terrorism for the sake of image. How can progress against terrorism begin when our leader won’t even see something for what it is?

Image, or should I say self image, brings me back to @SQUEEKY2 ‘s comment:

Let’s say an individual, one capable of empathy, wishes to see less poverty, less hunger and war in the world. Wonderful right? Sadly no, because this person’s preferred methods of achieving such things are not those of @SQUEEKY2

So this person is bad in the extreme, or evil, Because @SQUEEKY2 preferred methods, and by extension, @SQUEEKY2 himself are good in the extreme.

Evil is also sweeping and vague generalizations.

ucme's avatar

Child abuse of any kind

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