General Question

Magnus's avatar

Do we need bad to define good?

Asked by Magnus (2871points) September 28th, 2008 from iPhone

It started with the philosophical question; if a fairy came to you and said that it’ll solve every problem in the world if he could torture a four year old girl for the rest of her life, would you say yes?

I would have said no, but not in compassion for the girl. Because I believe we need bad to define good. Like who knows if torturing a little girl is nothing compared to hypotetical problems we can’t imagine.

It all comes down to what you consider a problem. Is the fact that we need oxygen to breath a problem? No? Well, it might be the worst thing in the world, this dependance, if all things you consider problems now were resolved.

Please share your views.

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7 Answers

marinelife's avatar

We humans like contrast. Light and dark, white and black, good and evil (or good and bad, although I do not consider them exactly the same thing), fast and slow, up and down.

I suspect without bad, we might redefine it. That is some portion of things on the good side of the curve would migrate to not-good-enough and eventually bad.

fireside's avatar

I don’t think that Good and Evil able to be divided.
They exist on a continuum and cannot be separated.

Evil is simply measure of a distance from Good.
Good<————————————————————->Lack of Good (Evil)

The same can be said of Hot and Cold
Hot <————————————————————->Lack of Heat (Cold)

Larry King hosted a panel that discussed this issue.

I like what Deepak Chopra had to say:
I believe that there are two forces in the universe. The first is creativity, and evolution and truth, goodness and harmony. And then there is the force of entropy, and inertia, and chaos, and separation, and anger and rage.

As to my answer to the torture a little girl in order to solve every problem, I would have to say that torturing a little girl is a problem and if that is happening, then the problems aren’t solved.

Magnus's avatar

Splendid point, fireside.

deaddolly's avatar

totally agree…something at someone’s else expense is never worth it.

Magnus's avatar

You totally agree with whom?

deaddolly's avatar

fireside. sorry.

MacBean's avatar

This question reminds me of the story The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin. I was supposed to write an essay in college about whether or not I would have been one of the ones who walked away. I never turned in the assignment; I couldn’t answer the question. That was five or six years ago now, and the question is actually one that I spend a lot of time thinking about, but I still can’t answer it.

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