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What is EVIL?

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their remaining tolerated by people at large relies on the idea that there is no such thing as unselfish action
i've got something that could be tied in here. it's something i've noted about the more functional variety of narcissist/antisocial people. perhaps a trivial addition to what you wrote but anyway here goes:

they exploit our human desire to harmonize our impressions of each other, to make sense of each other, to save each other's face. more specifically they may act selfish and inconsiderate, and it gets "reconstructed" by their peers as self-distanced irony, an honest view of self. they give a strong surface impression of being able to mock themselves and gladly offer to be the butt of a joke, but when you somehow penetrate this veneer and get to their ego - typically by joking about them in some way they're not prepared for i.e. which doesn't belong to their repertoire, either to test them or from sheer gullibility - it's like flipping a switch and they'll react strongly. but at first they will be using some subtle master techniques. they will confront you displaying a heroically "understanding" and "tolerant" attitude toward some "mistake" of yours that'll be implied. and even if subsequently you manage to piss them off real bad so they can't contain it, they'll quickly revert to this more sneaky tactic right after things cool down again. it never goes away really. deep down they know you've seen through them and they must be vigilant.

not sure where i got this or where it's going or if it's relevant.
 

Yellow

for the glory of satan
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I think evil is whatever sickens, repulses, or frightens us the most. This makes it relatively subjective, but most of us react similarly to most "evil" things.

For example, I was reading The Stand recently and there was one scene that sickened me more than the rest. There was one particular bit of that scene that I don't think I can ever forget. This was most "evil" to me because it played on my own fears, life experiences, and my strongest areas of empathy. Another person may also find that scene disturbing, but would hardly find it to be the very worst thing in the book.

Ultimately, evil is that which knowingly causes harm. The degree of evil depends on the level of harm done and how eager one is to cause the harm.

But while on the topic of evil, I don't understand the dualism. Evil can certainly exist without good and there can be good without evil. Opposites don't form baselines. In this case, the baseline is neutral. And in theory, we could easily recognize evil when compared to neutral.

For example, a hurricane is neutral. It causes sometimes causes death and destruction, but it is simply a force of nature that would just as soon hit a desert island as a major city. Evil would be kidnapping children that you run across during the chaos of the hurricane, knowing they'd just be presumed dead.
 

Jennywocky

guud languager
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For example, I was reading The Stand recently and there was one scene that sickened me more than the rest. There was one particular bit of that scene that I don't think I can ever forget. This was most "evil" to me because it played on my own fears, life experiences, and my strongest areas of empathy. Another person may also find that scene disturbing, but would hardly find it to be the very worst thing in the book.
Dammit, man, now I want to know which scene it is!! (PM me if you must.)
 
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