More Philosophy, and minor changes!

Two weeks into the new year already!  It seems that time passes faster as you get older, though I didn’t think the phenomenon kicked in when you are thirty.

I made some minor changes to my site to test how the finer things work.  You may have noticed the new layout, ‘Silver is the New Black’.  Being very biased towards silver, it was a no-brainer change (and I forgot what my previous layout’s name was, so I couldn’t revert if I wanted to!).

There is also a new link at the top of the page, entitled ‘Short Stories’.  Easy-to-navigate (hopefully!) links are held within this page.  It lists the kernels of inspiration (ie.  Story titles) in my writing, as well as what has already been written.  The page currently divides stories by genre, therefore ‘Mune and Mura’ is the first item under Historical Fiction.

There is also a recently-activated link under Science Fiction.  Head on in and have a look, and be sure to let me know what you think if you haven’t already.  I will try to add a new scene every 2-3 days, hopefully to ensure I am not neglecting my real-world and ‘big project’ duties.

What happened to ‘Varsurya the Second’?  Firstly, the inspiration for this short story hit vividly and suddenly.  Secondly, looking back at my short stories file, it seemed irregular to have two historical fiction stories back-to-back, when there are also science fiction and fantasy stories in there.  Therefore, the plan is to repeat a 1,2,3 sequence of historical fiction (Hi-Fi?), science fiction (Sci-Fi), then Fantasy (Fant).  Hifiscififant…  sounds like sycophant’s long lost cousin.

– X –

Four days into reading ‘A Betrayal in Winter’, and I am just over 110 pages into it. It follows the pattern of ‘A Shadow in Summer’, as it is a ‘heavy read’. I do not fly through it as with other books.  This is understandable in the first portions of a story, as it is setting the world for the future events.  The events are interesting, so I am certain the reading pace will increase soon.

– X –

Let’s look at another philosophical question.

What is ‘Good’ and what is ‘Evil’?

The joys of philosophical questions are their subjectivity, in that you need to consider all sides of the argument to make anything resembling a valid answer.  To set the criteria, let’s fire up Dictionary.com to get definitions of good and evil.

Good

1. Morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, pious;

2. Satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree;

3. Of high quality, excellent;

4. Right, proper, fit; or

5. Well-behaved.

 

Evil

1. Morally wrong or bad, immoral, wicked;

2. Harmful, injurious;

3. Characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering, unfortunate, disastrous;

4. Due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character; or

5. Marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.

 

In the greater scheme of society, a ‘good’ thing is something that helps another living being.  Such things are honesty, empathy and charity.  In today’s more materialistic and self-indulgent day and age, those who actively use these traits for the benefit of others seem to be revered that much more than in the past.

The web page I found these questions on gave a little blurb underneath each question.  What was mentioned for this question was rather interesting in its connotations:

“The evolutionary mechanism of natural selection makes an implicit distinction between “good” or “fit” situations (those which survive in the long term), and “bad” or “unfit” ones (those which are eliminated sooner or later). Therefore, we might equate good or higher values with anything that contributes to survival and the continuation of the process of evolution, and evil with anything that destroys, kills or thwarts the development of fit systems.”

A ‘good’ value is one that ensures survival and the continuation of evolution?  I believe I alluded to that on my previous, in terms of crusades and genocides.  Under that definition, what constituted a good or evil action would be the opposite on each side.

The oppressors in the genocide would say they were removing the unsavoury or ‘evil’ aspects of the population, setting their actions as a ‘good’ thing. If their victims were allowed to survive, it would be ‘evil’ in the oppressor’s eyes, as it would thwart the development and greater adoption of the ‘fit system’ that the oppressor supports.  The victims being oppressed would view the same ideas in complete reverse, as their ‘fit system’ was being destroyed, and allowing them to survive would be a ‘good’ thing.

The one consideration that seems to be ignored is that when systems collide, both sides are using ‘fit systems’.  Many of the different ways of life in different parts of the world were designed over long periods of time.  Some were longer than others, such as the native populations across all the continents.  These ways got repressed or eliminated when clash of cultures ensued, seemingly requiring the creation of a new ‘fit system’.

That is not to say that the ‘fit systems’ that are in place are entirely palatable.  Many earlier civilisations, such as the Mayans and Aztecs, regularly employed sacrifice of animals and humans to appease the deities they worshipped.  Another type is the somewhat-hidden aspect of humanity and the wider animal kingdom.  Humans regularly breed and slaughter animals to satisfy our ‘fit system’ of requiring protein.  It is ‘good’ for the animals that we assist their survival, but it is considered ‘evil’ by some that we then kill the animals for their meat.

Sir David Attenborough appeared on another show I flicked past recently, and it showed (in somewhat grisly detail) a pack of chimpanzees stalking and surrounding a pack of female monkeys.  The chimpanzees deliberately tried to separate the baby monkeys from their mothers, killed the babies and ate them.  Not exactly a nice thing to view or know happens, but it is a part of the system the chimpanzees have used to sustain their way of living, and it would be considered a ‘good’ thing to them.

In an extremely large nutshell, what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’ in a largely subjective opinion based on the society you live in.  A group agrees on the rules, and said rules define one’s actions as ‘good’ and ‘evil’.  The only thing you could classify as truly ‘evil’ in every sense is causing another to suffer for no useful purpose.

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2 thoughts on “More Philosophy, and minor changes!

  1. I believe in many ways, good and evil is objective. Honesty and loyalty and such are good things, while lying or killing or stealing is bad. But, these things can get confusing sometimes. Such as many believe killing people is wrong, but not killing animals. And killing in self-defense is not the same as killing for other reasons. Plus, animals kill things for food or because they feel threatened, but we wouldn’t usually say that makes the animal immoral. And I’d feel bad killing a bird, but I don’t care about killing a spider. But, the bird is not worth more than the spider. And some people do things that are wrong, believing it is right, as you mentioned about genocides. I think overall, good and evil has to do with motivation and how it affects others. Doing something bad but meaning well is not evil. Doing something good for bad reasons can be bad. Killing many people simply because they are different is a bad reason for doing such things and so is bad no matter what the people doing the killing feel. We must treat those how we want to be treated. If we feel stealing from others is fine, why then would we be unhappy if someone stole from us? The people who commit genocides wouldn’t look kindly on their own people being killed. But, some things still are confusing. Like is lying to protect someone’s feelings or even their life wrong?

    • The ideas of ‘good and evil’ and morality are murky waters, as there is usually some motive behind the actions.

      Good things for bad reasons? Hmmm, not sure how many situations are like that. Saving someone from poverty to ‘recruit’ them into a shady or disreputable trade maybe?

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