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#14971 - 11/27/08 09:42 PM Different types of evil?
Munki1 Offline
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Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 28
Thought about this today while having a good time oddly enough.

I think there are different types of evil.

Getting a kick out of pulling a childs fingernails out for example, is evil, bad, and not okay.

The envy you feel of another to a Satanist is evil, not bad, and okay.

So some evil is okay and some is not.

Other words have many meanings, why can't "evil"?

The word "love" for example has many meanings.

You love your mom, you love your girlfriend, you love your car, you love the color red, you love hating the pope.

All are different types of love. So are there not different types of evil?

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#14972 - 11/27/08 10:17 PM The essence of language. [Re: Munki1]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3883
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Language is a funny thing, and english a particularly good example of what I mean by that. In english we have so many different words with completely different etymologies that are spelled the same or pronounced the same, as well as words with similar or the same etymologies used to mean different things.

The result is a system that, though capable of articulating thoughts in ways more simplified languages would not lend themselves to to such a great degree, allows for a lot of metaphysical wordsmithing that really doesn't translate into jack shit in the real world, off paper.


Eros, Agape, Philos. Three words with similar meanings, yet different meanings. In english there is one word for these three things 'love'. As you pointed out, love is one of those words that is hard to define, because it has many meanings. Without situational context, nobody could know what you mean when you use it. The word 'evil' doesn't really suffer from this problem.

We have in one court, the traditional, and quite useful definition of evil, which is basically 'anything I(the person or group using it) strongly disapprove of'. In the other, the feeling of 'evil pleasure' or the rush we get from doing something 'wrong' or what society or others say is 'wrong'.

The thing is, the latter is only really 'evil' if deemed so by the former. Describing something that you, personally, don't really disapprove of as evil, is intellectually dishonest.

'Evil' is never ok by the standards of the one designating it as such! It is a very personal and subjective thing, although I do feel there are a few 'universals' relative to our species.
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#14978 - 11/28/08 12:00 AM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Dan_Dread]
fakepropht Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/29/07
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I believe the correct meanings of words have been corrupted over the years. Powerful words like love, hate, good, evil, and kill have lost their power. "I love Tootsie Rolls". "I hate broccoli". "I would kill for a cheeseburger". The true sense of the word has been corrupted. Would you really "kill" a restaurant full of people just to eat a cheeseburger? How do you truly "love" a color, style of clothes, or a band? These were once powerful words reserved to convey a deep emotional connection to a subject. Another example of dumbing down language.

In that context, yes it is subjective to the viewpoint of the person using the word. Instead of saying "I really dislike this style of music because it reminds me of squeeling pigs", the person "hates" it. Evil once was reserved to describe the most heinous and vile acts. The Holocaust, vile crimes against children, overly oppressive acts against the innocent. Talk to any elderly person, and they will only use these terms to express the most extreme emotions.
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#14982 - 11/28/08 12:11 AM Re: The essence of language. [Re: fakepropht]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Fakepropht, you've hit on one of the things I've written about... we tend to dilute the meanings of words of power, like love and hate by precisely th things you've described. I seldom use the words, and when I do, I want them to have meaning, but when we love everything from our new shoes to the man or woman we share our lives with, and we hate everything from sardines to the man who killed our child in a drunken stupor, the words just hardly seem adequate after a while.
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#14993 - 11/28/08 08:41 AM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Jake999]
Nemesis Offline
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Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2175
Loc: US
This reply is in general to all above posters...

Yes, we have diluted the power of words over the years by using it in slang and as everyday adjectives. When I talk about something that is 'evil', such as pulling out a child's fingernails or putting a puppy in a microwave, I try to find a more effective word to use in the conversation. Abhorrent, unspeakable, detestable--those come to mind as some words that would describe that particular kind of 'evil' and lend it more credence.

That's the beautiful thing about having a large vocabulary--one can express themselves more effectively.

To me, envy is not evil at all, it can only cause two things to happen. One, you sulk, bitch and moan about how great the other person has it, or two, be proactive and better your self so you can achieve that status as well. Same goes for ambition. I don't consider that an 'evil' trait, it only becomes evil when you start killing people to achieve your goals or tear down a rainforest to harvest the lumber.
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#14997 - 11/28/08 10:36 AM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Nemesis]
Fabiano Offline
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Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 374
Life & reality are of an infinite complexity. Language has limitations. As soon as you use words for describing the reality, you reduce this complexity.
Language is like any model : a simplification of reality. Some models are simpler than others. For instance classical Newton model is simpler than relativity. Both are wrong in the sense that they are not taking into account the infinite complexity of reality and, at the same time, both are rigth as they correctly describe the reality to a certain extend.
The key point is to chose the model which best fits the situation.

It's the same for language. Inuits have a lot of words for "snow" because it fits their situation. Not making the nuances can be fatal for them!

We must stay aware that our language influences our perception of the reality.

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#14999 - 11/28/08 11:15 AM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Fabiano]
mutt mutton Offline
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Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 13
Loc: paragould ar
diferent types of evil
i guess some of the most evil you can experience is the bad things that happen to you but some things can be evilly good like getting laid by the hottest girl or man you want
that could be awesomely evil
hail!!!!!!!!
satan
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#15000 - 11/28/08 12:12 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Fabiano]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
Well said.
I am reminded of the opening passage of the Tao Te Ching, which is often translated as follows:
"The Tao that can be spoken of is not the eternal Tao".

Here, 'Tao' carries the sense of 'absolute reality'.
The meaning is that any attempt to express this absolute reality in words is at best a very distant and finite approximation of it - and at worst a pernicious delusion born of a language trap.

A conclusion Wittgenstein would also come to thousands of years later.
But the Chinese Taoists said it first, and in my opinion were light years ahead of Plato and his 'metaphysical realism', which posited anthropocentric value-laden abstractions (Goodness, Beauty, Truth) as the most concrete reality (with our reality being merely a shadow of these 'Forms').
This way of thinking led to centuries of utter bullshit - not to mention bloodshed as people sought to impose their own dogmatic interpretation of these abstract values as the correct one.

But 'goodness', 'beauty', 'truth', 'right', 'wrong', 'evil', 'bad', 'God', 'Satan' etc., are just WORDS. Don't take the word for the reality of the abstraction it represents.

As Alfred Korzybski put it well - the map is not the terrain.

 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
Inuits have a lot of words for "snow" because it fits their situation. Not making the nuances can be fatal for them!

That turns out to be an urban legend. English probably has more ('snow', 'sleet', 'hail', 'dusting', 'blizzard', 'white-out', 'powder', 'slush', 'ice' [for thawed and re-frozen snow], etc.)
Nevertheless, survival in Arctic conditions is a specialist undertaking which would tend to necessitate a technical vocabulary by any culture.

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#15002 - 11/28/08 12:30 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Meq]
Fabiano Offline
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Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 374
I wasn't aware it was an urban legend. Thanks !

About Tao it makes me reminded of what Zen masters call "soul to soul" transmition, beyond language.

I don't know if it's yet another legend, but I heard that tense in Hebrew are different from French/English.
They have perfect and imperfect tenses : if they listen music under their shower, they use the imperfect. If they sit alone for listening a CD they use the perfect tense.


Edited by Fabiano (11/28/08 12:39 PM)

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#15004 - 11/28/08 12:47 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Meq]
Diavolo Offline
RIP
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
 Quote:
But 'goodness', 'beauty', 'truth', 'right', 'wrong', 'evil', 'bad', 'God', 'Satan' etc., are just WORDS. Don't take the word for the reality of the abstraction it represents.


I'm not too sure about that. Like known, I think memetics is quite to the point in explaining a lot of things and you can regard words as much more than just words. They are memes and do have an effect on us. Of course they are subject to selection and mutation but I think they are much more than just words.

If you think of Plato, he wasn't too far off with his 'idea world' and what is now called memetics.

D.

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#15006 - 11/28/08 12:55 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Fabiano]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
About Tao it makes me reminded of what Zen masters call "soul to soul" transmition, beyond language.


Zen Buddhism had a strong Taoist influence, and the concept of Tao strongly influenced the Zen view of 'Buddha-Nature'.

If I may digress, I personally prefer the original Taoist philosophy, for the reason that Zen tends to see the universe as a kind of 'mind' or 'consciousness'. In my view, this may have some merit as a metaphor or analogy but has the potential to be misleading when taken literally.
The universe is not a fucking 'mind'. We only get the concept of a 'mind' from our experience of human minds, so it is anthropomorphic bullshit to apply it literally to the universe (i.e. metaphysical 'idealism'). Another language trap.

Here is a word you may find useful (definitions from dictionary.com):

reify (v):
- To convert into or regard as a concrete thing
- To regard or treat (an abstraction) as if it had concrete or material existence
- consider an abstract concept to be real
- To regard (something abstract) as a material thing
[from Latin 'res', meaning 'thing'.]
reification (n)


On the subject of 'transmission', I touched upon this while studying hypnosis. Many mystical traditions have a similar concept to this. With hypnosis, it is essential that the hypnotist is in a calm mental state if they would hope to induce it in others.
It is certainly true that a person in an extremely calm yet alert mental state (such as following extended meditation) can have an impact on the consciousness of others without words, drawing them towards such a state by merely being in his presence. And this can result in clearer thinking and hence the potential for wisdom, which can perhaps be seen as transmission of knowledge (though not in the literal sense).

But science has determined that most communication is non-verbal anyway (such as facial expression and body language), so it is no surprise that words are not required to transmit a state of mind (perhaps an 'enlightened' one in some way) to others.


Edited by Mequa (11/28/08 01:14 PM)
Edit Reason: Transmission

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#15007 - 11/28/08 01:11 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Diavolo]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3883
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
 Originally Posted By: "Jake"

..we tend to dilute the meanings of words of power.

Agreed, but to go a step further I think this problem is much more far reaching than 'power words'.The meaning behind words are only as clear as the mind presenting them, and that isn't cause for optimism when dealing with most people. Most disagreements seem to boil down to semantics in the end.
 Originally Posted By: "Nemesis"

That's the beautiful thing about having a large vocabulary--one can express themselves more effectively.

The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

In a sense, language is power.
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#15008 - 11/28/08 01:12 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Diavolo]
Fabiano Offline
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Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 374
I read the Lucifer Principle a couple of years ago. If I remember well, meme are closer to ideas than to words.

Regarding Plato and his ideas of "Good" , "Evil", etc notice that's a very good basis on which Xian build their views on.

They just had to map "Good" to "God" and "Evil" to "Satan".

Democrite had more materialist views. It's not a surprise the Xian Church promoted Plato and tried to burry Democrit philosophy...


Edited by Fabiano (11/28/08 01:13 PM)

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#15009 - 11/28/08 01:18 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Dan_Dread]
Fabiano Offline
member


Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 374
 Quote:
The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.


What about intuition, about grasping the reality with the subconcious ?

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#15010 - 11/28/08 01:20 PM Re: The essence of language. [Re: Dan_Dread]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Language (and specifically it's proper usage) is DEFINITELY as source of power. More than any other facet of my being, it's helped me progress in life and to prosper in my career(s) from the military through corporate management positions, and on to retirement.

I write better than I speak, for the most part, as when I'm speaking with people, I tend to tailor my speech patterns to the situation and the company I'm with. Sometimes that can almost be schizophrenic.
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