Good and evil

Everyone agrees that good and evil are relative concepts. What is good from a point of view can be bad from another point of view. As the saying goes : "The happiness of one is the misfortune of others". I feel like this is precisely the problem to define good and evil. I think we can define these 2 relative trends. We just have to stop considering our own navel as a universal reference. When one takes oneself as a benchmark, good and evil are so relative that it is impossible to see clearly. When selecting largest benchmarks, less egocentric ones, then it becomes possible to characterize relatively good and evil.

After finding my personal definition of selfishness, I thought it should be possible to generalize it to define good and evil. But first of all, what is good? Let's be honest, we consider that what is good for us is good. Why brainstorming endlessly to lay a more metaphysical definition of good?

What makes us feel good is good for us. What hurts us is bad for us. The development of our physical, emotional and mental life makes us feel good. Being impeded or unbalanced in these aspects of our lives hurts us. Given the fact that our good is relative to that of others, how to reach for THE good? I decide that the trend toward good or evil can be defined in a 3 dimensions reference. Its axis are 3 the being, the area and the time.

 

The being

What makes me feel good can hurt my neighbor. What is good for me and my neighbor can hurt another city. What is good for my city can hurt another country. What is good for my country can harm other living species. What is good for all species doesn't seem to cause any harm.

Therefore the more beings are addressed by an action, the more it tends toward the good. The more beings are denied by an action, the more it tends toward evil. Animate and inanimate beings we know are divided into 4 kingdoms: mineral, plant, animal, human. From my navel to the 4 kingdoms, there is an infinite number of ways of doing things.

 

The area

A same action covers several fields. What is good in one area may be wrong in others. Making binges of chocolate to ease frustration is great for the mood and disastrous for the liver. What is good for my mind can hurt my body and vice versa. Needless to say that what is fantastic from an economic point of view is often horrible from an ecological point of view. We know from experience that what is politically good can sometimes be awfull on the cultural or social level.

Therefore the more areas are considered by an action, the more it tends toward the good. The more areas are neglected by an action, the more it tends toward evil. Fields are infinite, the options are endless.

 

The time

An action is always takes place in time. It fits in a entanglement of past actions and has consequences in the future, so it must start and end at the right time. The pace and timing determine the relevance of an action. Providing for the registration at the university for a newborn baby is premature. Booking a nursery place for a retiree, that's a little bit late.

Therefore the more an action evaluates past and future consequences, the more it tends toward the good. The more it ignores past and future consequences, the more it tends toward evil. We don't know the beginning nor the end of time, the possibilities are endless in the present.

 

It is obviously impossible to take into account the infinity of beings, areas and consequences, but it is possible to strive for expansion along the 3 axis instead of shrinking our existence. Shrinking makes tending towards zero. Tending towards zero requires no effort, it just takes to let oneself be hypnotized by one's own navel. Just be lulled by the gentle purring of selfishness. Tending towards good or towards evil requires more investment.

Tending more and more towards evil requires a lot of work. It's about ignoring more and more beings, neglecting more and more areas, denying the past and turning a blind eye to the future.

Tending more and more towards good requires much more work. It's about considering more and more beings, taking into account more and more areas, assessing implications of the past and future impacts.

Zero is a natural starting point. The newborn baby has no choice but to focus on its immediate local needs. However good and evil are laborious constructions that require personal effort to act on a large scale, beyond one's own life. Evil is not the opposite of good. A good thing is not a point with an (x, y, z) coordinate on the 3 axis. A good or an evil thing rather occupies a volume in this 3-dimensional space. An action may well stretch towards both good and evil.

Bien-Mal

Wanting to define good and evil may seem pretentious but everything is relative. My goal is not to write an encyclopedia of universal spiritual philosophy. I just want to make progress and unfold myself, I want to actually evolve after spending a lifetime wandering through a maze of abstract intellectual concepts that trap life in mesmerizing and sterile paradoxes. This definition is a template to understand the events and take concrete decisions in everyday life. If I ever find a more efficient template then I will switch. Meanwhile, I use this one.

Go back