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December 15, 2011

Good and Evil

Dang I need to think up a more creative title, but its late and there are way to many cliche phrases that would have been just as bad, so this will have to do.  Yes that's right, what we have here is a nice little pseudo-philosophical post on morality so if you don't care for that sort of thing here's you're chance to leave, though frankly you should be used to this kind of thing by now, I mean just check out how much use my probably useless tag gets.  Sorry, irrelevant tangent, did I mention that it's pretty late?  Let's try again, shall we:

Defining good or evil isn't exactly the easiest thing to do in any society, much less one such as this, what with all the side-swapping, brainwashed husks (thanks to messenger for this word, I personally find it much more accurate than hallowed), people forced into one side or the other against their will.  So since I can't exactly make a truly accurate definition for these terms why don't I provide a dictionary definition for them:

Good: (noun, adjective, adverb,)

  1.  morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
  2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher;good health.
  3. of high quality; excellent.
  4. right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentialsare good.
  5. well-behaved: a good child.

Evil: (adjective)

  1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
  2. harmful; injurious: evil laws.
  3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering;unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
  4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evilreputation.
  5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known forhis evil disposition.
Well I could begin by dissecting the definition of each of the words in those two definitions that are equally vague or conditional, but we really don't want this to be a twenty page long post, so I'll skip past that and just leave these here for later reference.  

Morality is a tricky thing, how do you know if someone is a good person, if they are truly "morally excellent and virtuous?"  Do you define a person as good based on their actions, do you judge them on their intentions, or is there some other quality or trait that makes that distinction?  Perhaps it is a combination of the above, can you really justify slaughtering innocent lives if it is all a means to a virtuous end, or can you really call someone who has saved the lives of many people just to further his own selfish goals good.  

But then where lies the line, can "Joseph" truly be considered an evil person?  Yes he kills people, innocent people, but he does this for his own safety, and he grants his victims (who would probably die anyways) a sense of peace in their final hour.  What of Elaine, who sold out people who trusted her, but with the motivation of keeping others safe and protected.  Very few would likely call her evil, but does the goodness of her intentions outweigh the fact that people got hurt as a result of what she did, and even directly told their enemies.  There's The Mad Ventriloquist, who used to do some very bad things, but is trying to help people (he has his own view on morality of course, not sure I agree, but it deserves to be mentioned).  Have you seen Nightscream's most recent post, what would be the good answer to his question?  Is it good to let a cruel man go unpunished?  Where would Zero fall on this scale?  Was he a good man? Or was he a evil one (I went through hell for that link because I forgot the word "The" in the title and had to track down one of zero's old comments)?  What about the Husks, people brainwashed beyond their own control, with no real power over their own actions; can these people really be considered evil?
(Side note: none of these examples are meant to incite anger, resentment, or drama, they are just being used to show that very few people realistically fall into the categories of good or evil.)

The point I'm trying to make, in a long, drawn out, and heavily linked way (I do love my links, so good for showing examples) is that good and evil are not only vague, subjective, and inconstant, they're also rare and out of balance.  The fact is, if we had a single concrete method for determining whether a person was truly good or truly evil then there would undoubtedly still be an absurdly high number of people milling about in the middle (in fact I'm of the opinion that no one would really ever make it into the truly good side).  I sometimes wonder if anyone could really ever really sort everyone they know into either of those categories, if they could ever even find someone who was truly good.  Sometimes I wonder where I would fall if we were all being sorted into categories.  Then I remember who I am in my own mind and I realize that they'd have to cut my in half to sort me right, heh.

EDIT: Huh, I thought that was longer, well try reading through all of those links, that should more than cover the minimum length requirement for being to long.  Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to sleep, I get to sleep in tomorrow and I don't want to miss out on a moment of that.

See you around


  1. I've got some input from the peanut gallery for you, FreedomCaged. Philisophical discussions fascinate the hell out of me, and I can't resist this one.

    I see good and evil as concrete concepts that we as people never truly fit into, and that's why you can never place a person as good or evil. They're not vague ideas, they're well-defined ideals of pure black and pure white. The problem is that no living person is ever either, we're alwas somewhere on the grayscale, and that's why you can never really call someone "good" or "evil." And since shades of grey are subjective, a person's image varies in the eye of the beholder.

    So if we were sorted into categories...instead of two categories, a lineup ranging from good to evil would work better. So by your logic, they'd have to put you dead center...or still cut you in half and turn you into bookends.

  2. Hello, I know you've been here a while, but I don't belive I've seen you comment before, so let me just say welcome. The problem with people being sorted isn't just that they are shades of gray, it's that they are constantly changing. I used Zero because of how dynamic a shift he made in his personality, a shift that occured very quickly as a result of a single event. Even if we had a lineup it would be very rare to find a person who would just stay in one spot, and even then, as you said, gray is subjective. A person's position would change not only due to where they were in their own life, but also as a result of whoever was viewing the scale. And if thay wanted to sort me on a spectrum I think they'd have to split me in three: as bookends, and then as one part standing in the darker gray area. I'm glad you liked the post.

    See you around

  3. The categories are a lie; that's what my research has told me. Probably because the scale is always sliding. It boils down to personality in the end.

    For example, one of the later parts to Project Destiny who is still being observed. He'll try and be calm around problems, enemies, people that disgust him. As soon as they threaten those he cares for...Well...any restraints quickly disappear.

    I believe a certain website Aura looks at refers to it as "Grey and Gray morality" or alternatively "sliding scale of idealism vs cynicism"

    Of course, there are some that are still complete evil. But I have never seen anyone truly pure and good.

  4. I hope you enjoyed your sleep in Om hehe

    Personally, I don't think that there exists a person who is truly good or truly evil. Even those who I find loathsome most likely have some admirable qualities within them. Iago does not exist.

    We're all just simple animals looking to satisfy our needs in one way or another... It's just that some like to put a glossy coat on their actions in an attempt to make themselves or others feel better about it.

  5. If I show Jenna this maybe she'll stop getting on my back for being friends with folk associated with The Bad Guy..., no, she wouldn't.

    I like that you're a philosopher, Freedom.


  6. Yess, I've been here from the start, but I'm a bit cowardly when it comes to saying hello to people that don't know me, heh. But now you know me and I know you. Pleased to make your acquaintence~.

    At the end of the day, I reckon that we can agree that "good" and "evil" are utterly worthless words.

    I look forward to reading more of your musing!

  7. I think anyone that's ever had their lives touched by the Fears is disqualified from true purity, and anyone that has ever loved or saved another from death cannot be said to be "true evil."

    I personally think it's a pain in the ass to limit yourself to sides or factions. It's taking the easy way out, much like taking titles. We can be... so much more when we drop the pretenses.

    Until next time, lovely.

  8. Such good coments, and I've been neglecting them, well no longer. Yes true complete evil is as impossible for us mere mortals as true goodness. Thoguh there are plenty of people who try their hardest to fullfill that role, and get painfully close, far closer than those trying for good seem to get anyway. Iago may have been a fictional character, but that doesn't mean there aren't those who would do him justice in the same situation (kudos on the Sheakspeare referance by the way, nothing like a referance from the bard to get me all metaphorical).

    Robin, A. Lucia, I'm glad you like my philosophical rants, it's good to know people get something out of them.

    My Tide, for some reason I can still not see your comments without the assistince of my inbox, but I'll respond just the same. Factions and titles can be limiting if you view them as requirements or restrictions, yes, but if you use them right they can benifit you quite well. So says the man who hasn't taken a side, and is prone to alternating his title, heh.

    See you around

  9. Oh, you're quite right! So sorry I've been gone for so long, I've been tending to some.. personal matters. No matter.

    Still curious as to what you see me as.

    And, oh, I'll be taking turns with the titles soon. This ought to be so much fun! Can't wait until I get the chance to see your face.. hopefully it won't be dead first.

    Til next time, I'm looking forward to your work.

  10. Glad to have you back, sounds like intresting things are on the horizion. I'm a bit couriouse about how you're going to go about titles, now, those were always fun.

    As for seeing my face, well it turns out I'm already getting out there more than I expected, so maybe it will actually happen. Though I don't plan on being dead anytime soon.

    See you around
    - Cage

  11. I gather titles like other people make money. Oh, oops, there I made a joke without even meaning to. Hehe. ;)

    I certainly hope you won't be dead anytime soon. That would mean I don't get the chance to see you for myself. But, what is this about getting out there more than expected?