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Is belief the root of all evil?

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 09:37 am
Friends, I should like to express thought that seems important to me. In the world we have so much calamities both global: wars, terrorism, mutual distrust of folks and personal: greed, anger on so on. Is the cause of them something but a belief, idea of ourselves? We think that we are citizens of a state and that our interests lay in enlargement of its territory, we believe that there is god whose precepts we should follow, we believe that we are men and women and need to have a sexual partner for our satisfaction etc., etc.
And out of this based on our conditioning belief arises tension between us and the world because, I dare say, every belief leads to unacceptance of the world as it is.
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GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Apr, 2009 03:44 pm
@Eudaimon,
Limit it to evil action as such and that would also make belief the root of all good.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 10:00 am
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead wrote:
Limit it to evil action as such and that would also make belief the root of all good.

Please explain this thought, I don't understand that.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:11 am
@Eudaimon,
Quote:
I dare say, every belief leads to unacceptance of the world as it is.


Unacceptance of the world as it is is also the motive for, Love, Mercy, Selflessness, Peacemaking, Service etc...
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:36 am
@Eudaimon,
Ah, I think that there are "different" unacceptances, XD. That which I've written about is that makes one suffer, leads to despair or anger. But there is also another one: "I see things how they are but I should prefer them to be another. If it can't be so, let it be as it is". This unacceptance leads to progress.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Apr, 2009 11:44 am
@Eudaimon,
Mercy, Service, Peacemeaking, Selflessness is not also a reaction to suffering?
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 06:32 am
@Eudaimon,
Yeah, I think the OP damaged their own point by saying: "We believe we are men and women..." I know I'm a man. I also know my sexual impulses are biological, not idealogical, in nature.

There is one idealogy that precludes immoral behaviour: In all situations, one is to act morally. Any other idealogy (belief that advises actions) will yield conflict between how one must act and morality. Of course, this is rationalised to make the immoral moral: e.g. it is a moral duty to kill the non-believer. But it is quite simple to determine whether an act is idealogically determined.

Good may come from idealogy, however there is no good that necessitates it that I can think of. On the other hand, you cannot have a cold war without political idealogy. You cannot have a holy war without religion. You cannot hate someone of a different skin colour and not be a racist. These specific forms of 'evil' do require some belief, some reason to suspend morality, while good does not require belief, simply good intent on a case-by-case basis.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 10:08 am
@Bones-O,
GoshisDead wrote:
Mercy, Service, Peacemeaking, Selflessness is not also a reaction to suffering?

That is too difficult question. First of all we have never met someone free from any belief from his birth. It is just impossible becausein mind automatically arises belief that one is for example an animal. Inductively we may suppose that what makes us not to suffer is our true nature.
Bones-O! wrote:
Yeah, I think the OP damaged their own point by saying: "We believe we are men and women..." I know I'm a man. I also know my sexual impulses are biological, not idealogical, in nature.

No, thou art not man. It's just nonsense: just ask thyself: "what is I?" - Surely not that body. How indeed it can be that? I am someone who is aware of what is going within and without and I may react accordingly.
Bones-O! wrote:
There is one idealogy that precludes immoral behaviour: In all situations, one is to act morally. Any other idealogy (belief that advises actions) will yield conflict between how one must act and morality. Of course, this is rationalised to make the immoral moral: e.g. it is a moral duty to kill the non-believer. But it is quite simple to determine whether an act is idealogically determined.

Good may come from idealogy, however there is no good that necessitates it that I can think of. On the other hand, you cannot have a cold war without political idealogy. You cannot have a holy war without religion. You cannot hate someone of a different skin colour and not be a racist. These specific forms of 'evil' do require some belief, some reason to suspend morality, while good does not require belief, simply good intent on a case-by-case basis.

I doubt that just a rule may prevent from the immoral. Here we can't even define what is moral, can we? Moses said that they should stone adulterer, Christ taught forgiveness. Obviously here e.g. are two kinds of morality which however could never prevent savagery.
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 12:36 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:

No, thou art not man. It's just nonsense: just ask thyself: "what is I?" - Surely not that body. How indeed it can be that? I am someone who is aware of what is going within and without and I may react accordingly.


Seriously though. I am one. I have the right pieces to prove it. And, yes, I am this body, including this brain in it.

Eudaimon wrote:

I doubt that just a rule may prevent from the immoral. Here we can't even define what is moral, can we? Moses said that they should stone adulterer, Christ taught forgiveness. Obviously here e.g. are two kinds of morality which however could never prevent savagery.

But these are beliefs no? The very things that appear to make moral the immoral. When we act as per such beliefs we suspend our own moral judgement, defer it to an external source. However, the simple rule "don't do anything immoral" does not defer, it places the "do not" on you. You have to decide what is moral and what is not rather than subscribe to some idealogy. When you do that, you cannot be immoral. That would be a contradiction.
avatar6v7
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 12:47 pm
@Bones-O,
Good is the only powerful thing in the universe- evil has power only in as much as it subverts the good. But to use the argument that because evil corrupts and subverts good we should do away with the good is toweringly and obviously ridiculous and wrong.
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Fri 24 Apr, 2009 04:06 pm
@avatar6v7,
avatar6v7 wrote:
Good is the only powerful thing in the universe- evil has power only in as much as it subverts the good. But to use the argument that because evil corrupts and subverts good we should do away with the good is toweringly and obviously ridiculous and wrong.

Who said ought about getting rid of good?
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 12:24 am
@avatar6v7,
Bones-O! wrote:
Seriously though. I am one. I have the right pieces to prove it. And, yes, I am this body, including this brain in it.

I don't understand that, try to explain with more details. What I think is that I feel something, be it instinct or anything, but this is me who decides whether to follow that or not. How can I be that body when I can observe that? And neither I, nor thou do not feel that "I am brain"

Bones-O! wrote:
But these are beliefs no? The very things that appear to make moral the immoral. When we act as per such beliefs we suspend our own moral judgement, defer it to an external source. However, the simple rule "don't do anything immoral" does not defer, it places the "do not" on you. You have to decide what is moral and what is not rather than subscribe to some idealogy. When you do that, you cannot be immoral. That would be a contradiction.

But what is the criterion for the moral? Is it not thy choice also based on some latent conditioning, latent belief? I personally think good is what makes one happy, that is what corresponds to one's true nature, everything else is based on belief.
avatar6v7 wrote:
Good is the only powerful thing in the universe- evil has power only in as much as it subverts the good. But to use the argument that because evil corrupts and subverts good we should do away with the good is toweringly and obviously ridiculous and wrong.

What is good, what is evil? What may seem to be moral for one is immoral for another.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 12:56 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:
Friends, I should like to express thought that seems important to me. In the world we have so much calamities both global: wars, terrorism, mutual distrust of folks and personal: greed, anger on so on. Is the cause of them something but a belief, idea of ourselves? We think that we are citizens of a state and that our interests lay in enlargement of its territory, we believe that there is god whose precepts we should follow, we believe that we are men and women and need to have a sexual partner for our satisfaction etc., etc.
And out of this based on our conditioning belief arises tension between us and the world because, I dare say, every belief leads to unacceptance of the world as it is.



What about your belief that you can use a computer to publish the message that belief is the root of evil? Or, the physician's belief that the Salk vaccine can prevent polio? Or my belief that if I want to go to San Francisco, I have to travel west? Those seem to be beliefs that accept the world as it is.
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 05:56 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
What about your belief that you can use a computer to publish the message that belief is the root of evil? Or, the physician's belief that the Salk vaccine can prevent polio? Or my belief that if I want to go to San Francisco, I have to travel west? Those seem to be beliefs that accept the world as it is.

First of all, there is big difference bteween working hypothesis and belief as I understand it. To act in the world we all have to create certain working hypotheses and those examples thou hast pointed out are namely this thing. I understand belief in another sense as I suupose is evident from my message. When I find that certain hypothesis does not correspond with reality (and I should also say when I know this is but a hypothesis, not an ultimate truth), I can just abandon it and create another - as it takes place in science, and that is alright. But when instead of changing my attitude I go on clinging to it, it becomes big trouble.
Really, I don't even know what is the biggest problem - belief or ignorance. Because when I know "I am not that" what can make me believe? Belief supports ignorance and ignorance supports belief.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 03:52 pm
@Eudaimon,
Hi I would not say we can just generalize and say belief is the root of evil. I concede , however that many beliefs are evil

Money is the root of all evil. No no incorrect the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil

Power and pride are roots of evil in the wrong person, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely

Pride goes before a fall and a fall leads to destruction

One word is really the real root of evil , "depravity"

Alan
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 08:45 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;59728 wrote:
There is one idealogy that precludes immoral behaviour: In all situations, one is to act morally. Any other idealogy (belief that advises actions) will yield conflict between how one must act and morality. Of course, this is rationalised to make the immoral moral: e.g. it is a moral duty to kill the non-believer.
Both Hitler and to a lesser degree Stalin openly scorned the western moral that killing is wrong. In fact Hitler thought that the judeochristian commandment against killing was an abomination. If he authentically believed that, then you could argue that morality is defined by consistency rather than "goodness".

One can argue, however, that this "moral" of his is a rationalization, based upon a mind full of hatred and obsessed with enemies.

As far as I'm concerned, the root of evil is our failure to recognize ourselves in other people, our failure to see value in them. Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka where 800,000 Jews were gassed, was asked about whether he felt pity on the children and families he was sending to their deaths. His response was that they were simply "cargo".

The problem is that we get wrapped up in needs, in obsessions, in tasks, in ideologies, or whatever, there is a point that our empathy drowns and other people shrink in value to nothingness. And that's exactly when evil happens, when there's no more "pause" to see the other human there.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 May, 2009 09:21 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Both Hitler and to a lesser degree Stalin openly scorned the western moral that killing is wrong. In fact Hitler thought that the judeochristian commandment against killing was an abomination. If he authentically believed that, then you could argue that morality is defined by consistency rather than "goodness".

One can argue, however, that this "moral" of his is a rationalization, based upon a mind full of hatred and obsessed with enemies.

As far as I'm concerned, the root of evil is our failure to recognize ourselves in other people, our failure to see value in them. Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka where 800,000 Jews were gassed, was asked about whether he felt pity on the children and families he was sending to their deaths. His response was that they were simply "cargo".

The problem is that we get wrapped up in needs, in obsessions, in tasks, in ideologies, or whatever, there is a point that our empathy drowns and other people shrink in value to nothingness. And that's exactly when evil happens, when there's no more "pause" to see the other human there.


Were these depraved monsters in the death camps psychopaths without a conscience?, what is the reason for their cruelty , they would never have done the same things to their pets dogs would they?

Or had they given over their souls to the Evil One, I hope they burn in hell forever. My mother was a Jew of Polish origin and would most likely have being murdered in Auschwitz. and I would never been born

People say we should forgive this beast Hitler, I will not giving an eternity to do it and I hope god holds him accountable for all his monstrous crimes against humanity

Lets never have a replay on that black blot on human history. How god could stand back and watch this still perplexes me and sometimes brings me to the brink of doubting his existence

But then I think about it, without my belief in God, my short life has very little meaning and as an average sort of person I will be forgotten completely by the time my great great grandchildren are born

Words are my legacy
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 01:47 am
@Alan McDougall,
Aedes wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, the root of evil is our failure to recognize ourselves in other people, our failure to see value in them. Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka where 800,000 Jews were gassed, was asked about whether he felt pity on the children and families he was sending to their deaths. His response was that they were simply "cargo".

The problem is that we get wrapped up in needs, in obsessions, in tasks, in ideologies, or whatever, there is a point that our empathy drowns and other people shrink in value to nothingness. And that's exactly when evil happens, when there's no more "pause" to see the other human there.

Canst thou explain him why should he value the lives of others?

Alan McDougall wrote:
People say we should forgive this beast Hitler, I will not giving an eternity to do it and I hope god holds him accountable for all his monstrous crimes against humanity.

Why art thou so cruel? That equals thee with him: surely he thought he had grounds to hate Jews.
Hitler, Stalin and all those of their ilk are punished without god. See for what purpose they spent their lives: Hitler wanted his Deutschland and Aryan race to rule over the world. Was he ever happy? Or rather he was overwhelmed with idea that can by no means lead to happiness. Imagine that he had managed to conquer all the world, would that be happiness?
No, my friend, he deserves pity, rather than punishment. Just as every one who does harm himself.
What dazzles us when we speak about victims but our belief? Death is not evil itself, evil is our idea that death is evil. If they were happy in dying as all martyrs, what is evil here?; if they they were not, I suppose there was something wrong with them, not only with their murderers.
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 05:25 am
@Eudaimon,
We should all learn English by reading Shakespeare. Woulds't that we coulds't.

Aedes - Hitler did not believe, or he rationalised against the idea that Jews were of the same order as Aryans. This is what makes his morality hard to talk about. Meat-eaters, for instance, don't have any moral qualms about an animal being mortally harmed for their own non-vital benefi. That said, Hitler wasn't even culling: he was trying to make what he saw as essentially another species extinct. Thus his actions exceeded benefit and were intended to be infinitely harmful. So even if a moral relativist adopted his point of view, I think he or she would find Hitler utterly immoral. The killing was ultimately senseless and so had to be derived from some personal satisfaction. Harming anything simply for personal satisfaction of seeing harm done, even a tree, is evil by most standards. But, yes, it can always be rationalised. Look at fox hunters in the UK. By dressing it up in pomp, the act of harming an animal for the joy of harming an animal is rationalised to the level of a jolly nice day out in the country old boy.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 07:14 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;61863 wrote:
Were these depraved monsters in the death camps psychopaths without a conscience?, what is the reason for their cruelty , they would never have done the same things to their pets dogs would they?
Some were brutal, hideously cruel monsters (Amon Goethe, Christian Wirth, Josef Mengele), some were idealogues with unchecked power (Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler), and some were family men trying to climb a professional ladder (Adolf Eichmann, Rudolf Hoess, Franz Stangl, Odilo Globocnik).

Alan McDougall;61863 wrote:
My mother was a Jew of Polish origin and would most likely have being murdered in Auschwitz. and I would never been born...People say we should forgive this beast Hitler...
All four of my grandparents survived, three of them were in Auschwitz, one was on a death march, and the virtual entirety of their families died. I don't concern myself much with forgiving them -- forgiveness is worthless if it's not sought by the perpetrator.

I've been interested in reading statements of remorse by Nazis, and it's shockingly hard to find. Most either denied their role or denied their responsibility by virtue of following orders. The two most famous people to express regret were Hans Frank (hanged at Nuremberg, he was governor general of occupied Poland -- but his own son thought his regret was disingenuous), and Rudolf Hoess (Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, testified at Nuremberg and was hanged by the Polish government -- but interesting he only really apologizes for crimes against Poles and not against Jews, even though Auschwitz was mainly a death camp for Jews from outside Poland).

Some descendants of Nazis express shame and regret, though interestingly Heinrich Himmler's (head of the SS and Gestapo, the primary designer and administrator of all the Nazi crimes) daughter is a neonazi.

Bones-O!;61895 wrote:
Aedes - Hitler did not believe, or he rationalised against the idea that Jews were of the same order as Aryans.
His own writing and speaking would disagree with you. Hitler was not particularly interested or vocal about Aryan supremacy, which was more the interest of other idealogues in his party like Rosenberg. Not that he didn't regard Germans as 'superior', but this was not the basis of his morality. Hitler's utter obsession, which he wrote and screamed about from Mein Kampf up until his suicide 20 years later, was that the Jews were a plague, an infection. Destruction of the Jews (and the Bolshevik state, which he conflated with them) was an obsession to him above all else. All else, including the pseudogenetics (which he himself denied being real), was a secondary rationalization.

Eudaimon;61875 wrote:
Canst thou explain him why should he value the lives of others?
Empathy is hardwired into us, that's been shown by a lot of cognitive science research. The question here is why would someone just follow orders when they're obviously so deviant from how humans instinctively value and therefore treat one another.

And oh, they knew it too, which is why Stangl (on Himmler's orders) dug up and burned all of the mass graves, razed the camp, and planted a field of lupins, so that no one would find it.
 

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