In my last post, I showed that there were three theories on just what good and evil were. Either “good” and “evil” are applied to something because of something in the thing or because of something in the person applying the label. If it is something in the thing, then it is either in the thing as a whole or in part. But if “good” and “evil” are in the person applying the label, then they are constructions.

According to the illusory theory of goodness, our application of “good” and “evil” is a construction. It might be a construction forced on us by biology, or it might be something that we are able to avoid doing. It might be something that is socially constructed so that different cultures understand “good” and “evil” differently. But it must be an artifact of some kind. But since it applies to everything and everyone at least potentially it is not a material artifact. This means that “good” and “evil”   must be most similar to other immaterial artifacts such as nations, organizations, language and families.

If the illusory theory of goodness is correct, then goodness is not necessarily something that we need to stop applying to the world. If we want to apply it to the world and our application of it is consistent, then there is no reason to forbid such a thing. We could also be “right” and “wrong” in our application of it. For example, “dog” has a specific meaning in English, even though English is a social construction. Simply being a social construction does not lead to relativism or to a denial of truth in ethical matters.

The illusory theory does have problems though. If the illusory theory of goodness is true, then the problem of evil simply does not exist. Evil only exists as a result of our constructing the world in such a way so that it does exist. Apart from our constructions in the world, good and evil simply don’ t exist. Right and wrong do not exist either. This means that statements about what God should have done, or reasoning that God does not exist because of evil are either confused or meaningless. They confused because God (if the theory is true) has nothing to do with the existence of good and evil, and moral obligations do not apply to him unless he participates in our social constructions. This problem is relatively minor though.

The biggest problem is that goodness is distinct from rationality. Suppose we believe that no one should believe “A and not-A”. We believe that believing contradictions is wrong. But wrongness is only wrong because it is contrary to what is good. If goodness is a construct, then believing contradictions is only wrong in our construct. But believing contradictions is wrong for everyone under all possible circumstances. Unless there is some kind of resolution for this problem, then there is no way to believe that the illusory theory of goodness is correct. Nor is this the only problem for this theory of goodness. There are also problems with the nature of moral reasoning and our moral intuitions.

Next, I will discuss the modern theory of goodness.

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Comments on Good and Evil: Illusion?

  1. It was Adam and Eve that ate from the “TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL” and was cast out from paradise. Assuming that Adam and Eve didn’t exist (because we know civilization can’t be rebooted on two humans without complications in the gene pool), we can assume that Adam and Eve are metaphors for masculinity and femininity.

    The reason “god” stated to not eat from the “TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL”, is because if we do, “we will surely give birth to death”, meaning that people will die if we subscribe to the idea of good and evil. Secondly, good and evil does not exist objectively in the universe like stars and planets, it is a man made construct (created by the metaphorical character “the devil”), in which an individual will justify actions of good against bad (even if it means committing the same act as those the individual opposes), to try and elevate their own “moral standing”.

    Good and evil is a belief system much like a religion, in which the individual is taught habitual acts in social situations where opinions are favored over objective facts. So good and evil comes from preference. How is a human taught preference? Our genetic makeup gives us senses that allows us to taste, smell and touch something like food. Some may argue that our distinction of good and bad food is social training, while our nose and tongue will undoubtedly tell us whether or not a fruit is edible.

    If we add to that mix: traumatization of the young through the systematic school system, cultural incline towards ideas of good versus bad (like marvel/DC comics with “Justice league”): behaviors, preferences, foods, sex, art, media; we end up with an individual that develops the conscience that will try to excuse, justify or understand certain “good or bad” behavior that they either themselves commit or are subject to.

    In the end, you won’t find a good sun or a bad moon anywhere in the Universe. Without contrasting comparable things, we cannot say that a lion is good or bad the same way we can compare the length, height and weight of two lions. Are there good lions that eat less prey or bad lions that eat more prey. Are there lions that quit eating a living prey halfway through eating it because they are full, only to be judged as bad because they make another animal suffer without finishing that prey’s suffering life?

    The golden rule can be used for those that have escaped the religion of morality. We know that we do not wish to do harm unto another being, but injustice, trauma and events can create: justifications, beliefs and illusions that an individual can act upon which will in turn create more “evil”, which in turn creates more “evil”.

    Do unto others what you wish to have be done upon yourself.

    And in order to fight “evil”, we do not have to join a political campaign or protest on a street (because evil doesn’t exist), we have to sit down on a chair and not move for a long time. The only reason why we create “evil” is because we at one point departed from our true way of being, probably at a young age. By parting with our true way, we allowed ourselves to justify acts that we did unto others, that in turn creates more of the perpetuated drama we call “good and evil”.

    The Trolley problem became a popular meme roughly one year ago and flooded the Internet with many alternative ways of solving the problem. Michael from Vsauce created a real life trolley problem in a simulated environment you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sl5KJ69qiA

    The solution to the problem is to not do anything at all. If a person acts on switching the tracks, that person commits murder. If the person doesn’t do anything, the most amount of people will die, but not due to the action of the person switching levers (and an investigation will be launched to determine why 5 people was on the track). Life and death is not good or bad. We cannot assume that death is bad based on personal preference, but we also cannot assume it is good, because no evidence on the experiences of actual death exists (coming back from a near death experience is not actually dying (and due to the subjective experience of the brain releasing DMT into the system, the individual is technically hallucinating)).

    The belief of “good and evil” is also closely related to symptoms of psychosis. A psychosis most people won’t wake up from because it is acceptable to perpetuate the illusions of things that actually do not exist.

    Good and evil does not exist.
    Morality is a construct.
    Do not create a world of something that doesn’t exist, that is fantasy.

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