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Stupidity got us into this mess -- why can't it get us out?

arts / rec.arts.books / Confusion and Evil

o Confusion and EvilIlya Shambat

Confusion and Evil


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Subject: Confusion and Evil
From: (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Wed, 1 Nov 2023 01:50 UTC

When I talked about honoring the wishes of someone who was departed, someone asked, “What if the person wanted to be evil?”

My response is that, if the person wanted to be evil, he probably was confused. There are many possible areas of confusion.

The biggest possible area of confusion is that between a value and the misuses of the value. Wrong things done for a value discredit the value itself.. Abuses in families, such as incest and domestic violence, discredit family. Abuses in societies, such as extreme conformity pressures and anti-intellectual attitude, discredits society. Abuses done for beauty, intelligence and money discredit all of the above.

So when faced with ethics being practiced in cruel and hypocritical ways, that discredits ethics. And that leads many honest people to become anti-ethical. Most of these people aren’t evil, they are confused.

To avoid that kind of situation it is necessary to practice values better. Ethics needs to be preached and practiced in ways that aren’t cruel or hypocritical. Misuses of value need to be done away with; value needs to be preserved.

Ethics, as such, is necessary. Without ethics everyone would be screwing everyone else, and very little of anything could get done. To work with a person one needs to know that the person is trustworthy. Confusion between the value and the misuses of the value must be cleared up. Then there will be no identification between the value and the misuses of the value, and wrongdoing done in the name of the value will be eliminated while value itself will flourish.

So for a long time I was anti-family and militated against society. Then I had a family of my own and figured out how foolish that stance was. The value itself is a good one; what’s bad is wrong things done in its name. Most people will want to have family, and most people will want to live in society. I want to see more people have better family life, and I want to see them forming societies that are vibrant, honest and humane and that have a greater place for culture.

When something that’s not good masquerades as good, some people may decide that goodness is the problem. It is not; the problem is bad things masquerading as good things. Then many people make a very bad error. It is that of identifying the good with the pretence and deciding that the good itself is bad. This gives the usurpers of the good too much credit. They neither invented nor own the good, and good has existed for far longer than have they. With beauty, it is not owned by stupid teenagers and unethical plastic surgeons; and attacking beauty, which has existed for a very long time, for the sins of stupid teenagers and unethical plastic surgeons is a stupid thing to do.

If somebody wants to be evil, most likely he has made that miscalculation. He saw things pretend to be good that aren’t, and he decided that the problem is the good. In this situation, the reason for rejecting ethics is an understandable one. The solution is to make a distinction between the value and the abuses of the value. Then many people who are at risk for criminal or antisocial behaviour will avoid this confusion and take a better path.

Different mistakes have different reasons. Here the reason for the mistake comes from sincerity, which speaks in favor of the person who is making it. Rather than seeing such people as evil, the solution is to see what they are right about and correct the underlying problems. Make a radical break between the value and the misuses of the value and see the value flourish while wrongdoing in its name is corrected. And see the genuine good thrive all across the board.

arts / rec.arts.books / Confusion and Evil


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