Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Conceptual Framework (2) – Why does evil exist?

In my 24 May 2016 blog on Evil, I wrote that “genuine Evil is restricted to the hominini species – or humans”. I also gave an initial explanation on the Why: “It might well be that the most complex structure of the universe – the human brain – is the root cause of all evil.”

The perceived relationship between complexity and evil is a common one, even in investments and in taxes. I was surprised to find a 2000 study about a perceived link between the “consequential complexity of history and gratuitous evil” by Kirk Durston. Apparently, Mr Durston struck a nerve, given a 2003 response.

My 20 December 2016 blog on a Conceptual Framework has been posing a problem to me. Why would evil be a fundamental force in life? Where does it come from? Why only humans, apart from the few evil chimpanzees (eg, Passion & Pom, Puist) that Dutch primatologist and ethologist Frans de Waal witnessed.

Back in 2016, I failed to see the connection with my Needs, Wants & Beliefs concept. This link became clear after reading a Dutch interview with the German philosopher Bettina Stangneth on her 2016 book Thinking evil. Essentially, she claims that evil is not a departure from reasonable thinking but a consequence of thinking. In my concept such evil thoughts are extreme beliefs.

My Needs, Wants & Beliefs concept classifies all living organisms in the stage of Needs (eg, food, shelter, water). Life-forms that use tools (eg, birds, humans, monkeys) are able to migrate to the next stage of Wants (eg, consumerism, hedonism). There appears to be only 1 life-form, humans, that is able to migrate to the next stage, being Beliefs.

These beliefs have resulted in my concept of the 7 Belief systems: Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. The criterion for defining a Belief system is the willingness to sacrifice your own life for your belief(s). This is (partly) in line with the Greater Good theory – or Utilitarianism. Evil uses these same 7 Belief systems to take someone’s life.

According to Sumerian beliefs, humans have an earthly (Body) and a divine (Soul) component. Human thoughts (Mind) are affected by both. The Mind is where Body and Soul meet. This meeting may result in a struggle. It’s a personal choice which side will win and be dominant, or leading in life. This view results in sayings like “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” following exposure to Temptation.

A more contemporary view would claim that Evil is a combination of (1) circumstances (eg, war crimes), (2) (brain) complexity, (3) (human) consciousness, (4) Nature (eg, genes), and (5) Nurture (eg, education, environment, religion, upbringing). Envisioning this scientific view isn’t easy, unlike the Sumerian view.

Essentially, evil is a human choice following human beliefs following human thinking.

Not an Addict (1995) by K’s Choice
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Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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