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Does Evil Exist?

Yes
29% (8 votes)
No
57% (16 votes)
Unsure
7% (2 votes)
Other
7% (2 votes)
Total votes: 28

Posted By

Lone Wolf
Jul 12 2006 22:51

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Rob Ray
Jul 19 2006 21:16
Quote:
As you say leading with emotion is a stupid way to live but what makes it stupid?

Fundamentally I think it is the overriding of what is best for the individual/group/species with what is wanted most by individuals. The emotions of the individual are the oxygen of capital (I want, I envy, I, I love (and must have) etc) as much as they could ever be its destroyer.

Logically, I know that owning a car destroys the environment, piles smoke into the lungs of children etc. As I am aware of this as an issue that is pressing on mine and others' future health, I am able to override the emotion wich says 'wouldn't it be cool to drive to work in air conditioned comfort every day'? As one example.

Personally, I reckon that in order for any revolutionary behaviour to be lasting, it must be as far as possible (as I say I don't think this can be done entirely, but then neither can anarchism I suspect, in the current climate) on premises other than emotional, it must be dictated by a reasoned understanding of consequence, and yes, the possiblities of emotional disruption - but in order to take emotion into account properly, the thing to strive for is not to base your foundations on it.

Lone Wolf
Jul 19 2006 21:18
Saii wrote:
I wasn't taking it personally, I was merely using myself as an example.

But nevertheless, in various comments, you seem to make it clear that you think your view, on this subject at least, is the one with most relevance because of your experiences.

Quote:
You have to experience it to know.
Quote:
Sorry it know it upsets you guys for me to say this but the greatest insight can only ever come from first-hand experience.

If that is not what you meant then fair enough, but tbh I agree with other people on the personal, it's not the same as general.

I've recently been badly hurt by the actions of one of my closest friends, but tbh I feel that simply put me too close to the subject to be very rational rather than giving me a special insight (though strangely enough, most people who have spoken to me about it have said I'm being way too rational).

I'm not expecting kid gloves because of this however, because I'm only bringing it up as an example and personally think you'd need to know me and my circumstances to have any realistic empathy (as opposed to sympathy) for me - which is something I have no desire to go into.

What I don't wish to hear is you telling people they are in some way not able to understand or not being practical (and I count, apart from the three that I noted above, a good dozen cases in the five or so pages that you post in where this crops up). I'm not asking you to curb your discourse, I'm asking you to stop talking to people as if they are incapable of understanding or are unable to be empathetic or lacking in practicality when they don't agree with you.

As I said earlier, although I don't know the intimate details, I wouldn't wish any pain on anyone, ever. I have seen and heard of enough in places all over the world, from columbian trade unionists whose kids are decapitated in front of them before themselves being scalped and garroted, to mass genocide in south america and asia and even experienced some (very - I wouldn't pretend in the slightest to have had pain of the likes of that) little of my own, that I strive to lessen it wherever I can. Most of the people on here are the same way. Please don't mistake a style of argument for a lack of regard.

Saii - I CAN tell you do not wish any pain on anyone.

But apart from inaccuracies yourself in saying "three quotes like the ones above" when you only gave two ( tongue ) which are irritating but not offensive - I am not saying you guys are INCAPABLE of empathy, uderstanding etc just that sometimes expressing it appears difficult to you. Which is why it felt cold to me even though that was, I know, not your attention. Also I did not say that I felt people were impractical for disagreeing with me. Just that, to me, believing you can rehabilitate the minority of people I believe can't be, instead of focusing on other stuff we CAN do is an impractical perspective. Saying this is very very different to saying the people themselves are impractical. Very different.

Also I was not so much seeking empathy etc as recognition of what I had just said, just basic dignity and respect stuff. No kid gloves stuff. I gave an example of what I meant earlier. And as I also said earlier, the "thoroughly decent" comment you made meant a lot to me.

I just think - as I said - this is a difference in how we communicate and frame things.No blame - just differences. An important point I made in a conciliatory tone which sadly got ignored. sad

For me personally, I am much much much more interested in your personal experiences and what you gleaned from them than your theoretical basis. I don't mean gory details - just your mention of them was enough. And you have done. Which I appreciate.

I am sure we will have to agree to differ on the generalvpersonal/ reasonvemotion debate. That doesn't bother me. Live and let live. But I will not stop saying perfectly reasonable things in a rational way that express my own views/experiences purely because this difference in perspective can be woefully misconstrued and inadvertantly viewed as some kind of attack or dismissal of others. Which it soooo obviously isn't.

Love

LW X

Lone Wolf
Jul 19 2006 21:21

Saii

Just seen your last post. I feel the thing to strive for is to come from a perspective and core that is equally informed by rationality and emotion.

As we are going off topic I will start a new thread. 8)

Love

LW X

Caiman del Barrio
Jul 19 2006 21:25
revol68 wrote:
fuck off you priest.

neutral

What happened to "no flaming"? Man Jack's being slack tonight. I'd better make a formal request otherwise I'll confuse him, poor dear.

Anyway, why are empirical evidence and rational evidence being presented as mutually exclusive opposites? Surely rational evidence is simply based on a sense of collective empirical discovery?

Lone Wolf
Jul 19 2006 21:30

Alan - agreed!!

And I don't know if the priest is meant to be me or Saii??? confused

Any ideas???

lem
Jul 19 2006 21:33
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Anyway, why are empirical evidence and rational evidence being presented as mutually exclusive opposites? Surely rational evidence is simply based on a sense of collective empirical discovery?

Empiricist angry

Do you have to count your fingers and toes, each time you want to add up?

Rob Ray
Jul 19 2006 21:35

I don't deny that personal experience has a role to play, particularly, as you say, when many similar experiences are joined together and examined. I've banged on often enough about how professionals actually are sometimes better qualified to talk about stuff wink.

However, I don't reckon that an individual's experience of something as personal as 'evil' can be done like that, same as I'd be wary of what someone tells me is good. Their view of good or evil is not mine.

Anyways, my friend calls, nite all.

Lone Wolf
Jul 19 2006 21:38

Nite Saii. smile

Caiman del Barrio
Jul 19 2006 22:10
lem wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Anyway, why are empirical evidence and rational evidence being presented as mutually exclusive opposites? Surely rational evidence is simply based on a sense of collective empirical discovery?

Empiricist angry

Do you have to count your fingers and toes, each time you want to add up?

neutral

No...that was my point. I don't have no philosophy degree, but I view rationalism as the sum total of collective empiricism. From where else does theory and whatnot come (unless you're the ICC, in which case reality's merely an inconvenient obstacle)?

lem
Jul 19 2006 22:42

So you don't believe in a priori truths then, and do believe in the blank slate? Theres objections to this as well, that we would always be right about everything, so that we must at least come to the world with certain way of looking at things. Erm, I don't know much about empiricism and Marxism, but isn't it generally thought of as a bad thing, along with positivism.

Bodach gun bhrigh
Jul 20 2006 10:43
Lone Wolf wrote:
Bodach - embarrassed You were nice to Saii, I hammered him!! You are a good man. I have much to learn from you. (2nd big compliment from me today..are you going to blush again???Perhaps two this time?)

Love

LW X

Spare my blushes, please! I'm not usually nice, but I'm just back from me hols. embarrassed embarrassed black bloc

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 11:08
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
To have suffered personally produces insight because you have to understand what has happened to you.

NO you don't have to understand it. I knew some kurdish kids who'd left trukey due to repression, they had suffered nationalistic attacks, one of them had a scar from a bullet shrapnel wound. He had directly suffered. Yet he was misogynistic, nationalistic and racist. Should I still bow to his understanding because he's suffered? I'm sure you'd consider it patronising if I offered him any of my own opinions. Would I need to find someone who'd lost a limb to counter his prejudices as they would understand things even better than him? Experiences only give insight to people who seek insight from them, and you don't have to suffer to understand things.

Revol68 wrote:
Reason cannot replace our emotions rather it is a means of articulating them.

I agree, but I'd also argue that we use reason to experience our emotions to an extent, reason means that we don't burn our bridges with a friend because we've lost our temper with them. Reason does not replace emotion, but there is no one here who hasn't done negative things because they were angry/upset or whatever.

Lone Wolf you made references to having had bad experiences, but it seems as if you expect that to give your arguments weight, I object to someone using their own personal experiences and expecting to be agreed with because of that. Should we be expected to compete with our horror stories to decide who has the most right to speak?

I'm fairly lucky, not much bad stuff has happened to me, that does not discount my opinion. A few bad things have happened to me, this has helped me to get some insight, but honestly I do not expect people to sit around me telling me how brave I am and how terrible it was. Shit happens, if I want to talk about it then I will, in fact I do.

I do need someone to tell me about bad things so that I can understand them, it is common sense that we can understand things that are not our own experiences. When a friend of mine was raped should I have said "I'm sorry but I've never been raped and couldn't possibly understand your experience" We try to learn from experiences and from each other the desire to learn is the important part.

Quote:
If no-one suffered, there would be no opposition to suffering, and therefore no anarchism.

I'd like to think that if no one suffered then we'd have anarchism actually Bodach.

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 11:27
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
Revol68 wrote:

Reason cannot replace our emotions rather it is a means of articulating them

.

I agree, but I'd also argue that we use reason to experience our emotions to an extent, reason means that we don't burn our bridges with a friend because we've lost our temper with them

So you agree but would also argue that we use reason to articulate our emotions? confused tongue

I'd say regulate rather than articulate.

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 11:35
revol68 wrote:
I'd say your clutching... tongue

Articulation is expression, regulation is something different. Reason tells me that I'm losing my temper and that no good can come of that, so represses my anger (hopefully) until I can address the actual reason for my anger and defuse the emotion. You may be using a wider definition of articulation.

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 11:49
revol68 wrote:
I would imagine that articulation being expression would have your internal regulation (or lack of) as a precursor. Not much point regulating after articulation, infact that would be impossible.

Regulation extends to control over articulation.

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 12:07
revol68 wrote:
well of course, but only if you have split into two people or punch yourself in the face for saying things you shouldn't.

I mean you've expressed your emotion (articulated it) so how could you further regulate it, by adding cavaets, flogging yourself?

You regulate the expression itself, as I've said before. Articulation is part of the framework of regulation, on occasion emotion can bypass regulation of course. It's not about justifying after the event, it's about pre-empting it where necessary.

Joseph Kay
Jul 20 2006 12:55
Jef Costello wrote:
occasion emotion can bypass regulation of course

Its called amygdala takeover, or so i was told when i was being taught how to sack people at uni 8)

the button
Jul 20 2006 12:56

I think Jef might be using "articulation" in the same sense as Judith Butler -- i.e. like a limb or a lorry is articulated, rather than in the sense of "expression."

It's a useful ambiguity, anyway.

the button
Jul 20 2006 13:03
revol68 wrote:
Jef Costello wrote:
revol68 wrote:
I'd say your clutching... tongue

Articulation is expression, regulation is something different. Reason tells me that I'm losing my temper and that no good can come of that, so represses my anger (hopefully) until I can address the actual reason for my anger and defuse the emotion. You may be using a wider definition of articulation.

yeah that's what I initally thought to button but apparently not.

Yeah, but Jef's no authority on how he's using it, is he? Death of the author & all that. wink

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 17:30
revol68 wrote:
Jef Costello wrote:
revol68 wrote:
well of course, but only if you have split into two people or punch yourself in the face for saying things you shouldn't.

I mean you've expressed your emotion (articulated it) so how could you further regulate it, by adding cavaets, flogging yourself?

You regulate the expression itself, as I've said before. Articulation is part of the framework of regulation, on occasion emotion can bypass regulation of course. It's not about justifying after the event, it's about pre-empting it where necessary.

No when we outwardly articulate (express) our emotions they have already been interpretated and regulated, of course the act of interpretation is an act of articulation too, but as we are discussing the outward articulation that's not really relevant.

As I keep saying articulation is not a spontaneous event, or at least not always, it can therefore be regulated before it occurs. Why can you not grasp that?

Bodach gun bhrigh
Jul 20 2006 17:54
Jef Costello wrote:
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
To have suffered personally produces insight because you have to understand what has happened to you.

NO you don't have to understand it. I knew some kurdish kids who'd left trukey due to repression, they had suffered nationalistic attacks, one of them had a scar from a bullet shrapnel wound. He had directly suffered. Yet he was misogynistic, nationalistic and racist. Should I still bow to his understanding because he's suffered? I'm sure you'd consider it patronising if I offered him any of my own opinions. Would I need to find someone who'd lost a limb to counter his prejudices as they would understand things even better than him? Experiences only give insight to people who seek insight from them, and you don't have to suffer to understand things.

Yeah but surely you understand things by the ability to empathise. If you had never suffered, why would you oppose other's suffering? And surely one of the reasons we oppose capitalism is that it causes so much suffering? The reason I became an anarchist was that I understood that for most people life is an unending round of pain, because I felt that pain myself, if you had no insight into the suffering of others, because you had never suffered yourself, why would you oppose anything? Personal suffering can help you understand that the present society is not the right state of things, because it causes so much pain to you personally that you have to search out the truth, otherwise you would probably just believe that Tony Blair was a good guy, as many do.

Quote:
If no-one suffered, there would be no opposition to suffering, and therefore no anarchism.

I'd like to think that if no one suffered then we'd have anarchism actually Bodach.

Could be, could be, but we're not there yet, so suffering is one of the few yardsticks of the wrong society that we have.

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 22:32
Bodach gun bhrigh wrote:
Yeah but surely you understand things by the ability to empathise. If you had never suffered, why would you oppose other's suffering?

Empathy does not require you to have suffered the same thing, in fact the great thing about empathy is that you do not have to have had the same experience to understand it. Although now you seem to have stepped back from the idea that a particular incident of suffering gives someone an insight lost to others. Which was the problem that I had.

lem
Jul 20 2006 23:08

OK, I'm going to restate my argument on this.

IMO its difficult to argue that the victim of a crime, would not have more infomation to intuit with, than somone given a set of propositions about the crime.

Moral judgements can be contextually driven, or, what is reasoned with is not an abstraction - which would mean that the facts are limited to a number of propositions.

I don't mean you would know more the reality of the effects (I haven't been able to sleep for 3 weeks, or I'm scared to leave my house), more what happened.

I keep thinking of an attempted murder. Say you were the victim of this attempt on your life. If your saying that morality is objective, and we can sense it in objects, then, its gonna be sensed more if its right up in your face. I keep thinking of the FACE, but I'm really unsure of if it would be relevent.

Though, I admit that objective morality might not be very reasonable.

Lone Wolf
Jul 20 2006 23:38

Lem - Cheers for this

Jef - Hear what you say but I don't think Bodach, Lem and I etc..would say others could not empathise or understand someone elses suffering to a large degree. But this is NOT the same as having HAD that experience. You can hear your friends pain and empathise and understand but this is hardly identical to having the same first hand KNOWLEDGE of how that experience feels and IS. As a caring feminist man I am sure you would not say that you know how it feels to be raped. confused ??

Why does it have to be a competition?? Why can't we just say that theoretical understanding AND empathising AND observing AND direct experience all have value??? Together surely we have as large a sum of human knowledge as it is possible to have. This is why I refute your assumption that I believe only my viewpoint is valid. I never thought that and still don't. I DO think it adds weight to my argument tho. I know some of you disagree. I can live with that. Because I am boringly fair-minded I also think people who have experienced things I haven't have more weight to THEIR argument also than mine would have. And as Bodach says if I hadn't experienced this suffering I would not be an anarchist and would not be here for you to rail against! tongue

I agree that suffering does not nec. provide insight only if you seek to gain insight from it which I and some have. Others haven't. So we are not in disagreement here. I hardly come into the same category as the nationalistic misogynist guy now do I? roll eyes

I am just a lil' tired of this falsehood that I want to be told how brave I was and how terrible it was etc. As I have already said I only wanted what I said to be RECOGNISED and acknowledged which is, to me, just plain good manners at the end of the day. After I mentioned this, people did just that. And it was fine. I am cool with it now. I am just troubled at this notion that someone referring to an experience and seeking acknowledgement of what has been said is the same as "sitting around""/victimhood/self-pity or whatever. It isn't!!!! As I have said - that is not my scene. I think tbh the main prob is that when it comes to scary stuff it is either a) not acknowledged or b) indulged. Both of which are unhealthy and imbalanced. And I am not coming from that place but because the place I am coming from is not the norm it tends to be unsettling to peeps who are not used to it. That is all. So I am cool with this now and hope we can move the argument on and start other related threads as you and I have already done.

Love

LW X

jef costello
Jul 20 2006 23:53
Quote:
As a caring feminist man I am sure you would not say that you know how it feels to be raped. confused ??

No, but it didn't stop me from empathising because I am a human being.

Quote:
Why does it have to be a competition?? Why can't we just say that theoretical understanding AND empathising AND observing AND direct experience all have value??? Together surely we have as large a sum of human knowledge as it is possible to have. This is why I refute your assumption that I believe only my viewpoint is valid. I never thought that and still don't. I DO think it adds weight to my argument tho. I know some of you disagree. I can live with that. Because I am boringly fair-minded I also think people who have experienced things I haven't have more weight to THEIR argument also than mine would have.

I never made it a competition, I never suggested that there was a hierarchy with certain people placed above each other. I did argue that all three have value, but I think the most important thing is the way we aproach what we learn, whether it is by experience or report.

Quote:
I agree that suffering does not nec. provide insight only if you seek to gain insight from it which I and some have. Others haven't. So we are not in disagreement here. I hardly come into the same category as the nationalistic misogynist guy now do I? roll eyes

He suffered and gained no insight, I was protesting against the valorisation of people who have suffered, it means fuck all, it's simple chance. There is no ethical dimension to suffering. Pain is always sordid and degrading.

Lone Wolf wrote:
I am just a lil' tired of this falsehood that I want to be told how brave I was and how terrible it was etc.
Lone Wolf wrote:
Just a simple "God that is awful you are very brave LW" would suffice/have sufficed...

You were understandably vague about what hapened LW, I respect that but I don't see how someone can empathise with something that you haven't explained. I don't think that these forums are the place for such explanations though, I think it is if not private it is at least personal and wouldn't expect you to post about them. This also means that people cannot offer the same sympathy as they would do otherwise.

Lone Wolf
Jul 21 2006 00:10

Jef - I completely agree with you on the empathy point you made first. Just saying it is not IDENTICAL to direct experience not that it lacks value. As you say all have value.And on the valorisation of suffering point you made - complete agreement again.

Even agree on the empathy point - this not being the right venue etc. The miscommunication appears to have occurred because I do not equate empathy with acknowledging what I have said. Acknowledging what I have said is just that - acknowledgement - not the same as empathy.

And given that I would not have started the thread or become anarchist or joined libcom without these experiences it would seem to me totally bizarre to not even refer to them. confused I think it is just as I said earlier - I am still getting to know Libcom and Libcom is still getting to know me. It is still a learning curve. I am not used to talking just in the abstract and you guys are not used to personal stuff being referred to in Thought however beningly/obliquely. It is just..differences. When I think about it - just diffs in communication. No biggie.

Love

LW X

lem
Jul 21 2006 00:26
Quote:
There is no ethical dimension to suffering. Pain is always sordid and degrading.

Then, if we are to abstract it from painful situations, in order to reason for an ethical outcome, how do we derive the necessary "ought" from the "is".

If you stand by that, you could say that if the reasoning is to be 1st person, then they have all their other ethical reactions, besides suffering, with which to reason with. So its still possible to cast a judgement.

However, if the reasoning is to be by a group of other people, can you really see them reasoning with all-these-other ethical issues? Thats removing the situation so far from what we undertand as the reality of ethical discourse, as to be unreal.

I've got to stop talking about ethics/morality roll eyes

jef costello
Jul 21 2006 22:42
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
There is no ethical dimension to suffering. Pain is always sordid and degrading.

Bullshit.

Any actual response to this that involves an argument?

johno
Jul 21 2006 23:54
Quote:
There is no ethical dimension to suffering. Pain is always sordid and degrading.

Pain as a virtue. Pain as a necessity. Pain secretly enjoyed.

jef costello
Jul 22 2006 12:12
johno wrote:
Quote:
There is no ethical dimension to suffering. Pain is always sordid and degrading.

Pain as a virtue. Pain as a necessity. Pain secretly enjoyed.

OK I'll be clearer:

There is no ethical dimension to suffering, the pain involved is always sordid and degrading.

I should have stressed that this was pain from suffering.

I am trying to get past these ethics of martyrdom which suggest that a victim is somehow exalted by pain. This reeks of the ethics of martyrdom to me and I find that unpleasant. It is an extension of the way religions offer us future pleasure to make us accept pain now. I can see why psychologically someone who has suffered may wish to feel that they have taken something positive from it, and I believe that you can do so. But to suggest that they can have a monopoly of understanding is unacceptable to me. I think using personal experience in this way is as counter-productive as when someone uses long words to ry to baffle someone out of an argument, in some ways it is worse as it is more affecting emotionally.

Quote:
what more you want

An argument? I believe I said that the first time. I don't see the point of replying to my posts unless you plan to engage with the ideas. If you think this is beneath you then don't respond.