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Forum Post: A Story of Love, Good and Evil

Posted 10 years ago on April 5, 2012, 1:43 p.m. EST by Misaki (893)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The purpose of this dialogue is to determine whether humans are by nature good or evil. The audience is those among us who are not aware that this was an issue. I thank you for your participation.

The myth adopted by the Christian religion and its relatives is that by acquiring knowledge, humans were cast out of a "paradise" where they could live forever. Buddhism, as well, has much on the topic of why problems exist in the world.

What these myths refer to is a conflict between the concept of love and the goals of society, which seems difficult or impossible to resolve for those aware of it. One admonition of the ancients was to "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil", but like all methods to address the problem this had only limited success.

To love someone means to place their wants and needs above all else. This has significant implications, including that you should attempt to reach your own maximum potential so that you may assist that person. In a society which rewards being good, the ideal state would be one where your own goals do not conflict with those of society.

However, in the search for ways to benefit someone you love, you may encounter a way to prevent yourself from hurting them by building a hidden weakness into your mind that allows yourself to be controlled by others. Consider the following questions: If someone imagines you to be happy, are you? If someone imagines you to be unhappy, are you?

These questions, as well as the desire to benefit the person you love, can lead to unexpected conflict when you an encounter a common situation: a large number of people who are wrong about something in a way that hurts society. Uncertainty about how such a situation can arise leads to questioning whether the more intelligent members of society have the desire or ability to prevent such events, which affects whether one should lie about being good to most benefit the person you love, due to the inability to answer the above questions about your happiness. At this point, you are cast out of "paradise" until such point in time that you can forget that this problem exists or convince yourself that it leads to no negative effects on society.

However, most people cannot convince themselves of this, and as a result are unable to gather the strength needed to correct these problems as they appear since they see no end to their efforts from that approach and no reward, which means doing so would not benefit the person they love. The conflict between the concept of love and society is clearly evident, and can only be resolved by fixing the underlying problem that leads to the above contradiction or by determining that it is impossible to fix due to a lack of desire by society to do so.

Thank you for your attention up to this point. The underlying problem can be stated, in one form, as "the tendency to assume that people who are more intelligent than you have already figured out all the answers to succeeding in life." The reason this doesn't work, quite simply, is that there's no completely reliable way to figure out who is the intelligent person with the answer without thinking through the same problems they did to arrive at a solution on how to succeed. Society has never been perfect, and each successive generation will habitually test, reconfirm, and contradict the assumptions and norms of previous generations and systems of knowledge.

It is said that people become wiser as they grow older. However, this is just as imperfect a way of determining how to succeed as any other and so it is important for people to learn this "wisdom" as soon as possible, because democracy, commercial markets, and many other ways of polling society assume that people make decisions with accurate knowledge of the consequences of the collective opinion on worth without regard to age or any other distinction between those who respond.

This leads to the method of addressing both this underlying problem and also the unemployment and general economic injustice that currently exists in the United States and much of the rest of the world: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-people-of-the-united-states-have-faith-in-the-human-race-by-fixing-unemployment

The existing writings on that topic should be sufficient to convince of its effectiveness in reducing unemployment. This dialogue goes beyond mere economics and instead concerns the hidden problems that result not only from the easily understandable situation of people in poor financial condition with the desperation that can result, but also the underlying willingness of the most competent members of society to address this type of problem and other problems which can have unexpected consequences for even the most well-meaning member of society.

Simply put, when correcting these problems is not rewarded by society, then anyone who appears to be good can be treated as dishonest and evil due to the very real possibility that they are. Furthermore, if society does not adopt this change to enhance the collective intelligence of the human race, then anyone in love with another person and aware of this issue will have no reason to feel any more internal conflict about ignoring this problem and will in a very real sense be "evil" in the classical sense of the word, despite the lack of any way to prove this and appearing at every level to be as good as any other member of society who ignores these problems.

So if you ignore this message, nothing much will change. Problems will exist in the world like they always have. But the concern expressed by people toward those problems will be fake, and the most intelligent of people will do only as much as is necessary to prevent you from being able to decisively conclude that they are being dishonest. This will, of course, include the full use of the state to inflict violence in a way that seems to an honest person to be very unjust. Wealthy people, as always, will live a life of comfort while the poor are afflicted by crime and poor health.

The choice is yours. Are humans good or evil? If you wish for them to be good, sign the above petition or offer a convincing reason why it is incorrect. If you wish for them to be evil, no action is necessary: you need only to read this message without replying.

About the author: I was going to say something about myself but it didn't really fit. I currently have no income and sleep at night on an embankment above a freeway. I have done everything I can to ensure that my future depends on someone whose appearance I have never seen and whose voice I have never heard, and another person about whom I know almost nothing. Although I didn't watch The Hunger Games I have read the book Battle Royale which is similar.



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[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 9 years ago

I think humans are good in nature. But they can easily be corrupted.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 9 years ago

Beat It(被逼的)chinese

Renaresca 2 years ago
Lyrics meaning translation part 3: - 100 thousand$ per bottle of wine/alcohol is dear indeed - But I doubt you'd care about this bit of money - You can't decline (the offer) - because you have no choice - (you were) forced - you can't decline (the offer) - (you were) forced (2x) - only we can help you - you guys already bought it - 6 times from me - all of them 100thousand - per bottle - (you were) forced (2x) - only we can help you - we are the mafia - we take people's wealth

Renaresca 2 years ago
Lyrics meaning translation part 2: - we were all - forced/didn't have a choice (2x) - no one can escape - if I'm not the bad guy - then I must disappear (like being kicked out of territory) - if I don't bully others - then I'll get the short end of the stick - (we were) forced/have no choice (4x) - No one in the world would sell you 'XO' - you were forced to come out and search for it - so all of us - had no choice - (we were) forced

Renaresca 2 years ago
Lyrics meaning translation part 1: - We were all good citizens once - As children we studied hard and strived for excellence - We weren't born as bad guys - We were all - Forced (to become bad guys)/didn't have a choice - You should know that everyone start out with a good heart - No mother would want their children to become delinquents - We didn't want to become evil either - but we couldn't control the circumstances - we were forced/didn't have a choice

(From North Korea's 007)

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 10 years ago

It becomes more complicated when you realize that those who run your society don't even know what's in their own best interests, not to mention the interests of anyone else. At that point love doesn't even seem to come into the equasion.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 9 years ago

I think many of the people who are at the "head roles" of society have mental problems.

Sociopaths, not necessarily violent either. But they have a complete disregard for others, lacking a necessary emotion - empathy.

[-] 2 points by GypsyKing (8708) 9 years ago

Yes, agreed. In a society based more and more on simple competition, it really shouldn't surprize us that the most aggressive (and therefore the most narcissistic and sociopathic) end up on top. That is why we so desperately need a Fundamental change in our overall ethic.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

the movie is about compassion and cooperation being humans greatest ability to prosper


[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

Are people good or evil?

Some folks say In God We Trust all others bring data.

Before you look at the data you have to figure out what to measure. If you measure human good by evidence of our success at improving the lot of our fellow humans then lets measure that:

Improvement in life expectancy: up 60% in the last 100 years.

Eradication of disease: down by 75% in the last century

Food production since 1960: Up 3.2 times

% of the population killed in wars: down by 97% since 1945

Reduction in % of the population deaths due to starvation: 67% (compared with the average for the first half of the 20 th century)

Slavery as % of population: virtually abolished

Drop in World Poverty since 1980: 50%

Democracy: highest rate in recorded human history

The data is pretty solid that humans are good with some particularly nasty evil exceptions.

BTW, age brings mostly the wisdom of caution. But caution is the antidote to progress.



[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago



long, but i skimmed both of them. The one on war can be summed up by its conclusion: leaders have tended to ignore wars and other problems that were going on, which is consistent with argument used in the OP.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

How do you mean that leaders ignore wars?

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

The wars document extensively details numerous cases, so I'll just quote from the conclusion of the paper:

The rhetoric and generalities were all very obvious. No one knew how to, cared to, or was able to square the circle. And as the two years of UN inability to act in the case of genocide in Darfur displayed once again, some UN member states and some permanent members of the UN Security Council actively did not want to resolve these issues. There had been no real advance in dealing with the essential problem in roughly fifteen years.

It is, of course, about politics since the people of democratic countries often don't want the nation to get involved in wars either.

Or this, somewhat longer excerpt:

By January 13, 1993, UN officials stated that 250,000 shells had been fired on the city of Sarajevo alone since the siege of the Bosnian capital had begun. On one single day (December 6, 1992) UN military observers counted 1,500 shells falling on the Sarajevo suburb of Otage. Every day the shells were “observed”: counted, recorded, reported, and the sums given to the press. They were well reported in the media, published in the press and referred to on TV. Each shell can also be considered a late “warning.” They were irrelevant to any UN or coalition response. In effect, by that mid-way date, the decision had been taken 250,000 times to do nothing, simply to watch. Pictures of emaciated and tortured concentration camp inmates in Europe were once again widely seen, in Europe and all over the world, on TV and in the press, while the occupants were still in the camps.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

Are you advocating the policing of one nation by another (or other group) ? If yes what level of miss-behavior merits intervention? Is the level for a small oil-rich African nation different than for, say, the PRC?

Do I have to send my son to die in a war 10,000 miles away from home simply because that country has a crappy government?

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Do you know why terrorists attacked the US on Sept 11, 2001? (I admit I don't know all the detailed reasons myself but know at least the general reasons)

With any war, the consequences extend beyond the borders of the countries involved even if people are inclined to ignore the conflict if those countries are poor. (US involvement in the middle east wasn't war, but the issues that were ignored by various leaders were similar.)

Um for example... the US encouraged Iraq to attack Iran, partly because of Iran's revolution which the US opposed. Due to its costs, this eventually led to Iraq attacking Kuwait, which eventually got the US and the rest of the UN involved. This led to sanctions and so on, and was eventually the cause of the second US/Iraq war in which ~4000 US military personnel were killed and a much larger number of injured or those with post-traumatic stress disorder, brain injury, etc etc.

That was a bit long. I guess you can say that both leader apathy, and wars themselves are mostly a symptom of the problem (defined because people think it's a problem when their relatives etc. are killed). So despite skimming that report I still don't really know too much about those other wars; I do know that the recent war with Iraq was pretty pointless. The more usual summary of the problems that lead to unnecessary war would be "misunderstandings + stupidity"; the explanation in the original post, and the related argument about honesty, can be seen simply as describing those problems more clearly and in a way that allows people to understand how to fix them.

The paper on population and food you linked does give a bit of confidence that we might be able to limit conflict based on population growth and resource scarcity as well.

So I am not arguing for more international 'police actions'. I summarized the problem that results as described in this thread as "signal pooling", which means the main benefits would be to individuals who are trying to be good and appear to be good but have this signal misinterpreted by others; I view this more as individual benefit (to intelligent people who try to be honest), and less significant as a benefit to society.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

As horrible as they were the 9/11 murders were criminal acts and they should have been treated as such. The same way we treated the attack in Oklahoma City; not with two costly wars.

Many Iraqi people voting in free elections for the first time in their lives would object to the word pointless used in reference to the sacrifice made by so many to give them that right.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

as well as

It's official. Maliki and his people are psychopaths. This really is a new low. It's outrageous- an execution during Eid. Muslims all over the world (with the exception of Iran) are outraged. Eid is a time of peace, of putting aside quarrels and anger- at least for the duration of Eid.


It's one thing to have militias participating in killings. This is allegedly the democracy the Americans flaunt. Is this how bloodthirsty and frightening we've become? Is this what Iraq stands for now? Executions? I'm sure the rest of the Arab countries will be impressed.


Cartoons about the shoe being thrown at President Bush

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

My favorite Iraqi blog. I searched for "elections":

“And is Iran so bad?” He finally asked. Well no, Abu Ammar, I wanted to answer, it’s not bad for you - you’re a man… if anything your right to several temporary marriages, a few permanent ones and the right to subdue females will increase. Why should it be so bad? Instead I was silent. It’s not a good thing to criticize Iran these days. I numbly reached for the bags he handed me, trying to rise out of that sinking feeling that overwhelmed me when the results were first made public.

It’s not about a Sunni government or a Shia government- it’s about the possibility of an Iranian-modeled Iraq. Many Shia are also appalled with the results of the elections. There’s talk of Sunnis being marginalized by the elections but that isn’t the situation. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s moderate Shia and secular people in general who have been marginalized.


Is anyone surprised that the same people who came along with the Americans – the same puppets who all had a go at the presidency last year – are the ones who came out on top in the elections? Jaffari, Talbani, Barazani, Hakim, Allawi, Chalabi… exiles, convicted criminals and war lords. Welcome to the new Iraq.


[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

Anecdotes are not data, just points on a curve. Insist on data before making a decision, particularly on one as important as giving up on democracy.

[-] 1 points by 1sealyon (434) 10 years ago

So should we give up on democracy because of some bad actors? Why not instead insist on an end to corruption and the rule of law?

Revolution is usually messy. It takes time to clean up the mess. It was 25 years before the US left Japan with a stable and growing democracy.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Oh, I'm sorry :P The conclusion isn't to "give up on democracy". It just provides more information on what kind of arguments can be safely used.

For example, it allowed the argument that "If you are poor, it's because you want to be or because you're stupid"... which gave evidence that, if I may describe the likely explanation, although people try to be "good" they also try to give the appearance of being selfish.

Or to put it this way: if people are inherently 'evil', then it would be evil to help people indiscriminately, right? But because everyone else is too, then doing so is completely fine and not noteworthy.

It does mean a theoretical risk that people who have not been exposed to this argument will take issue with what they see as an unjustified approach; but this argument proves that this is a necessary risk for accomplishing goals of improving society.

See for example the assassination of John Lennon.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

" they also try to give the appearance of being selfish ".

To " others " to down-play or deny their rights.

Clarify : those with money ( comfortable perhaps decadent life ) who are self involved and selfish try to project that onto others who only want to be treated fairly.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

Maybe 'selfish' isn't quite the right word, because it's typically associated with immaturity. I would normally describe it as something like "the strategy of seeking to win in conflicts" in contrast with a strategy of avoiding conflict.

In other words, such people are afraid of being seen as unhappy (the questions in the original post), and so they adopt a belligerant attitude to avoid this outcome. For someone who "seeks to win in conflicts", there would be no reason to attempt to maintain consistency to the questions in the original post, so other people will tend to assume such a person is happy when they might assume the opposite for a person in the same situation who seems more "nice".

Edit: honesty being a major source of 'conflict'.

Edit2: I'm just going to post this here so I can close the tab which I have open for some reason:
The Prisoner's Dilemma

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 10 years ago

I was going more towards the corrupt greedy reasoning behind denying others. You are correct - smiling faces ...smiling faces tell lies.

Hell look at Mittens giving a speech. His smile has no relation to true mirth or happiness it is plainly creepy and disassociated an almost missed afterthought.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 10 years ago

In a comment on Paul Krugman's blog I described it this way:

This incredulity has a simple explanation: a failure to comprehend would imply that a system of knowledge leading to that incomprehension was incorrect. In other words, not only would it mean they are wrong, but it would also mean many other people are wrong as well.

And that is something some people find hard to accept.

This is what "a broad awareness of the varying reliability of primary signals" (from work conservation) would fix, according to my understanding of the issue.~

Which is partly a result of those people concluding that this problem (topic of thread) cannot be fixed.

[-] 1 points by Craptastic41 (16) from ANIAK, AK 10 years ago

Very nice. Human beings, good,evil, by nature, are all artificial labels. It ain't quite that simple.


[-] 0 points by XenuLives (1645) from Charlotte, NC 10 years ago

Bumping to keep this on top. This looks interesting from what I skimmed of it.