I recently got into what almost appeared to be an intelligent conversation on Wil's blog, so I decided to move the topic here (HA!). The discussion was centering around what evil is, and for me it takes a bit of background first.
My view on "evil" is that it's relatively subjective, just like all morality. That view stems from a understanding that life is about understanding the self and the human condition, and not about "being happy" or "achieving goals" or anything like that (though understanding may result in these two outcomes, or other desirable ones). Generally, I've come to accept that there are basically two outlooks on life that we can embrace, and what determines the polarity to which we belong is a result of our fundamental ideations, issues, and actions.
The two polarities are unity and separation. They are experienced in the context of identity - one sees the self, and the interests of oneself, as essentially the same as, or unified with, other people. The other sees the self as different, separated, and therefore there is a need for further separation and domination of other people who are not the self. The former idea implies that the path of unity is more desirable because it is more in line with reality, or the idea that all life is simply subdivisions of one intelligence and being. The latter rejects this truth and focuses upon the subdivisions (the individual self in particular) especially. I'm not going to prove this one way or another; I'm just throwing it out there to see what y'all think. Feel free to blaspheme away in the comment list below.
I don't pretend this philosophic approach is original - indeed, a great deal of it originated in my continuing study of The Law of One material. I believe this approach answers the questions why people do the things they do in the most comprehensive manner. However, the more subtle and rewarding angle of this approach is that it frames the whole good/evil debate in terms that are uniquely personal, since everything about the validity of the experience has to do with one's concept of self. Indeed, I believe this concept of self has been in flux for some time, and is reaching a critical juncture in the near future.
For more tasty Jeremy wisdom, check out my essay, History as the Evolution of Identity.Read this article