Thursday, 16 July 2015

On good men who do something

History is littered with many good men, who stood tall in the face of evil.
Men who were ultimately overrun by that evil.

Yet, there are those rare few who not only stood tall, but managed to change the course of history, even if only for a relatively brief span of time...

What separates the former from the latter?

I will tell you what: Nothing.

The difference: the good men who stood behind them.

All good men are the same. All good men are one. All good deeds are equal.

Although we are easily tricked into believing it, greatness is not determined by the size of the evil it opposes.

But what if my evil is your good? Perhaps all the world needs is a concise, precise consensus and definition of evil. It struck me that the best research published in history all seem to start with concise definitions.

...And it is not something that I have seen academically well defined; only in religious writings, where it's wrapped in symbolism and code. There's nowhere where you can read a concise, peer-reviewed, well-known paper on the definition of evil.

Or is there?... https://scholar.google.co.za/scholar?hl=en&q=evil&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=
The first hit is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Good_and_Evil

Well, isn't that just a shifting of the goal posts? "Evil isn't what we thought it was, it's something different." And again, just like religious writings, acedemic writings are wrapped in tradition and definition that are meaningless to the man on the street.

Is it really a moving target, along with "good". An ephemeral concept, that once you think you have it, it changes... does it change in the same ways for different people, as they experience more of the world? And is there a definition that most people will eventually settle on, that is not in contradiction with those of another, or that if that is so, that definition could easily be swopped for the agreed-upon right one?

I dare say there is. But what if that is indeed our conundrum, and that the state of the world can be explained by how easily good can be mistaken for evil?

Let's track back to where I started:
http://www.martin-niemoeller-stiftung.de/4/daszitat/a31

Read that, translate that, colour the sketch you have in your mind of history a bit, and then re-read this post...

Do you see the outlines of an archetype forming in your mind... the same one that powers the good times that you don't appreciate with the same vivacity if you haven't lived through the bad. Or can you? Can you learn from the mistakes of others and do the substance in their story carry the same weight as what they paid for with their life, even if you don't?

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