April 14th, 2001

What is evil?

Is selfishness the core of all evil? I was going to argue that all consciously evil actions are symptoms of selfishness. However, animals instinctively partake in selfishness as a means to survival. Yet are they evil? Do they know morality?

Perhaps evil exists when one consciously notices that their actions have a detrimental effect on something else. This suggests that evil only exists when guilt is involved. Is that true?

It is my reasoning that evil is a human invention and can be applied only to humans. Applying evil to animals opens up a can of worms that I don't want to deal with. So, what, in relation to humans, is evil?

The scenario in the movie Slingblade pops in my head when I consider this question. The main character kills someone in order to prevent future harm to another person. He feels no guilt about the murder. Was his action evil?

In religious terms, I know what is evil. But what does evil mean to a non-religious person?



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