Challenge to Personal Virtues: What is Evil?

Here is my challenge: Is there any situation where the following definition does not apply?

1) Evil is to indulge in excess into what comes to us the easiest (or just easily)
2) The effort required to overcome Evil IS Good

Note that I am not attempting to define Good or Goodness. Also I am not trying to define Evil in the context of society. Just on a personal level when the main concern is nobody else but oneself and one’s own values.

For example: cheating on a spouse is a valid situation as long as the merits of the decision are solely based on the motives, drives, “morality” and decisions of the individual. As a result a valid question would be “Am I violating my own vows”. An invalid question would be “Will my spouse be hurt”.

The reason for the distinction is that involves principles of relativity and makes definitions more complex.

I have previously made some comments such as “Satan is Us”.  Which a rough equivalent to: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing“.  For a while that was satisfying.

In talking to more religiously minded people I realized that the belief in some overarching plan either from God or Satan is so strong that my original statement does not make a difference in positioning the personal **practical** implication on Evil.

Originally my contention was that no matter your belief in the existence of such overarching plans/forces or not, it would not change what you are to do in order to live a reasonably non Evil life.  But given the skepticism I faced, I thought I should dig a bit deeper and at least come up with a clearer definition of what I thought evil was on a *Personal* level.  So… there you have it.

Any takers?


2 thoughts on “Challenge to Personal Virtues: What is Evil?

  1. I agree with the definition of indulging in excess, for I also think that extremes are always evil and keeping balance is Essential to live a good life. I would add that evil is any selfish act done without considering others needs (which is basically everything we do, which also implies none of us are truly good). But we can strive towards a non evil lifestyle by first acknowledging our “nongoodness” and then practicing selfless acts day by day so that we can gradually step closer to Good (Salvation/God/Nirvana/etc) . Some Christians would say my definition is a false one because it sounds like Salvation through works, but it is not because it is based first on “acknowledging our nongoodness ” (I am a “sinner “) and then practicing good, not because we are good but because the good that exists somewhere else (maybe heaven) can be imitated here on earth (we can imitate Jesus) so therefore, it is all about God. Hope all of this makes sense. Peace.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I purposefully, did not state what would be a measure of excess but not having others into consideration would definitely be one such excess. The funny thing is that from my perspective even that could also be evil if in excess…

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