Thursday, December 27, 2012

Evil And Rage

(part ten of The Future, a comic book)

In the bomb shelter Miller and Sachs have improvised a table and 2 chairs out of boxes and old suitcases.

They set their telephones down, Gideon arranging them in a neat array. They listen to news of the missile attack, the iphone screen shows diagrams. An all clear notice soon comes. Miller nervously moves his phone away from the two of Sachs.

- Which one is Computer?

Sachs peals a price sticker off a cardboard box, writes on it "Computer",  and attaches it to one of his iphones.

- Some day college kids will have this on their t-shirts. Computer, are you there?

- I'm here.
- Give us talk about rage and evil. One, two sentences.
- Someone smart?
- A selection. Someone smart talking smart, someone smart who doesn't, then some idiot.
In my work I have to deal with people who hate me and who I have contempt for. There is no reason such people should exist. If it were up to me they'd be in prison.
- The filmmaker Jean Luc Goddard.
- Why are you so hard on Israel? Israel is not perfect, but much fairer than most states.
- Because I  have a special relation to Israel.
- Noam Chomsky, the Jewish critic of Israel.

On the iphone a drone missile falls from the sky hitting the boathouse at the Yarkon river, next door to the apartment building where Miller and Sachs have taken refuge.

- Friend sent the missile.

- Computer is not Friend's friend.
- Computer, why is Friend an evil idiot?
- Can't we have a discussion ourselves, like in the old days?
- My advice is, get your word in first. What do you have to say?
- You have already beaten me to it, by the way you asked your question. The evil doer is blinded by the nature of evil action, is prevented from knowing what he does is wrong. Agree?
- Yes. That is what we observe.
- Group rewards substitute for, take the place of perception of what an individual would know, if his sight was not on those rewards, is bad for himself.
- Bad for himself in the occupation of learning how to live.
- If you don't think about how best to live, you can't be evil.
- And you can't be evil without the group offering reward.
- Why not?
- Because then you are just making a mistake, you misunderstand the world, mismeasure the relative importance of different goals. Take cruelty. We cannot understand it without identification of our victim in another class.
- But animals are cruel too.
- Sometimes. And they do identify their pack.
- I don't like the idea of evil animals.
- That's because this is only half the definition.
- What's the other half?
- Rage.
- Jean Luc Goodard. saying his enemies shouldn't even exist.
- Or Chomsky, after dedicating his second career to uncovering the massive failure of the American democracy, then focusing attention on Israel's minor, small scale version of the same, but  done under far greater historical stress. His rage is misapplied.
- How can rage be misapplied?
- Because it is a tool. It is not an objective fact about ourselves, our character, is not determined by circumstances. It is our choice, how and when to use it. A misused tool botches the task.
- Computer classed Chomsky as talking like an idiot because his rage, his choice to let himself rage, botched the task of what, making the world better?
- Yes. Computer classed him as idiot, but didn't call him evil. Computer, so far, so far as we know, doesn't express rage.
- These are my ideas, you know.
- Not any more. The two parts of evil are first, an individual, feeling the support a group, knowingly blinding himself to action which he knows will make himself worse, make his learning how to live more difficult, making him more ignorant, set him going the wrong way in life, and also someone observing him and getting into a rage about it.
- Without the latter stage, without the rage, you get Friend.
- Who models our adversaries' thinking.
- Chomsky calls them the self proclaimed Masters Of The Universe who blindly follow their path, summarized by the slogan "Everything for us, nothing for you".
- Application?
- Evil is merely one variety of ignorance. It is one variety of destructive action. Its significance is the rage it incites.
- Why?
- Rage sets us out to do something about our own and the evil person's ignorance. It makes us creative, and being creative, unpredictable to our uncreative adversaries, it makes us into heroes. Potentially.
- Computer! Show us ourselves.
- Look: the heroes.