Friday, February 28, 2014

Some Plain Words About Evil

(From Beverly Hills Stories)

- Can you do me a favor?
- I'll try.
- I was told there's a car paid for in my name at Hollywood Honda. All I have to do is pick it up.
- Who told you that?
- A man on the street.
- Someone you asked for money?
- Yes. I see him every day.
- Does he know your name?
- I don't know.
- Did you tell him your name? I don't know your name.
- Can you look up the phone number anyway?
- Sure. Come to Starbucks with me for the wifi.
- Don't you have a phone?
- I told you last time I'm the poorest man in Beverly Hills.
- Are you still writing? Doesn't anyone pay you?
- No. Why should they?
- You just have to ask. That's how I got the car.
- "How you got the car." You really think there's a car waiting for you?
- You are the one who told me to ask for things.
- I remember. I said as long as you were going to spend all day standing on the street you'd be better off asking for a car than a couple of bucks. So you actually did it. I'm impressed.
- You should try it yourself. Your writing can't be that bad. What are you writing about anyway?
- Today? I'll write about evil.
- Do you think the man who told me he bought a car for me is evil?
- Should I give you my short lecture on evil? Or do you have to work?
- So many people ask for money in Beverly Hills. I make two dollars an hour. When I get two dollars I go into Rite Aid and buy a two dollar beer. I end up with nothing.
- I see. That's how you got that red face.
- Don't make fun of me.
- I wouldn't dare. So you don't have any money then?
- I have twenty dollars. I was walking in the alley way looking in the garbage containers and two guys from a reality show paid me.
- For what?
- To be pepper sprayed. I wouldn't let them spray me on the face.
- Good for you. The BattleCam* people the next street over, on Canon, right?
- Yes.
- We're on topic, then. Evil. Ever thought what evil is?
- No.
- I'll tell you. Evil is acting against our own good nature and being rewarded for it by the group we participate in.
- Is that the kind of thing you write?
- You see why I don't have a car.
- But you live somewhere. Where do you live? In Beverly Hills?
- With the Guru.
- Who?
- Another time.
- What about all the crazy psychopaths out there? How are they evil?
- They construct a group in imagination in which their role is the most powerful. If you kill someone the question of whose role is more powerful has been decided. Now this is where things become interesting. If we can blame people for actions only for which they are individually responsible we can never blame people for evil. They are never responsible, by definition. Evil is being dictated to by a group.
- Then what are we supposed to do?
- In theory, understand evil and be sure we don't act against ourselves for the sake of conformity to our group. In practice we can't do much of anything.**
- Why not?
- Because every time we buy or sell something and as buyer and seller try to get the better of each other we commit evil. We deny our natural good natured wish to like and cooperate for the sake of advantage from trading according to group defined rules.
- I like your idea. We aren't violent when we buy and sell things but we're evil anyways. I've always thought something was wrong. You don't think there's a car in my name at Hollywood Honda? You think the man was just being evil? Should I give up hope?
- Well I'm the one who said ask for a car. We can't accept the evil people do, we can't blame them for it, all we can do is try to be ourselves.

Further Reading: 
Three Evils
The Future Of Evil
*See BattleCam Kid
** Retribution for evil in any case doesn't require our concern: as evil cannot be loved, penalty is automatic.