Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Future Of Evil
(Continued from An Old Man And The Laws)
A working definition of evil: knowingly taking benefit from serving the interests of one's group at the cost of a known loss of ability of oneself as individual to be revealed to another individual and have another individual be revealed to oneself.
Since human nature is limited in extent, the more it is destroyed, and individuality lost, the less evil can be practiced. But since the knowing destruction of human nature itself is an act of evil, as long as the species is occupying itself with destroying itself it retains its capacity to be itself.
Plato's 'Republic' imagines the completed project of destruction, where with change forbidden, private and public identical, evil is impossible. His later more practical dialog, 'The Laws', allowing private property, allows the return of human nature and of evil. But as Socrates says in 'The Republic', though unlikely, it is not impossible the imagined ideal city, without change, individuality, and evil, would come into existence.
An evil character creates in his victims a character incapable of evil. To complete the process of transforming the city allowing evil of 'The Laws' to a city free of evil like that of 'The Republic' all that is required is that the evil apply their evil character to each other. And that, as the evil compete with each other in rendering the rest of the society incapable of evil, does in fact happen. Ultimately evil eliminates the conditions of its own existence.
The Soviet Union under Stalin turned its murderous attention on itself, consuming evil by evil, until relatively unprotected by the alertness of its own evil it became consumable by the evil of American and European expansion, communist officials effortlessly consumed and processed into monopoly capitalists.
Finally, there is this to consider: 'The Republic' eliminates evil by preventing change, allowing love, albeit a dog's love, love of those around us because they are around us. Our own destiny is towards the elimination of evil by preventing love, allowing change until our destiny, freedom from both evil and love, is complete. By comparison 'The Republic' is a genuine utopia and not the ironic one Plato intended it to be. Or perhaps that was a further irony.*
*And then, shouldn't we be thankful our reality is a better teaching model than given us by our philosophers? "If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude." (Jack Gilbert)