Thursday, November 12, 2015

Knowing Good and Evil

I've mentioned more than once I consider the story of the Garden of Eden the most important story in the West.

There are several meanings to this story. It describe how evil came into the world by people blaming their problems on others and then trying to kill them - scapegoating, the way Adam blames his transgression on Eve and Eve blames it on the serpent, which is a symbol of envy and hate.

Obviously, "evil" involves hate and envy and blaming your problems on others (politically, this is what leftism is).

Yet, there is more to the story.

I've always considered Adam and Eve to be about three years old. They're not self-conscious. Then after eating the fruit, they become self-conscious and realize they're naked. They also know "good and evil."

Animals, which are not self-conscious, can't be evil. They eat each other, but don't torture and maim. People do, and get pleasure from it - a sense of power, of domination, of control. And they will murder millions.

The Bible claims that Pride (what the Greeks called Hubris) is the worst sin of all and the basis of all the rest.

So, then, our self-consciousness, and our Pride, is the root of our problems. When you have that kind of Pride/Hubris, you think you are always right, and those who disagree with you are always wrong. Being wrong, they are evil, and so can be safely killed.

Obviously, we can't stop being self-conscious. We wouldn't be human anymore - we'd be the Borg, who don't have any self-consciousness, and so don't have any concept of good and evil.

These days, it's known the basis of our Pride/Hubris is our narcissism - splitting everything into good and bad with nothing in-between. We're born with this narcissism, which is why the concept of "Orginal Sin" exists.

Are animals narcissistic? I don't know - they're not self-conscious. If dogs and cats were self-conscious, would they make large-scale wars on each other? I don't know. No one knows.

If animals were self-conscious, and knew "good and evil," all of us would probably be at war with each other to the extent we'd have rid the world of them, or they of us.

I'll have to admit that while I like people individually, I don't particularly like the human race. How can anymore like beings that appear to be insane and have dealt such death and destruction to its own kind - and enjoyed it?

It's as if the human race is permanently three years old - physically grown up and grown strong, but ethically? That's a different story. Weaklings.


Mindstorm said...

Have you ever seen a cat playing with his prey? It's not malice, but it involves unnecessary pain.

Bob Wallace said...

The cat does not know this, so he is innocent.

Earl Thomas said...

Interesting thing about pride or narcissism, the only way it ever came about was because of the 'original sin'...disobedience to God.

I've also read before that the three sins of lustful passions, pride, and disobedience are actually all tied together.

Bob Wallace said...

Sure. If people suffer from that overweening pride the think the rules don't apply to them. That's why the Greeks thought Hubris was a sort of insanity.

DeNihilist said...

Bob, our cat is now aware enough that when she catches a mouse or rat, she will take it into the bathtub. She has figured out that the poor bastard can't get away. She will play with it for awhile, leave, do other shit, then return to terrorize the poor wee beasty again and again, until she either eats it or abandons it, or we rescue it.

Is she being malicious? I think not, as you say, it probably does not enter her consciousness that the poor wee beasty is being pained and frightened. But if we are wrong, she is one horrid little being!

The Obvious said...

Have you ever seen a cat playing with his prey? It's not malice, but it involves unnecessary pain.

Two reasons for that:

That's generally down to us taking cats away from their mothers too young, their mothers help to teach them how to hunt and decisively kill their prey, which is interupted by us.

Also, certain prey animals play dead, and a single bite or claw scratch from a pretend dead animal could give a very serious and maybe deadly infection, hence the "play".

Bob Wallace said...

Wild cats don't play with their prey, just kill it quickly.

Mindstorm said...

Bob, I think it's about the hunger level.