The rantings of a curious man in a very strange world

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Alright, to begin my redefinition of morality I needed to determine what I was redefining. We often hear the terms good and evil being tossed around like they are absolutes but in reality they are little more than opinions. In fact, finding a way of quantifying an action as good or evil is incredibly difficult as only the most extreme behaviors are consistently given a label, and even then exceptions exist.

So I looked to the origin of good and evil to find out what they really meant. As it turns out the word good is a modification of the word god, roughly translating to god-following, or obedient. Evil interestingly enough began as goods opposite, starting out with the meaning uppity, or misbehaving.

Today we don't use good and evil as terms of obedience, but rather as terms to describe the conditions applied to those affected by our actions. So if we look at some actions of modern individuals, such as the protesters in Egypt, we will get two opposing descriptions if we use the newer or older meanings of good and evil. The protesters are clearly disobeying the Egyptian authority, being disobedient as it were and so you can say that protesters are evil. If one looks at the more modern meaning however you will see their actions as reducing suffering to the masses, and preventing future harm by the oppressive government, so the protesters are good.

There isn't a clear cut off point for when the meanings changed, though texts written before the 1700's will be using the original meanings for good and evil. Considering how many follow holy books scribed centuries before this, it is not surprising that the words good and evil are so misunderstood.

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