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The Concepts of Good and Evil

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Concepts of good and evil have been argued and interpreted throughout history, all leading a the question of whether good and evil can truly exist due to the many interpretations of cultures. Among many cultures we see varying interpretations over what is considered good or evil, in one culture one might find something to be good while others find it evil. These concepts are all centered around morality but due to a varying sense of morality in many cultures or even individuals the mass agreement over what is truly good or evil.

The earliest forms of good and evil are generally expressed through pantheons of gods who are associated with either side and sit on the moral compass fighting for either good or evil. Moving on in history we see the Judeo Christian belief of divine law where your entrance into heaven is dependant upon your sinful or saint like nature. In more modern concepts we see good and evil embodying your actions, individuals can have varying qualities of both good and evil and justifying whether that individual sits on either side of the moral compass is up to the society surrounding them. Good and evil today is not longer a black and white concept, there is a general understanding of the right and wrong in society but as individuals we can harbour both qualities. Differing societies and cultures play a huge role in deciding whether actions are good or evil and often we see the actions justified as legal or illegal in society. Though law is another grey area of what is truly right or wrong there are many common wrongs among all societies which would include actions like murder. Because we see a general consensus that murder is evil among human society could we agree that it is wrong? Yes and no. In many studies one will find a common sense of an impossibility toward achieving true happiness, and in some cases arguing that death itself is achieving happiness because existence in this world is suffering. Perhaps because death is the only way to achieve happiness then killing another individual would be granting them happiness. Concepts of good and evil are maintained through relative nature because it is impossible to justify something as truly good or evil.

Another argument would be that from a survival standpoint we maintain a moral compass surrounding life or death. Life being good as we keep surviving and death being bad because we are no long living. This argument can also be maintained in communities where more individuals in my community or village translates to a larger sense of survival, stronger in numbers, a larger amount of goods acquired and more potential for growth in population. In that sense we can achieve a basic moral compass with many things being considered good or evil, for example: murder, theft and vandalism could all easily be considered evil without a need for justification and charity, aid and respect being good qualities that can be the goal to achieving a utopian society, or at least in an early form of society.

Along with technological advances we see more complex moral issues arising, one of the more popular ones being euthanasia, the practice of intentionally ending a life most commonly due to suffering. In many cultures we see individuals being morally obligated to keep anyone alive as long as possible, in Judaism someone who is brain dead but has a functioning body regardless of cognition is still considered living. From a utilitarian standpoint one could argue that keeping a brain dead body alive is a waste of resources that could be prolonging an individual’s life who can be functioning to a larger extent than a braindead patient.

Who’s job or right is it to decide whether the brain dead individuals life is worth more than the more functional patient, It is all relative. Another common issue found is surrounding abortion, do we value the life of an unborn fetus more than an already born child? Is it right or wrong to abort? These questions also surround a larger question of does the individual carrying the baby have the right to make that decision. It is a question debated by many, often in many religious views we see that aborting a fetus is equal to murder, and in other views, the fact that the fetus hold no cognitive sense to this world means that they not valued as high as a born human life. The general consensus should be left up to the individual carrying the infant but the argument will not stop. Perhaps good and evil will one day be justified throughout the world but we still have an endless amount of complex situations where there is rarely a right answer. Good and Evil for now will be maintained as a relative concept as cultures, religion and society all live by their moral compasses.

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The concepts of good and evil. (2018, December 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
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