As I was walking across the bridge this morning I came to the not-very-profound conclusion that evil and good are a lot more complex than most people probably realize. I was attempting to compose a new piece of poetry and I stumbled upon the idea of “torture for torture’s sake”. Now I’m assuming here that torture is an inherent evil and that we can agree on that otherwise the whole basis is moot (or I guess you can use any example of something inherently evil in and of itself without outside motivation, but still it’s the basis for these musings).
So going along with this I was trying to think what is more evil: torturing someone simply to torture them without any outside motivation or to torture them with another motive such as to gain information (with the latter you could also consider whether it was being done for the “good” or the “evil” which of course would most likely depend on the individual person’s point of view)? It seemed to me the idea of the more “pure” evil (torture just to torture) was also the closest to the good. The very purity of intent suggests an honesty of motivation that calls to mind the order and beauty inherent to that which is good. So simply put: the purest form of evil, that which is evil in its entirety without any idea of the good interfering, is the closest form to the good. But would that also mean that any complexity of motivation would make something less of the good? In part that could be true if less altruistic motivations would arise in the individual. But on the other hand that sounds like a praising of simplicity and damning of complexity which by itself sounds like nonsense and brainwashing drivel.
Another question: would the purest form of the good be the closest to evil? That is a lot more difficult to fathom than the opposite, but does that mean that the previous argument is faulty or simply that it only has a one way relationship that cannot be considered in the opposite way? Perhaps it would make sense if you considered that doing the good purely for the sake of the good is also a way of not thinking of other motivations. During something just because it is the good, solely for the sake of the good, means that you are not taking into account other people or how it would help them or the situation. You are purposefully blinding yourself to the well-being and concerns of others. That could be considered a form of evil. Hmm, I feel that this topic requires a bit more thinking and writing about.
So what are your thoughts?