(If anyone else joins thread, me and doc started discussing this in comments so im copy/pasting what we already have chronologically, in the first post. Feel free to share opinions unless you want to just skip down to the current post.)
DocRossim - Glad to know someone else has the good/evil complex and it's not just me then.
Zankaru - I think everyone has it, just in defferent ratios.
DocRossim - Something I puzzled over for some time was this: What is the definition of evil? Is killing evil? And I realised that we must kill to survive in many instances -- kill to protect, kill to eat -- but I decided that the evil is in enjoying the act of killing, and this is why I don't like people who hunt for sport. Although I'm okay with fishing, because that's not so much about the killing as respect for the outdoors and passing on a skill.
Zankaru- Thats true. I dont now how hunting would fit into my sorta-half-finished definition of evil. The farthest I have gotten is that people have mental, physical, and social territory. When you are kind to someone you increase their mental territory, this is 'good'. Evil is when you decrease another persons territory, like killing them or creating damaging rumors about people. I would guess that hunting falls under 'evil' no matter the situation because we decrease the animals territory (killing them or causing pain) while increasing our own (the food / physical). About defending yourself....hmm. Requires more thought for today...haha, I am not going to get to read a single page today, so many new subjects to ponder.
DocRossim- The nature of evil: Hmm, you raise valid points. Although, reducing the territory of someone who is evil... would that be a bad thing?
Yes, you're right, doing anything hurtful, with the intent to hurt, is an act of evil (I say with the intent to hurt because there are some things that must be said to help someone which will hurt them in the short-term). And yes, it's a lot to think about...
Zankaru- A good question. I dont believe that a person can BE evil or good (gotta go change my quote now *sigh*). Everyone, no matter who they are will do good and bad things in their life. Also, I believe that it is the act that is judged and not the people in the situation. For example, a murderer does the most evil act there is by completely erasing a persons territory. Like clint eastwood said: "killing a man is a horrible thing, you take away all he has, and all he's ever gonna have." However, an executioner who kills that murderer is doing the same thing to the murderer by erasing his territory.
Haha, you sound just like my mother, she brought up the exact same point, even used the same words. I agree with you on this, I believe that it is never the physical or mental act that is evil or good, but solely the intent. For example, when a child wants to climb a tree but you dont let him and he cries, you are restricting his freedom but with the intent to keep him from harming himself, so this would not be good or evil since it has properties of both.
DocRossim- I disagree that no one is good or evil, there are and have been people who are, when it comes down to it, well intentioned and out to do good things, and there are and have been people who take great pleasure in the pain of others and who want only to empower themselves, and those are usually the people who say "there is no good and evil, only power and those too weak to seek it" -- because no one likes to think of themselves as evil.
Of course, I would say that no one is born intrinsically good or evil. Some are born with a greater potential for malice, some with a greater potential for selflessness and kindness, but a person's experiences in life will likely be the key factors as to what they later become.
I will say this though: I am not a good person. I do care, most of the time, but do not always act, and when I do it is usually because I say to myself "you should act" rather than acting as comes naturally, so I do good because I think it is what I should do rather than because I am a good person.
And an act for which both the intent and the result are good cannot be classed as an evil act -- your analogy of stopping the child from climbing a tree is a good one: there is no way that this act can be evil, because it works to prevent the child harming themself and this is also the intent of the action.
The execution analogy is more questionable: I would argue that killing the murderer is not evil, but could be conceived as wrong, but whether the executioner is evil depends on if he enjoys his work.
(That is all there is so far. This is in no way a linear thread, if you have an idea related to the topic then drop it in, you dont need to stay 100% focused on what the last post was talking about.)