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Evil relatives


Like I said I don’t really believe in evil – except in relative terms. One relative term is down to how *alien* a particular organism is and, especially, how alien I imagine its needs, perceptions and goals are to my own.

When I look out into the universe it seems to me other people are the *least* alien thing out there. Not because I’m ’empathetic’ or can see into their worlds, that’s for sure. But because they look like me and act like me and *seem* to think and feel like me, with a few differences that are trivial compared to the difference between me and my pet rabbits, much less than between me and a carnation or a comet or a corporation.

I don’t really know what a psychopath is. I know I’ve run across people who creep me out with the overwhelming feeling they’re *pretending* to be human (Bob Carr always springs to mind) but I know other people are creeped out by different people than I am. There’s probably people I creep out the same way. I don’t know what us creepy folk would score on the psychopath checklist or what dissection of our ventromedial prefrontal cortex might reveal or whether any of that matters. I know I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s, which means impaired or absent empathy of the sort often cited as at the root of psychopathy. So maybe that’s why I can’t work out what psychopaths are. You can’t see vampires in the mirror.

I’m not about to stake out my own narrow perspective of what it means to be human as some sort of overarching viewpoint that would enable me to judge which of the tiny differences between me and other people are ‘manifestations of evil’. And I’m not about to generalise my own set of experiences and responses to the extent where I can point at someone else and say “I wouldn’t have done that in his shoes”.

Yeah, I think everybody probably gets the feeling they’ve done wrong from time to time. Or constantly if they think they *are* wrong. And it’s probably best to try to avoid doing shit that makes you feel that way – though life doesn’t always seem to offer a guilt-free choice. And from what I can see what causes the feeling differs a bit between people, but not much compared to say, between people and mosquitoes. But it’s really hard to believe they’re similar enough to even offer one of Kant’s “categorical imperatives“, much less an objective measure of good and evil.

If you believe in evil you’d be pretty fucked up if you didn’t try to avoid doing it. But if you ask me you’d probably already be fucked up by the fact that the only way to avoid it would be to keep sliding the definition around your own actions.


edited extract from an email to a friend

From → unclassified

One Comment
  1. SMiLes ..Evil is
    Still obsolete..
    The New phrase
    IS Trump or Trumps
    For Plural.. Before that
    It was Cheney.. Carr in
    Australia seem rather
    SAintly.. in
    At Least
    Me.. Pet
    Makes you
    Human too..:)


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