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Philosophy and Ethics of Evil: Part 1

May 16, 2014

We have a new chat seminar series exploring the topics of:

Benevolent Demons; Humanitarian Dark Pagans; Lucifer as Lightbearer - the question of evil and misconceptions in the Dark Arts, a thought provoking excursion into the misconceptions about things that go bump in the night

In our first chat seminar, we opened by discussing the question of evil.  A couple of ideas to be explored that were contributed by the group involved the definition of evil, including whether someone could perform an evil act to serve a greater good.


In this first blog series, I'll explore these questions of evil further, including whether there can be a definition of evil, and ethical and philosophical perspectives on it.


Performing an evil act to serve a greater good would include the actions of genocide.  Hitler obviously had goals and intentions he viewed as positive and serving a higher good.  In today’s world, we are preconditioned not to judge and to reject the concept of an absolute definition of evil, in our rejection of old black and white paradigms.  But if we investigate these ideas that lead to a rejection of a definition of evil philosophically and logically, will they stand up to reason?


Prior to our chat seminar, as Voidwalker and I were comparing our notes in the morning and preparing, I ran an idea by him that I had, one that I included as  ‘Humanitarian Dark Pagans’ for a subject of the chat seminar.  My idea is, if a person is a humanitarian by nature, embracing a ‘service to others’ philosophy, acting with conscious compassion and serving a greater good alongside their own individual goals, then it would not be logical for them to also be morally evil, overall, to be serving evil.  However, so many people (programmed by religious and cultural views) view dark pagans, those who work with Satan, Baal’Zebul, Azazel, Lucifer, and others dark demons and deities, as evil minded and twisted, with no ethical boundaries and a rejection of morals as a whole.  To this kind of prejudice, the demonization of dark pagans, the concept of humanitarian dark pagan when considered logically is a paradigm breaker.  


Void agreed.  Then the question in chat came up of using evil to serve good, is it possible, and this brings to mind for me some of the current visible elite who have made public statements of how happy they will be to wipe out the greater part of humanity and what a service it would be to us all and the world.  There are public statements and much evidence to suggest evil plans for a ‘New World Order’ which intends to suppress and dominate people, and kill many of them off, in order to serve a greater good as determined by the small group in charge of making those plans, called by many, ‘The Illuminati’.


TO these people , mass genocide is an evil action that serves a greater good.  They too, like myself, may consider themselves humanitarians.  They can justify their own evil actions to themselves quite easily.


So then what is evil?  Is there an absolute?  Are there any definitions?  If there is no definition and no absolute evil, then of course, the group or individual which perpetrates massive crimes against humanity can not be said to be evil and cannot be judged for their actions, and if this is applied universally, all would be chaos as there would logically be no punishment for any crime.


This question can be examined more clearly by taking a look at the work of Kant, an 18th century philosopher, in his investigation into morals.  The excerpt below introduces the most important concepts to this discussion, after which I will sum it up.


The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) is Kant’s “search for and establishment of the supreme principle of morality.” In The Critique of Practical Reason(1787) Kant attempts to unify his account of practical reason with his work in the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant is the primary proponent in history of what is called deontological ethics. Deontology is the study of duty. On Kant’s view, the sole feature that gives an action moral worth is not the outcome that is achieved by the action, but the motive that is behind the action. The categorical imperative is Kant’s famous statement of this duty: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”


Kant believes that reason dictates a categorical imperative for moral action. He gives at least three formulations of the Categorical Imperative.

  1. “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” (Ibid., 422)

  2. “Act as though the maxim of your action were by your will to become a universal law of nature.” (Ibid)

  3. Act so that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of another, always as an end and never as a means only.” (Ibid., 429)

What are Kant’s arguments for the Categorical Imperative? First, consider an example. Consider the person who needs to borrow money and is considering making a false promise to pay it back. The maxim that could be invoked is, “when I need of money, borrow it, promising to repay it, even though I do not intend to.” But when we apply the universality test to this maxim it becomes clear that if everyone were to act in this fashion, the institution of promising itself would be undermined. The borrower makes a promise, willing that there be no such thing as promises. Thus such an action fails the universality test.

The argument for the first formulation of the categorical imperative can be thought of this way. We have seen that in order to be good, we must remove inclination and the consideration of any particular goal from our motivation to act. The act cannot be good if it arises from subjective impulse. Nor can it be good because it seeks after some particular goal which might not attain the good we seek or could come about through happenstance. We must abstract away from all hoped for effects. If we remove all subjectivity and particularity from motivation we are only left with will to universality. The question “what rule determines what I ought to do in this situation?” becomes “what rule ought to universally guide action?” What we must do in any situation of moral choice is act according to a maxim that we would will everyone to act according to.

The second version of the Categorical Imperative invokes Kant’s conception of nature and draws on the first Critique. In the earlier discussion of nature, we saw that the mind necessarily structures nature. And reason, in its seeking of ever higher grounds of explanation, strives to achieve unified knowledge of nature. A guide for us in moral matters is to think of what would not be possible to will universally. Maxims that fail the test of the categorical imperative generate a contradiction. Laws of nature cannot be contradictory. So if a maxim cannot be willed to be a law of nature, it is not moral.

The third version of the categorical imperative ties Kant’s whole moral theory together. Insofar as they possess a rational will, people are set off in the natural order of things. They are not merely subject to the forces that act upon them; they are not merely means to ends. They are ends in themselves. All means to an end have a merely conditional worth because they are valuable only for achieving something else. The possessor of a rational will, however, is the only thing with unconditional worth. The possession of rationality puts all beings on the same footing, “every other rational being thinks of his existence by means of the same rational ground which holds also for myself; thus it is at the same time an objective principle from which, as a supreme practical ground, it must be possible to derive all laws of the will.” (Ibid., 429)


The core relevance of Kant’s philosophy here is the application of the maxim to moral actions and ethical reasoning.  By taking each action one is attempting to determine whether it serves good or evil to the universal level and considering the outcome, one can better be able to see whether an action may be defined or judged to serve good or evil.

The elite ‘humanitarians’ who would kill us all, like an exterminator kills cockroaches, with the same attitude of excessive masses as disposable, 'useless eaters', as they say - can they by this reasoning be said to be serving good by doing an action that otherwise would be morally evil?

If we extend this out to a universal level and everyone decided to take it upon themselves to exterminate the rest of humanity and serve the needs of only their own tiny group, the world would not be a peaceful or happy place.  This would fall into the category of evil and not good, despite their beliefs that they are serving good, applying Categorical Imperative of Kant logically shows that it can not be seen as good despite their own beliefs to the contrary.  Belief that your action is good is not the determining factor to determining whether it is truly so.  And we must recognize human nature in the equation, that we are inherently susceptible to subscribing wholeheartedly to flawed beliefs and delusions, and our minds are amazingly able to twist beyond belief into the irrational in the service of an insane goal or deity.

In considering these issues, it is also very helpful to take a look at:

Kant’s Criticisms of Utilitarianism

Kant’s criticisms of utilitarianism have become famous enough to warrant some separate discussion. Utilitarian moral theories evaluate the moral worth of action on the basis of happiness that is produced by an action. Whatever produces the most happiness in the most people is the moral course of action. Kant has an insightful objection to moral evaluations of this sort. The essence of the objection is that utilitarian theories actually devalue the individuals it is supposed to benefit. If we allow utilitarian calculations to motivate our actions, we are allowing the valuation of one person’s welfare and interests in terms of what good they can be used for. It would be possible, for instance, to justify sacrificing one individual for the benefits of others if the utilitarian calculations promise more benefit. Doing so would be the worst example of treating someone utterly as a means and not as an end in themselves.

Another way to consider his objection is to note that utilitarian theories are driven by the merely contingent inclination in humans for pleasure and happiness, not by the universal moral law dictated by reason. To act in pursuit of happiness is arbitrary and subjective, and is no more moral than acting on the basis of greed, or selfishness. All three emanate from subjective, non-rational grounds. The danger of utilitarianism lies in its embracing of baser instincts, while rejecting the indispensable role of reason and freedom in our actions.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/kantmeta/

In other words, according to Kant’s philosophy, one human cannot be sacrificed to serve the greater good of humanity.  This rules out the idea of human sacrifice being in any way acceptable no matter the intent behind it, and the elite ‘humanitarians’ who would kill humanity to serve some higher good, well according to Kant’s philosophy they are again disqualified and shown to be serving evil and simply deluding themselves, and others.

Several weeks ago a friend sent me this scene from Cloud Atlas, as he said, 'Ignorance is bliss' - a concept that also came up during the chat

The blog continues after the video below.




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Adelphia D. Blood

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Adelphia D. Blood, -site founder


These people are lambs literally led to the slaughter, being killed in ignorance that they will be used for food for the rest of the survivors of this utilitarian useage of humans as meat, a definite example of using humans as means, and not ends, and an evil act of mass murder that can be interpreted as serving a higher good.  After all, the elite group who perpetrated this, controlled the masses, and kept this secret from them, fed the rest of the people, right?

To be continued in Part 2 here below, tomorrow!

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