2020.10.21 Mindfulness of Good and the Selfishness of Evil

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The kids and I were taking an after-work/school stroll, and Simon and I were discussing Dungeons & Dragons - specifically our characters of questionable morals.

Simon knows that I don't really subscribe to any absolute concepts of "good" or "evil", as they all too readily devolve into relative and circumstantial excuses. The common joke is that we are evil, but trying to be better. Mostly. But in the context of role-playing, there are objective aspects to contemplate for distinguishing good versus evil.

What Simon described for how he and his compatriots played was something he called "chaotic neutral". In his mind, this is a combination of "chaotic" - meaning not necessarily rule-abiding - and "neutral" - neither "good" nor "evil". Which checks out, superficially. But upon further discussion about how they actually played, it mostly meant that they were "free to do what they want".

So I broke it to Simon that I think what he was playing is actually "evil".

This distressed Simon considerably, and he assured me that it's not evil - just not good. When I asked him to clarify what "evil" meant, and he asserted that it was all about intentionally afflicting harm on others. Which, I mean, sure - that would definitely qualify. But I tried to tell him that this alone was not a very useful definition - even for gaming purposes. Because while it might be sufficiently descriptive to assign to "evil" combatants the characters would face, it would be pretty much impossible to actually play a character that way. Partially because it would be nearly impossible to accomplish anything in a complicated world when literally nobody would deal with you. But mostly because it would exhausting to keep it up, since the motivation is so unrealistic.

No, I really think "evil" is better explained by systematic selfishness and general disregard others. "Bad" things happen from others being selfish more than they do from anyone or anything primarily interested in doing harm. Balancing that, I see most "good" coming from people being mindful - of others and the world around them.

Which brings me to extrapolating that to the current election here in the United States - between the Hair Sniffer and the Pussy Grabber. Or, more generally, between Republicans and Democrats.

Classically, I would balance the contest as mostly being a contest of competing philosophical methods for how to best run a country. I no longer think this is so. While the Democrats are flawed in many ways, they are genuinely trying to continuously improve - and do so while fundamentally being mindful of others and the world in general. Whereas the Republicans have devolved to being purely the party preying on the most selfish facets of people - their fears and hates.

Show me any single person who votes for Donald Trump for president in 2020, and I'll show you a person who is voting out of fear, hatred, or some other metastasized selfishness.