Re: On Evil
I recently read a passage from Epictetus (manual, 27), which could help by answering this question: "As a mark is not set up for men to
miss it, so there is nothing intrinsically evil in the world."
What is bad? It is "not good", it is to "miss the good" (because "good" is just how you define the mark).
What is the mark? It is wisdom, perfect virtue: perfect knowledge and perfect agency.
"Perfect" in which sense? "Perfect" following my nature. My specific nature of rational life-form.
This is what FREEDOM is: to act in accordance with my nature.
What happens when I accept false judgements? It can happen that I develop "passions" (not every false knowledge engenders a passion).
The passion is a "passivity" we have related to an external object.
It means slavery, real puppet-slavery, we are "moved" and "controlled" from outside. That's why Epictetus call us "slaves", he means we are not free at all.
BUT than: if "evil" doesn't exist in itself, if our passions are under control of external objects, than what I call "bad" in me, doesn't belong to me. It's not mine.
It's the influence of an external object, it's its nature acting where I theoretically SHOULD have power, if I were more virtuous.
It is a LACK in me, it cannot be "written in my nature" because is a missed oportunity to follow my nature.
In this sense it cannot be "innate".
It could maybe be "innate" the fact that we can fail, make errors, not develop us in a "theoretically perfect" form.
We strive for autonomy, rationality, unity, etc. but we have inner and outer resources in different quantities, sometimes depending on factors we could call "psychological" or "social", "environmental", etc.
And at the same time we also have to "fight" against some more or less direct attack from outside: a simple advertisement is an "attack" which tries to cause a new passion or make an old one stronger. The social life itself is full of ambushes!
It's an everyday attemp to center the target, despite winds and body-weaknesses, as the good archers we are.
A courageous and peaceful day to you all, you archers of Zeus!