Who benefits?

This is a followup to Aaron Swart’s weblog entry The Intentionality of Evil where he start about heros and vilains in comic books and end saying we are all good from our own point of view. I have to say I agree with him.

And people really grow up thinking things work this way: evil people intentionally do evil things. But this just doesn’t happen. Nobody thinks they’re doing evil — maybe because it’s just impossible to be intentionally evil, maybe because it’s easier and more effective to convince yourself you’re good — but every major villain had some justification to explain why what they were doing was good. Everybody thinks they’re good.

Very true. Each person has its own set of values for what is good and bad.

So the next time you mention one to someone and they reply “yes, but we did with a good intent” explain to them that’s no defense; the only people who don’t are characters in comic books.

Again, the “good” intent is good according to a certain set of values. Everybody may not see your intent as good.

For some people, personal gain is a highly praised value that can be more important than social and humanitarian ones (equity, loyalty, justice, etc.). If some people suffer from their action, they see it as a necessary evil since they value personal gains first.

But to be accepted in public, the personal gain — when it conflicts with other values — must hide behind a more “noble” intent. When something bad happens, ask you this: “Did everyone did it with a good intent? Who did it with personal interests as their priority?” Looking at the result (which means who benefits) usually gives a pretty good answer to that question. According to myself, people with real “noble” intents would refuse any gain coming from other’s misery.

So when something goes wrong somewhere, ask yourself: “Who benefits?”



hey man came across your web site and just wanted to say that u have a great point and its good to see that im not the only one who sees that. thx for the good word for my day man and till next time have a good time. grant

Claude Tyler McAdams

I would say that what is good and bad depends on your point of view… for example killing a cow to make dinner is “bad” since you had to kill something in order to keep yourself healthy. But then there is the pov that this is observed as an nessasary function to maintain your life so it’s not bad since you are doing what you need to to survive. Obviously, from the cow’s perspective this is incorrect… Which can spin off in to a discousion on what is a superior lifeform and the circle of life thing where it’s the cow’s god given duty to “give it up” for dinner time. This agruement is just one possible senrio in many that affects one’s life. I find it best not to judge others life because I do not always have the ability to account for all the dynamics that form and change a person and the situation… I think judging such a situation calls for a lot of analyzation, and is very time consuming. It’s easy sometimes if you know somebody and/or the situation well to draw conclusions based on past events or knowledge but even that is not entirely accurate. I can not judge somebody until I have walked in their shoes and since I don’t see that as an easy possiblity I can only attempt to understand and make conclusions from the data I’ve gathered… which, of course needs to be empircal before any bets are placed.

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