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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

The nature of good and evil


aevogt
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I'm drawing to the end of this reread and it has started to occur to me that the very nature of good and evil will ensure the turning of the wheel.

 

In order for good to truly triumph, the forces on that side would have to completely eradicate all evil, right down to the DO itself.  We've seen that in order to do so, the light becomes as dark as the Shadow itself, ie, Aridhol and to a lesser extent the Whitecloaks.  If the Light simply crushed all those who do evil, not necessarily darkfriends, soon all that would be left would be one very lonely virgin.

 

Evil on the other hand seems to have the advantage, but only on the surface.  Those who are truly evil cannot win because their very nature makes it impossible.  They must toy with their enemies (and subsequently, often get caught monologuing about their inevitable victory.

 

If the Fade that Rand had encountered in the hallway in Baerlon had had orders to kill him on site, rather than crazy ole Ishmael's plan to turn him, TG would have been over before it was even fought. 

 

Rand has been at the mercy of several of the Chosen on numerous occasions yet none have taken advantage of the situation and whacked him.  They could certainly take some lessons from Michael Corleon.  Two in the head, one in the throat = problem solved; job done and dusted.

 

Examples, (of which there are many more)

 

Moridin'Ishmael could have killed him in Shadar Logoth

Ossangar/Dashiva - Could have killed him at any time after Dumai's Wells

Lanfear - Had him sheilded in the Stone, yet sent him on his merry way to reclaim Callandor.

Arangar/Halima could have killed either Mat or Egwene whenever (s)he wanted.

Semihrage could have killed Mat in Ebou Dar. (She at least massacred the Seanchan royal family – you go girl)

Mesanna - Once she knew Rand was kidnapped, she could have skimmed there and killed him in his box. 

 

Game over.  DO can pass go and collect $200.

 

We know that the standing orders of the DO are to "let the Lord of Chaos rule".  There is obviously something deeper there than the simple desire to turn the Light's champion to the shadow.

 

My point is that if you're going to be evil, then be evil.  Don't mince around doing things half assed.   

Two words - killing spree.  Now that's evil.

 

To the Chosen I say if the DO wins, the Serpent dies, the Wheel grinds to a halt and there won't be anything left so why bother building and preserving your stupid little fiefs. 

 

Or, are the forces of good and evil actually part of the symbolic yin/yan that drives the universe like saidin and saidar.  Without one, the other has nothing to push against and would also fail.

 

In the Age of Legends, said to be a Chora lined paradise where war was forgotten, there was still evil.  From grouchy pedestrians, shadey investment bankers and sadistic doctors, to the generic evil of jealously (see Lanfear of Ilyena and Demandred of LTT) there was evil everywhere, even if the source of it wasn't at that time known.  They even developed devices to bind evildoers from their simple pleasures.

 

So it begs the question.  Is Evil with a capital "E" stupid with a capital "S", or just far more subtle than a human could possibly imagine?

 

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Guest The Thin Inn Keeper

You'd hope that theres some greater plan that the DO and his cronies are working to.  :-\

 

I have an image of Rand being strapped to a large table, a circular saw/ laser slowly moving toward his genitals while one of the Forsaken stands over him gloating. He's wearing a paramilitary outfit and is explaining the masterplan (something to do with channeling the Source in order to drain the banks of the world) while stroking an overweight Persian cat. Whose name is something like Mr. Snuggles.

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While Rand is sowing such chaos, it is useful for the Shadow also to have him live, if somewhat risky. Let the Lord of Chaos rule was the Dark One's order, and indeed, a lot of the world's recent wars have been over Rand.

 

Good is order and cooperation, people living in peace with themselves and their surroundings. In the last few thousand years, the world has become less good, despite the Shadow not winning, sentient beings have become sparser, the world less. The Dark One seeks to continue with this, thus it is good for him when there are as many wars, as many rebels, opposing factions, refugees as possible.

 

The world is perceived in scales, one is good versus evil, evil is that which is not good. The Dark One is evil, he seeks to destroy the world that is; what he will make of it afterwards, is not known, but he opposes that what is in the world, he seeks to do evil. His motivations are not clear, for this world, as an outside force, he is purely evil, but whether he wants to make a plaything of the world or simply get rid of it, it is not known.

 

The Wheel and the Pattern are neither good nor evil, they exist, however they are made by the Creator, and their making is an act of good, there is more of that which is good in the world. Whether the Creator has a further purpose for the Pattern is not known, yet its existence is clearly to the good.

 

So, the Dark One is the ultimate evil from the point of view of the world, yet the evil of Shadar Logoth is just as evil-- they both seek to destroy that which is good in the world. Evil, just like Shadow, is a lacking.

 

However, the way a single person sees the world differs from the way the Dark One sees it; what a person perceives as evil is different from what the Dark One perceives. Evil is evil, the diminishing of that which is good, but while a person will perceive the diminishing of his surroundings as evil, the Dark One's evil diminished the whole world. The Dark One does not perceive his actions as evil, or seek to do evil, his actions only lack good and are bent to remove that which is good. To this point, the experiences of people lack significance, since the Dark One does not perceive them, what is significant to the Dark One is that his actions remove life and cooperation between sentient beings.

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    I agree with Graendal's Favorite. The Dark One and The Creator are the 'gods' of this story. A human being cannot comprehend a god's thinking. Even the Chosen can't see everything, so cannot know what the DO is up to. They don't even know themselves if thier promise for eternal life is guaranteed. Who knows that the DO isn't laughing his )&% off watching the Chosen (his so called favorites)scheming against each other and working on his (the dark one's) evil plans when the dark one has sent another forsaken to disrupt the others. (Ex. Aginor is told to destroy this city, Moghedien's job is to save it)

 

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Moridin'Ishmael could have killed him in Shadar Logoth

 

Moridin wanted Sammael dead more than he wanted Rand dead, which is why he helped him. Sammael broke the 'no kill' agreement. Moridin was also still abiding by that agreement.

 

Ossangar/Dashiva - Could have killed him at any time after Dumai's Wells

 

And tried to, but failed, Morr being the only casualty. Bear in mind that Dashiva had to be aware of Rand's power, and knew that Rand had Callandor, albeit in the Stone. There's a debate somewhere on here about why Dashiva let Flinn heal Rand after Fain slashed him with the dagger. Again I think it's mostly agreed that Dashiva, like the rest, wanted to survive TG, which meant that Rand had to kill as many of the Forsaken (apart from him) beforehand, so that Dashiva could rise to glory and Nae'blis.

 

Lanfear - Had him sheilded in the Stone, yet sent him on his merry way to reclaim Callandor.

 

Lanfear simply wants power, I dont think she particularly cares whether it comes from the Dark or the Light. She knows what Lews Therin / Rand can do with Callandor, and she wanted part of it.

 

Arangar/Halima could have killed either Mat or Egwene whenever (s)he wanted.

 

But surely Egwene was more useful to the Dark alive, than dead? Alive she is a living breathing pawn, to be played at some time in the DO's game. Halima was spying on her, we know that much from the maids that Halima killed and replaced. I also think (from the fact that whoever beat her used the Power but Sheriam didnt sense them until it was too late) that Halima was the one to beat Sheriam. Sheriam said she 'wished she'd never spoken to anyone in the Hall' - I think this was Delana, who had passed on the information to Halima. Mat is simply lucky. He has a knack for staying alive. Again though Halima had to know him for Ta'veren, and tied to Rand. Likely she knew the grandeur he would come to and thought it best to simply keep tabs on him for now, perhaps they could use him in the future.

 

Semihrage could have killed Mat in Ebou Dar. (She at least massacred the Seanchan royal family – you go girl)

 

Yeah, she could, you're right there, but personally I think Semirhage and Graendal are in cahoots for something, probably to do with Rand and his mental state. Semirhage knew that Mat was her free ticket to Rand.

 

Mesanna - Once she knew Rand was kidnapped, she could have skimmed there and killed him in his box. 

 

And revealed herself.

 

Remember that what ALL the Forsaken want, more than ANYTHING, is to be Nae'blis. But to be Nae'blis, they have to be better than the others - indispensible to the Dark One. Encouraging the others to fail, or aiding Rand to kill them has to be somewhere towards the top of their list of things to do.

 

 

We know that the standing orders of the DO are to "let the Lord of Chaos rule".  There is obviously something deeper there than the simple desire to turn the Light's champion to the shadow.

 

Yup, there is a prophecy which says 'Order will burn to clear his path', referring to Rand, and I think that the DO knew that whilever order was prevented, Rand couldnt quite get to where he needed to be. Also it pitted the Forsaken against each other, apart from the uneasy alliances they made. I think the bottom line is that the more trouble they could cause for Rand, the better.

 

My point is that if you're going to be evil, then be evil.  Don't mince around doing things half assed.   

Two words - killing spree.   Now that's evil.

 

But throughout history, the true evil people have been highly intelligent - it's an unfortunate fact that you don't get very far without a sharp brain in your head. Also, the Forsaken may be on the side of the Dark One, the 'evil' side, but they each went over for their own reasons, none of which were 'because i want to kill people'. Semirhage is probably the most truly 'evil' of them all - the rest simply want the Power and Control which the DO has promised them upon his victory. It is greed which drives them, not bloodlust.

 

To the Chosen I say if the DO wins, the Serpent dies, the Wheel grinds to a halt and there won't be anything left so why bother building and preserving your stupid little fiefs. 

 

Or, are the forces of good and evil actually part of the symbolic yin/yan that drives the universe like saidin and saidar.  Without one, the other has nothing to push against and would also fail.

 

Yes i think they are. The symbol of the Aes Sedai / Rand is the yin/yan, the seals are all yin/yans and I think it is clear that everything has it's counterpart - Rand and the Dark One, Egwene and Taim (leaders of the opposing towers, i'm pitting them against each other) and so on.

 

In the Age of Legends, said to be a Chora lined paradise where war was forgotten, there was still evil.  From grouchy pedestrians, shadey investment bankers and sadistic doctors, to the generic evil of jealously (see Lanfear of Ilyena and Demandred of LTT) there was evil everywhere, even if the source of it wasn't at that time known.  They even developed devices to bind evildoers from their simple pleasures.

 

Which is quite a religious view of evil, dont you think? Jealousy is not really an evil, unless you are thinking of the Seven Deadly Sins. Otherwise, it is a natural state of mind that a person attains when someone has something which they want. Generally when they know that they will never get it, but they want it anyway. But it isnt 'evil', in my eyes.

 

When we are talking about 'evil' in every day life, I think we have to really define evil. To me, evil is someone who wakes up in a morning and goes to sleep at night thinking of nothing else than bringing death and destruction to a person, people or other organisation of some sort. Who wants nothing more in life than to see someone or something fail. Being grumpy I wouldnt really call evil, perhaps bad-natured, but not evil. Just because I shouted at the woman who didnt set off quick enough from the traffic lights this morning doesnt mean i'm evil, I was just running late for work and she made the situation worse with her dilly-dallying.

 

So it begs the question.  Is Evil with a capital "E" stupid with a capital "S", or just far more subtle than a human could possibly imagine?

 

I think evil is a very strong word and comes in many guises. I also think that 'Good' with any sort of capitalisation doesnt exist. I defy anyone to find me someone in this world OR that which is completely good. The notion simply does not exist. Galad is most likely the closest we have to 'good' in Randland, but in my mind he isnt wholly good. He does what he thinks is right, but that doesnt always mean that he is GOOD. Think of the nicest person you know, who abides by every law, never swears, drinks or causes a disturbance. Can you guarantee me that they've never had a bad feeling towards anyone in their life? That they've never felt jealous, or angry, or selfish?

 

;D ;D

 

EDIT - sorry, got a bit carried away there. Yes I agree that good and evil must always exist to ensure the turning of the world and the wheel. Without evil, or the dark, there would be only good and eventually over time greed or malice would seep in and some would become evil again, and vice versa.

 

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Define "Good".  Define "Evil".

 

Without intimate, ultimate knowledge of consequence, either definition is impossible.

 

Here's an example:  Back in the early 1950's it was recognized that Kenya had a terrible infant mortality rate.  Most of the world's relief organizations responded.  Immunization and vaccination programs abounded.  As a result, thousands who would have died were spared.

 

A good thing, right?

 

Maybe.

 

Kenya also has a long-standing cultural tradition of very large families.  Over the centuries it was noticed that the elderly needed the support of 4 adult children in order to sustain them.  It was also noted that in order to have 4 children survive to adulthood, a couple need to have 14 because 70% of the children born would not survive.

 

As a result of modern medicine and a fairly stable culture, the child survival rate rose to 10 out of 14.  Now instead of 70% dying, 70% were surviving.  When those 10 reached adulthood and married, they also had large families because that was part of their culture.  An incredible population boom resulted, putting enormous strain on the society and its resources.  Famine became a constant spectre.  That led to civil strife and lawlessness.  Many of those who survived due to modern medicine later succumbed to starvation or violence.

 

So, how "good" was the introduction of modern medicine to such a culture, after all?  Is there such a thing as "better" or "worse" when it comes to a choice between dying from a preventable childhood illness or dying later from the results of the inevitable famine?

 

Since nobody can know with certainty how anything will turn out, all anybody can do is what they believe to be best, at the time, with the information at their disposal ( no matter how flawed that info is ), and hope for the best.

 

History ultimately is the only judge of whether that thing was good or evil.

 

 

 

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This is an interesting little topic going on here. Unfortunately it is very hard to find an actual pure evil human being. It seems in Randland no one turns starts to follow the DO just because they like evil and the strife that he can cause, it is always to gain something. Take Aglemar (I think that's right). He was probably the last person any one would expect to be a darkfriend. He turned to the DO to help protect his family, and to help keep the blight out of his home land a little bit better. He felt he had no choice, but I don't think any of us would sit here and call him evil.

 

His reasons were so much simpler than the forsakens in my opinion. The Forsaken went over probably for two major reasons. The connection with this "new power" (something they felt would be so much more than the One Power, and we've seen how much of an affect even that has on people when it comes to letting go of it); and the idea that they could be some thing better, some thing more than every one else. I've only read a little of the BWB, but it says that money and material goods were not what people strove for in the AoL. People wanted to be recognized in rank and honored for their accomplishments. Just as some people never strive to be millionaires today I'm sure there were people who didn't go out and try to achieve sociopolitical greatest, yet there were other's who did. Lanfear is a prime example. She has grand illusions of over throwing the DO himself. She wants the highest recognition, the highest station, and the most power there is. Asmodean (I spelled that wrong didn't I) wanted to be the greatest artist. He wanted to be the end all say all to music and art. He hooked himself up with something/some one he thought would be able to get him to that point.

 

Most people, evil or not, do not commit senseless violence. They do not see themselves as evil for killing or enslaving people. They always have a way to justify it. There are few people who kill just to kill, and even fewer who kill just because they thought they could get away with it at the time (meaning they had no reason at all to kill any one and they do not necessarily enjoy killing or causing pain...they just had the oportunity so they take it). Any ways my point is I doubt that any one in Randland turned to the DO just to be allowed to do bad things. They had their own reason, even if it was the fear of death. Some are just willing to go that extra bit farther once to get what they want after they've turned.

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There is a difference between perceived good and good in general. To judge whether are person is a good person, one would consider whether his actions are good. So first of a good person will intend good with his actions, and also he must have a reasonable understanding of matters so that he puts in effort to find out whether his actions can reasonably be expected to produce a good outcome. He will openly consider what is best overall when deciding on his actions. Good-intending in itself is pretty much the same as misguided. The crucial indicator is intention and effort put into the correct action.

 

There are different degrees to this, naturally, and a person must do good to himself, too. Some people are better at being good than others.

 

The same for evil, an evil person is such whose actions lack good. He does not intend to do good with his actions, nor does he consider what the effects of his actions will be overall. Such a person can be misguided or ill-willing, nevertheless he is oblivious to the existence of good. A Person who seeks to destroy what is good, for the sake of it, would naturally be most evil.

 

Nevertheless, things are how and what they are regardless of how and what they are judged!

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And my point is that no mortal, fallible being has the capacity to accurately judge.

 

The most we can do is to put our own personal interpretation on an act.  But we can't 'know' whether that act is truly good or evil because we aren't capable of seeing all the way to the ultimate outcome of the act.

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However, it is always better to try, at least when it comes to one's own actions. To that end, it is useful to study what happens in the world, that one can become better at applying oneself to the world. And one could argue whether or not there is an ultimate outcome, a moment that is more important than another. One must use one's personal judgment and resources that are available, and hope to find the way to good.

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[Disclaimer: I am not a Christian, nor a huge fan of the Abrahamic faiths, but they make good examples]

 

There is a difference between perceived good and good in general. To judge whether are person is a good person, one would consider whether his actions are good. So first of a good person will intend good with his actions, and also he must have a reasonable understanding of matters so that he puts in effort to find out whether his actions can reasonably be expected to produce a good outcome. He will openly consider what is best overall when deciding on his actions. Good-intending in itself is pretty much the same as misguided. The crucial indicator is intention and effort put into the correct action.

 

There are different degrees to this, naturally, and a person must do good to himself, too. Some people are better at being good than others.

 

Do you realize that you just called Hitler good and Jesus evil (not exactly evil, but not good). Hitler intended good with his actions, he believed that he had a reasonable understanding of matters, and he put an effort to find out whether his actions could produce what he considered a good outcome. Was he misguided? No racist would say yes, but probably every Jew I've ever met would. Hitler did what he thought was best for his people. In the long run we actually did get some unexpected,and horribly gained, "good" out of the horrible things that went on in concentration camps when it comes to advancement in medicine.

 

Jesus, you could say, did not do good to himself (if you believe the stories). He allowed himself to be tortured, humiliated, and killed in a very painful way in order to "save" all of humanity. He is one of the few completely altruistic individuals in history. A war hero risking his own life, running into gun fire to get the radio and call for help is not being good to himself, for being good to yourself would be keeping yourself hole and safe; however, I don't know any one who would not consider that an honorable, noble, and most definitely a good deed that could save several lives. Yes these are extreme examples, but they prove my point. Though mortals are fallible we can still judge right and wrong, you do not need religion or omnipotence to have a good or bad morals.

 

 

The same for evil, an evil person is such whose actions lack good. He does not intend to do good with his actions, nor does he consider what the effects of his actions will be overall. Such a person can be misguided or ill-willing, nevertheless he is oblivious to the existence of good. A Person who seeks to destroy what is good, for the sake of it, would naturally be most evil.

 

This goes back to what I said before. What you call an "evil" person rarely thinks his actions lack good or are bad at all. Some of them think they are actually doing good (mostly when they are considered misguided by the rest of the general population). The best example I can think of at the moment is a hard core, brought up hating so I'm going to keep on hating, racist. Racism usually runs deep and is either learned from birth or something horrible happened that distorted a persons mind into hatred for a person or people. Once you start hating it is incredibly hard to stop (take me a Walgreen's, I hate Walgreen's I will always hate Walgreen's and it's technically not even Walgreen's fault!). Now when a racist takes the life, or we don't even have to go that far, when they harm a person that they hate so deeply they are doing it because they feel justified and right. Is that person oblivious to the existance of good?? You go tell a member of the KKK that they are oblivious to the existance of good. They go to church, they believe in God, and they believe they are doing God's work.

 

Real evil doesn't usually realize it is evil. That is the scary truth of it.

 

Now that is real life, what about books. Usually in books the bad guys know they are the bad guys. They know they follow the DO and they know they are only out to get what they want along with every one standing next to them. But in Randland we also have a few groups who believe they follow the light...but some how got things just a bit wrong.

 

Like the Whitecloaks (one of my favorites  :D) They torture you into walking in the light...how delightful! Talk about evil thinking it is good. The Seanchan...collar living beings because they were born with a gift. Granted I believe Aes Sedai (well most groups of the women channellers in Randland really) need to be punished or taken down more than just a few notches, but collaring them and keep thing them as pets is unexceptable to me, and to those in Randland that have never seen it before. The Seanchan on the other hand see it as perfectly natural that every woman who can channel being in a collar and some thing that absolutely has to be done no matter what it takes to achieve that goal (and making sure that these women are submissive no matter what it takes to get them to that point as well.) So what is evil? To quote an Eddie Murphey movie: "Evil is good!" For without evil there would be no good.

 

*EDIT: Sorry I should have explained that the evil is good thing is not my personal belief, but it's something fun to chew on for these kind of topics.

 

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You're all kind of making my point for me.

 

If you want to win, kill your enemy, don't play with him.  Rand tries, I'll give him credit but he is still weak.

 

The inherent nature of evil, to gloat over a fallen opponent, to manipulate ones enemies, etc., will preclude victory for those who seek to win by doing evil.

 

Good on the other hand, is hampered by things like not killing an unarmed opponent, not killing women, even if they're evil, etc.

 

That is why it's an eternal battle, neither side is truly capable of doing what it takes to ensure the final victory, because it would go against their very nature.

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You're all kind of making my point for me.

 

If you want to win, kill your enemy, don't play with him.  Rand tries, I'll give him credit but he is still weak.

 

But in this example, in the WoT books, that theory doesnt really work when applied to the Dark Side. The Dark Side isnt a unified front. The only thing they have in common is that they want the DO to prevail.

 

When discussing the Forsaken as the 'pinnacle' of the Dark Side though, short of the DO himself, it is NOT in their best interests to kill Rand. They fully believe that the DO can and will kill him at TG, and when he does, they ALL want to be Nae'blis. Seeing as it IS in Rand's best interests to kill all of the Forsaken, to minimise his opponents at said TG, it is therefore in the Forsaken's best interests to keep him alive - to allow him to pick off all of the other Forsaken. THEN when they get to TG, they hope to be the only one left, and when the DO kills him they will be Nae'blis, almost by default.

 

I think ultimately, it is impossible for us to point the finger at the ordinary layman and say "you are evil". IT is all a matter of opinion. I am sure that the Jehova's witnesses who knock on my door every few months think that I am an evil soul for being quite blunt with my opinions - I do not believe in God, I do not believe I will go to another place when I die, I believe my body will be burned, my ashes will be scattered and my family will carry on. Full Stop. They probably think I am evil. From my point of view however, I find their insults, threats and promises of eternity in hell to be - whilst not such a strong thing as 'evil' - less than 'christian-care'.

 

It is all relative. Those grumpy pedestrians that were mentioned, they're not evil, evil is far too strong a word. The mouthy, swearing, drinking youths who loiter on many street corners in the UK aren't evil, they've just been failed by their parents. Hitler, in my view, was evil in what he did to the Jews, but I never knew the man - how can I say if he was evil to the bone? I'm sure his family didnt think so.

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Do you realize that you just called Hitler good and Jesus evil (not exactly evil, but not good). Hitler intended good with his actions, he believed that he had a reasonable understanding of matters, and he put an effort to find out whether his actions could produce what he considered a good outcome. Was he misguided? No racist would say yes, but probably every Jew I've ever met would. Hitler did what he thought was best for his people. In the long run we actually did get some unexpected,and horribly gained, "good" out of the horrible things that went on in concentration camps when it comes to advancement in medicine.

Mmm, no I did not call Hitler good or Jesus evil. It is possible to twist most things into anything at all, and perhaps I did not write carefully, but I certainly exactly addressed this difference between perceived good and good in general. By all evidence, Hitler was not a good person, and Jesus was. There is no doubt about it, I do not need to add that this is my opinion. My opinion does not make it so, any more than Hitler's or Jesus's, but what is is nevertheless, and the assumption is reasonable that by their actions Hitler achieved evil and Jesus good. And no they were not responsible for all else that happened, yet they were responsible for their own actions. Hitler was misguided in his effort to achieve good, and evil in his lack of seeing that he did evil.

 

This goes back to what I said before. What you call an "evil" person rarely thinks his actions lack good or are bad at all. Some of them think they are actually doing good (mostly when they are considered misguided by the rest of the general population). The best example I can think of at the moment is a hard core, brought up hating so I'm going to keep on hating, racist. Racism usually runs deep and is either learned from birth or something horrible happened that distorted a persons mind into hatred for a person or people. Once you start hating it is incredibly hard to stop (take me a Walgreen's, I hate Walgreen's I will always hate Walgreen's and it's technically not even Walgreen's fault!). Now when a racist takes the life, or we don't even have to go that far, when they harm a person that they hate so deeply they are doing it because they feel justified and right. Is that person oblivious to the existance of good?? You go tell a member of the KKK that they are oblivious to the existance of good. They go to church, they believe in God, and they believe they are doing God's work.

 

Real evil doesn't usually realize it is evil. That is the scary truth of it.

Exactly that is my point when I say that evil is a lacking the same as shadow. You seem to view good versus evil as a bipolar thing, I do not agree with this. Things can be view as good or evil, but what makes a thing evil is that it lacks good. Evil does not have a quality in itself that can be sensed, unless it is that of destroying good. It natural that a person, who does not understand what good is, should do evil: how could they recognise themselves as any different from others, when they do not recognise that which makes others good. People can have a distorted view on things, and that does mean their view is not true.

 

Certainly there can be good without evil, exactly the same a room need not have shadows!

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One thing history should teach us is that nobody wakes up one morning and decides to be evil

 

They either feel they are "compelled" to do the things they do, or they honestly believe that what they do is "for a greater good".

 

Those in the first group are classified as "just plain crazy".  Those in the second group are called megalomaniacs.  

 

Some of those in the first group are just well enough that they can perceive themselves as unhealthy.  Those in the second group think it's everybody else who is nuts.

 

Randland is a perfect place for megalomaniacs, because plainly from their behavior throughout the books, everybody there IS nuts.

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I don't know I think aevogt has it mostly right. Unfortunately it's not as easy most of the time as just killing your enemy. You say Rand tries, and in some ways he does, but he doesn't go out and stalk them like some of them have stalked him. Lanfear does not see Rand as an enemy, but as a hopeful partner. I guess all the plotting the Dark side does is so that they can try and gaurantee that they succeed in distroying their enemy, it's just that some times they get in each other's way...especially when one's plans do not line up with what the other wants. The Evil, or Dark, Side can never be a unified front unless you have one clear leader with a bunch of drones. A Myrdraal does not trust the Trollocks so will some times link them to him. This gaurantees the Trollock will do as the Myrdraal wants. That would be boring for the Lord of Chaos (ultimate over cocky jock who thinks he will always win no matter what). If the Dark One really wanted to be sure that he won he would "link" all his minions to him taking away any free will to follow their own plans for their own gain.

 

As far as good being hampered...in a lot of ways you are right in that aevogton, but Moraine and Elayne touched on this a little bit when they were trying to explain to Egwene and Nyneave that some times war is necessary for the greater good, how not acting in a way that could harm some today could mean absolute devestation for all later. The side of good is willing to do necessary bad things to get the best possible out come, but again there is a limit to how far they will and/or can go until they've slipped into just doing plain evil acts (whitecloaks).

 

Exactly that is my point when I say that evil is a lacking the same as shadow. You seem to view good versus evil as a bipolar thing, I do not agree with this. Things can be view as good or evil, but what makes a thing evil is that it lacks good. Evil does not have a quality in itself that can be sensed, unless it is that of destroying good. It natural that a person, who does not understand what good is, should do evil: how could they recognise themselves as any different from others, when they do not recognise that which makes others good. People can have a distorted view on things, and that does mean their view is not true.

 

Certainly there can be good without evil, exactly the same a room need not have shadows!

 

It is you who is calling good and evil bolar opposites: "...what makes a thing evil is that it lacks good." I've flat out said that hardly any one who the general public believes is evil thinks it of himself. I've aslo state is almost impossible to find a pure evil human being. I think there is a way to "sense evil," in both real life and in books. How many times have we seen the discription "a smile that did not reach his eyes" in the WoT series. Some one just gives you the creeps, or you have a bad feeling about a certain place, person, or thing. You cannot tell me those are feelings something "good" would give off can you?

 

Unfortunately I do not think there is a difference of a preceived good and a good in general. What is pure blantent obvious truth to one person is complete and udder nonsense to another. You're example of a person who does not understand what good is will do evil does not hold up. If you truly believe this, then what you are really saying is that the inherit nature of human kind is evil. I will say that human nature is both good and evil, and it's what we choose to act on that makes us good and evil.

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John Varley wrote the "Cirocco Jones" trilogy back in the late 70 early 80s titled.

 

Titan, Wizard and Demon

 

Cirocco was talking with her protege (whom she had tortured nearly to death when they first met) about their common enemy.

 

Paraphrasing "If I had to lie or cheat or rip his guts out, I'd do it in a second, this is the enemy we're talking about.  I just wouldn't do it to someone on my side"

 

I always saw her as the untimate pragamatist.  She understood that you can use their tactics against them to win as long as you know where to draw the line.  Which I why Aridhol and the Children fail.

 

If Rand wasn't so far towards the side of the Light and "good", he'd have killed Lanfear, (from his own mouth, she certainly deserved it) the first chance he got, and Moraine would almost certainly still be alive.  Rand's predeliction to be "good", will keep him from doing what is necessary for ultimate victory over the shadow.

 

The very nature of the sides ensures the balance.

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It is you who is calling good and evil bolar opposites: "...what makes a thing evil is that it lacks good." I've flat out said that hardly any one who the general public believes is evil thinks it of himself. I've aslo state is almost impossible to find a pure evil human being. I think there is a way to "sense evil," in both real life and in books. How many times have we seen the discription "a smile that did not reach his eyes" in the WoT series. Some one just gives you the creeps, or you have a bad feeling about a certain place, person, or thing. You cannot tell me those are feelings something "good" would give off can you?

Lol, communication is ever so difficult. I'll explain now once more what I think, but I'm not sure I'll get this expressed through (As it hasn't thusfar). Good and evil are on different sides of a scale. However, they are not bipolar, that there would be something positive that is good and negative that is evil. Rather there is a monopole, there either is good or there is not. The absence of good is called evil. This is exactly as the absence of light is called shadow. If someone lessens the good around himself, he is a source of evil, but there is no other characteristic to the evilness. I suppose it is possible to be neutral in respect to one's surroundings, though that is quite some balancing, and misguidedness in my opinion. I wouldn't place too much emphasis on a smile not reaching the eyes, people can be more reserved for various reasons, not that hiding one's true emotions too often should be a good thing, however not being open does not imply much on whether they are good or evil.

 

Unfortunately I do not think there is a difference of a preceived good and a good in general. What is pure blantent obvious truth to one person is complete and udder nonsense to another. You're example of a person who does not understand what good is will do evil does not hold up. If you truly believe this, then what you are really saying is that the inherit nature of human kind is evil. I will say that human nature is both good and evil, and it's what we choose to act on that makes us good and evil.

Well I do think, whether or not a thing is good or evil, to be completely irrespective of what anyone thinks: it is good if people see accurately, but their opinion does not change whether or not a thing is good or evil. Yes, we all have different areas and degrees of knowledge and understanding, what we say and understand others say is of course dependent on that: the same sentence can mean many things, though I can still point out that there is still some exact thing that was meant. You took a good example, because I must confess I have no clue what you mean by the sentence: "what good is will do evil does not hold up."

Mmm, I don't think humans are inherently evil, rather that they are neither. The existence of humans as sentient beings is good, and that of happy people in harmony with their surroundings better. Humans on the other hand are capable of both good and evil, it depends on their actions what they do. There is more good in a person who is happy, and such a person will more easily do good.

 

You could say we're not all that faraway in our conclusions, but get there differently. Perhaps if I narrow it down, in my opinion there is a scale of good versus evil that is unrelated to the relative scales of people, as people  may judge good versus evil in respect to their surroundings, and that universal scale goes from zero to infinite, where zero is evil and good goes on forever. A person can see negative goodness that would be evil, but I say it is merely lack of goodness.

 

But no use arguing this, we basically agree on most points. Though on some points our different approaches will lead to different conclusions, however I don't think we can really get so far in a meaningful way here now.

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Yes, that is true as far as human perception goes. Indeed, in some places a single murder is great evil, in some places, such as a war-zone, hardly mentionable. Yet the loss of a sentient being is the same. There was the first murders in Aridhol, too, but at some point murder became commonplace. That it became commonplace did not mean murder was less evil, it meant Aridhol became less good. Human experience is not all there is to the world.

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Guest Dreadlord

QUOTE

In order for good to truly triumph, the forces on that side would have to completely eradicate all evil, right down to the DO itself.  We've seen that in order to do so, the light becomes as dark as the Shadow itself, ie, Aridhol and to a lesser extent the Whitecloaks.  If the Light simply crushed all those who do evil, not necessarily darkfriends, soon all that would be left would be one very lonely virgin.

UNQUOTE

 

I see many things wrong with this passage.

 

The Whitecloaks becoming dark to fight dark is blasphemy. the Whitecloaks are the way they are because the leadership has been corrupt for so long that nobody remembers what they originally stood for. Sure people know they are supposed to hunt darkfriends, but the leadership has been so intent on personal power that that is all they do now-they vie for control over as many nations as they can. If they became dark to fight dark, why do they hunt down Aes Sedai? My understanding is that the man who had been controlling them-Pedron Niall-let his personal feelings come to much into the way of the Children. It is corrpution and greed that makes them the way they are, not the will to fight the Shadow.

 

Secondly, Aridhol didn't become the way it is to fight the Dark. It didn't even evolve as it did willingly, it just happened. I dont think there is a good enough explanation for Aridhol and how it became as evil as the Shadow (its probably the only fault I can find with the whole set, the explanation for it seems a little half-hearted). It is a neutral party, a fence sitter, waiting to kill anyone who comes close enough to that fence.

 

And, the Shadow playing with its enemy to win isn't a requirement of evil in general, in this case it is simply an order the Dark One gave. Granted, Rand could have been killed at least twice in the first book alone, if the Myrdraal in the first chapter had killed him, or if Aginor and Balthamel just started throwing fire at Rand in such ammounts that nothing could be done. I agree that they do mess about, the forces of the Dark, but the reason is because the Dark One wants the Champion of the Light, the Dragon, to serve him. The Dark would be indestructible with Rand on side, that would be the greatest victory ever in their eyes. But it isn't the nature of evil to play with their enemies, just how it comes across in this set and some others. The nature of evil, the way I see it, is purely to further their own interests without paying attention to how it affects those they don't work with. While I think the way the Forsaken work against each other is, in a sense pointless, thats the whole point of the story if you get what I mean. The story wouldn't have been written, and we wouldn't sing RJs name in our hearts if everything hadn't been written as it is.

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Darth Vader just wanted to bring order and Justice to the Galaxy. Then his son went and joined George Lucas's version of Al-Qada, the terrorist rebels. Evil Luke Skywalker and the last of the Jedi religeous fanatics.

 

Why would the dark one want Rand to die when he spreads so much evil? He may not have been as callous as the Foresaken but his death toll is far greater. Rand is already evil.

 

 

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What makes you think Rand is evil? Rand is selfless, and it pains it when people die for him, especially women. While an evil person could still be pained by death I doubt they would punish themselves as much as Rand does, unless the person/people who died were family, close friends, or long term servants. Rand is disgusted by every little thing he hears/"remembers" about the Forsaken. Surely if Rand was evil, he would look at saving the world differently, he would be fighting the Last Battle for different reasons.

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