#3: The Evil of Gravity

torbenm

Registered User
Validated User
#2
Evil is most often considered unnatural in the sense that when bad things happen, you only associate it with evil if there is a conscious act behind it. This makes it hard to think of evil as a natural force.

Only if you personify natural forces as gods or spirits who acts wilfully for their own purposes can you define evil as a natural force. And even in this case, the evil is not so much in the how as in the why. A storm is only evil if its purpose is to destroy life or property, not if its purpose is to distribute heat and water so places don't become to hot, cold, wet or dry (even if the storm in passing causes local destruction of life and property).

A natural force that is purely destructive could be labelled evil, but I find it hard to envision such. Fire is destructive, but in a controlled form it supplies heat and light, so it is hard to see this as purely destructive. Radioactivity kills, but it can be controlled to use for medicinal purposes and in nature it also helps evolutionary progress by causing mutations. So, again I can't see it as purely destructive. Even total matter-to-energy conversion isn't purely destructive, as the energy can be useful. So it would take something like complete annihilation of mass and energy to have pure destruction, but that would not really give the evil feel you seek. I think you do need conscious acts of cruelty or destruction to have evil.

As mentioned before, associating natural forces with conscious entities might work, but an alternative is to have the evil aspect be a result of a certain (non-universal) concept of morality. For example, a society may view any dealing with the spirits or bodies of the dead as evil, so any magic that deals in these matters will be considered evil. Likewise, any magic that requires sacrifice of living entities may be considered evil. Neither of these are universally considered such. In the old testament, sacrifice to God is considered natural, even human sacrifice is accepted, and in many societies (even modern) communication with the spirits of the dead is thought of as a good thing. Some societies even consider all forms of magic evil. Good Fantasy literature often explores the difference is moral views between the society at large and practitioners of certain kinds of magic that are generally considered evil.

At the other end, we have Cthulhu-style "Old evil", which is generally thought of as entities that want to replace all life with something else. Usually not absence of life (if we consider these entities to be alive). Worshippers of such entities are usually self-destructively vengeful, mad or misguided or have been promised power in the "new order", but since their purpose is at odds with the society as a whole, they are considered evil. But some of them may generally believe that the new order is better than the current situation, that they replace a corrupt world by a new, innocent world. So, ultimately, it is again a matter of conflicting moralities.
 

xenongames

Roleplayer
Validated User
#3
There seems to be a tendency to associate Evil with Chaos and Good with Order.
Order, altruism, preservation, and renewal are all marks of this opposing force to evil.
When in fact, preservation and order can be evil incarnate. "Why do you mutilate your daughters?" "Because it's always been done." In these cases, only change and upheaval, a cultural storm as powerful as any hurricane, can oppose the evil forces of stagnation and tradition. There can be no renewal without destruction, and if the status quo is evil, then destruction is actually a force of good.
 

Tark

Da ork dats muckin about.
#4
Here's the problem with some of the things you just said: perception. People believe what is evil based purely upon perceptions and images. Bat's snakes, and spiders are not evil by any means but people even in an educated modern society still use these creatures as symbols of darkness and terror.

What you have done is expanded on the article by bringing in the point of perception. In the examples I gave there are examples of people within the stories who view such forces as malevolent but not inherently evil. About 99% of the characters in star was associates the dark side with evil and yet the only representatives of this dark force are it's priests and martial artists in the form of Sith or the few creatures in the universe that actually use the dark side to their will.

In other words you don't have to have any giant divine bogeyman to represent your force as evil you only need to associate it with something that has already gotten that reputation in the eyes of man either through hostility or misunderstanding.

xenongames said:
There seems to be a tendency to associate Evil with Chaos and Good with Order.
Quote:
Order, altruism, preservation, and renewal are all marks of this opposing force to evil.
When in fact, preservation and order can be evil incarnate. "Why do you mutilate your daughters?" "Because it's always been done." In these cases, only change and upheaval, a cultural storm as powerful as any hurricane, can oppose the evil forces of stagnation and tradition. There can be no renewal without destruction, and if the status quo is evil, then destruction is actually a force of good.
True but keep in mind the stereotypical good guy of classical and eastern fantasy is the orderly knight. More people probably spat on Robin Hood then considered him a good guy.
 
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#5
For those of a Potentium bent, the force is not inherently good or evil, and that which is termed the "dark side" is only corruptive due to the intent of the user/ self-control over the power high from such control. Going back to what torbenm said about society portraying certain sects of magic being viewed as evil, necromancy (obvious example) may not be use an evil energy source but would corrupt an individual if they began to view people as one knife thrust away from being a slave.
 
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