Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Musings on Good and Evil

It randomly occurred to me that between the two maxims "Do good" and "Do no evil", the latter might be more advisable. "Do good" does not make any statement on the amount of evil committed, and thus is open to a scenario where some good is done but outweighed (if good and evil could somehow be weighed on a single ordinal axis) by evil acts; thus, the final expectation of "Do good" in terms of moral value could be anywhere between ULTIMATE GOOD and ULTIMATE EVIL. Whereas for "Do no evil", the final expectation is surely non-evil; in the worst possible scenario, wherein the person does no evil but also no good, the final moral value is NEUTRAL, but clearly it is more likely for the "Do no evil" person to do some good (perhaps inadvertently) and thus have GOOD moral value. This is best summed up in the following instructive diagram.

As can be seen, the blue line represents the range of possible moral values that "Do No Evil" can take, and the green line represents that for "Do Good". While both strategies have the same ULTIMATE capacity for good, only "Do Good" can prove evil in the end!

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