Reposted from this tweetstorm
Until last year a core tenet of my belief system is that good and evil are transient properties, less tractable than intentionality. I use “intentionality” idiosyncratically but the TLDR is “behaving w/o regard to consequence is soulless.” (This btw is where pop psych understanding of karma misses the point. To shoot an arrow is to strike something w/an arrow. Whether the arrow ever “comes around” to you again is not a moral concern; that your arrow might hit a child is). (I explain this concept in slightly more detail here.
Anyhoo I was not big believer in “evil” until last year. Then for ~6mos or so I began to wonder if cosmic evil might actually be a thing. After all I cannot find much redeeming about nazi hate crimes or the spiritual black hole in the White House enabling them. “Evil” fits.
But seeing how this “evil” has unfolded leads me back to the notion of intention+consequence. Explains the soulless person in the WH & also the enablers who “should know better” (Repub. establishment) but went along for the ride for short-term political gain.
They may not have been motivated by “evil”…I cant read minds. But they stepped onto a bad path and every step takes them farther. They knew throwing in w/Trump was a dangerous act w/uncertain consequences but they fired the arrow anyway.
Turns out it was a big fucking arrow that just keeps going and debases & degrades everything in its path including the archers. Trump's soul (or lack thereof) bears the worst of this. He continually debases himself. The debasement is that its worse when he “wins.”
Of course he has tremendous power so we are all pulled into this maelstrom of debasement, criminality, violence & unreality.
“Evil” is a good approximation for that maelstrom but its source IMO is a lack of intentionality & attentiveness to consequence. This is the way animals live. (& not smart animals either.) To be human is to attend to understand cause & effect, & behave intentionally.
So I (still) won’t use the word “evil,” I use words like “soulless” and “inhuman.”
Rebecca Solnit obliquely describes what I was trying to articulate last night