History Main / WhatIsEvil

19th Nov '16 6:47:40 AM Morgenthaler
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* In ''Prescription: Murder'', the ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' pilot, Columbo has a drink with the killer, a psychiatrist, in his office and he asks him to come up with a profile for a "theoretical" premeditated murderer. The killer explains that this man is probably smart, well-educated, even courageous for having the nerve to go through with murder. When Columbo points out that, despite how admirable he may appear in those respects, he is still a murderer and may even be insane, the murderer asks why, just because he committed an immoral act, that makes him insane, and goes on to say that morals are relative and conditioned, and that even if murder was repugnant to the killer, if it was his only solution to his problems then it is just pragmatic to go through with it. Of course, when asked by Columbo how do you catch such a man, he replies, "You don't".

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* In ''Prescription: Murder'', "Prescription: Murder", the ''Series/{{Columbo}}'' pilot, Columbo has a drink with the killer, a psychiatrist, in his office and he asks him to come up with a profile for a "theoretical" premeditated murderer. The killer explains that this man is probably smart, well-educated, even courageous for having the nerve to go through with murder. When Columbo points out that, despite how admirable he may appear in those respects, he is still a murderer and may even be insane, the murderer asks why, just because he committed an immoral act, that makes him insane, and goes on to say that morals are relative and conditioned, and that even if murder was repugnant to the killer, if it was his only solution to his problems then it is just pragmatic to go through with it. Of course, when asked by Columbo how do you catch such a man, he replies, "You don't".
19th Nov '16 6:47:09 AM Morgenthaler
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* The creators of [[TalkingSword Nightblood]] in ''{{Warbreaker}}'' made it to [[IntrinsicVow destroy evil]]. [[DidntThinkThisThrough They failed to realize]] that a sword would have no concept of what evil actually ''is''.

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* The creators of [[TalkingSword Nightblood]] in ''{{Warbreaker}}'' ''Literature/{{Warbreaker}}'' made it to [[IntrinsicVow destroy evil]]. [[DidntThinkThisThrough They failed to realize]] that a sword would have no concept of what evil actually ''is''.
6th Oct '16 9:07:46 PM intastiel
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** {{Defied|Trope}} in ''Discworld/CarpeJugulum'' by Granny Weatherwax, who flatly states that sin is "when you treat people as things" and that anyone who claims otherwise is afraid of what they'd find in themselves if they faced the truth.
4th Oct '16 6:14:26 AM ZachValkyrie
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On the surface at least, "What is Evil" is a stressingly valid point. Philosophers of morality have, for centuries, struggled with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem the apparently impossible challenge of objectively proving a "should"]], even as most of us deeply believe that, say, murdering innocent children is objectively wrong. Typically, heroes tend to cling to that exact deep conviction; they don't care for arguing about moral relativism, [[TruthInTelevision much like real-life people who see themselves as morally in the right don't care for it]]. You could say that this has resulted from aeons of evolutionary pressure on heroes: the ones who stopped to think out the moral conundrums got killed by the CardCarryingVillain who realized they could use this to LogicBomb heroes. Meanwhile, the heroes who refused to give in to the villain's nihilism - either out of boneheadedness, or out of a belief that fighting for what ''you believe'' in is a worthy enough goal- persevered. Out-of-universe, the typical lack of moral ambiguity in hero/villain conflict may be attributable to writers just not wanting to waste any effort on that issue, for either ideological or pragmatic reasons.

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On the surface at least, "What is Evil" is a stressingly valid point. Philosophers of morality have, for centuries, struggled with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem org/wiki/Is-ought_problem the apparently impossible challenge of objectively proving a "should"]], even as most of us deeply believe that, say, murdering innocent children is objectively wrong. Typically, heroes tend to cling to that exact deep conviction; they don't care for arguing about moral relativism, [[TruthInTelevision much like real-life people who see themselves as morally in the right don't care for it]]. You could say that this has resulted from aeons of evolutionary pressure on heroes: the ones who stopped to think out the moral conundrums got killed by the CardCarryingVillain who realized they could use this to LogicBomb heroes. Meanwhile, the heroes who refused to give in to the villain's nihilism - either out of boneheadedness, or out of a belief that fighting for what ''you believe'' in is a worthy enough goal- persevered. Out-of-universe, the typical lack of moral ambiguity in hero/villain conflict may be attributable to writers just not wanting to waste any effort on that issue, for either ideological or pragmatic reasons.
3rd Oct '16 7:23:36 PM BrendanRizzo
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* Used to great effect in ''[[http://www.yudkowsky.net/other/fiction/the-sword-of-good The Sword Of Good]]''. Hirou is told that he's required to choose between Good and Evil in the final confrontation, which he assumes will be done by the Dark Lord trying to tempt him; he thinks it's stupid because he's determined to choose Good no matter what. [[spoiler:In the end, the choice isn't so much "good or evil" as "which side do you think is good and which one is evil?", and Hirou realizes that his heroic compatriots aren't so squeaky-clean after all...]]

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* Used to great effect in ''[[http://www.yudkowsky.net/other/fiction/the-sword-of-good The Sword Of Good]]''.''Literature/TheSwordOfGood''. Hirou is told that he's required to choose between Good and Evil in the final confrontation, which he assumes will be done by the Dark Lord trying to tempt him; he thinks it's stupid because he's determined to choose Good no matter what. [[spoiler:In the end, the choice isn't so much "good or evil" as "which side do you think is good and which one is evil?", and Hirou realizes that his heroic compatriots aren't so squeaky-clean after all...]]
16th Aug '16 2:41:01 AM LadyArin
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* The creators of [[TalkingSword Nightblood]] in ''{{Warbreaker}}'' made it to [[IntrinsicVow destroy evil]]. [[DidntThinkThisThrough They failed to realize]] that a sword would have no concept of what evil actually ''is''.
30th Jul '16 12:11:20 PM StFan
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* {{Bleach}}: Inverted, in a way. When [[DrunkWithPower Kaname]] [[BlindJustice Tosen]] hollowfies, his friend Komamura says that he thought that Tosen's ultimate virtue was justice. Tosen replies that it he does in fact actively seek justice. ''[[AC:"But what is justice?!!"]]''

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* {{Bleach}}: ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Inverted, in a way. When [[DrunkWithPower Kaname]] [[BlindJustice Tosen]] hollowfies, his friend Komamura says that he thought that Tosen's ultimate virtue was justice. Tosen replies that it he does in fact actively seek justice. ''[[AC:"But what is justice?!!"]]''
20th Jul '16 9:09:24 PM JustinCognito
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[[folder:TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has the ostiarius kytons, shadowy [[Film/{{Hellraiser}} Cenobite]]-types whose specialty is - in a world where good and evil are firm, concrete things - to try and convince people that the borders of "good" and "evil" are inconstant, arbitrary things based on what the gods find squicky, and thus it's totally okay if you want to get flayed and experience true ecstasy.
[[/folder]]
23rd May '16 6:37:57 AM MaulMachine
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** Then subverted, when it is revealed that the Yeerk pools can sustain them indefinitely, so long as they're on their home world and exposed to the natural radiation of their sun. They ''choose'' to take hosts against their will.
29th Apr '16 7:44:31 PM Tehrannotaur
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* ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'' runs on this, given that there's no good or evil (only chaos), as both sides are equally corrupt.
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