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Above Good and Evil

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"The man who is to be great is the one who can be the most solitary, the most hidden, the most deviant, the man beyond good and evil, lord of his virtues, a man lavishly endowed with will — this is precisely what greatness is to be called: it is able to be as much a totality as something multi-faceted, as wide as it is full."

A character declares that they or their objectives should not be hindered by considerations about good and evil. Such "meaningless, fallacious false dichotomies" are for simple-minded beings, not for them. They often term them antiquated or childish propaganda, and may go on to question What Is Evil? This trope usually applies to villains, though very occasionally a hero may say 'screw right and wrong, I'm doing what I want.'

Associated with the Übermensch and the Straw Nihilist, along with any other things Nietzsche-related. Other people who can claim this trope includes particularly megalomaniacal narcissists with delusions of godhood, sociopaths, scientists who do not let moral-societal opinions interfere with their quest for empirical knowledge, super-powerful beings corrupted by power, or just someone with Blue-and-Orange Morality. It can be a sign of an Eldritch Abomination and such creatures beyond standard human morality, thus very common in a Cosmic Horror Story and narratives where Nature Is Not Nice. It can also be used to show that someone who believes in Grey-and-Grey Morality can do just as terrible things as someone who believes in Black-and-White Insanity.

The exact objectives of this character differ widely. Sometimes it is power, other times knowledge, or in the case of the Übermensch, his own values to replace traditional morality. In some cases their willingness to do anything to get there is absolute though some Ubermenschen may have a set of standards apart from the usual good/evil that they go by. In the case of darker villains holding to this philosophy expect them to suffer from Laser-Guided Karma. When suffering payback, the character rarely excuses the wrong done to them under the same principle.

Compare The Unfettered. Villains whose strong point is not logic will sometimes use both tropes. Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught is a related concept, but it's more practical than philosophical.

Not to be confused with the book Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche or the unrelated game of the same name.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sosuke Aizen from Bleach uses this to justify his depraved actions, claiming that distinctions of good and evil would merely limit his potential.
  • Emperor Charles Zi Britannia of Code Geass fancies himself as this. He calls the war between the Black Knights and Britannia (to the rest of the characters the most important thing in the world) 'mundane matters'. He sees his attempt at killing god (the collective human consciousness), to bring forth a world unified in stagnation, as beyond such worldly concerns.
  • Dragon Ball Super: King Kai describes Beerus, the God of Destruction, in these terms. When he tells Goku that Beerus tends to blow up a lot of planets, Goku immediately assumes that Beerus is evil. King Kai responds that Goku's thinking about it the wrong way: Beerus's "job" and the whole reason for his existence is to destroy things, and his destruction of things is necessary for the upholding of cosmic balance across the universe. That said, Beerus's problem is the fact that he spends most of the time he should be working sleeping and when he's awake his reasons for destroying planets are more often than not petty or spiteful (like because someone didn't give him good enough food).
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Hades sees Magic in general as this, making no distinction between "light" and "dark" magic in his pursuit of the One Magic, the root of all. His life's work involves researching the works of the Black Wizard, Zeref and his main goal is to create the "grand Magic world" where all can use magic and anyone who can't doesn't need to live, to which he sees Zeref himself as the key to achieving. Of course, it also highlights how far his own morality has decayed from the hero he used to be, especially since he believes the One Magic is truly steeped in the darkest of magics, which Makarov himself points out at the end of the Sirius Island Arc.
      Makarov: It doesn't matter if you say the true origin of Magic is "Darkness." It doesn't matter if you say it's "Light" either. Magic is alive. Its place changes over time and it grows along with us. Magic is anything you can think of. It can be felt in infinite ways... as light, as darkness, as red, or as blue and it is living freely, together alongside Fairy Tail. All of this I learned from you, Master Precht.
    • Invel Yura and August of Alvarez's Spriggan 12 have similar views, both of them believing anyone can use "light" or "dark" magic for good or evil and that in end they're both just a source of power. Taking it even further, they are both well aware their Emperor Spriggan is in fact Zeref with all that entails, and they are still unquestionably loyal to him.
  • In the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Sahasrahla describes The Triforce as a pure power that will grant the wish of anyone who touches it, good or evil. In the end, however, Ganon’s awful personality and goals are too much for even it.
  • Medaka Box: Ajimu is this, and states that life, death, love, hate, etc. is meaningless garbage. This is because she is under the delusionnote that she is a character in a comic book.
  • My Hero Academia: All For One believes that morals and ethics are empty concepts in the face of innate desires which are an expression of a person's identity. He advises his protege to never suppress those desires.
  • Yato of Noragami is a god, and therefore does not care at all and has killed many people and shinki before.
  • The Straw Hat Pirates from One Piece. For most of them, labels of "good" and "evil" generally don't matter. It's evident right from the beginning of the series, although various crew members took some time to get used to the label of "pirate".
    Zoro: Pirates are scum! Who would want to be one?
    Luffy: Does it matter? You're known as an evil pirate hunter.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Jack Atlas doesn't give a rat's ass about the Tops vs. Commons conflict or the Academia war (though he doesn't know about the latter); nor does he care about Roget's schemes. All he cares about are good and true duelists.

  • ReadySetThink mentions how the Universe doesn't care about petty human conflicts, and about morality as a whole:
    "The universe doesn't care how many people you have killed (except if you believe in supernaturally enforced Karma I guess), so you getting arrested or killed shouldn't be objectively better than anyone else."

    Comic Books 
  • The Shadow From Beyond Time from Atomic Robo might be this; in their third encounter, Robo notes that the moral dilemma it creates (possessing an entire town, but leaving them just enough self-awareness that Robo can't fight them) might be mocking the notion of morals altogether. Or it could just be because he hates Robo. Like most things about the Shadow, it's not fully explained.
  • Blackest Night: Word of Geoff Johns says that Nekron was intended to be this.
  • Roque Ja from Bone holds the "There is no good and evil, there is only power" philosophy. Unlike most others, he is actually neutral; he works for the bad guys for pay, but will turn on them if they insult him and he lets the heroes go so that they can defeat the Locust at the end.
  • DIE: The Grandmaster of Die, the Anthropomorphic Personification of the place itself, is repeatedly stated to be amoral and not immoral while being confronted. In a way, it's like the Idea of Evil from Berserk; it's simply a reflection of the humans who create it trying to give them clarity of purpose in the wishes they make doing so.
  • Doctor Fate sometimes slips into this. Depending on the Writer, he's concerned solely with maintaining the balance between Order and Chaos (in some takes on the character, he's actually a Lord of Order, so sometimes this isn't so much a matter of "balance" for its own sake and more a case of "we can't let Chaos win"). It's perhaps best seen in Young Justice (2010).
  • Fantastic Four:
    • Galactus is a Planet Eater who often uses this justification; he (and other Cosmic Beings of the Marvel Universe) claim that he will one day do something that more than makes up for the uncounted trillions of deaths he causes, which sort of falls under Take Our Word for It, since you'd have to wait billions of years to find out what that is. Galactus has always been treated not as a villain, but as a force of nature who really is above good and evil and takes no pleasure in consuming worlds.
    • One more recent explanation is that there is an Omnicidal Maniac Eldritch Abomination for which he is the seal, so if he doesn't get enough energy to keep the seal up, the entire multiverse gets destroyed — and the only great enough source of calories is planets.
    • An earlier explanation is that he's the Big Crunch, and at the end of everything, he will explode into a Big Bang, creating the next universe.
    • The part of him that is still Galan denies that he is this. In one storyline when he was depowered, Galan decided that he had to do his best to delay his inevitable merging with the Power Cosmic for as long as possible.
    • The reason Galactus has Heralds is to find suitable planets for him to consume, but they also serve to warn the residents that Galactus is coming. In theory, this allows those who are able to leave to stage an evacuation. Except that some of his Heralds turn out to be more than a little crazy, such as the extreme nihilist Stardust (whose policy is to kill anyone who tries to flee).
      • Another interpretation is that the Heralds are supposed to find him life-bearing but unoccupied planets to eat. This poses a problem (at least in the regions near Earth) in that there are at least three civilizations that span entire galaxies in the neighborhood, and interstellar travel is so easy that even Earth has multiple interstellar vehicles of local manufacture.
  • New Gods: Darkseid likes to claim to be this, but it's quite clear that if he's not simply evil, he's a pretty good facsimile thereof. One of the nicest things about Darkseid is that he's got a sense of honor (dark and twisted though it may be), which is more than one can say of most of his minions.
  • Shakara: When Eva Procopio confronts Overlord Cinnibar Breneka about how he could have gone from the greatest force of good in the galaxy to the greatest force of evil, he tells her that he has moved beyond such moral frameworks.
  • In Supergirl (1982), Barry Metzner — one of the teachers of the titular heroine — undergoes an experiment which transforms him into a mutated creature with great Psychic Powers but utterly devoid of humanity or compassion. He declares several times he is above of human laws and concepts of good and evil: " I am above such judgments as good, as evil! I am the judge! I am the ideal!"
    Barry: Do not think me included in your laws, Supergirl — for I shall henceforth decide upon right and wrong! I am a law unto myself... and you shall all follow my commands... or suffer for your disobedience!
  • Shockwave in the IDW continuity falls under the For Science! aspect. In The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, he was one of the few good higher class mechs and scientists, who strove to improve the lives of everyone and stop the energy crisis. He then had his emotions removed and his body mutilated by an enemy, he lost all of his empathy with it. Now Shockwave doesn't believe in good, nor evil, just logic. As such he feels no altruism nor malice. In The Transformers: Robots in Disguise he admits his goal is to create renewable energy and save the planet, all other mechs are raw materials or a means to an end. In The Transformers: Maximum Dinobots, Grimlock's cost him a few million years of his time, Scorponok's blown off a piece of his chest and the Humans have tried to blow him up; when he outmaneuvers all of them, he doesn't go for revenge or even kill anyone, he just leaves because he just doesn't care. His actions in the present have him creating an Ore which can resurrect cybertronians, and with it he turns life and death into mere data for him to manipulate.
  • Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen expresses this attitude. He just did not care about humanity anymore, until Laurie showed him the complexity and drama of human existence.
  • Wonder Woman: Several gods Wondy interacts with feel this way, Zeus most prominently.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): In the Pre-Crisis continuity Diana showing Odin that he wasn't above good and evil and the remaining Valkyries' defection to Paradise Island was enough to drive the old god to suicide.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Zeus is absolutely furious anyone would question or contradict him, considering his word to be the final unquestionable say when it comes to rulings and justice on Olympus. When Athena gets together a group of gods which have had enough of him to depose him, and convinces Diana to aid in her gambit by showing her Zeus' cruelty Zeus is incapable of comprehending why they'd turn against him.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Zeus decries genocide, dictatorships and war, while killing entire races off of earth for their warlike ways and trying to slaughter every human in possession of anything he considers a weapon and subjugate every nation while removing their ability to defend or police themselves. He is once again incapable of seeing those who oppose him or point out his hypocrisy as anything but impertinent fools.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse thinks morality is beneath him, instead regarding himself essentially as "evolution incarnate". When Loki tries to organize a massive Villain Team-Up in the Acts of Vengeance crossover, Apocalypse rejects membership outright since he doesn't see himself as a supervillain.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bridge: Despite being an Omnicidal Maniac who completely rejects concepts like love, friendship, and mercy, Bagan proclaims that he's not evil, he's extinction, and extinction is inevitable. This is possibly the reason why he was able to shatter a chain that grows stronger the more evil the prisoner is.
  • Harmony Theory: The murderer Charisma boasts to Rainbow Dash, "I'm not evil, hot stuff. And I'm not good, either. I'm just the best."
  • Maim de Maim: Ryuko Kiryuin throughout the first half of the fiction was practically queen of this trope.
  • Although in With Strings Attached we already knew that the concepts of “good” and “evil” did not exist among Baravadans, their attitude is codified in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World when the four enter Natives Quarter to interview the skahs about what happened over the last six years on C'hou:
    Q: How do you feel knowing there are good and evil in the world now?
    A: Those are meaningless outworlder words. Sometimes the outworlders tell us we're being good or evil when we do certain things. Who cares? We don't listen when they say those stupid things.
  • Shattered Reflection: Having the spirit of Grima, Fire Emblem Awakening's de facto devil, inhabiting her body can occasionally have this affect whenever Rose overindulges in the major power boost such an entity can provide.
  • In Out of the Corner of the Eye, Francis White and Ephraim Waite respond to Uncle's declaration that the Mythos cultists are evil by saying that they're more amoral than anything else.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Doctor from Amen remarks after witnessing a gassing that it is "quite horrible", but believes it is necessary to subdue his conscience for the sake of the ideals of Nazism.
  • Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, the textbook Type 4 Sociopathic Soldier. Kurtz praises the dedication of the Vietnamese enemy and how they will do anything to win, and argues that America cannot afford to "play fair" or care what the rest of the world thinks. To win, America has to completely throw morality to the wind and completely destroy the Vietcong with every weapon and ruthless tactic they have at their disposal, or get the hell out of 'Nam. He expressly believes that if he had ten divisions of hardened soldiers who were willing to butcher children to send a message, then he would win the war with them, and with alarming speed.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • The Joker considers himself something like this. He seems to think that everybody in the world is a sick, twisted individual deep down, and that he's the only man brave, smart and sane enough to realize that. As such he commits and incites horrific acts to try and make people 'see the light'.
      Joker: I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair.
    • Later in the film, Joker's words are "echoed" by Two-Face's apology of "blind justice".
  • In Flash Gordon, the Emperor Ming toys with Earth to see if anyone there is smart enough to recognize that what is happening isn't natural. If they think it's natural, he deems them too primitive. If they determine that it is artificial, Ming decrees them a threat and destroys them. When asked why by Dr. Zarkhov, Ming simply replies, "Why not?"
  • Implied in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort says this: "There is no good or evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
  • The Cenobites in the Hellraiser movies make this sort of argument when someone calls them demons. "There is no good or evil, only flesh." They also claim they would be "Demons to some, Angels to others," depending on your perspective. In the first and second movies Pinhead, who acts as their voice, explains that they only appear when somebody desires to summon them. They're scary, and torture people, but they only come when called. It's just what they do. Later movies tend to just make them straight-up demons, instead of otherworldly beings with alien perspectives.
  • In In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale: the Evil Sorcerer Gallian tries to destroy the Kingdom of Ehb in order to usher in a New World Order. When someone points out that he could show his merciful side by releasing the prisoners, he explains in a Large Ham way that he's beyond such petty concepts as mercy, good, or evil. After he takes over, good will be redefined in terms of power (i.e. the more the better). He is also insane, which he doesn't try to hide.
  • The protagonist in Lucy has her brain enhanced to the point where normal human ethics are ignored in favor of more pragmatic solutions. To keep herself grounded she seeks advice from a professor and keeps another character close as a "reminder" of her humanity.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. He takes no pleasure in the killings but does not view them as vile either — they are just a means to an end:
    Thanos: I'm a survivor
    Strange: Who wants to murder trillions.
    Thanos: With all six stones I can simply snap my fingers and it'll all cease to exist. I call that, mercy.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Thanos drops the facade after he discovers that the Avengers are retroactively undoing his work through Time Travel, and admits he's going to destroy the Earth solely out of spite.
  • Theresa & Allison: Theresa objects to the other vampires' ruthless actions, saying they're wrong. Allison simply replies "There is no more wrong for us".
  • In Thirst (2009), Tae-ju takes this attitude to vampirism, comparing a vampire killing a human to a fox killing a chicken.
  • Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice: The Final Battle shows Justice to be this trope. It matters not what side Justice fights for, so long as he is fighting for the balance of the universe as a whole.

  • 1Q84: The Little People are a species of otherworldly beings whose actions cannot be judged by humanity's moral standards. This is mainly because their own moral values are so wildly different from our own.
  • The Marquis de Sade's characters often talk like this, dismissing common notions of morality as mere illusions, with them being free to do what they want (which is murder, rape, torture etc.).
  • In the world of Selenoth (as portrayed in The Arts of Dark and Light), this is the core of the Witchkings' philosophy. Good and Evil are, ultimately, meaningless concepts with no natural existence, invented by human imagination. A truly objective observer does not judge, but simply recognizes that which Is.
  • Huey Laforet from Baccano! is this trope via his several-hundred-years For Science! ambition. Everyone and everything in this world, including his own daughter, is nothing more than components of a grand experiment, ethics be damned. Even amongst his peers he is considered the creepiest of the lot.
  • The Belgariad: Ctuchik claims he and Belgarath have gone beyond restrictions of morality when the latter mildly objects to his love for torture.
  • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche. In fact, one of the points of the book is criticizing philosophers for trying to tie Christian dogma into their philosophical consideration of morals instead of looking at it with a critical eye.
  • Judge Holden from Blood Meridian criticizes morality as being "an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak" and ultimately irrelevant next to "historical law." It's implied that this is why he survives the story (beyond the potential supernatural reasons): His total lack of a moral compass allows him to devote himself to violence without compromising his sanity, while everyone around him snaps.
  • A member of the Cthulhu Cult in "The Call of Cthulhu" explains that the time of the return of the Great Old Ones will be when mankind has become as them, "free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy." It's no wonder only two of the dozens of members arrested for ritual murders were found sane enough to be hanged.
  • A rare heroic example is Touma, the main character from A Certain Magical Index who considers good and evil to be mere shackles, and just does whatever he feels is right at the time, even if that means saving the very same villain he just punched out seconds before. In the World War III arc, Touma even gives Accelerator some huge Character Development by telling him that his thoughts that he is a villain are just holding him back.
  • The Children of the Lamp series features the Tree of Logic, proximity to which will eliminate all senses of good and evil from a djinn (possibly a Muggle, but it's never fully explained). It's used in order to judge better, but it also eliminates all kindness, making the affected person a jerk.
  • Word of God notes that the three Ravers, Co-Dragons to Lord Foul in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, are like this, believing that by becoming immortal possessing spirits they transcended all moral restraints (their true, personal names- Moksha, Turiya, and Samadhi are a Bilingual Bonus reflecting their mistaken belief in their own enlightenment). Furthermore, Donaldson seems to consider this a trait of truly evil people in general, and notes that even Foul himself has shades of it.
  • In The Clairvoyant Countess, the Big Bad downplays this; when asked whether he used his powers for good or for evil, he chuckles and calls it a conventional question.
  • Rhynn and Kwll are two elder gods in the Corum series. They claim to be above the divine squabbling, and are actually unbound by the Cosmic Balance. By the end of the series, Corum gets Kwll to slaughter the entire pantheon of Chaos. Then, for good measure, Kwll decides to off all the Law gods too.
  • In the Count to the Eschaton novel Count to a Trillion, Menelaus asks whether they are going to teach post-humans morals, and gets the answer that they would be above it — it would make no more sense than preaching monogamy to bees or vegetarianism to lions.
  • Discworld:
    • In Carpe Jugulum, the sophisticated modern vampires claim good and evil are just two ways of looking at the same thing. In the next book, The Fifth Elephant, there's a Call-Back in Vimes' internal monologue:
      Vimes had heard that good and evil were just two ways of looking at the same thing — or, at least, so said people traditionally considered under the category of "evil".
    • In Making Money, a professor performing a necromatic rite (an insorcism, which make a dead professor happy and keep him out of their hair), argues with his students that who can say what is right and wrong? When they still argue, he offers to give them all A's. Whereupon one sees that it goes beyond mundane definitions of good and evil, in service of a higher truth.
    • Bel-Shamaroth in The Colour of Magic, being an Eldritch Abomination, is described as "the opposite side of a coin where good and evil were the same side".
  • The Draka:
    "The Draka will conquer the world for two reasons; because we must and because we can. And yet of the two forces the second is the greater; we do this because we choose to do it. By the sovereign Will and force of arms the Draka will rule the Earth, and in so doing remake themselves. We shall conquer and beat the Nations of the Earth into the dust and reforge them in our self wrought Image; the Final Society, a new humanity without weakness or mercy, hard and pure. Our descendants will walk the hillside of that future, innocent beneath the stars, with no more between them and their naked will than a wolf has. THEN there will be Gods in the Earth."
  • Gilgamesh from Fate/Zero describes himself as such. He is absolute. As a true king, justice is unnecessary to him. It is an interesting case as it is not necessarily considered an evil point of view, though Saber is disgusted. It might even be taken literally, as even all the world's evil is unable to corrupt such an "absolute existence".
  • Johannes de Silentio's "teleological suspension of the ethical" in Fear and Trembling explores this, or at least, Above Society's Good and Evil. It teaches that there is a higher duty that ought to be obeyed even if it clashes with a society's ideas of good and evil. To use the sacrifice of Isaac as an example, Abraham knows that it is wrong to kill an innocent, let alone his own son. However, he also recognises a duty to something higher than these social norms, viz. his duty to obey God's commands. As Abraham could not intelligibly give an ethical justification in terms of social norms, but must simply obey the divine command.
  • A variation in Genome. Peter "C the 44th" Valk is a detective-spesh and is, thus, incapable of feeling any emotion but love for the law. As far as he's concerned, the law is the absolute truth. He may understand on an intellectual level the need to occasionally bend the rules, but his specialization prevents him from acting in any way that is unlawful or letting people slide for moral reasons. While investigating the brutal murder of an alien princess, Valk reveals that her people have already declared war on humanity and will be in attack range in 48 hours. Alex, one of the suspects, claims to be ready to admit to the murder in order to prevent further bloodshed. Valk refuses to accept his insincere confession, as, in his mind, he would rather have the Empire fall than to act contrary to law. He also admits that the "confession" would probably not fool the aliens, who have ways of making people speak the truth.
  • In Ghost Story, Lea says that evil is mainly an aesthetic choice.
  • The Golden Oecumene: In The Phoenix Exultant, the Nothing agent declares that it is above good and evil.
  • Professor Quirrell says that Voldemort is such to Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:
    "Lord Voldemort showed me the truth. There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."
  • In The Illuminatus! Trilogy, the Dealy Lama remarks that, "The reason I have lived so outrageously long is that I don't give a fuck for Good and Evil." In his case he's actually a pretty nice guy. He's just seen what happens when people get too taken with those concepts. And he invented them to begin with, 30,000 years ago, and got really disappointed when people misused them.
  • Journey to Chaos: Neuro declares that his patron deity, Lord Death, is this. Explicitly, "Death treats all the same. From his position above good and evil, above chaos and order, only Death is truly fair; only Death is truly just". When Lord Death appears in person, he is apathetic to the concerns of mortals. The psychopomps and clerics that work for him are expected to emulate his example because they are not this by nature.
  • In the Lord Peter Wimsey book Whose Body?, Lord Peter finds this attitude a clue to the murderer.
    He likes crime. In that criminology book of his he gloats over a hardened murderer. I've read it, and I've seen the admiration simply glaring out between the lines whenever he writes about a callous and successful criminal. He reserves his contempt for the victims or the penitents or the men who lose their heads and get found out. His heroes are Edmond de la Pommerais, who persuaded his mistress into becoming an accessory to her own murder, and George Joseph Smith of Brides-in-a-bath fame, who could make passionate love to his wife in the night and carry out his plot to murder her in the morning. After all, he thinks conscience is a sort of vermiform appendix. Chop it out and you'll feel all the better.
  • The Magician's Nephew:
    • When Digory scorns Uncle Andrew for breaking a deathbed promise, Uncle Andrew scorns such things as fitting for boys but not him:
      "Men like me who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny."
    • Jadis talks in the same language about using the Deplorable Word.
      "You must learn, child, that what would be wrong for you or any of the common people is not wrong in a great Queen such as I. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. We must be freed from all rules. Ours is a high and lonely destiny."
    • Of course, Digory promptly deconstructs the idea:
      "All it means," he said to himself, "is that she thinks she can do anything she likes to get anything she wants."
  • The Man Who Was Thursday:
    "First of all, what is it really all about? What is it you object to? You want to abolish Government?"
    "To abolish God!" said Gregory, opening the eyes of a fanatic. "We do not only want to upset a few despotisms and police regulations; that sort of anarchism does exist, but it is a mere branch of the Nonconformists. We dig deeper and we blow you higher. We wish to deny all those arbitrary distinctions of vice and virtue, honour and treachery, upon which mere rebels base themselves. The silly sentimentalists of the French Revolution talked of the Rights of Man! We hate Rights as we hate Wrongs. We have abolished Right and Wrong."
    "And Right and Left," said Syme with a simple eagerness, "I hope you will abolish them too. They are much more troublesome to me."
  • Ruin of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy is like this, claiming that good and evil have nothing to do with him, his counterpart Preservation, or his reason for destroying the world (it's not out of malice — it's because destroying and kill are what he does, and he literally can't do anything else if he tries.) He's not totally wrong, since if Preservation had it's way, nothing would ever change, grow, or end, essentially being locked as they are forever. Of course whether or not what Ruin is doing is technically Evil is pretty unimportant to the people currently living on the planet he intends to destroy.
  • The Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story is one of the rare heroic examples of this trope. She actually is Above Good and Evil rather than just using this trope to justify being evil. The Empress is in charge of preserving all fantasy creatures which includes vampires, demons, giant spiders, dragons, and trickster spirits just as much as unicorns and fairies. She sees all of her subjects as equally good and beautiful, and because of this, even the evil creatures are willing to help her representatives.
  • In Neverwhere, Islington is so far beyond good and evil that it couldn't find it with a telescope on a clear night.
  • Subverted in The Outsider (2018). The titular Humanoid Abomination tries to frame itself this way, claiming it's just a predator fulfilling it's role in the ecosystem... by raping, murdering, and eating children. It never gives any real justification as to why it has to do things like this, and Holly calls it all out as what it really is; a guilt-dodging excuse. Even if it somehow really did need to eat people, there's no reason it has to target children, nor any reason for it to do so in such pointlessly brutal and sadistic ways. No matter how much the Outsider tries to pretend it's some kind of ethereal being beyond human comprehension, it's ultimately just a sexual deviant with a victim complex.
  • Momonga from Overlord (2012) develops this mindset as a consequence of being so much more powerful than most of the New World and the Emotion Suppression that comes with his new lich body. He essentially loses empathy for anyone outside of Nazarick and generally regards the New World's people as lesser beings. All he cares about is expanding the glory of Nazarick.
  • In Phantom, Erik loses all sense of good and evil after realizing how easy it was to kill his Gypsy captor, and regards murder as just another art to master.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: The Valheru claim to be this, though if they belong here or in Always Chaotic Evil is up for some debate. Draken-Korin describes Valheru morality thus:
    "We are. We do. What else is there?"
  • In the Shadows of the Apt book Dragonfly Falling, a Wasp slave justifies herself on the grounds there is no good or evil, just people doing things.
  • The Lord of Nightmares from the Slayers continuity is Above Good and Evil, and creator of both. She represents the primal chaos from which all things emerge, and can side with creation just as easily as with destruction. Most people are only aware of her destructive side, and consider her the Dark Lord above the Dark Lords. They don't know how often she helps Lina kill Dark Lords.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • There's a Jedi heresy called Potentium built around the idea that the dark side doesn't exist. Traditional Jedi suspect it was started by the Sith to corrupt them.
    • Vergere from New Jedi Order took it even further, believing that not only is there no dark side, but that there's no light side either. As she sees it, the Force simply is, and morality doesn't enter into it at all.
    • Gray Jedi are a milder example. They don't necessarily believe that good and evil don't exist, but Gray Jedi of varying backgrounds and species do reject the Jedi Council's dogmatic view of the Force and explore both the dark and light side.
    • The Darth Gravid was essentially the Sith equivalent of a Gray Jedi: he sought to use both the light and dark sides. His apprentice, however, saw this as heresy and killed him.
      • Dooku might be considered another example of this in that he seems to want the Jedi to open themselves to the dark side and rule the Republic unhindered by the Senate or any other corrupt bureaucracy, believing that the dark side could be used to positive effect if one was just in one's heart, especially as depicted in the Dark Horse comics. Then again, given that he's a Bad Boss and flat-out villain with very, very few Pet the Dog moments, he's not exactly practicing what he preaches there.
    • Many Sith, as a matter of fact, such as Dooku and Darth Caedus in Legacy of the Force keep trying to use the Dark Side for good, but end up just becoming flat-out evil. "The Dark Side" isn't just a subset of Force powers that are deemed taboo by Jedi orthodoxynote , nor is it a metaphor. It's a literal malevolent force that corrupts all those who tap into it. It's also extremely addictive, so once you start using the Dark Side it's incredibly difficult to stop. Apparently, no one's gotten the memo yet, even after thousands of years. Go figure.
  • In "Time Patrol", the instructor, describing how the Danellians (our far future descendants) insisted on the founding of the Patrol, said they were neither benevolent nor malevolent, they were so far beyond us.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's "The Unmentionable Man" (in The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond) the Communist talks like this:
    "No, no, no," cried Huss, beating on the table with his two fists. "Never, never, shall he lead the movement! Understand me! We are a scientific movement. We are not moral. We have done with bourgeois ideologies of right and wrong. We are Realpolitik. What helps the program of Marx is alone good. What hinders the program of Marx is alone evil. But there are limits. There are names so infamous, there are persons so infamous, that they must always be excluded from the Party."
  • Nightblood from Warbreaker is either above good and evil or below it, depending on how you look at it — it's completely amoral either way, which is a bit of a problem, as it was created specifically to destroy evil. Being a sword and not a person, Nightblood has no idea what "evil" actually is (even its Detect Evil ability is flawed, as it mostly targets superficial destructive impulses, and sufficiently clever bad guys don't seem to ping at all) and mostly just tries to goad its wielder to kill everyone in sight, just to be on the safe side. All in all, an object lesson in why trying to count on an inanimate object sharing human morality is unlikely to end well.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Expanded Universe:
    • In the Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, the triumph of the Chaos forces in Arkio is shown when he declares:
      "There is no right and wrong, no black and white. Only the strong... and the weak."
    • In the Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Magnus the Red is determined to study the warp and gain power, because:
      Notions of good and evil fell by the wayside next to such power as dwelled in the warp, for they were the antiquated concepts of a religious society, long cast aside.
  • The Dark Court in Wicked Lovely, as stated by Irial. Unusual in that they actually are above good and evil, due to Blue-and-Orange Morality.
    Irial: We are what we are, Niall. Neither as good nor as evil as others paint us, and what we are doesn't change what we truly feel, only how free we are to follow those feelings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: The Blood Knight God of Gods Illyria states that he is "as moral as a hurricane. Empty, but for the force of [his] gale." His life's goal has always been "[t]o never die and to conquer all." In a rare non-villainous version, he works alongside the good guys because the bad guys pissed him off.
  • The Babylon 5 Direct-To-DVD movie The Lost Tales featured a discussion between a Catholic priest and Colonel Lochley about why God allows evil to exist if he is all-good and all-powerful. The priest points out that, God being all-powerful and the lord over all creation, it stands to reason that he is neither good nor evil, but rather that both good and evil are tools that he uses in ways beyond the comprehension of mere mortals to guide the universe.
  • In Big Wolf on Campus, Death makes it quite he's nothing more than a gatherer of souls, no more no less. He doesn't care if anyone is good or evil, or if they "deserve" to live or die, or anything beyond gathering the souls he's been tasked to acquire. When Tommy saves an elderly man from Death assuming the reaper was a mere mugger, Death comes after Tommy's not out of revenge, but because he's owed one soul and feels that by depriving Death of what he's owed it's only fair that Tommy repay him. He's easily swayed to let Tommy live, but only if he gets to take Merton's soul instead: as long as he gathers the number of souls he's owed he's happy.
  • Charmed had the Angel of Death call out Prue on her initial belief that he's inherently evil because of what he does, pointing out that some magical beings aren't good or evil, they just are.
    • The Avatars see themselves this way, believing that they don't have to limit themselves to choosing between "good" or "evil". In reality, their plan is to brainwash people into being happy with everything and kill anyone who causes conflict. The Charmed Ones initially side with them, out of desire for a peaceful life, but turn on them and side with a demon after realising that free will and a full range of emotion (even negative ones) is more important.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The original Cybermen in their first appearance had an equally chilling statement about their reasons for their actions, delivered in an utterly inhuman voice: "We Will Survive."
    • "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel": John Lumic justifies his illegal creation of the Cybermen with "I am governed by greater laws, old friend. The right of a man to survive."
    • "Hell Bent" has the Doctor take this stance thanks to a Trauma Conga Line: He is betrayed by Ashildr and his own people, the Time Lords, which inadvertently paves the way for Clara Oswald's death. From there he is tossed into a lonely torture chamber, and with no one to help him through his anguish and rage, he is Driven to Madness. As The Unfettered Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, he becomes determined to take down his captors and undo Clara's death even though the latter act risks the safety of the entire universe. At one point he declares that he's no longer accountable to anyone. Thankfully, he has a Heel Realization, is able to move past his anguish with the help of a memory wipe that removes his key physical/emotional memories of Clara, and returns to his best self.
  • Dollhouse:
    • Alpha sees himself as this, to the point of explicitly referencing Nietzsche and referring to himself as the Ubermensch.
    • Topher in the same series appears to be in this camp, at least at first. He's not mean-spirited, he just loves the science and doesn't care much about the human implications (he does get better later on).
      Adelle: We are all here because we've been morally compromised in some way. All except you, Mr. Brink. You are here because you have no morals. You see people's minds as toys for you to play with. I don't say this as a criticism, you've always taken good care of your things, but you're going to have to let this one go.
  • In Fringe, during the episode "Amber 31422", the other Walter Bishop, the inventor of the titular substance and U.S. Secretary of Defense, says to Broyles: "Nature doesn't recognize good and evil, Philip. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance. I intend to restore balance to our world. Whatever it takes."
  • Daijinryuu from Gosei Sentai Dairanger is this trope incarnate. It is a giant godly dragon sent created by the universe to maintain order and balance. When the battle between the good Dairangers and evil Gorma Tribe threatens said balance, Daijinryuu goes to earth to enforce it. This being makes no distinctions between good and evil and would even wipe out humanity to restore balance.
  • Hannibal: Hannibal views himself this way, stating that he's not evil. Will Graham is pretending to have a similar view to get close to him.
    Will: You can't reduce me to a set of influences. I'm not the product of anything. I've given up good and evil for behaviourism.
    Hannibal: Then you can't say that I'm evil.
    Will: You're destructive. Same thing.
    Hannibal: Evil is just destructive? Storms are evil, if it's that simple. And we have fire, and then there's hail.
  • One of the German episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus used this as a throwaway joke line in a sketch:
    Waiter: Good day, madam. Good day, sir.
    Man: We want to eat, please.
    Waiter: Wonderful! A thousand welcomes to the Golden Post.
    Man: Ah. We hear that this is a restaurant that's typical of Bavaria and full of local colour.
    Waiter: Indeed, sir. This is truly a typical Bavarian restaurant. The food, the wine, above all the service, is traditional beyond good and evil!
  • Gary Mitchell from the second Star Trek pilot follows the A God Am I variety of this: "Morals are for men, not gods." Kirk points out moments later that his own actions don't fit the definition of God quite so much as Lucifer, and that in fact Gary Mitchell is behaving as one would expect a Fallen human being to behave given free rein.
  • Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation has some kind of point to make generally but it doesn't make sense in any conventional morality, and he imposes his tests on Picard mainly because he can. He is another who trends towards Neutrality.
  • This is argued over in True Blood. A lot of vampires would agree with Godric's claim "There is no right or wrong. These are human notions. There's only death or survival." He himself renounces this idea finally.

  • A repeating theme in the Manowar song "The Power".
  • British Post-Punk band The Pop Group titled their debut single "She Is Beyond Good and Evil".
  • The song Beyond Good and Evil by Swedish metal band Grand Magus. It is chock full of allusions to this, for example: "Your black and white will lose to the grey", "You might be right but I'm not wrong"

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Hinduism's Bhagavad Gita says that all good and evil is part of a great game going on within the being of one greater deity.
  • In some interpretations of Buddhism, Good and Evil are among the illusions with which we wrestle, both distracting us from following the Middle Path and achieving Nirvana. However, since what comes around goes around, it is beneficial to be a nice person. In the long run though, Nirvana is the goal, as any good karma will wear off in time too.
  • Taoism holds that "good" and "evil" are entirely human concepts and should be discarded to pursue the Tao. One might think of the Tao as "good" and anything against the Tao as "evil", but this is considered a misconception, as the Tao encompasses everything.
  • Some strains of Deism, Pantheism, and Pandeism believe that our universe is a sort of experiment in generating all sorts of experiences, including good and evil ones.
  • The pre-Christian Old Testament view of God is more like this than the typical God Is Good, seeing Him as a source of both good and evil. Isaiah 45:7 even says "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things." In tandem, it has long been a tenet of classical theology that God is not a moral being, because he's not bound to any morals, given that he's their source. Naturally, this view has its critics.
  • The gods of Classical Mythology are not big subscribers to any moral code. Zeus is okay with committing Rape by Fraud, and his brother Hades seems to think Abduction Is Love. They're all big fans of Disproportionate Retribution, and for the most part their main concern seems to be securing their power over mortals. The closest to "morality" they come is intervening to stop humans from disrupting the natural order by bringing the dead back to life, in the case of Sisyphus and Asclepius.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Nicol Bolas from Magic: The Gathering disregards morality and finds anyone who condemns him for his atrocities as Virtue Is Weakness. Not that his argument holds much water, since he's a psychopathic wizard and a demonic dragon who uses Mind Rape to further his goals.
    Bolas: What they call villainy is no more than the will to win by any means available. I make no apologies.
  • The Powers That Be in Bleak World they seem pretty evil though, in fact they're probably the Darkness or The Caretaker.
  • The Third-party Dungeons & Dragons book Ascension (which allows you to play as gods and other super beings) has the Apostasy ability which makes one beyond alignment and thus immune to spells or effects that work based on alignment such as a paladin's holy smite or the Unholy Breath effect.
  • This is a major part of the Exhuman philosophy in Eclipse Phase. They believe that the Fall, the apocalyptic destruction of Earth in the fires of posthuman god-AI, proved that old-fashioned morality was obsolete, and only survival matters - so they reject considerations of good and evil in favour of survival and power. Firewall, it has to be said, is having none of it, and lists the exhumans as a potential existential risk because their survival-and-power approach invariably seems to end in someone screwing around with The Virus or stealing egos and ripping out the most interesting bits for themselves or modifying themselves into the ultimate predator and developing into a Serial Killer.
  • Similarily, the rules for Mythic characters in Pathfinder include a Mythic path power called "beyond morality" which makes a character have no alignment and thus be immune to alignment based effects or class restrictions on alignment.
  • The Ogres of Warhammer. Or more precisely, they're below good and evil. They have absolutely no concept of morality at all, although they may believe in Might Makes Right. To give you an idea: in their culture, iron is viewed as more valuable than gold, because with gold, you can buy an iron weapon from a merchant and lose the gold, but with an iron weapon, you can kill the merchant and then have both the weapon and all of his gold (and have him for dinner).

  • Many, many characters in Into the Woods, but at least the Witch admits it when she wants to give Jack to the revenge-seeking Giantess.
    "You're so nice. You're not good, you're not bad, you're just nice. I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right."
  • In Seneca's Thyestes, Atreus claims that as a king, he can do what he likes, and goes out of his way to make his revenge on his brother for having an affair with his wife as cruel as possible. He pretends to extend Thyestes the olive branch, serves him a banquet, and then afterwards reveals that Thyestes' sons were the main course. This sets the stage for the cycle of murder covered in The Oresteia.

    Video Games 
  • The Grey Wardens of Dragon Age are the Grey Wardens for exactly this reason. They don't care if you're a prince or a commoner, a paragon of virtue or a mass murderer. If you've got the strength to withstand the incredibly painful and often fatal ritual of the Joining, thus gaining elevated skills and abilities with which you can fight the darkspawn, they'll accept you into the fold with no questions asked. Subverted if Loghain is made a Grey Warden and survives the first game. For all of their rhetoric, the Wardens never really accepted him as one of their own despite his ability because his betrayal at Ostagar doomed nearly all of Ferelden's Grey Wardens and put Thedas into ruin by failing to contain the Fifth Blight.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Most of the various forms of deity qualify. While the mortals of Tamriel often regard the Divines as outright "Good" and some of the Daedric Princes (Azura, Meridia) as well, scholars both in-universe and out among the fandom argue that the deities follow Blue-and-Orange Morality above mortal understanding, with none wholly good or evil. The "Good" ones only seem that way because what they seek to accomplish is generally beneficial or benevolent toward mortals, while the "Evil" ones are more likely to harm mortals with their actions. For instance, Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric Prince of Destruction, but is no more "evil" than a tidal wave or an earthquake. Of course, there's also Molag Bal, who is unambiguously cruel and evil for the sake of it.
    • The Morag Tong, a legal assassin's guild of Professional Killers in Morrowind, consider themselves to be this, as does the Dunmeri government which sanctioned them. The Tong has a set of strict rules and a code of honor in terms of performing executions, maintaining a policy of impartiality. They were sanctioned as an alternative to the destructive Allowed Internal Wars of the Great Houses, which weaken the Dunmer overall.
  • Pious Augustus in Eternal Darkness. He states it clearly during Paul Luther's chapter:
    Evil is nothing but a mere perspective that no longer concerns me.
  • This is how Merlin (yes, that Merlin) operates in his appearance in Fate/Grand Order. Everything he does is done for the sake of protecting and guiding humanity to a happy ending, and a combination of his Clairvoyance and half-incubus blood leaving him with a Lack of Empathy towards individuals means that he literally doesn't care who he needs to manipulate or use to reach that ending. He even goes as far as to state that he's the sole truly sinless person in the world, since he feels absolutely no guilt for anything he's done (well, almost anything).
  • In Final Fantasy X, Yu Yevon is described as this. He may have started off as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but now he only exists to summon Sin.
  • Lord Brevon from Freedom Planet is an undeniably evil alien overlord. A very, very evil alien overlord. And yet he likes to play himself off like this, justifying his mass slaughter, torture, brainwashing, manipulation of the three kingdoms of Avalice into going to war, and the theft of the Kingdom Stone that powers the entire planet as necessary to save his homeworld (a homeworld that, by the way, is only in danger because Brevon is a tyrannical interplanetary warlord who's ravaged entire star systems,) while pinning as much of the blame for his actions as possible on the heroes for getting in his way and forcing him to react. Torque eventually throws this right back in his face.
    Torque: You think you're some kind of blameless force of nature, don't you!? That the rules don't apply to you!
  • The villain in the second Gabriel Knight game says that he is above such silly distinctions such as good and evil, and that man should just embrace his animal instincts.
  • In Guild Wars 2 the Norn are this. As a race, they do not particularly care whether your actions are good or evil, merely that they are worthy of legend. They do understand good and evil, but are far more apathetic about it than the other races (generally speaking).
  • Whoever wrote the opening cinematic of Garou: Mark of the Wolves seems to believe this:
    "Certainly, they existed: Those blinded by ambition, those consumed with vengeance. But here, they do not exist; only winners and losers here. For here, THE MIGHTY RULE!"
  • Black Adam in Injustice 2 feels that the ideas of "good" and "evil" are changeable depending on who's in power, so he doesn't feel any regrets about the extreme measures the Regime goes to. Fair enough, as he's lived thousands of years, so as far as he's concerned, modern morality will eventually fade away, just like Ancient Egyptian morality did.
  • In The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2, Jivatma invokes this trope in the Pre-Final Battle one-liner if you fight him with Kim Kaphwan:
    I do not wish to be bound by notions of justice and evil.
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords there is Kreia. She insists that the Dark and Light Side are merely manners of perceiving the Force and that a true master walks a balance of the two. Much like Jolee, however, she too leans more heavily towards one school of thought: The Sith. She constantly urges the player to allow suffering to continue as it will help the survivors become stronger. In the end she returns to her Sith origins and becomes the final Big Bad.
  • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance the protagonist and his named enemies show good amount of it, though for different reasons: Mistral plainly does not have strong attachments; Monsoon is a Straw Nihilist; Sam claims to have justice as his reasons, but has no issues with collateral damage or temporary teaming with bad guys to wait for a proper moment to strike back; Armstrong is a Social Darwinist; and Raiden is nicknamed "Jack the Ripper" for a reason. However, probably only Monsoon is the pure example of this trope — others do have a sense of right and wrong, even if it is not the same as the social norm.
  • In RefleX, once the ZODIAC Ophiuchus is activated, it throws away the concept of good and evil and only believes in one thing; ZODIAC Annihilation.
  • Runescape: Zaros, the god of Fate and Control, believes that "everything that occurs in life — both good and bad — should be used to forge oneself, to better oneself." His vision of self-actualization just happens to involve more superpowered monsters than most people would prefer, but he literally learned of the concepts of Good and Evil from a younger god and still doesn't accept them in his worldview.
  • Silent Hill: Implied of "the order". All discussion of good stops with the cult's description of their main god; the actions they believe s/he would have them take are usually taken without regard to good and evil. There are lesser gods and angels but no demons, although Claudia Wolf from SH3 believes in hell; and Adam Shepherd from SH: Homecoming has written didactics about things such as "righteousness and evil", "light and dark".
  • In Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, the Contessa says this about herself while pressing Sly to give her the MacGuffin. Sly points out that saying that makes her only less trustworthy.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic himself, surprisingly. It's laid out quite clearly in one of his theme songs, "It Doesn't Matter", that he cares little for the definitions of good or evil, or who is right and who is wrong in any given situation or belief; Sonic just follows his heart, doing whatever he feels is appropriate at the moment. Fortunately, his heart generally steers him in the direction of heroism, but there have been occasions where he's taken actions that clash with the "hero" perception, and he's generally completely unrepentant about them.
  • Though labeled an "evil" character (he does have his own strange sense of morality), Street Fighter's Akuma does not believe there is any merit in tagging one's self as 'good' or 'evil'. His ultimate goal is simply to be the most perfect example of a warrior, and that means anyone who has the might to stand against him will not be spared his full power, regardless of where they are morally. This exchange between Akuma and Kim Kaphwan at SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos pretty much exemplifies the above:
    Kim: Why do you not use such overwhelming power for the sake of justice?
    Akuma: There is no good or evil to strength! I seek only pure power!
  • Undertale has the Anomaly, a mysterious entity who has control over the world of the game by using the playable character as their puppet and via Save Scumming: in simpler words, the real person playing the game. Their detachment can be justified for the simple reason that the world they play with is just a game among many others for them, and a playthrough where everybody dies is just one of the many ways to play. That being said, if you choose a No Mercy run, the game will attempt to say that no, the Anomaly isn't above consequences.
  • The evil wizard, Werdna, becomes this in the secret ending of Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna after walking the Tree of Life and achieving enlightenment, breaking free of all his worldly desires.

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Mitzi believes this, but as an assassin-for-hire, it's more along the lines of not being picky about who signs the paycheck and then rationalising it. It's also part of the reason with her family problems with Doc, as his using Batman as a role model caused him to align himself on the Chaotic Good side instead of the family's True Neutral status.
  • Bob and George: After he blows up the fortress:
    George: Uh — is that a good thing or a bad thing?
    Bob: Oh, you and your moral sense of right and wrong. When will you realize you're above all that?
    George: Are you trying to recruit me to the ways of evil again?
    Bob: Maybe.
    George: Leave me alone.
  • The Sovereign of Sorrow in Captain SNES: The Game Masta is described as this once, but it's unclear whether this is because she actually is, or because the character speaking is simply a video game sprite with an incredibly simplistic view of what evil is.
  • Tarquin in The Order of the Stick claims to be such in "Realizations & Rationalizations". Later he openly refers to himself as a villain, so it's hard to tell if he believed it at all. As the story progress it's becomes pretty clear he is too unbalanced to actually have a moral system; he simply believes in narrative roles, with him taking the villain role. It's even more hamfisted than usual, because Good and Evil are literally aspects of the universe in this setting, so he's not even debating moral ambiguity, he's either being willfully ignorant, or embracing this trope as a useful villain narrative.
    Tarquin: Labels like "good" and "evil" are just words. Words with many possible capitalizations.invokedhere.
  • In True Villains:
    • Sebastian comes to adopt this mindset after switching from Nominal Hero to Villain Protagonist.
    • The Gods each embody an ideal — Stability, Knowledge, Fear, Silly Antics, and so on — and show no interest in matters of good or evil. The God of Progress sponsors both The Paladin, a renowned hero, and Malanor, the First Vampire, whose Necrocracy overran most of the world in a reign of darkness.

    Web Original 
  • Altair, according to the Grand Unifying Guesses: "(Altair) serves a higher power now. One that transcends the notions of race, gender and any concept of good and evil."
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, the Entity aka Missingno, is directly stated- by the protagonist, no less- to be a being beyond good and evil.
  • In the third season of Cobra Kai, flashbacks to his Vietnam War days reveal this to be at the heart of Kreese's character. Driven home when he learns that his girlfriend's death was covered up by his commanding officer.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Godslayer considers itself above other creatures, sees gods as relics of the past which must be wiped out, feels good and evil are needless concepts, uses its acolytes to spread prosperity and a new world order, and wishes to increase its knowledge by any means necessary. In its views the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, even if that means sacrificing many innocents along the way.
  • In the Wisecrack Edition video "The Philosophy of Dragon Ball", Jared points out that the Dragon Balls and the powers they possess represent the Buddhist concept of "Emptiness", the idea that they have no inherent meaning, including inherent good or evil, but simple stores of energy that can be used for either, not unlike the blank scrolls from Journey to the West.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Wan Shi Tong, the knowledge spirit lands on the True Neutral side. He didn't care that the Gaang was looking for knowledge to stop the Fire Nation from destroying the world. To him, one war was the same as the other and the sides and reasons didn't matter. All that mattered to him was collecting knowledge and keeping that knowledge from falling into the "wrong" hands (read: anyone who actually wanted to use said knowledge for war of any kind and for any reason). He went so far as trying to trap them in the hidden library once he discovered Sokka trying to smuggle out info on when the Day of the Black Sun would occur.
      • The Gaang tried to argue with him based on their having good intentions and a desire only to protect people. Not gonna work on someone like this. They should have tried to argue that he has a responsibility for the damage already done by those who have used his knowledge. By allowing some people to access his library, Wan Shi Tong is at least partially responsible for how that knowledge was used (ie almost destroying the entire balance of the world). An argument along those lines might have swayed him to help them or even just let them leave before sinking the library.
    • When Avatar Aang seeks guidance from his prior incarnations, they speak along these lines. Roku doesn't tell advise for or against killing Fire Lord Ozai but to "be decisive", while Kyoshi advises him to straight up kill Ozai because he is the Avatar and it's his job to stop violent egomaniacs like Ozai. Yangchen is especially frustrating for Aang, because she says Aang has to set aside his Air Nomad pacifism in order to protect the world.
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Obake views himself as this. As far as he's concerned, the most important thing is the advancement of scientific knowledge, without restraints or limitations. If building a utopia of scientific research and genius means destroying all of Sanfransokyo, and everyone in it, well, that's a sacrifice worth making. It actually turns out that this is due to a brain injury he suffered in his youth that affects his moral center: he's literally incapable of telling right from wrong. Not that he's complaining, but again, that might just be the brain damage talking.
  • DuckTales (2017): Bradford Buzzard feels that’s a matter of perspective. For his part, he knows he's crossing the line, but to ensure there's order and that everything on the other side of the line is reined in, he'll cross it. When all is said and done, no one will brand F.O.W.L. heroes or villains, and have no right to judge them, because as far as he's concerned, the world doesn’t and can't really know them, and they never will. It was also the reason why he ordered the capture of not only all of Scrooge's family, friends and allies, but also Scrooge's hated enemies (including Magica, Glomgold and the Beagle Boys) in the finale.
  • A mad scientist supervillain in Mighty Max turns his de/evolutionary ray gun on himself to increase his evolutionary level. The first time, he turned into a large brained psychic. When he returns for another episode, he turns it on himself again and turns into a multicolored orb of "pure thought". He uses it a third time and starts babbling about "ultimate knowledge" and "hearing the music" before flying off. Wise fowl-man Virgil proclaims that he has "evolved towards the infinite, far beyond such primitive concepts like good and evil", which is funny considering Virgil is firmly on the "good" side.
  • In Rick and Morty, due to his insane intellect (confirmed by the Galactic Federation to be the smartest mammal in the galaxy) and his portal gun revealing to him infinite realities that allow him to avoid punishment for his misdeeds and infinite versions of his family members (which he views as replaceable), Rick Sanchez views morality as something utterly meaningless. Considering how the universe is his beliefs are more often than not justified: whenever Morty or Summer attempt to do "good" things like saving an imprisoned gaseous alien, freeing a planet from a Hive Mind, or trying to give a snake planet hope, it tends to cause severe repercussions with Rick pointing out every step of the way that they should have just not gotten involved. In fact, when talking to Space Beth he talks about going through his own "hero phase" when he was her age, implying his cold but accurate outlook on most things is learned from experience rather than his intellect.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
    • The newest incarnation of Entrapta is this. She sees no difference in reverse engineering First Ones tech to improve her kingdom and noodling with a piece of bad tech that turns her friend into a mindless berserker. While perfectly capable of working for the Alliance, the Horde simply has more advanced technology to study, and when Hordak reveals that he's trying to make an intergalactic scale portal, this inevitably causes her to pull something of a Face–Heel Turn.
    • 'Good' and 'Evil' are concepts that only matter when more than one person in the universe has any value, and Horde Prime is openly contemptuous of them as the preoccupation of lesser beings.
  • The Wizard Merklynn from Visionaries. His only desire is to see magic restored to its former prominence. As such, he doesn't care one way or the other about whether or not his agents are good or evil, so long as they perform the tasks he gives them. At the start of the series, he would also bail out whichever side needed his aid, in order to keep his agents in play (setting captured Darkling Lords free, for example). However, after one too many attempts by Darkstorm to steal his power, Merklynn decided to start letting the Darkling Lords get themselves out of trouble. He also became friendlier to the Spectral Knights over time, and took action against legitimately evil sorcerers.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series: In the appropriately named "Beyond Good and Evil" four-parter, Apocalypse declares that he is "not malevolent. I simply am." Eventually, after nearly destroying the world more than once, he starts to wonder if they actually have a point about the whole "malevolent" thing. He goes right back to destruction after that, though.