What Is Your Definition Of Evil?

Someone might be misguided, bad, or even horrible. But what must they do to be called evil?

Do you have a definition of “evil”, whether that includes an action, a person, or a group?

Related questions: Why are bad words bad? How important is the artist to art? What does it mean to be a good person? Why do we hate?

How Can You Change Your Attitude?

There are times when, to overcome an obstacle of some sort, all you need to do is change your attitude. But how can this be done?

Some common emotions, like frustration or anger, don’t actually accomplish much. Typically, they don’t help you to arrive at a solution any sooner. They can even make thinking other thoughts difficult.

A change of attitude is called for. If, instead of anger, you approach a situation with curiosity, better results may occur. Or empathy, or determination, or even no thoughts at all.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you think others see you?’


But this is easier said than done. Negative emotions can be overwhelming. drowning out everything else. They can also be counterproductive, going so far as to sabotage positive, or helpful thoughts.

So what tricks or coping mechanisms have you found to help you change your approach? How can you change your attitude?

Related questions: How can we turn sadness into constructive action? Why do we hate? What is the right amount of emotion? How can we turn ideas into actions?

How Can You Love Someone Who Does Something You Hate?

There is a common idea that love is more important than hate. When given an option, we should choose love over hate every time. But that’s easier said than done.

Are you familiar with the aphorism, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Or how about “Hate cannot be stopped with more hate. Only love can do that”? These are noble sentiments, but can you actually manage that in real life?

That means everyone, no matter what they do, or say, or how they treat you. The driver that cut you off in traffic. The partner who cheats on you with someone else. The rich jerk who refuses to leave a tip.

Republicans have to love Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Democrats have to love Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Pro-lifers must love women who get abortions; people who favor gun control have to love the guy who takes an assault rifle to get his morning coffee.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where we discuss the questions ‘How can we encourage debate?’ and ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’


Now it is true that loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do, or everything they stand for. But you can’t say you love someone and then hope that they die.

Sometimes it seems like there is an epidemic of hate in the U.S. (and throughout the world), hate based on differences between individuals. That might include gender, religious beliefs, skin color or ethnic origin, sexual preferences, and on and on.

It is easy to say that we should all love each other rather than hate each other, but how can that be accomplished? How do you love someone who is different from you? Or worse, how do you love someone who actually does something you hate?

Related questions: Why do we hate? How can we encourage debate? Why is love important?

What Is The Right Amount Of Emotion?

Emotion can be good; emotion can be bad.

Being emotional is what makes life worth living. The happiness you feel in the presence of a loved one. The satisfaction of a job well done. The beauty of nature. The awe-inspiring stars on a clear night.

All of these experiences are dependent on emotion. You can be inspired, feel joy, suffer from heartache. Without feelings, life would be dull and uninteresting.

And yet, emotion can also lead us astray. Being passionate can blind you to a necessary choice. Grief can overcome you and lead to depression. Extreme feelings can make you easier to manipulate.

It’s not about “good” feelings, like love and joy, vs “bad” feelings, like anger and fear. You will experience negative emotions over the course of your life. It is not practical to pretend they don’t exist. Negative or bad emotions are just as much of a fully-realized emotional life as positive ones are.

No, the real trade-off is between emotion and logic. Logic might help make better decisions, but feelings give flavor to existence. There must be a middle ground. It is important to balance some emotion with some reason.

But how can you find the right balance? How can you make the most of your feelings and fully live your life, but also make rational decisions and think analytically?

What is the right amount of emotion? How can you tell if you have too much? What mechanisms allow you to increase or decrease the emotion you feel every day?

Related questions: Why does music evoke emotion? What is necessary to change your mind? What do you do that you shouldn’t? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better?

Why Do We Hate?

The Internet brings out the worst in some people. There seems to be an increased level of hate that is spread online, from vicious comments, to cyber-bullying, to harassment.

While the Internet is making it easy for people to give voice to their hatred, the negative emotion is not new. It has existed from the dawn of humanity.

In the real world, we see it across the globe. Wars rage on. Oppression of a group, whether it is ethnic, religious, or racial, is rampant.

But why should hatred be as common as it is? Much of the world’s population follows some religion, and most religions preach love. But people who claim they are religious can be — and sometimes are —  filled with hate.

“Hate” is a strong word, indicating a strong emotion. As with any strong emotion, thinking about and discussing it can be difficult. Have you ever hated someone or something? If so, what triggered it?

Of course, it is possible to experience hatred without realizing it. What you recognize as hatred in someone else they might deny or call a different emotion or expression. And the same is true in reverse: what you think is acceptable behavior, someone else might call hate.

Hate makes us behave in unpredictable or irrational ways, and it can cause a person to behave very cruelly to another. It would behoove us to love more and hate less in all aspects of our life. A good way to start is to understand what the roots are of this destructive emotion.

Why do we hate? And how can we stop?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? How does your vocabulary influence how you think? What do you do that you shouldn’t? How can we encourage debate? What words have the most power?