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Is there good that is not based in knowledge and evil that is not based in ignorance?

Socrates said, "There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance," but lately I've wondered if this in fact true. As of now, I have not been able to come up with examples that truly discredit it, and it seems a very plausible and elegant description. So I'm curious what theTED communities thoughts are.


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  • Apr 30 2013: It would very much depend on what we define as good and what we see as evil. In addition to that, there is a big difference between a good motive and a good result, and an evil motive and an evil result. Or the opposite.

    Someone may give millions to a hospital to build a new wing, but if the main motive is to have his name on the wing, the motive is selfish and thus evil. While of course the result is good.

    So, in my opinion, for an act to be good, it needs to be based in knowledge or it is an accident. An evil act cannot be based in ignorance because then there is no evil motive.

    That's why we believe that those who have not reached the age of rationality are all going to heaven.
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      Apr 30 2013: [My English speech/writing is still bad...]
      I believe your opinion is right in a way, Adriaan. (2 'A's? Nice.)

      Even if you are "good", the effect of your actions could be "evil", and Vice-versa.
      In the hospital case, most probably there is more "evil" ways to have your name in the new wing, like bribing the direction, or, "having the name on the wing" may be the excuse the person gives to him/herself subconsciously.

      There ARE pretty twisted (Either "good" and "evil") people in the world, most of them are that way because of traumas, education (not a bad education. An education that, in the process, imbued in them adverse feelings about a lot of things.) and even as "stacked" effects from it.

      People are neither "good" or "evil', they are the better they can do, normally "evil" people just act disregard the consequences of their own acts (It can be with a twisted idea about the consequences), for them and others.
      They are the better to be "Successful" (Thoughts like "to be successful you have to crush others"), to be "Happy" ("You can be happy only when you are successful").

      So, deem people like "evil" is evil by itself, and deem yourself as "good" is just arrogance.
      There's the feelings of people, their education, their influence. In the moment I understood that, I just stopped judging people as "good" and "evil" and started to judge "parts" of them (parts of their behavior, their emotions and et cetera) as "efficient" and "inefficient".
      • May 1 2013: Thanks Filipe, nice smile too :)
        I think you're right, it is not our 'job' to condemn anyone. Although we still have to judge whether someone can be our friend, or be a friend with out kids.

        Seems to me that being human means to always sway between good and evil, like a car on the road tries to stay in the propper lane. Come to think of it there may be many similarities between that road and our actions. But then too, as long as we're on the road to heaven, who cares about the details? :)
        Thanks for your response.

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