Let's Talk About: Evil

  • March 22, 2014 · 1:00 PM

Our next meetup will focus on Evil.  

Please note that we will be meeting at our new location - Cafe 28 on the corner of 28th street and 5th avenue. 

The meetup runs as follows: 

1) The moderator selects one subject for discussion and a date for the meeting. Subjects can be as ephemeral as "love," "god," and "purpose," or as grounded as "politics," "environmentalism," and "family." 

2) At the meetup, people are encouraged to propose a question related to the subject. The moderator will collect all of the questions in a list. Questions may also be proposed ahead of time online on the event page.

3) The group will then vote on the questions. In the first round of voting, each individual may vote for as many questions as they like. The top three will then go to a second round, where each individual may vote just once. 

4) The question with the most votes is then discussed. Often, the discussion starts with a narrowing of the question, as it can be challenging to devise a question that can possibly be answered by a small group in just a couple of hours' discussion.


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  • A former member
    A former member

    I experienced a wonderful time listening (expansive and provocative). I suspect we could have gone on another hour at least. Many thanks to everyone, particularly to Brian for creating the conditions for the possibility of such a "meet-up".

    3 · March 22

    • Bryan

      I'm glad to hear it, Jorge! Hope to see you at the next event!

      March 24

  • rory m.

    Guys. We cannot hate. We can talk and express our thoughts.. we Are better then hate

    March 24

  • David B.

    I re-discovered this quote. It seems relevant, although it could be inflammatory to the faithful (apologies).

    "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - physicist Steven Weinberg

    2 · March 24

  • Yen

    I was so relieved that we were demonizing Hitler and "those evil" Germans rather than Mao and the Chinese! ;D If the German and Japanese had won the war, I wonder what they would be saying about "those evil" Americans and British? :D

    1 · March 23

    • A former member
      A former member

      If one is objective and courageous enough...we should be able to point out "immoral/unjust"­ acts regardless if they were committed by one owns country!

      1 · March 23

  • Olga

    Great!

    2 · March 22

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great

    2 · March 22

  • Yen

    What common "evil" we are all guilty of doing? : )

    March 21

  • Jan J.

    So sorry I can't make it this Saturday. I'm sure someone else will take my spot!

    March 20

    • Bryan

      I'm sorry to hear it, Jan - you will be missed!

      March 20

  • Yen

    Is a person who is able to forgive himself/herself for deliberately doing great harm to others "evil?" If a person "hates" others and harms others is "evil," is the person who "hates" himself/herself "evil?" :D

    March 19

  • Drew R.

    Could I suggest we all read the Wikipedia entry for Evil? It's only a few pages. It should help each of us organize our thinking beforehand and discuss the topic with some common understanding of topic.

    3 · March 18

    • Bryan

      I always encourage background reading! Another good source, though somewhat less succinct that the wikipedia entry, is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "the Concept of Evil" - http://plato.stanford...­

      2 · March 18

    • Rob M.

      Much easier to read and more richly descriptive, although I didn't read it all yet

      March 18

  • Seph R.

    Perhaps we can start with the very basic question of "What criteria we use to conclude that an act or a person is "evil"?. I imagine that the top hit on this might be "causing harm to others". I suspect that intentionality has little to do with our collective judging of evil.

    March 16

    • rory m.

      OK. J like the start point. Today is St. Patrick's day. The LGBT will protest the parade and the corporate sponsors backed out financial support. Does that make the LGBT evil for be landing their way ONLY

      March 17

    • David B.

      I failed to note in my comment on levels intent distinguishing crimes of murder and manslaughter that intent can also make the difference between being guilty of one of those crimes or being innocent for reasons such as self defense.

      March 18

  • Seph R.

    Bryan, I just realized that I have a test to take that day. I do apologize, but I have to do that and won't be able to attend the discussion. Until the next time.

    March 17

    • Bryan

      Sorry to hear it, Seph! Best of luck on the test!

      March 17

    • Yen

      Unfortunate for me, you won't be there this month to answer questions about your question and point to David Brooks during his Q/A. :D

      March 18

  • A former member
    A former member

    Recently, I was rereading Books 1 and 2 of Plato's Republic. In book 2, it states, "...the most accomplished form of injustice is to seem just when you are not...". In essence, this seems to resemble "evil" , in my opinion. :(

    1 · March 16

    • A former member
      A former member

      In Plato's Republic...he defines the greatest evil as occupying a position for which are not qualify to be at. It would be analogous to an individual who doesn't have the medical training in Neurosurgery to be practicing as a neurosurgeon. It would be easy to visualize the kind of "problems" that could bring. And yet we allow just any so call 'politician' to occupy important positions in office!

      March 16

  • David B.

    There's an old saying, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." If an act which might otherwise be viewed as "evil" is done with good intentions, is the action and/or the person who took it "evil"?

    2 · March 16

    • Yen

      Some times acts of evil are sold under the reason of "good intentions?" Do reasonable people sell acts of evil as "evil?" :D

      1 · March 16

  • Yen

    Can a "good" person become "evil?" Yes, no, how?

    1 · March 14

    • A former member
      A former member

      Socrates is a good example, Gandhi and Mandela. And Malala is in the road to becoming a Genuine Philosopher for sure.

      March 15

    • A former member
      A former member

      Studying Philosophy books doesn't make you a genuine philosopher...acting like one does!

      March 15

  • David B.

    If the group wants to approach the topic with "evil" having supernatural forces, we might try a question such as "Could God be evil?"

    1 · March 15

  • David B.

    It took me a while to decide to RSVP - the topic seemed to have so many uncertain directions & possibilities. So, I'll start percolating thoughts toward clarification. When one says "evil" does one assume some supernatural qualities and forces? If one views "evil" as having no supernatural elements, is it essentially the state of being and/or actions resulting from a person being "a sociopath", "a psychopath" or "criminally insane"?

    March 15

  • Barbara E.

    Oh man, evil is one of my favorite topics, but I'll be in Carmel visiting family that w/e.

    Does evil more a point of view rather than a state of being?

    1 · February 25

    • Bryan

      You will be missed - thank you for your question!

      February 26

  • Phil

    Sorry, out of town, or I would be there with devil horns on! Enjoyed the last meetup thoroughly!

    2 · February 25

    • Bryan

      You will be missed!

      February 26

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