Who Forted? Magazine

On Demons and the Subjectivity of Evil

As has been alluded to in other articles, demons are the cause celebre.  They are better than ghosts.  They are more dangerous than ghosts.  They are more exciting and fascinating than ghosts.  Most importantly, they are better for ratings than ghosts.  However, much like ghosts, there is a fundamental problem.  There is no proof that they exist.  If you would like to read further, there may even be proof that the demon as you know cannot possibly exist.

The concept of the demon is as old as time.  Demons, unlike ghosts, by definition are evil.  It is their core, it is their entire being. This seems to be a universally accepted notion among so-called ghosts hunters (i.e. paranormal hobbyists) and self-proclaimed demonologists.  Herein lies the problem.  Evil, whatever you believe in it or not, is subjective.  One person’s definition of evil may be very different from someone else’s definition.  This further leads to yet another philosophical conundrum (perhaps to explore at another time): What motivation would a paranormal being have to, in fact, be evil?

The close-minded will claim that evil is a clear cut issue.  Evil, they will claim, is some type of malicious intent to violate the norms or mores of a particular culture.  However, since mores differ across cultures, then the definition of evil must change across cultures as well. If evil changes, then the basis for the existence of a creature or energy that is pure evil changes.

For example, is cannibalism evil?  Not everywhere.  So not all cultures would classify a cannibalistic entity as evil.  How can one thing be a demon if the basis for its evil is different from another demon in another culture that is not considered evil?  In other words, one person’s demon could be another person’s angel.

A demon should be a demon should be a demon.  Just as evil should be evil, should be evil.  However, that simply is not the case.  Now the apologist will tell you that there are different classifications of demons.  Much like someone claiming there are different classifications of Sasquatch.  It is on the claimant to prove the existence of one creature before they can mythically create additional creatures based on their unproved hypothesis.

I have been told, “Lace up your boots and come with me.  I will show you pure evil.”  My answer is, “No, you won’t.”  Like it or not, that person has no idea what I consider evil.  What I perceive as evil may not be what someone else perceives as evil.  Consider child abuse.  What one person believes is appropriate discipline, someone else perceives as abusive.  The difference is culture and mores.  Mankind may be able to create laws to define actions, but not laws to define concepts.  Mankind certainly cannot create or dictate the rules to an unknown realm that has never been proven to exist.  Without a universal constant of evil, demons, as evil, cannot exist.

Before proceeding let us stop and examine the position of this claim.  Am I claiming that demons do not exist?  No, and if you think I am, then you have already become lost in this discussion, likely biased by your own beliefs (or norms/mores).  See how that works?  The concept of demons can exist, but as an entity or spiritual form, they are not evil per se.  There is simply no proof that they are evil.  These entities may do things that are repulsive in certain cultures, but that does not make them evil.  That makes them a particular person’s concept of evil.  Evil depends on what you value.  Again, there is no constant.

Is murdering the innocent evil?  Is that a demonic act?  How about those who burned witches? How about those who kept, tortured and murdered slaves?   Were they demonic or were they reacting to the unknown within the context the time in which they existed?  These things may be bad as defined by our societal norms, but are they evil?  At what point does an act rise to a level of being considered evil?  At what point does that same act perpetrated by a spiritual force rise to the level of being demonic?

Demons, if they exist, must exist outside of the continuity of norms, mores, and ethics.  They could exist as negative energy, but not negative as defined by good or bad, but rather as an absence of positive energy.  In the realm of science, light does not equal good and dark does not equal bad.  These notions are created by the mind of mankind.  In science, one is simply something, while the other is the opposite or complete lack of that same something.

Until someone can define an item without the insertion of values in the definition, they cannot accurately define said item.  Once a value judgement is placed on an item, specifically an unproved or paranormal item, the definition is subject to argument and at its essence becomes void.  Calling a demon an evil entity is false.  Therefore, so called demonologists, who propagate such erroneous information, are frauds.  Yes, demons can exist.  However, they are just demons.  Their nature is their nature.  They are neither good nor evil.  It seems that whatever they are, they just are.  Assuming they even exist at all.

Kwin The Eskimo

Kwin The Eskimo

In the mid 1970s, Kwin the Eskimo was trapped under an avalanche of ragged Weekly World News, National Enquirer and Sun Magazines. It was a dodgy few weeks until he clawed his way out of the pile, squinting as if seeing sunlight for the first time. He survived the ordeal only to wind up wandering around Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Middle East delving into all things esoteric. He finally found his way home again, settling in the Eastern Woodlands of the United States. These days he gets paid to uncover the truth, but seldom finds the answers as enlightening as the journey to the question. Most of the time he would rather be stalking through the wilds trapping his next meal than dealing with the unwashed masses. He resides with Mrs Eskimo and an ever changing cadre of wildlife.

6 Comments

  1. Luke The Drifter

    09/13/2012 at 6:19 PM

    Thanks for a thought-provoking article. However, the claim that evil is subjective *because people vary in their descriptions of it* has to be inadequate. Observe:

    I vary from you in describing evil as objective. Therefore, by your reasoning, your description of it as subjective is itself subjective while my description of it as objective is unaffected.

    Suppose instead that people can be *mistaken* or *incomplete* in their description of objective evil, just as a large enough group would vary in their answers to a math problem. I wouldn’t even have to know the complete correct answer myself to believe there must be one and to look for it.
    The “close-minded” shoe would then be on the other foot, you see. I realize that many people these days have a lot invested in viewing the matter your way. I sometimes find they can’t even grasp an alternate thought.
    I’m just saying that the specter of diversity can’t carry the load you’re putting on it.
    Don’t get me wrong; I do appreciate the article.
    Thanks again and keep up the good work!

    • S.

      09/14/2012 at 8:19 AM

      The argument that a belief in “subjectivity” is its own type of dogma is deconstructinist at best and farcical at worst. It reminds me of a time when I was very young and a homophobic, racist, Christian supremacist acquaintance attempted to make the argument that I “was bigoted against bigots” as I often mocked his asinine beliefs. Maybe in a very vague sense, but he sure sounded like a jackass.

      Dogmatically avoiding dogma isn’t really an angle to go about accusing some one of holding to an objective reality in its own right, it just sounds like a damned confusing joke; agnosticism, properly explained, isn’t a religious movement, like Abrahamic faiths, atheism, Republicanism, and other objective reality constructs. Nothing like that one South Park.

      Not that I don’t hold any dogmas myself, I do place more trust than necessary in a few authors and Qabalah, its just when I, or anybody else, refuse to acknowledge objective reality it does not constitute a successful rebuke to say that our refusal to acknowledge your trip’s validity is us creating a new one. Opposite reactions and all that…Newtonian physics is so seventeenth century. Anyways, I feel this may be a confusing response. Hope not.

      As a side note; the “absence of positive energy” is the simple way of expressing the Qabalistic concept of evil or demonic presence. The “qlippoth” which simply translates as “shell”; it doesn’t take a lot of meditation to realize the elegance and wisdom of the concept.

  2. R. A.

    09/17/2012 at 10:09 AM

    Great article! I have no idea whether demons exist, or if they are ‘intrinsically’ evil or not. I agree with your assertion that for any hypothetical demon to be inherently evil, there then must exist an objective form of evil. I also agree that the concept of ‘evil’ is, for most people(perhaps all people even), a subjective consideration.
    However, the fact that humans generally have subjective definitions of evil does not mean that evil, in an objective form, does not or cannot exist.
    This is not to say that I think evil does exist in some objective form. I don’t know if it does or not. All I’m saying is that the human subjective take on evil does not preclude the possibility of there being an objective version. After all, humans have spent most of history having short-sighted, subjective views and opinions on any number of objective subjects.

    So if there is such a thing as ‘objective’ evil, I would think it would need to be based in principle, rather than being defined as this or that specific thing(such as cannibalism, or slavery, or Justin Beiber). The principle would result in different actions depending on the situation.
    For instance, a demon that was intrinsically evil might have as its guiding principle, to maximize suffering. Further, it would perhaps find endless great delight in doing so–thus ensuring that it would really get into it, taking great pains to plan and implement, giving the whole of its attention to every detail. It would make no difference to such a creature if one person thought cannibalism was just fine, or another didn’t bat an eye at child slavery. It would just do whatever was necessary to maximize the suffering of each individual, and thereby increase its own pleasure.

    As I said, I do not know if demons, or objective evil, actually exist. But I don’t rule out the possibility of either one.

  3. Pingback: TWS233: Conceptual Inception

  4. BINGO

    10/20/2012 at 12:17 PM

    Your entire article is utter moral-relativistic bullshit.
    An act or an entity is evil if God has said so.

    End of debate.

  5. sir langerhans

    06/28/2013 at 2:21 AM

    BEING EVIL & A Devil ARE COMEPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS…PEOPLE CAN BE EVIL , WITHOUT BEING ANY WHERE NEAR A DEVIL………..I CAN GET GRAPHIC , BUT EVIL IS MUCH MORE SUBTLE, IT MADE U THINK THE WAY U DO, ……as If U Were Saying Sumpn, But U Arent Really…………A Devil Has U As His Minion As U Wrote That Nonesense…..The Bible Warns Us, All
    We Have To Do Is Quit Pretending Shit Isnt There That Is There!!!!! They Go Bye Bye Pretty Easy If U DO IT WITH AUTHORITY!!!!! Oh But Then Again , U May Start A Thread On “Whats Authority, Its Different Meanings & Shit!!! Sheesh Cant A Guy
    Get A Burger , quit

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