There are hundreds of instances of people harming or helping others around the world. These people can cause widespread destruction to the lives of many they harmed or cause far-reaching joy to those they have helped. But why do people do such harm to people or why do they benefit people? Why did people cause genocide and suffering towards others throughout history? Why do people commit crimes against others who have not wronged them? These very questions are what we need to be answered to fully comprehend what good and evil are and why it exists among us, enlightened humans.
Origin of Human Morality
Good and evil are aspects of what we call morality. Humans themselves have created moral codes all throughout their history such as Hammurabi’s Code, The Twelve Tables, as well as Old and New Testaments. But what was the first moral code that humans had within their early history? To answer this question, we need to define what good, and evil is. For something to be good it needs to be beneficial for something but what exactly does it mean for something to be beneficial?
Benefits themselves require that something needs to have a definite or limited existence which can only be sustained by certain things; those things being what sustain something's existence, in other words, for something to be beneficial there also needs to be something that is not beneficial and when we look at all the aspects of the known universe such as the Sun, stars, rocks, water, metal, and humans; we need to know which one of these aspects of the Universe can be destroyed while not affecting the existence of the Universe because if the Universe didn't exist it would only be non-beneficial for those who depend on the Universe. So, we know that water, metal, rocks, stars, and the Sun, as well as other non-organic matter, do not depend on the Universe to exist because they constitute the Universe so if the Universe were to end these independent entities would end as well.
This leaves organic matter or living things as the only entity within the known Universe as being dependent on the Universe to exist which is proven by the fact that living things do not constitute a part of the Universe, because the death of organic matter does not affect the function or existence of the Universe, as well as the fact that the existence of all living things is conditional such as constant respiration, consumption of organic matter, and avoidance of physical harms to name a few.
So only living things can only benefit from the world around them because the world they depend on allows them to exist but not the other way around. Also since animals are just individuals who are part of a common genetic group that means that every single living thing is concerned with its own existence just like every other animal around them and this desire for every living thing to stay alive will bring them into competition with other individuals to order to survive and eventually reproduce and this is the very first instance of conflict among living things which culminates in the formation of individualistic morality where individuals will only care for their own benefit of survival regardless if it hurts others animals or not. Hence the first kind of morality that exists among every kind of living thing, including humans, is individualistic morality.
However, humans would form into families of hunter-gatherers where individualistic morality would not suffice to keep these groups of early humans together so an additional form of morality which is based on mutual benefit was formed where every individual member of a group would help each other in exchange of personal benefits for every person within that group such as access to food, shelter, and social support which continued to exist when humans transitioned from being hunter-gatherers to farmers that traded their crops to each other in exchange for other kinds of crops or livestock.
However, when humans formed into groups composed of local individuals for mutual benefit; the goal of morality was now about the benefit of existence for the human group instead of individual humans so when another human group would want to benefit themselves in any way possible this would often have them come into conflict with human groups who wanted the same thing and this is how humans began to hate each other which was expressed through war and sometimes genocide.
However human groups would also cooperate with each other through trade and mutually benefit when it suited them as well. In fact, mutual benefit within human groups is only achievable when mutual benefit outweighs the individual benefits among the members of the group and the same can also be said between cooperating human groups.
Perception or Reality
Based on the foundations of individualistic morality and human group morality, we now know that individual humans and individual human groups would help or harm each other based on which benefit each group wanted and what they thought was the best way to acquire such benefit. It is then apparent that what is beneficial for individual humans or human groups is subject to that individual human or human group which means that benefit is perceptive for either human groups or individual humans and vice versa.
This means that human morality is purely perceptive or subjective and not objective or a part of true reality or the reality outside of our perceptions of our world. In fact, the Universe and everything that constitutes it is a part of objective reality, including the physical existence of humans but anything that exists through our perceptions of the world around us is subjective including our emotions, our thoughts, and our sense of good and evil.
Foundation of Empathy
While individual groups and humans will fight or help each other to gain some kind of benefit for themselves there is a way to get individuals to understand each other and that way is empathy. Empathy is the ability of an individual to understand the emotions and viewpoints of others by identifying with them or embodying their souls.
This kind of interpersonal unity is an unnatural one since the basis for unity does not satiate the inherent individuality that mutual benefit does because emotional and perceptual understanding does not individually benefit anyone unless empathy is a medium for individual benefits that are fully one-sided while Mutual empathy also cannot exist without mutual benefit for the same reason. For these reasons empathy is often used to gain personal benefits from others through pity which demonstrates that empathy is mostly meant to exploit others for one’s personal benefit.
However, empathy is also driven by human reproduction because when a human child is conceived and gestating for 9 months a mother must feel empathy for this new human to be able to deal with the stress and responsibility of bringing a child into the world so empathy would be constructive in building familial relations and destructive for non-familial relations.
It's also worth noting that empathy, despite its apparent exploitative nature, can also help people who are victims of tragedy as well as personal, social, or financial loss by providing emotional support and personal benefit to help the victim. So, empathy is also constructive within interpersonal relationships within a community or group of people.
The Individual Menace
While human groups were created as a way for individual humans to cooperate and help each other there were some individuals who just oont fit into this mutually beneficial system for several reasons. The first reason is the individualism of their family members which would occur due to refusal to cooperate with others or personal indulgences that kept them from being an active supporter of the group.
Such people would often be alienated from society due to giving in to their inherent individuality due to their individualistic family members who would also be alienated and live on the fringe of society. This alienation would eventually cause these individuals to become beggars or other pitiful individuals but some of these individuals, due to their adherence to their individuality, will seek to harm other members of society for their own benefit.
These people would be known as criminals who can commit any crime from petty theft to sadistic assault and murder. The reasons individuals would commit such crimes would be to gain something valuable to sustain themselves and/or gain wealth as well as gratify themselves or fulfill some pleasure from people suffering or satisfy their rage or resentment for someone they have met.
All of these reasons for committing crimes against society can always be traced back to individualistic motives which shows that our inherent individualism is always lying dormant within our minds behind our cooperative and respectful demeanor towards a society which shows us what the true nature of humans is are.
Final Considerations About Morality
Morality itself defines how humankind perceives the world and people around them and due to the primitive foundations of morality we can conclude that human conflict is an inherent part of our existence due to humans being conditionally existent entities. In fact, any kind of conflict, whether interpersonal or group conflict, serves as the foundation of what is good and bad.
So whenever we deem anything as good or bad we are saying that we are taking sides either through common mutual interest or empathy. So ultimately there is no such thing as being absolutely good or absolutely bad. However, because human groups, due to being composed of a large number of individuals with many kinds of skills, tend to dominate over individualistic people; we are predisposed to perceive group morality as good and individualism, especially one of a sadistic and merciless nature, as bad.
But, despite these truths about morality, I do not in any way support criminals or societal destruction because human groups exist to benefit all who are willing to be supporting members of said groups. So, despite the inherent existence of good and evil within our existence; we always know that human groups are a force of benefit for all of us who wish to be safe from those individuals and groups who wish to harm us for their own benefit.