Monday, 11 June 2007

Good and Evil

I don't normally copy paste stuff on my blog but this is something that set me thinking. It is a conversation that Gregory David Roberts writes about in his book Shantaram between the author and a mafia don Khader Khan. The don is explaining his idea of Good and Evil to Roberts. See what you make of it -

"'The Universe has a nature, for and of itself, something like human nature, if you like, and its nature is to combine, and to build and to become more complex. It always does this. if the circumstances are right, bits of matter will always come together to make more complex arrangements. And this fact about the way that our universe works, this moving towards order, and towards combinations of these ordered things, has a name, In the western science it is called the tendency toward complexity, and it is the way the universe works.

... this universe that we know began in almost absolute simplicity, and it has been getting more complex for about 15 billion years... It is moving toward... something. It is moving toward some kind of ultimate complexity. We might not get there... But we are all moving towards it... everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity , that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don't like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity. Whatever you call it, the whole universe is moving towards it.

... Anything that enhances, promotes, or accelerates this movement toward the Ultimate Complexity is good. Anything that inhibits, impedes, or prevents this movement towards the Ultimate Complexity is evil. The wonderful thing about this definition of good and evil is that it is both objective and universally acceptable.

... In order to know about any act or intention or consequence, we must first ask two questions. One, what would happen if everyone did this thing? Two, would this help or hinder the movement towards complexity?

... In the case of killing,' Khader continued, after he'd sipped the tea through a cube of white sugar. 'What would happen if everyone killed people? Would that help or hinder? Tell me.'

'Obviously, if everyone killed people, we would wipe each other out. So... that wouldn't help.'

'Yes. We human beings are the most complex arrangements of matter that we know of, but we are not the last achievement of the universe. We too, will develop and change with the rest of the universe. But if we kill indiscriminately, we will not get there. W e will wipe out our species, and all the development that led to us across millions of years - billions of years - will be lost. The same can be said for stealing.

... This is why killing and stealing are wrong - not because some book tells us they are wrong, or law tells they are wrong, or a spiritual guide tells us they are wrong, but because if everyone did them we would not move towards the ultimate complexity that is God, with the rest of the universe.'"

1 comment:

Dipti said...

The 'copy paste' disease seems to have caught on.No fault of yours.
Somethings are best left in the form in which they appear than be mutilated by one's own thought process.
Moving on,yes-this concept seems to provide a step-by-step objective rationale to the concept of good and evil,something you will apply to all things as soon as you read it.
You make me want to go back and pick up 'shanataram' where I had left it.It seems the book has more to offer than vivid,grotesque images of Bombay.