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Author Topic: the eternal ying yang, good and evil.  (Read 1383 times)

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Offline elfkin

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the eternal ying yang, good and evil.
« on: May 26, 2004, 10:28:12 PM »
As long as Fantasy literrature has been around, there has always ben the conflict between good and evil.   Though, in each of these tales, good and evil have no sources.  The best book to explain this is probably the silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien.  He said that Morgoth, the black foe of the world, would plant the seed of evil within the soul, it would grow to produce dark fruit.  Yet farther than that.  Can we find a more precise source of good and evil?
The road goes ever on and on,
  down from the door where
   it began, now far away
   the road has gone,
  and I follow it if I can
 pursuing it with weary feet where many roads and errands meet,
   but wither then I cannot say.
-Frodo Baggins

Offline Shadoweagle

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the eternal ying yang, good and evil.
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2004, 10:52:33 PM »
Good and evil are manmade things. The source of both good and evil is from mankind and mankind alone. They are merely names to label acts of what is accepted or not in our society.

Tell me this: if you were in a villiage where the history for thousands of years was to kill one person a year for sacrifice, and this was accepted, would you label your sacrificing as 'evil'?

On a more mundane idea - Do you think slaughtering sheep for food is evil? the general population does not think it evil, but what if you were a vegetarian, or someone who has an affinity with nature? You would think it a vile, dispicable thing.

Do you think the lion who slaughters the lamb 'evil'? And do you think the peaceful lamb as 'good'? Do you think someone who pushed someone out of a partnership to get ahead as evil? Others would think it simple strategy, perhaps even a wise decision.

I put forth this: Knowledge is the source of good and evil. If we were as the animals, we would not have the capacity for thinking of good and evil, merely survival. Even looking in the bible: Adam and eve ate the forbidden fruit which gave them knowledge, and with that knowledge came a definition of good and evil.

No, no merciful god gave us the heroes of the world, and no scheming, devilish deity made the villians. We did.
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Offline MoonHunter

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Mythology
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2004, 05:10:00 AM »
Every gameworld will have its own origin for Good and Evil. It should be different for EVERY GAMESETTING. There is no one source. It is one of the fundemental parts of every mythology.  Even if there is not a religion per say, there will be a story about Good and Evil.

Of course, the story might have absolutely nothing to do with the actual origin, but it is what people believe.  

The Greeks through Evil was part of the world, innately... though eventually Titans were blamed for it.  But I digress.  

In worlds of obedience or power, (i.e. you follow your dieties not because of faith but in fear of what happens when you don't do what they say OR you believe in them because of the power/ spells/ miracles/ they grant), the definition of Good Powers and Bad Powers is a little more clear cut - kind of like the teams on a football field. You are what you get from your "higher power".  Given the existance of powers, there might be a clear cut story behind Good and Evil.

Those powers may or may not give their clerics their view upon the sources of good or evil.  If they don't, the clerics of centuries gone by will have probably made something up to explain it all.  By the time the players are running around, those parables have become dogma and mythology.  

Now in a euro medival fantasy of the Tolkein mold (i.e. most fantasy games based upon DnD), the teams are automatically set up. Good gets good powers and Evil gets their powers.  The actual origins are mere windowdressing to explain why they two antagonistic sides exist.  

In a more game orriented view, without Evils there is nobody for Good to "beat up" and "take their stuff".  And of course, Evil imperils the world... Good must stop Evil... the quest continues.  So there must be a Good and Evil.  There might even be a story that actually impacts the way the world is and defines Good and Evil's goals, but normally there is nothing there.

I mean, how often do you actually think about how Good and Evil came to be in your own mythology (If you are a Christian, Jew, Moslem, Wicca, Buddhist, Taoist, Shintoist, or Confussionist).  How often does someone's belief in that story impact the world?


Of course, some games do not run Good vs Evil.  RuneQuest/ HeroQuest and Glorantha Setting ignores Good and Evil as Order and Chaos are the big opposing polarities.  Many Asian settings ignore Good and Evil and concentrate on Being in Way with the flow of the world or being in opposition of said Way.
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