Allow Me to Cheer You Up

 

Well, not me personally, of course.  I’ve been having some problems seeing the bright side of things here recently.  But JP Sears posted a video yesterday which I found fascinating.  I know that many Ricochetti don’t often watch linked videos (Ricochetti such as your humble scribe, for example), but I assure you that this is worth 13 minutes of your time.  Mr. Sears is known for his oddball video spoofs which usually contain a few brilliant insights hidden beneath the goofy presentation.  But this is a serious video, in which he explains how he came to believe that evil actually exists.

That doesn’t sound all that cheerful, but he also explains why he thinks that good is very likely to win over evil, and what each of us can do personally to help achieve this victory.  He acknowledges that he is not a philosopher or a Biblical scholar, but just briefly explains how he arrived at these conclusions.  I find it interesting not because he’s shed new light on human nature (and he doesn’t claim to do so), but I find it interesting because I strongly suspect that he is not the only one thinking along these lines today.  And I suspect that his message resonates with a growing proportion of the population.  Check it out:

His explanations might be a bit over-simplified.  But they might also be correct.

I look forward to hearing your perspective on Mr. Sears’ view of the world today, and why he is so optimistic.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Simple works – you can usually state a principle in less than 10 words. It makes them easier to restate. 
    Thanks for posting this. It helps. 

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Please cheer me up.

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Please cheer me up.

    A good fight strengthens you.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I always like this guy’s stuff (although I admit I haven’t seen a lot) including the silliness. He’s bright and sincere and spot on!

    • #4
  5. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Great quote from the video, in which he shares his working definition of evil:

    Evil is anyone trying to control someone else that is not in their best interests.  Satan is all about control, and God is all about freedom.  That’s why God gave you free will, and Satan tries to get you to consent to enslavement. 

    • #5
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    That first bit about Satan and corrupt humans is great. Delingpole’s made the same discovery of late.

    • #6
  7. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Great quote from the video, in which he shares his working definition of evil:

    Evil is anyone trying to control someone else that is not in their best interests. Satan is all about control, and God is all about freedom. That’s why God have you free will, and Satan tries to get you to consent to enslavement.

    This is such a good, concise way of putting it.

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Great quote from the video, in which he shares his working definition of evil:

    Evil is anyone trying to control someone else that is not in their best interests. Satan is all about control, and God is all about freedom. That’s why God have you free will, and Satan tries to get you to consent to enslavement.

    Were James Gawron here, no doubt someone would be saying something about Kant.

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Great quote from the video, in which he shares his working definition of evil:

    Evil is anyone trying to control someone else that is not in their best interests. Satan is all about control, and God is all about freedom. That’s why God have you free will, and Satan tries to get you to consent to enslavement.

    This is such a good, concise way of putting it.

    This is along the lines of how I have often thought about capitalists who offer a product in the marketplace without disclosure after they have uncommon knowledge that the product is harmful to those who use it. 

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Duplicate post

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Great quote from the video, in which he shares his working definition of evil:

    Evil is anyone trying to control someone else that is not in their best interests. Satan is all about control, and God is all about freedom. That’s why God have you free will, and Satan tries to get you to consent to enslavement.

    There is plenty of truth in that, but I would hesitate to say that it explains everything.  Every grand, abstract principle in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures seems to be contradicted (or at least modified) by another one, probably for good reason. 

    • #11
  12. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    We’ve been praying that JP Sears comes to know Jesus. This kinda sounds like he’s coming around.

    “This may come as a surprise but people who are willing to kill men, women, and children…also lie. It’s kinda the thing they do most.”

    Love this man. 

    • #12
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Simple works – you can usually state a principle in less than 10 words. It makes them easier to restate.
    Thanks for posting this. It helps.

    I don’t think that this is correct.  I think that most important things are much, much more complicated than this.

    Look at the definition of “evil” presented by JP in the video, quoted in comment # 11 by @thereticulator.  It is 15 words, and even though it is 50% longer than the 10-word limit that you postulate, is woefully inadequate, in my view.

    • #13
  14. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Simple works – you can usually state a principle in less than 10 words. It makes them easier to restate.
    Thanks for posting this. It helps.

    I don’t think that this is correct. I think that most important things are much, much more complicated than this.

    Look at the definition of “evil” presented by JP in the video, quoted in comment # 11 by @ thereticulator. It is 15 words, and even though it is 50% longer than the 10-word limit that you postulate, is woefully inadequate, in my view.

    Sure–a 15 word definition of a really complex thing like evil is inadequate.  That’s why theologians and philosophers write whole books on the topic and have debated it for thousands of years.  But most of us are not theologians or philosophers, so to me the more relevant questions are “is the definition true as far as it goes” and “is it useful for everyday conversation and application”.  The 15 word version, incomplete as it is, seems to work.

    Your concern reminds me of the problem of models.  The less complex a model, the less accurate it is.  Yet the simple model may be useful.  But as the model is made more accurate by increasing its complexity, the less useful it becomes.

    Definitions of complex concepts like evil can have a similar dynamic.  Just how useful to the average Joe is a beautifully written treatise on evil?  Beyond a few pithy quotations (each probably 10-20 words long), not very useful.

    **Edit: Having watched the video, I actually don’t agree with all his points/solutions, but he seems like someone willing to learn and open to dialogue and correction.  He’s definitely on a journey and it appears he’s going in the right direction.

    • #14
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Justin, I don’t think that the 15-word definition works at all.

    I haven’t yet watched the whole video.  It was actually this definition, toward the beginning, that turned me off.  It comes across as quite anarchist, at least in practice.

    To his credit, JP does include a qualifier in his definition of evil as being “trying to control someone else.”  That would be an anarchist definition.  JP adds “that is not in their best interests.”

    This still presents problems, though.  At least two come to mind.

    First, there is the problem of deciding whether such control is in the “best interests” of the person being controlled.  There are differences of opinion about this.  The first example that JP gives is vaccination.  I think that many of the people favoring mandatory vaccination believe that being vaccinated is in the best interests of the people on whom such a mandate is imposed.  I actually agree with them on the “best interests” part of the issue, but prefer to leave this particular decision to the individual.

    Second, this definition assumes that it is never permissible to control one person for the benefit of others, or of the community as a whole.  A military draft would be an example of such control that I consider proper in some circumstances.  There are other examples.  It might be in my best interest to, say, take Doc’s nice car, but that’s not good for Doc.  Most of the actual decisions that we face in the world have this level of complexity. 

    What if I want to have sexual relations with some woman that I meet?  Should I be controlled in that area?  Are my “best interests” the only thing that matters in that decision?  What about my wife?  What about my children?  What about my duty to set a decent example for others?  What about the community breakdown that can occur if adultery becomes more broadly accepted, and starts to run rampant?

    Justin, I think that we agree that we need a more complex definition than JP’s.  Where we disagree, it seems, is in the utility of his simple definition.

    I do think that I can define evil in less than 10 words.  “Evil is acting contrary to the will of God.”  That’s 9 words.

    It’s just not very helpful, because of the difficulty in determining, and defining, the will of God.

    • #15
  16. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):
    **Edit: Having watched the video, I actually don’t agree with all his points/solutions, but he seems like someone willing to learn and open to dialogue and correction.  He’s definitely on a journey and it appears he’s going in the right direction.

    That’s pretty much my view.  

    I admire him for exploring difficult, important topics, and putting himself out there before he has all the details worked out. 

    He’s going to get flamed by the nit-pickers, atheists, and the left.  But he apparently doesn’t care.  I write under a pseudonym.  He’s a public figure.  But he’s still willing to think through complex, controversial topics in a public forum.  Flames be damned.

    Good for him.

    • #16
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    I admire him for exploring difficult, important topics, and putting himself out there before he has all the details worked out.

    He’s going to get flamed by the nit-pickers, atheists, and the left. But he apparently doesn’t care. I write under a pseudonym. He’s a public figure. But he’s still willing to think through complex, controversial topics in a public forum. Flames be damned.

    Good for him.

    JP is evolving in real time and letting everyone see it. There was another video he did where he talked about his changing view on abortion, and while he didn’t come all the way over to where I am on the issue (yet?), I appreciated his honesty in sharing where he is at. It was very good.

    A lot of people might change positions but never provide the evolution in thinking that led them there. And others are too hardened to ever change positions. This is all very refreshing.

    I applaud such public and open discussions that aren’t just planting an immovable flag but allowing for dialogue and change.

    • #17
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Simple works – you can usually state a principle in less than 10 words. It makes them easier to restate.
    Thanks for posting this. It helps.

    I don’t think that this is correct. I think that most important things are much, much more complicated than this.

    Look at the definition of “evil” presented by JP in the video, quoted in comment # 11 by @ thereticulator. It is 15 words, and even though it is 50% longer than the 10-word limit that you postulate, is woefully inadequate, in my view.

    Oh sure, it’s incomplete, but as a way to kick off a discussion of evil and what it is, it’s great.

    See it as a starting point, not a final destination. 

    • #18
  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I admire someone willing to change their mind on a lot of things. 

    And JP is against Tyranny and he is against evil. 

     

    • #19
  20. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    He also did a video about how he changed his view on guns.

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Evil is anything that is outside the character of God.

    Everything evil is a perversion of God.

    God IS reality.  God IS love.  God IS truth.

    God IS, and satan denies it.  God loves and satan hates.  God is truth and satan lies.  God creates and satan cripples and destroys.

    Evil is rebellion against God and reality.  “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”

    John 14:15-17  “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.  I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever.  That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him, because he lives with you and will be in you.”

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    [duplicate]

    • #22
  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Flicker (View Comment):

    [duplicate]

    would have been worth saying twice I think

    • #23
  24. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Simple works – you can usually state a principle in less than 10 words. It makes them easier to restate.
    Thanks for posting this. It helps.

    I don’t think that this is correct. I think that most important things are much, much more complicated than this.

    Look at the definition of “evil” presented by JP in the video, quoted in comment # 11 by @ thereticulator. It is 15 words, and even though it is 50% longer than the 10-word limit that you postulate, is woefully inadequate, in my view.

    Oh sure, it’s incomplete, but as a way to kick off a discussion of evil and what it is, it’s great.

    See it as a starting point, not a final destination.

    Well stated. That was exactly how I meant my comment.  My only criticism is of any idea that we may have found the One Principle to Rule Them All, and that is not a criticism of Mr Sears. 

    • #24
  25. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Lucifer is the one who is actually about freedom though. I don’t get JP’s deal. G-d wanted us to be his compliant pets in Eden.

    Also, humans are naturally inclined towards superstition and bigotry. If our gut was a good framework for moral decision making we wouldn’t have done so much slavery and cannibalism. We wouldn’t have killed Christ, we would have give  Confucius a government job and we would have let an eccentric Greek stonemason speak his kooky thoughts.

    Goodness comes through denying the nature given to us by an amoral nature and becoming less gut-led. This man only thinks freedom is good because he is a Westerner.

    • #25
  26. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Justin, I don’t think that the 15-word definition works at all.

    I haven’t yet watched the whole video. It was actually this definition, toward the beginning, that turned me off. It comes across as quite anarchist, at least in practice.

    To his credit, JP does include a qualifier in his definition of evil as being “trying to control someone else.” That would be an anarchist definition. JP adds “that is not in their best interests.”

    This still presents problems, though. At least two come to mind.

    First, there is the problem of deciding whether such control is in the “best interests” of the person being controlled. There are differences of opinion about this. The first example that JP gives is vaccination. I think that many of the people favoring mandatory vaccination believe that being vaccinated is in the best interests of the people on whom such a mandate is imposed. I actually agree with them on the “best interests” part of the issue, but prefer to leave this particular decision to the individual.

    Second, this definition assumes that it is never permissible to control one person for the benefit of others, or of the community as a whole. A military draft would be an example of such control that I consider proper in some circumstances. There are other examples. It might be in my best interest to, say, take Doc’s nice car, but that’s not good for Doc. Most of the actual decisions that we face in the world have this level of complexity.

    What if I want to have sexual relations with some woman that I meet? Should I be controlled in that area? Are my “best interests” the only thing that matters in that decision? What about my wife? What about my children? What about my duty to set a decent example for others? What about the community breakdown that can occur if adultery becomes more broadly accepted, and starts to run rampant?

    Justin, I think that we agree that we need a more complex definition than JP’s. Where we disagree, it seems, is in the utility of his simple definition.

    I do think that I can define evil in less than 10 words. “Evil is acting contrary to the will of God.” That’s 9 words.

    It’s just not very helpful, because of the difficulty in determining, and defining, the will of God.

    The Bible is always a good place to start.

    For a working definition, JP’s is a good start. I hope he gets to your definition in the God’s time.

    I liked the video. His number one includes the not-a-Bible-scholar’s exhortation to Joshua 1:9.

    • #26
  27. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Lucifer is the one who is actually about freedom though. I don’t get JP’s deal. G-d wanted us to be his compliant pets in Eden.

    Did he, though? Obviously nobody was there to explain it all, though I think Lewis does a great job talking about freedom vs. obedience in Perelandra (which is basically Venus-as-unfallen-Eden).

    I think The Lego Movie — yeah, you heard right — does an excellent job of it, too.

    On one hand you’ve got President Business (or whatever his name was) demanding that everyone stick to the Instructions. On the other you have the chaotic Cloud Cuckoo Land where they deliberately refuse to follow Instructions.

    And the balance is found where the Instructions are recognized and honored, but within those instructions there is an endless amount of freedom.

    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

     

    • #27
  28. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I’ve been a fan of JP for a while now.  He is very entertaining, and he does seem to be moving in the right direction.

    I’m quite critical of most of his proposals at the end.  My main disagreement is that he seems to place liberty as the highest, and perhaps sole, good.

    I’ve made this argument many times before, and it’s probably getting tiresome for some of you, so I’ll stop.  Actually, it may be getting tiresome for all of you.  :)

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Lucifer is the one who is actually about freedom though. I don’t get JP’s deal. G-d wanted us to be his compliant pets in Eden.

    Did he, though? Obviously nobody was there to explain it all, though I think Lewis does a great job talking about freedom vs. obedience in Perelandra (which is basically Venus-as-unfallen-Eden).

    I think The Lego Movie — yeah, you heard right — does an excellent job of it, too.

    On one hand you’ve got President Business (or whatever his name was) demanding that everyone stick to the Instructions. On the other you have the chaotic Cloud Cuckoo Land where they deliberately refuse to follow Instructions.

    And the balance is found where the Instructions are recognized and honored, but within those instructions there is an endless amount of freedom.

    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

    I am in the middle of Perelandra. As lovely a book as it is, it makes me understand why Mark Camp and others aren’t into fantasy or science fiction. On Earth we are designed by nature to be horrible and other animals are desired to dominate other animals. He sidesteps reality by making stuff up and I can’t help but feel it is a dodge. If G-d made us to be free, why are we so in love with ideologies that enslave us.

    I will rewatch the Lego movie.

    • #29
  30. DrewInWisconsin, Oik Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oik
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oik (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Lucifer is the one who is actually about freedom though. I don’t get JP’s deal. G-d wanted us to be his compliant pets in Eden.

    Did he, though? Obviously nobody was there to explain it all, though I think Lewis does a great job talking about freedom vs. obedience in Perelandra (which is basically Venus-as-unfallen-Eden).

    I think The Lego Movie — yeah, you heard right — does an excellent job of it, too.

    On one hand you’ve got President Business (or whatever his name was) demanding that everyone stick to the Instructions. On the other you have the chaotic Cloud Cuckoo Land where they deliberately refuse to follow Instructions.

    And the balance is found where the Instructions are recognized and honored, but within those instructions there is an endless amount of freedom.

    “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

    I am in the middle of Perelandra. As lovely a book as it is, it makes me understand why Mark Camp and others aren’t into fantasy or science fiction.

    I wish this wasn’t considered Science Fiction. It’s really more of an extended analogy or something close to allegory that just happens to use characters from the previous novel.

    On Earth we are designed by nature to be horrible and other animals are desired to dominate other animals. He sidesteps reality by making stuff up and I can’t help but feel it is a dodge. If G-d made us to be free, why are we so in love with ideologies that enslave us.

    Fallen humanity?

    • #30
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