Does All Evil Begin with a Lie?



By Joe Hubris


This project began with two intentions, one noble, the other selfish.  
The noble intention was to do something that would give people the opportunity to think about something more profound than that which comes along in their everyday lives and to think about philosophy as more than an academic endeavor, but as a living part of our world.
The other intention was to have a place to sit and relax at the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival. 
While the interviews I did were personally edifying, I can't say whether or not I accomplished my noble intention.  But as far as the place to sit:  mission accomplished.
Click here for my personal answer.

The audio recordings of each interview are to follow.

Fredrick Blaine Mead, IV (26yo M from Philadelphia): DROWNING DOGGY HITLER...WHILE HE'S STILL A PUPPY
JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

Well, in terms of, biblically, Satan's called the deceiver and is called the prince of lies, and is usually associated with lies, so I guess his lie was giant and to himself that he was greater than god. And, I feel like from there, it was just like a big bang theory of evil and of destruction, basically.  Because once he couldn't accept that he wasn't, it just kinda kept spinning out of control, so then like that lie, being the first major lie, that all evil does stem from that.

JH: Does your definition of evil, is it in the bible, is that what you would consider your definition of evil?
Evil is something that's kinda hard to pinpoint. But, little, white lies may not be like, have grand repercussions, but deceit in general can kinda be just like a small evil act.  you know?  and I just feel like if it's a yes or no question, then yeah, it does.
JH: The idea is to stimulate discussion as to why.

As to why?
JH: It's interesting that that point seems to support the idea.  That if all evil flows from Lucifer, from that fall, and that was a lie, then if that's your definition of evil, it seems like you do think that it does.

Yeah I do.  I lie personally, but nothing great usually comes out of it.  Even if I do benefit from it, I feel like that can be an evil act.  Then I'm lying to get ahead.
JH: The question presumes that you can lie without doing evil, like if somebody says "does this make me look fat?"  And you say "No." That's not necessarily an evil act.  But at the same time, the question is more about evil and about where evil itself lies.

Yeah, I guess it could be, but even if it's not realized as a lie by the evildoer, if you trace it back, there's some lie in there, or something that's not  accepted by the evil doer.
JH: Right, I think that the difference between tragedy and a bad act and an evil act, so like I think you could say maybe someone who is insane and does something that hurts or harms someone, maybe that's not an evil act, but if someone understands what they're doing...

That's why we have a mental health court, that's why we have some people who take an insanity defense.
JH: Exactly, those are examples of what I'm talking about.

But it does get a little gray.
JH: The fortunate thing for this is that it doesn't need to be.  A word is a human tool,

Evil is something that is understood.  Youtube and all that stuff, if something where things get capture and put up.  Remember the girl that was drowning puppies? There was something in the last six months where this girl was caught on camera drowning puppies.  And the public was like "No."  
JH: Drowning puppies sounds pretty evil to me.
But maybe in her head, drowning puppies was a good idea, I think that's a lock, because everybody just instantly jumped up and said "No!"  I think there's a consensus, but maybe in the future we'll find that there was some benefit to it.
JH: Those puppies, they would have grown up to be Doggy Hitlers.

Yeah, but for right now that is an evil thing, so there's a lie somewhere, but I'm not in that girls head.
JH: Thank god, I don't think I'd want to spend much time there.

No, but it seems like there's some kind of lie or deceit going on there somewhere.
JH: That's an interesting notion, if you lie to someone else, and then they do something harmful to someone else, they're not necessarily an evildoer, but original person who lied was.
Bill Deery (31yo M from Fishtown):  JIHADISM
JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?
Probably, I don't think that all lies end up being evil, but you're probably right that all evil probably does begin with a lie especially too many people ultimately participate in the evil.
JH: So in other words, if you go backwards.  You can look at evil as a harmful act but it is also associated with some kind of maliciousness.  


JH: And you're saying that if you go back, you'll see a lie at some point?

I'm looking at the  current situation in the middle east and everything.  There is a lot of that particular evil that stems from a lie.
JH: What sort of evil do you mean that?  If you could just be more explicit?

I think it's the whole jihadist thing, the whole anti-Americanism.  Maybe not so much...
JH: You're thinking of evil acts committed in the name of Jihad, for instance?

Yeah, a lot of the atrocities committed out there I think have stemmed from a lot of different lies that have been basic or traditional and used by leadership.
JH: Yeah, lies that have been told by leaders in the region.
Correct, religious leaders, leaders in general, political leaders, on how their vision of society should be.   I think they use a lot of lies in order to keep that together.

Eddie Marshall "The Mayor of Fishtown" & Brendon Madarazo: WOMEN AND THE IRS ARE THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?
EM: All evil begins with forbidden fruit... and forbidden women.
BM: I'll definitely admit that women play a large role in evil.
EM: Big part!
JH: Do they always lie when they do it?

EM: They lay, they don't lie, but when they lie they lay.
JH: Can you think of evil that does not involve a lie?

EM: The greatest evil in the world without a lie is the IRS.  The internal revenue service are evil, evil motherfuckers.
JH: This coming from a small business owner

Well, if we have no protection, no constitutional protection under the law.  They circumvent that with totalitarian powers.  There are gulags for people like us(?).
BM:  True evil doesn't have to begin with a lie, I just think it exists.  I'm haven't dealt with the IRS...
JH: Can you give me an example?

BM: Hitler.  He didn't lie, he had an agenda.
EM: He lied to get into power.
JH: He also lied to other countries about what was happening.  I think you could also make a case that he was lied to.

EM: Ah, Eve was lied to by the serpent.  So evil does begin with a lie.
BM:   That was the first lie ever told.
EM: Satan said if you eat this fruit, you can't go around naked anymore, which really disappointed men.
JH: Are clothes a lie?  Perhaps that's the real question.


JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

Not always, sometimes people just lose track and only look at the ends.  They lose track of the means.
JH: They justify actions, can you give an example?

I think just religion in general.  I don't think anyone starts off meaning to mislead people.  Churches and things start off wanting to serve, but they just kinda become involved in supporting the organization and not necessarily what the organization speaks for.
JH: It would seem to me that there is a moment where they do start to lie...

There is, but I don't think it necessarily begins there.
Michelle Pauls, Managing Artistic Director, Walking Fish Theatre, and Astrid:  IF EVIL EXISTS, IT CAN BE FOUND IN CATS

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

I'm not sure if I believe in evil.  So, I'm not sure if that can be true.  
JH: Yeah, if there is no evil, it cannot begin with a lie.

I don't think it's as easy to pare everything down to good and evil.  I don't think things are so black and white.  I think everything exists within a situation with context.  And I don't believe in absolutes. 
JH: I see evil as a kind of subset of tragedy.  There's harm that befalls people, there are sad events that occur.  But it seems like there are some of those that you can describe as evil, as opposed to simple misfortune.

Well, I guess in that case, you could call the acts of some people evil acts, because their intentions are to harm people.
JH: Do you think that evil has to be the root of a person, I mean, that someone has to be involved.  It can't just be a natural event?

Yes.  I agree with that.
JH: Do you think you can imagine one person's act not evil and another person's act evil?

 I think it all boils down to intention.  What do you intend to happen?  What is your over-arching goal, your motivation?  I'm an actor, so I'm always thinking about intention.  If you intend to cause people harm and make them suffer and make them squirm, make them cry, make them die, if that's your ultimate outcome, then by your definition you could call them evil.  But, we're all human and that means that we are not perfect, then lots of things come into play when we make decisions.  If your motivations are not one of those, then I don't think I could call that evil.
JH: You think it really starts with motivation, so you would say "no" to this question?  I lie doesn't need to play a role in any of those things, right?

I don't know, I don't think it's so simple.  Like I said, I don't believe in the big construct of evil.
JH: Well, you've got somebody else to participate here, I'm sorry, I forgot to ask your name...
This is Astrid.  Do you think all evil begins with a lie?  I know where there's evil in your world:  Certain villains in certain games.  Are there evil Warrior Cats?
Astrid: Yes.
What makes them evil?  Do they decide to be evil, are they born that way?
Astrid:  Yes.
They are?  Some of them are born that way.  Evil cats.
JH: They are simply born that way, there's nothing they can do about it, they are simply evil?

Oh, could they change?  Name one of the most evil cats.
Astrid:  Tiger Star.
Could he evil change and be "un-evil."  What do you think?  Would he want to?
Astrid: No.
There you have it.  Even in the cat world, there is evil.
Lynette Beer (32yo F from Fishtown):  GREED IS A LIE

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

Yes.  I think that people lie when they're trying to get over on people, trying to trick people into thinking that something is a certain way, and that's pretty evil, it's usually for greed.
JH: You think greed is a kind of lie?

Greed causes people to lie. 
JH: Can you imagine evil that doesn't involve greed or getting someone over on someone?

No, not really.
JH: The classic example might be the Nazis, do you think that involved a lie?  Did 

Kinda.  It's kind of a lie to say that certain race or people aren't as good as another.  I think it's based on power.  It's still lying, brainwashing the soldiers, some of them wanted to do it, but...
JH: So that was maybe the lie, maybe when they enlisted others to do what they wanted to do?

It could be that they believed in what they wanted for power.  There's usually a reason for something like that.  Which ties into greed, greed for power.
Paul Triggiani (27yo M from Philadelphia):  WACO, BUREAUCRACY, MADISON AVENUE AND THE APOCALYPSE

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

I don't think so.  I think lies are a big part of much of the evil in the world, but I think the majority of evil is a product of bureaucracy.  It's a product of people doing their jobs just following orders and trying to get by, to collect a paycheck, or not get in trouble, or look just as good as someone else. Eventually, that sort of bureaucratic laziness spirals out of control and just becomes disaster.  It becomes evil.  You look at anything especially in recent history that's been done that we now think of evil, it had motivations that were monetary, motivations of "business as usual."
JH: Can you give me some examples?

If you look at Waco, the Waco massacre.  We're talking about a bunch of people that, if you read the details surrounding what happened there, they were just kind of living their lives.  They had a religion, whether you agreed with their religion or not, through the course of normal, everyday law enforcement operations, a couple of mistakes people tried to clear up, hide or sweep under the rug it eventually spiraled and spiraled and eventually became the conflagration that killed scores of people both within the church and in law enforcement.  Take that and take anything in Hitler's Germany, was just people working in the government, doing what they thought they had to do which was "good business practice."  It had nothing to do with blind hatred.  It was all about "what can we do to keep the government running and profiting the best that we can?"
JH: I'd like to talk more about the Branch Davidians, because you're the first person who brought that up.  The evil was the death of all the children and the deaths of the members in the fire? 

I don't think I would call that evil.  I think it was a terrible  mistake.  It was a tragedy that those people had to lose their lives, that they had to be sentenced to death before they were convicted of a crime, whether they were committing one or not.  
JH: What about it would you define as evil?
The way that the details were hidden.  The way they were demonized in the eyes of the public after they died.
JH: Demonizing and hiding facts are a kind of lie...

Well I don't know that anyone ever hid facts,  and perhaps this could be considered a lie, but I'm just going to clarify something that was said.   People took actual facts and drew false conclusions on purpose and those false conclusions led to both the massacre itself and to the way that the church or cult or whatever you call them was portrayed in the media.  And what led to those false conclusions being drawn, when they weren't just for purposes of disinformation which wasn't lies.  It was just people that looked at the facts that were on paper which were very limited.  I don't know anything about you, but if I were to study you for 50 days and see where you go, what you eat, what you do, what you buy?  I could say "these are all an unconnected series of things that Joe Hubris does."   Or I could find connects between them that make you out to be a very bad person.  And out of the bureaucratic need for results or progress, people drew one conclusion over another and the constant drawing of false conclusions because of a bureaucratic need for process is what turned that conflict into what it eventually became.
JH: You said that they purposefully drew false conclusions, that sounds like a lie to me.

Well, whether they knew it purposeful or not, I guess that's the semantics of lying.  For someone to be lying, do they have to know in their heart of hearts that it's a lie?
JH: I think that's almost a "sub-question" to the question asked, but my definition of a lie is a "malicious falsehood."  So, yeah, I would say for something to be a lie, you have to know it is false. A lie can be an action, it doesn't just have to be something verbal.

I get what you're saying, so let me just get off the Davidians, most advertising or marketing I would say is probably borders on evil.  We could probably pick out certain examples.  When you get right down to it, the people who are creating that media don't really truly believe they are lying.  They have been "root-inized" into a system of beliefs that help them get through what they are doing, but thinking what they are doing is helping, or that what they are doing is creating solutions to problems that exist.  Is that a lie then?  So like in the Branch Davidians conflict, people thought that they were doing their jobs, that they were protecting the American public from a real true threat, even though in reality they were probably drawing false conclusions from a little bit of research.
JH: Remember, the question is "does it begin with a lie."  So I would say that in marketing, you talk about people that have been inculcated into a way of seeing the world and thinking that they are doing something that isn't evil, when they are.  I would assume that that inculcation is a kind of lie.  And I would assume in the case of the Davidians, if you're talking about people who believed sincerely that they were doi8ng what they needed to do to bring about the apocalypse and that David Koresh was the second coming and things like that, you could say those were all lies. 
As I understand it, they were not trying to bring about the apocalypse, they knew that the apocalypse was coming and when the raids began they believed those were the apocalypse coming upon them.  They never did anything to bring them about the way some threatened Christians are actively trying to bring about the apocalypse by building a temple.
JH: This is May 21st, it should be noted, that we're having this conversation.
And you're the last person I'm gonna talk to...
JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

CP:  Probably all evil began with taking an apple that we weren't supposed to eat.  I forget who that was...
JH: Eve?

CK:  (laughing)

CP:  Oh yeah, that's probably where all evil began.
JH: Does your definition of evil come from the Bible?

CP:  Well, I'm very religion, so I'd probably have to say "yeah."
CK:  All evil begins in Germany.  
JH: We should note that you are German national, are you not?
CK:  Uh, I speak from experience.  I'm pretty evil myself.
JH: The question is "did you begin with a lie?"  Perhaps told between your father and your mother, maybe...

CP:  Actually she began with a party accident.
CK:  No lie.
CP:  Perhaps a little bit of lie, like "I'll love you forever, baby."
JH: I've got a nice car.  I've got a good job.

CK:  I don't know what evil is.
JH: My definition is evil is a subset of tragedy.  There is a lot of bad things and unfortunate things that happen in the world, but not all of them are evil.

CK: I see the good things in people first, so that's probably why I don't know really what evil is.  There are some really bad things that happen, but it's kinda hard to label something evil that's really bad and then use evil for something that's a lot less than bad.  Because then it kind of gets wishy-washy.
CP:  Doesn't evil begin with good intentions?
JH: A couple of people have talked about that idea.  People start off with really good intentions, this almost answers the question "yes,"  because they start with good intentions, but then they eventually engage in things that they would not have done.  They lie.   They obfuscate.  They do things they said they wouldn't do, in other words, they lie in order to achieve that end.

CK:  So why are we talking about evil?
JH: This is the first audio program for the website.
CP:  Shouldn't we be talking about the rapture that's coming down?
JH: Somebody was talking about David Koresh, and we only have a few hours, so we better get this in...
CK: David Koresh had good intentions, he wanted to get it on with as many people as possible...
JH: Did he tell a lie when he said he was the second coming?

CP:  I don't think we can know.  I guess we'll find out in under 4 hours.
JH: There was an article in the paper that recommended that if you were a Christian and if you were prepared for the rapture to make arrangements with a Hindu or Muslim to care for your pets.  That's very nice of them

CP: Are they not going to be part of the end of the world?
JH: Apparently not.  The wind's picking up here.

CP:  I like this little mic you have here.
JH: I got it at 8th Street Music, I'll put in a plug for them.  It's a good music store even though it is not located on 8th Street.

CP:  I didn't even know they still existed.
CK:  Did anyone mention that "evil"  backwards is just "live?"
JH: Nobody has, but that's very interesting.  Live or "Live."  How about "devil"  Is "d'evil."  Like from evil in French?  Would it be evil to tell people that today is the rapture when you don't believe it is?

CP:  What if you're doing it in an ironic way?
JH: Probably not, unless you knew that the irony would be lost upon them.

CK:  Unless you know you will hurt someone with it.  Unless you talk to someone who believes in it.
CP:  People have a pretty keen sense or irony these days.
JH: Not so much in the Christian community I find.  My friend had this t-shirt that he bought at the place in the mall that has all the rock t-shirts... Spencer's?  It says "Jesus helps me trick people."  And he would wear it sometimes and one day he's walking home and he gets out of the train at the Liacourus Center at Temple and they have a lot of Christian events there.  They rent it out to Christian revivals and he's walking down the street and people are just staring out him.  He's feeling very strange and then he realized he was wearing that shirt.  It didn't go over well with them.  It was the wrong crowd, as they say.

CP:  Temple let's anyone and everyone do stuff.  They always have the graphic abortion pictures outside the library.
JH: Is that evil?
CP:  I think it's manipulative.
CK:  Abortion or the pictures?
JH: Do you think it's evil to promote your position on abortion by using photos and images of aborted fetuses?

CP:  I think it's exploitative.
JH: But is it evil?

CP:  Yeah, I think exploitation is pretty evil.  I think that's the main kind of evil.
CK:  I never think about evil.
CP:  I think in the definition of evil, exploitation is one of them.  It's part of any evil.
JH: But does exploitation require a lie?

CP:  Oh, definitely.
So that supports "yes," as far as exploitation is concerned.

CP:  There's no context, in some of those (abortions), maybe it was to save the life of the mother, omitting a mitigating...

JH: Omitting something can be a lie, you can tell a lie by omitting things.

CP:  I don't know.  It seems like old hat now, but that's what the Bush administration did.  They lie by omission.  
JH: About Iraq?  And you think that's evil, what they did or there was evil there caused by that?

CP:  Not all manipulation is evil.  But, when it's on such a grand scale.
CK:  But they don't think it's evil because it's for the greater good.
JH: That raises a very good point, I would argue that evil is not in fact subjective, the concept of evil is not subjective, the definition is not subjective, but that people can define the facts that define things as evil differently, but the basic concept of evil is a cross-cultural thing.

CK:  I would argue that most if not all evil-doers do not consider themselves as evil doers.
JH: Then the question is were they lying or were they being lied to when they did what they did?

CK:  No, whatever religion you're a part of, whatever culture you're a part of, somethings are true to you but they're not true to others.  So, whatever you argue within your belief structure might not be a lie, but right within that belief structure, but looked at by someone from the outside or a different belief structure, it is a lie, and it is in fact evil.
JH: Collin would you like to add to that?
CP:  Sorry, I was still thinking about the rapture.
JH: Getting mentally ready?

CP:  Yeah, actually I was distracted by the hip hop song sampling Lou Reed.
JH: It's a good one, A Tribe Called Quest.

Pablo (24yo M from West Philly) and Alan (26yo M from West Philly): KIM JONG IL IS THE MOST EVIL MAN IN THE WORLD 

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

Alan:  That's a loaded question. 
Pablo:  I'd have to say "no."  I think evil can come in many forms and who knows if it's natural and not necessarily the complete opposite what we would think of as good.  I think people have free will and if they want to do something that's evil, it doesn't mean that they're lying about it.
Alan:  I don't want to believe that evil is innate, that some people are just born evil, but at the same time, you could take the view "what is good?  And what is Evil?"  It's a very subjective question.  It really depends on how you want to answer that question before you proceed.
JH: I think there's a lot of plain old bad in the world, but maybe what makes something bad "evil" is the intent of the person involved.

Alan:  I just wonder does anybody wake up in the morning and say "I'm going to do some real evil today."  I don't think anybody sets out to be evil.
JH: You think people are perhaps misled into doing it.

Alan:  Perhaps, well, I feel that probably the most evil person on the planet is Kim Jong Il.
JH: Do we talk about evil as a deed or as a person or actor?  What would you say makes him the greatest perpetrator of evil?

Alan:  The deception of the people in North Korea.  I've read about it and seen documentaries and people there think that he's the great leader and that he has their intentions in mind when everything is the exact opposite.  People are starving to death there, the concentration camps, and this man is getting wealthier and wealthier.
JH: You're saying there is a deception there is lying and there is evil, the question is is that when it started or when it happened?

Alan:  It's really hard to say, which came first, the evil or the lie.  Perhaps lying itself is evil.  It's the same thing, you can't have one without the other.  So, I'm going to say "yes" all evil begins with a lie.
JH: So we have a difference of opinion, here.  Correct?

Pablo:  I suppose so, I don't think I've made up my mind.  I think it can go both ways.  Kim Jong Il, I think, is a really bad person.  He's like a Stalinist.  Every ideology has to start somewhere, instead of allowing it to come from social dialogue, it comes form this guy's head, but I don't know, I don't really know what evil is, I don't know how people can completely define it and say "yes, this is evil and this is not."
Casey (35yo M) and Aisha (30yo F):  40% OF ALL EVIL BEGINS WITH A LIE

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

Aisha:  I think 40% of evil begins with a lie, because the rest of it begins from bad intentions, television.
JH: The question is television a lie?

Aisha: I don't know, PBS has the monopoly on truth.
JH: What do you think, Casey?

Casey:  I think you reasonably make that argument, maybe not all evil,
Aisha:  40%!
Casey:  I would say evil has to be propagated by a lie, how about that.
JH: Can you give me an example of evil that does not come from a lie and one that does?

Casey:  In the moment evil, like something that happens in the spur of the moment like an attack that's not all thought out.
JH: But is that evil?

Casey:  I would say so, being physically violent is evil for the most part
Aisha:  Non-intentional evil, like you could be going to a fund raiser and then going in for free and not making the suggested donation and eating all the free food.
JH: That's a kind of evil, sure.  I don't know, though, maybe going in and not giving the suggested donation, is that a kind of lie?  I don't know...

Aisha:  Everyone assumes that because you're inside.
JH: By allowing them to assume that, are you actually lying?

Aisha:  Yes, spreading false assumptions.  It's a passive lie.  You didn't actively do it, but you're letting other people think you did.
Rick Goldstein (57yo M) and Dashina Richardson, (both from Wallingford):  HEAVEN AND HELL AND THE BEST OF INTENTIONS

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

RG:  No.
DR:  I think a lie starts the evil.
JH: All evil, then, does it start with a lie somewhere down the road?

DR:  Yes.  Like heaven and hell, one lie told over and over again throughout history.
JH: Do you mean that heaven and hell are lies?

DR:  No, it's not a lie, like someone a long time ago, said it was and so it started all the way down the road to the 21st century, that's it lie, but it's not.
RG:  I don't know about all evil starting with a lie.  I think that evil is organic and it can morph out of anything.
JH: Can you give me an example of an organic evil?

RG:  Unintended consequences, let's say someone intends to do good, but the consequence of their actions actually spawn something that could be considered evil.
JH: Or tragic at least?

RG:  Well, tragic definitely, but evil yes, because evil, for example, gained knowledge of how to solve a problem, but people who aren't prepared to see it through or gaining knowledge and then things can get co-opted and turned into evil before the job is done.  I think that's common, co-opting of good things.  Best intentions but not competent enough to see it through.
JH: I'm not sure if see competence and they are simply unable to do it...

RG:  That's not the evil.  What I'm saying is those good intentions co-opted can turn into evil.  And it may not be the people who start it, but others come in and use the initiative or intentions for evil and you have to be ready for people to undermine things or whatever.  I just see a lot of that happening when people mean well but play right into the hands of power and abuse of power.
JH: A lot of people today have been talking about that idea.  You have a good idea but in fact, it ends up sort of becoming something where the means end up justifying themselves.

DR:  Yeah.
RG:  What I'm describing is that the evil is not being perpetrated by the people that start it.  The people who start it are almost like people who aren't accountable start things not intending to see it through.  And also in the middle, you see a lot of people who step in to co-opt things.
JH: The question is:  "are those people lying when they do that?"  It sounds like when you say "co-opt," they're not really representing themselves truthfully.

RG:  The people who come in later, that's why I'm saying it may not start off.  The point I was making, I may not see evil starting with a lie, it can start with truth.
JH: But it's not evil until that co-opting happens.  So the evil happens once they come in.  If you misrepresent yourself in order to take advantage of a situation, that sounds like a lie

RG: Others coming in under a lie.  I think that a lot of people see themselves as do-gooders, there could be some evil in that.  They're really lying because they have a hidden agenda because they're not truthful to themselves.
Regi Metcalf, Photographer, (53yo M from New York City):  SOME EVIL BEGINS WITH A LIE, BUT NOT ALL

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

The problem is with the word "all."  I'm not sure all of anything begins with any one thing.  A lot, I might even go so far as most.  But all?
JH: Can you give me an example of evil that does not begin with a lie?

It depends on what you consider a lie.  I think the bible is not true, but I don't think that many people who believe in it would believe it's a lie.
JH: Can you give me a definition of a lie.

Something that's not true.
JH: But that's not enough, right?  If you answer a question on a math test wrong, that's not a lie, it's just not correct.  It has to be maliciously false, to be a lie

So it's about intention?
JH: Intention and knowledge.
Again, it's like the bible.  I don't think the people who wrote the bible intended to lie.  But they didn't tell the truth.
JH: So it wouldn't be a lie then, right?

Well, I think it's a lie.
JH: Because it's false?

JH: But was it maliciously false?  That's just my definition, you can use your own definition if you like.

I guess I would tend to think that the intention of evil whether or not you're telling the truth, for instance, I guess, if, George Bush says Saddam Hussein is evil, there's a truth there.
JH: I tend to think of evil as being "deed-related" as opposed to the individual, it's more like a noun or verb as opposed to an adjective.  The questions is "Is Saddam Hussein evil?"  Or "did he commit evil acts?"  I'm not so sure people are evil.  I think that acts are evil.

That's a distinction without much of a difference to me.  Saddam Hussein killed a lot of people for no reason.  George Bush... I think if you do a lot of evil, you become an evil person.
JH: Then the question becomes "were they lying?"  Did their evil acts start with a lie?

I suppose.  Yeah.  I can't think of anything off-hand, that I would attribute truthfulness to, I'm still not ready to say "all" evil.  But certainly, the falling away from good certainly lies are probably a good part of it.
Abbott M. Shea (22yo M from Manayunk):  HOW DO YOU DEFINE A LIE?
JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

I would have to say that all evil doesn't begin with a lie.  Because, I guess a lie would have to be...I may have just contradicted myself in my own head.  I was going to say a lie... there's a lot of people that believe in what they do, but does that make it a lie? and yeah, I guess it would make it a lie even if they are doing evil, because it's a wrong, so it's like if it's an untruth, it's a lie, right ?
JH: I don't know.

I think you have to begin with a definition of a lie.
JH: I think that's a good place to start.  Do you have a definition of a lie?

I would say it's a non-truth.
JH: That seems like, what if you're taking a math test and you put the wrong answer down?  Is that a lie or a falsehood or just a wrong answer, but they are not necessarily a lie, though.  But it is false.

It is a lie, though, if you were to go to someone and be like "well, two plus two is seven" that's a lie
JH: Because you know two plus two is not seven.  What if you're just wrong?

Well no, two plus two is obviously not seven, it's four.  So even if you think that two plus two is seven, it's still not true.
JH: But I would say it still is not a lie.  If you honestly believe that two plus two is seven, and you tell someone that, I don't think that's a lie.  There has to be some maliciousness, some deliberate maliciousness involved.

Say you have two girlfriends and in your heart that it's okay to have two girlfriends and you feel that if you withhold telling the one girlfriend about the other, then that's fine...?
JH: I don't know if I'm willing to accept that having two girlfriends is evil (ahem).  But I see what you're saying, by withholding the truth, is that a kind of lie, and I would say that if you do it on purpose, that's a kind of lie.  The absence of the truth, the deliberate absence, maybe that's a kind of lie.

It has to be deliberate.
JH: Okay, so we have a definition of that, but what about evil?

It's hard for me to speak on this because I try not to consider myself evil. I try not to think about really evil people, like Hitler.
JH: The last person I spoke with, we had this discussion, should you consider evil as an adjective or a verb or a noun.  Is it something you do that is evil, or are YOU evil if you do that thing?  I tend to go for the first example, acts are evil, things are evil, the person who does it is not, even if you perpetrate evil, you yourself are not evil.  You can be a perpetrator of evil.

What if you have a malicious reasoning in mind?
JH: Well, then I would say you're committing evil.  But that doesn't mean that I would define you as evil.

Huh, well that just deleted a whole bunch of definitions that have gone through history.
JH: I'm not so sure.  There's something basic about the idea of whether people are inherently a certain way or if people simply act a certain way.  So like, Hitler, is Hitler just inherently an evil person, was he inherently evil, or did he simply perpetrate evil.

He perpetrated evil, but he believed what he was doing.
JH: But he did lie, also.

Well, I don't know enough to say that never lied...
JH: He did lie for sure.

From what I know of him, it doesn't seem like he lied.  It seems like he believed in what he was saying.
JH: Whether or not he believed it, I would say that you could make a good case that he withheld information.  He used propaganda, propaganda is a form of lie, a structured lie, I would say.  I think you could make a case that he lied to other countries, and his evil was based on a lie.

Does all evil begin with a lie, I would have to say.  
JH: So you've changed your decision.

I think I changed it while I was trying to say my definition, because I was trying to figure out what my definition of a lie would be.
JH: It is tricky, that's why I like it.

I think that's the hardest thing, is trying to find the lie.
JH: Abbott, is there anything you'd like to promote today?

Why not promote
JH: What kind of site is it?

It's Internet marketing.
Brendan Hartranft, owner and proprietor of Memphis TaproomLocal 44, and Resurrection Ale House, (32yo M from Philadelphia):  THERE IS NO EVIL IN TESTING INTEGRITY OF ANOTHER, BUT THERE IS IN EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

JH: You were featured prominently in the article I wrote about the beer raids.  They were the victims, I'll remove the air quotes from beer rads.

I was absolutely not a victim.
JH: I tell you this, I thought that that was evil.  The question today is does all evil begin with a lie?  And I thought there was a little evil involved to come down on you like that...

I don't think there was anything evil involved in it whatsoever.  It was something where someone chose to not see us as a colleague and was more comfortable seeing us as competition and thought there was a dime to be dropped. and it kinda blew up in their face.  It brought us a lot of extra business.
JH: It seems to me that it was a combination of someone who was looking for a little payback and a state agency that has no purpose.

Well, there's no purpose, except making money.  And you know, the government is...
JH: Are they evil?

You're dealing with gangsters.
JH: Now, this is what I heard:  I have not mentioned this on my site before, but what I heard that there was a competitor that was upset about you getting Pliny the Elder.

Well, I don't know if that was it or not, but if that were the reason, it's a stupid reason.  I've known Vinnie and Natalie for 12 years, why wouldn't they?  If that was really the case, I would be glad.  If that person came in, I would give them all the Pliny that has been allocated.  If two kegs are going to make them or break them, have at it.  The thing that was apparent, is that our whole business is "passion-focused."  The guy brought a black-eye to the game.  And it doesn't even hold up because number one: we're owner-operators, my wife is also my partner, and she and I are in there every single day.  We're busing tables and washing dishes when we have to and that's our vocation.  
JH: When are you getting Green King Abbott on hand pump?  

On cask?  Probably not til October or November.
JH: You're killing me.

Well, it's the wrong time.  That beer is not going to last in this weather.  We were lucky to have it.
JH: Well, I hate to change the subject but we are here for a purpose.  So I have to ask you this question:  Does all evil begin with a lie?

I don't think so.  The thing is that there are marriages that are plenty healthy that survive on a series of lies, that aren't evil whatsoever.
JH: Ah, but the question isn't is all lying evil, the question is does all evil come from a lie.  You can lie and not have evil...

Hitler was pretty upfront about his shit.
JH: But he did lie, he lied to other countries to get them to accommodate.  He also lied to come power as well.  If you wanna keep talking about the raids...  You don't think that that was evil?

Not at all.  One's integrity is sterling.  It can be called out to task at anytime. Listen, I'm happy to give my integrity a couple laps...
JH: A test?

Yeah, sure, why not?  It's like a spar.  Sure, my integrity will get in the ring anytime.  That's it, that's as far as I think about it.  
JH: Well, I'm sure it was good for business.
It was good for some...
JH: Maybe that's the real key, it wasn't evil because there was really no harm.

There's tons of evil without harm.  Listen to broadcast radio.  That's pure evil and it's not really harming anyone.
JH: You're talking about talk radio?

Watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.  That's pretty evil and it's not harming anybody.  It's the lowest common denominator, the lowest hanging fruit--that's evil.  Not giving people enough credit.
JH: So just to recap:  Everybody Loves Raymond is evil but not a lie, Hitler, not a lie, but evil

He was pretty evil, not the best guy.  I tell you, Winston Churchill was a squirrely mother-fucker, and I don't think he ever lied, he was pretty upfront about his shit.
Robert "Beto" Serrano (39yo M from Philadelphia):  GARY HEIDNIK IS EVIL

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

No I don't think all evil begins with a lie.  I think some can begin with violence, someone doing something malicious.  It doesn't have to be a lie.  
JH: What does malicious mean?

Just something out of desire, it's more of a power thing.  That's just answering the question.  
JH: So you're saying that the malicious desire to harm someone, that doesn't contain a lie but it is evil.

I think so.  I would say it doesn't contain a lie, it contains desire.  Whatever reason you want to do harm to someone, someone might just get off on it.  Hate might just make their day.  It might make them feel alive if they want to take the life of someone.
JH: Well that sounds a little bit like sociopathology, but is that evil?  If someone is a sociopath, is that evil?

I've never really considered it until this point right now.  But if you kill someone that is evil.
JH: But not all killing is evil.  Just because you kill someone doesn't mean it's evil.  Like if you're a soldier and you kill somebody in a war, that's not necessarily evil.

If you kill for the express purposes of getting your kicks, that's evil.  If you just say that I'm going to take out that guy over there...
JH: That's more like if it's a selfish pleasure, and that's not a lie.  Can you give a specific example of that in history?

I would say that, who is the guy, Gary Heidnik
JH: Here in Philly?  The mattress guy?  He kept them under mattresses in the basement?

Yeah, and eventually he would kill one and feed them to the other one.  That's pretty wrong in so many different ways.
JH: It's hard to argue that wasn't evil.  The problem I have is it seems that he was depraved.

So how is that different from saying he was evil?
JH: Well it means that he has a kind of mental failure or mental failing that's causing him to do that.

Yeah, I think someone who's evil is going to have a psychological failing, too.  Unless he's going to be a person who's not right.
JH: But that's a real important point there, evil requires a sort of understanding of what you're doing, doesn't it?  Evil isn't sick.  Sick people are sick, evil people are evil.  There's a difference.

I understand that there are people who are sick and do things because they are mentally unbalanced and that guy can also just be...  what if he's not mentally unbalanced?  I don't know if he's mentally unbalanced or not.  He just decides "I'm going to do it because it's giving me pleasure."
JH: It seems pretty clear that if he was not mentally unbalanced, he was evil.  If he knew what he was doing and he knew what he was doing was wrong, and he did it, that's an evil act.

Yeah,... he knew what he was doing, he definitely knew what he was doing.  I don't think he can't say, "You know what, I don't know why I'm killing these people.  I'm just doing it."  I think Gary Heidnik definitely knew what he was doing.  He definitely made out a plan.  It was all premeditated to get these people and then he executed his plan.  There were steps, it wasn't something happening randomly.  He ended up being a predator.  And finding vulnerable prey and making his fantasies in his little world come true.  He was a puppet master.
AJ ("old enough F) and Katie Grear (27yo F from Fishtown):  EVIL KARMA

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?

AJ:  Evil is a big word.  It also have a lot of negative connotations.
JH: Well, it should I think.

AJ: Really?
JH: Well, it is evil.

AJ:  So you're saying that evil can't be positive?
JH: I think by definition it can't be positive.

Katie:  Doesn't there have to be a balance between evil and positive in the world?  
AJ:  What is the opposite of evil, anyway?  
Katie:  Yeah, what would it be, "positive?"
JH: Yeah, I guess, good?  But you could just say that evil is just an extreme form of harm.

AJ:  Is it a manifestation of some sort?
JH: Well, I'm more interested in what you guys think, but these are the questions you have to ask yourself.

AJ: What constitutes a lie?  I like to break down questions.
JH: What do you think, what constitutes a lie, Katie?

Katie:  I don't know about all evil...
JH: Just the sub question, what is a lie?

Katie:  When you don't tell the truth.
AJ:  Insincerity.
JH: That's a good one, I haven't heard that one.  It's different from falsehood.  Because you can be wrong, but not be lying, right?  Like if you answer a question on a test wrong, you're not lying.

AJ:  Like a true false question.
JH: Or any kind of question.  I think the key that makes it a lie is the willful, the desire to make something false.  "Malicious falsehood" is the term that I use.

AJ:  So a lie destroys?  Is that the idea behind that lie?
JH: Is that the test that makes it a lie or not:  it's a falsehood that destroys?  I like that.

AJ:  I guess I was trying to think up an example of what would be evil in my eyes...  Betrayal can be evil.
JH: Can you think of an actual historic example?

Katie:  I'm a teacher and I feel like some of the kids that come in and are straight up evil.
JH: Can children commit evil, that's a great question.

Katie:  Sometimes.  
AJ:  I think children are innocent, though.
Katie:  Maybe it's just from being in the classroom, in the city.  They just want to get at you.  They want to break you down.
JH: With their actions?

Katie:  Yes, throwing chairs, trying to hit you, 
AJ:  Wow.  I think that can be evil.
JH: I think that sounds pretty evil to be having a chair thrown at you in school. 

Katie:  I don't know, I kinda believe that entities can latch onto people and like make them change.  Like they hang around certain bars, now I'm over talking about something else.  "Entities."  Like evil entities.
JH: Evil entities, you mean like actors, evil actors?

Katie:  No...
AJ:  Things from other worlds, maybe?
JH: You see, I think of evil as more like a deed than a person.  Like you can be a perpetrator of evil, but I'm not sure that you are "evil" yourself, what do you think of that?

AJ:  So what makes a person evil, then?
JH: Well, again, I'm not sure that people are evil, I think that deeds are evil.  And the question is what makes a deed evil?

AJ: Well, we're digging deeper aren't we?
JH: A little bit.
AJ:  If it damages, I guess...
JH: But like a tornado, is a tornado evil?  How about the tsunami in Japan?  But then how about Fukishima, the disaster in the nuclear plant?

AJ:  Isn't that more mother nature?
JH: The one is, the question is whether people are responsible for what happened at the nuclear plant.

Katie:  I think it's Karma.  
JH: You think the whole thing is Karma?

Katie:  Yeah, in a way, like past lives and stuff like that.
JH: So you think that if tragedy befalls someone it's because they did something bad.

Katie:  In a way, like in another life.
AJ:  It's interesting that with past lives, maybe the person did a lot of good and so maybe in this life, they have to do bad.  
JH: They have to do evil?

Katie:  Yeah, like there's good Karma and bad Karma
JH: And they don't control what they do, they just kind of go from one end to the other?

AJ:  Another word I was thinking of apart from insincerity I was thinking of not being authentic.
JH: I would say inauthenticity is a kind of lie.

AJ:  I was trying to think if that was a word.
Katie:  I think your mind can be evil.  Like it can tell you things that are true or illusions.
JH: You're talking about your (one's) own mind?

Katie: Yeah like it gets in the way.  I feel like that could be evil.
AJ:  I think we all have good and evil in us.

JH: I think so, too.

AJ: We can be angels and devils at the same time.  That's why when people say "oh, that's devilish." or "The devil made me do it."  What are they talking?  We're all capable of good and evil, if that makes sense.
Katie:  I think there needs to be a balance of good and evil in the world, if it's all good, I don't think it could function.
JH: It's hard to measure something as good if there isn't something to compare it, too.

AJ:  That's a lot of brainpower to use.
Steve Rabazi (46yo M from North Philadelphia), Jojo (8yo F) and Hazel (11yo F):  EVIL LIES ALL THE TIME

JH: Does all evil begin with a lie?
Jojo:  Yes.
Hazel:  Yes.
Steve:  Yeah.
JH: Why do you think that?

Jojo:  Because evil lies all the time.
JH: Hazel, what do you think?

Hazel:  Because lying isn't that good, but sometimes you have to lie.
JH: You have to lie?  So not all lies are evil, but is all evil part of a lie?

Hazel:  No.
Steve:  Not all is, I guess.
JH: Can you give me an example of evil that doesn't involve a lie?

Steve:  People who don't lie about doing evil things, they come out straight and that's what they do.  They don't always lie about it.
JH: Can you give a real-world example, though?

Steve: I guess people who confess their crimes and those kind of things.  People who confess to their crimes, people who brag about it to their friends, not all evil is part of bad intentions.
JH: A lot of people have talked about that point.

Steve: Some of these things haven't evolved with the rest of us.
Jojo:  I just think that evil is evil.
Hazel:  Lies can be good, sometimes if you lied about something to save someone's life or something like that, your family is in danger and you'd have to lie, it wouldn't be evil.  
JH: Can you think of an example?

Jojo:  I can think of one.  If there were a family and someone came into your house and shot everyone except for one person, they would have to lie to that person to no be shot. 
JH: How come?  Why would they have to lie to them?

Jojo:  'Cause they don't want a person shooting them!
JH: I see, like if I didn't want to be shot, I might lie to the person to trick them so I wouldn't be shot.

Jojo:  Yes.

Comments to Joe Hubris