Harry approached Quirrell when he was only eleven years old...and was faced with a viewpoint that a child at such an age would not be expected to understand. Quirrell said that Voldemort showed him that there was no good or evil, only power, and those too weak to seek it.
It is difficult to imagine that the universe only consists of binaries- black and white, God and Satan. There is color with shades of gray, layers upon layers of intricate complexities that cannot be seen all at once. Voldemort, of course, uses these complexities to justify his actions, but others in reality have done the same. Hitler, Pol Pot, and other dictators, mass murderers, and terrorists probably never considered their actions evil- which bodes the thought that it is the 'weak' the victims of the crimes in whatever shape or form, who label good and evil, and it is the powerful who, instead, define right and wrong. So was Quirrell right? Is there no good or evil- just the weak and the strong? And what does that mean for those trying to make a difference in the world?
I prefer Friedrich Nietzsche to Harry Potter so I'll speak using his terms. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a lot about the nature of humanity, he was a huge inspiration to Freud and he's often considered to be one of the greatest psychologist of all time (in addition to being something of a poet and a philosopher). Anyways he took some ideas from Arthur Schopenhauer involving the will and declared that the only thing humanity strives for is the will to power. The idea is directly linked to basic biology and evolution. Once a creature becomes well fed and essentially happy they don't become immobilized, they keep doing shit. So what are they doing? They're striving for power. This can work out in various different ways but it's basically why people are never happy with what we have. We always want more.
He spoke of the will to power plenty of times. He claimed it's all we'll ever amount to and that without god or religion it becomes the meaning of life.
He was in favor of the will to power because it would bode well for the advancement of the human race. He dreamt of a day when mankind would evolve to a point that, from their perspective, we would be bumbling apes. Lower life forms, savages in comparison.
Basically I agree with him. We're nothing but the will to power. We don't do anything without thinking that on some level what we're doing is for the betterment of ourselves.
So life does become a war between the weak and the strong. Not in all societies, people can work together, but we're always fighting to make ourselves better than something, stronger than something, above something. Really, to be perfectly content is to be dead. What's the point in that?
Oh and morality is a human dream, there's a scientific term for it that someone else will post below me. I can't remember it. It's an evolutionary technique used for survival. It started off as such: a creature, let's say a squirrel, see's a hawk flying around. In order to protect it's family the squirrel screeches out a warning call so it's family can live. The hawk then eats the squirrel but the squirrel's genes are passed down through it's family. Sometimes the squirrel doesn't get eaten. That's always nice.
Morality is currently a lie, but it's a lie we need. Without it we'll disrupt the will to power and consequentially we'll all become miserable since no one will better themselves and everyone will just die by murdering each other.
Freud and he's often considered to be one of the greatest psychologist of all time (in addition to being something of a poet and a philosopher)
Usually by non-psychologists. William James and B.F. Skinner had a lot of useful things to say too.
Consequences? That seem to be very important. We avoid pain and seek pleasure. This is how we learn. If power gives pleasure, we seek it. If it brings pain, we avoid it. There is not really a 'will' to power as much as there isn't an ID, ego, and superego - these are just useful constructs that made sense in their time and place. Same with rigid morals. They make sense in their time and place, but very rarely do they stand the test of extrapolation (and by extension, universal truthfulness).
And what does that mean for those trying to make a difference in the world?
If we train people to be agents of suck, they become agents of suck. If we train people to be agents of awesome, they become agents of awesome. Begin this process early, rinse and repeat, and make sure everyone gets a go at it. In time, there will be more agents of awesome than agents of suck.
The problem with our world is that suck seems to be rewarded, and so, there are more agents of suck. We need to reward awesome more often. Anything that is suck, has an equal and (often opposite) awesome; this sounds like dichotomy, but it's Newtonian as well. Racism/Sexusm/Etc opposed by Equality/Respect, Abuse opposed by Love, Boredom opposed by Creativity, Pollution opposed by Clean Energy.....and it goes on.
Kin selection is the term. Now, I'm as big of a Nietzsche Wannabe as there ever was, so I see your point. But I would argue that Mark Twain said it better, in What Is Man?
"FROM HIS CRADLE TO HIS GRAVE A MAN NEVER DOES A SINGLE THING WHICH HAS ANY FIRST AND FOREMOST OBJECT BUT ONE--TO SECURE PEACE OF MIND, SPIRITUAL COMFORT, FOR HIMSELF."
Mr. Twain had this bit capitalized in his book to begin with. He was a loud man. I would argue that will to power is not the prime motivator, and that good and evil exist. The contentment of one's own spirit is the prime and sole motivator. That which brings contentment is good, and that which brings regret is evil. So while there is no objective dichotomy, good and evil exist, they are different, and they are subjective. I encourage you to read Mr. Twain's book mentioned above. By means of a conversation between a young man and an old man, he explains the foundations and examples of his philosophy. The best part? Self-interest still leaves room for compassion. Here's a link.
There is right and wrong but also shades of grey. Some things are definately black and white though such as rape.
I completely agree with what you're saying, some things do have the in between stages of right and wrong; but with something like rape there is only On or Off it can't be in between.
Maybe there is though. Rape is the action of non-consensual sex, so if you start it without their permission, but they start to enjoy it... Is it still wrong?
Yes. I mean just because the consequences were alright in the end the action itself is still wrong. In that case you are suggesting to the rapist that yer it's ok to go around raping people because they will enjoy it in the end. You are only reinforcing the idea that you can 'get away with it'. If they carry on raping other people then because of that the likelihood is the victim is not going to enjoy it.
However, saying rape is evil or 'black' (even though there are shades of grey) implies that nothing good can come of rape. While the act of rape itself is a morally deplorable one, a child resulting from one (which some women choose to keep, while others do not) is, I would contend, a very good thing. Of course, this is from my very much male perspective, so what do I know. To me, the preservation and creation of life is the 'best' thing on this moral scale.
I also submit that there are things that many people would perceive to be much worse than rape. Is murder just as 'black' as rape or would it be considered even more 'black'?
As humans, I think we try to rank bad things because we must to rationalize everything wrong with the world. It makes it easier to ignore the 'grey' things if we focus more on the 'black'.
I'd really like to challenge your notion that the creation of life is always "best." After all, the rapid uncontrolled proliferation of cells is known as cancer. What the creation of life needs is planning. We should, as a species, be learning to plan how we create life, since there are not unlimited resources on the planet we live on and the depletion of those resources is a growing concern. A rape that produces a child completely undermines this need for planning, leaving the mother with a tough decision to make. Perhaps she can improvise and is able and willing to support the child. Perhaps not.
Also, most "stuff" has a spectrum of grays between the white and black. Some things, like rape, have very few yet strong grays and some very basic concepts have no grays at all.
Let me elaborate on what I mean about strong grays. Regarding rape, if someone is threatening you and a stranger with a firearm and says "Rape this man/woman*, or I'll kill both of you," is the rape wrong? Is it even rape? This is a very strong gray that requires lots of thought and debate to come to a conclusion on.
FInally, an example of a basic concept with no grays between blacks and whites is information. Information, as far as I know, can either be good or bad and thats it. "The Earth is 3.5 billion years old" is good information. "The Earth is 6,000" years old is bad information. There's no grey.
* The victims of rape are not only female.
Yes. Physical pleasure (from what I understand) has nothing to do with mental/emotional consent. The physical reactions that happen during said event are reflexive (like if someone bangs your knee). A person has far less control of those parts than we like to believe.
It's akin to holding someone underwater to the point of drowning. At some point, the body overrides your mental command not to inhale (because, yaknow, water) and takes in a giant gulp of not-air, flooding your lungs. The victim didn't want to drown, but the body took command and did something incredibly stupid, but the victim isn't to blame.
Everyone seeks power, even those Quirrel would term weak. He's also talking in black and whites. There are shades of grey to power. For example, love definitely has a power, and we seek that power actively. And at a certain point, we (hopefully) become so powerful that we try and help others to this power, which is the idea of charity or social justice. Basically, everyone seeks power. But it might not necessarily be power over people. It might be the power of knowing more than everyone else, since you can't have power over them, necessarily. Power is a very broad term.
The simple answer would be no. That Quirrell is wrong, that of course theere's good an evil in the world. But the shades of grey, the complexities you mentioned don't allow for the simple answer, and so it's not fair of me to respond with one. I think that power is a dominant force in society and it drives a lot of people. But there definitely can be/is good kinds of power and bad kinds of power. Voldemort, Quirrell, Hitler, terrorists, etc. all justify their actions by trying to convince their victims that it's all for the greater good, and that's because they're acting on their own sense of justice (or a higher sense of justice), and that doesn’t necessarily make it acceptable, or brave, or greater, or good, it just makes them feel better. It helps them believe in their "cause" and that is how powerful people stay in power. They believe enough in what they're doing to keep doing it.That quote really struck me when I read Philosopher's Stone. People having distorted notions or ideologies different from what I know often strike me. I've basically just been rambling here but the point I was trying to make was that they're can be both, but sometimes we need those shades of grey to justify our actions, because nothing has a simple answer. I've not really gathered my thoughts here properly or probably answered your question but I wanted to post anyway because of Hank's latest video, so hopefully this is helpful #nevercomment