#31 — Shun evil (Κακιας απεχου)

We are told in other Maxims to cling to that which is “good” without defining what that means. In this one we are told to avoid “evil” without a similar definition. These are moral terms and not everything which is not good is evil if you look at things through that lens. I would say that an average person’s morning routine of getting ready for the day’s responsibilities is neither good nor evil, it is neutral. When we talk of evil we are talking about something different – something that causes unnecessary injury to oneself or others.
We must keep in mind though that evil is not always things like murder, and that it can be small things as well. To give an example of what I would consider to be evil, cities are passing “urban camping” bans in an effort to silence political dissent when there is not enough shelter space for those homeless who are also forced to sleep on the streets. The evil is not in the ban itself – although its use to silence dissent is evil – but in the fact that it does not make sure that there is space for the poorest among our society to safely sleep before criminalizing the action of sleeping outdoors. It is the potential of unequal enforcement, as well as the potential for abuse that makes this an unjust, and therefore evil law. To do evil is the opposite of doing good and if we cling to the good we will usually be able to avoid evil. Shunning evil is an active process, like all of the other Maxims and we must be on our guards to keep ourselves on the path we are to follow.

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