exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
The Nature Of Evil
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True Lies (1994), Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis
"Have you ever killed anyone?!"
"Yeah, but, dey were all bad!"
Are some people "all bad"?
How much "badness" does it take to warrant a label of Evil? Just how different are the "bad people" from the "good"?
I am reminded of a story told by marketing consultant, Ivan Misner:
"At a networking event not too long ago for which 500 people attended, the speaker who was on stage directly before my presentation asked the audience, 'How many of you came here hoping to do some business today, maybe even make a sale?' The overwhelming majority of the people in the audience raised their hands. Then he asked, 'How many of you are here hoping to buy something today?' Not one person raised a hand!"
It's called egocentrism, a not-too-distant neighbor of Evil.
Take a journey with me. I will share with you my notes regarding the great idea of Evil; thoughts, musings, and reflections by many of history's philosophers, saints, mystics, and thinkers who have pondered the subtleties of a most perplexing issue.
bite-sized packets of information
Providing a certain sequence of thought, the following sub-article writings, it is suggested, are best reviewed in the order presented.
please click on each link-icon
The reason behind the reason for what most people believe.
Why only the virtuous find the truth.
A history, the etymology, of the word Evil.
The essential impotence and weakness of Evil.
Evil attracts the weak not the strong.
Like a slow-growing cancer that eventually consumes, Evil is insidious, begins innocently, travels step-by-step, sneaks up on you.
Evil comes to us bearing gifts; often, candy - can seem as harmless as a lamb; but always cloaking the monster-heart.
Why does The Good frequently appear as something undesirable; especially, when compared to Evil?
The central question: What is the underlying nature of Evil? Does it have a deep reality?
Evil as illusion of separateness: "Let's get rid of the Bad Guy!"
The seeds of Evil within every human heart
Use Evil to fight Evil?
Will Evil be defeated by superior and overwhelming force?
Is Good the opposite of Evil?
The Purpose of Evil, Part I
The Purpose of Evil, Part II
Editor’s note: The following was originally posted on the “Clear Thinking” page.
the dishonest egoic mind, with its tricks and disdain for the truth, is but a temporary developmental stage in human evolvement
In various Word Gems articles, we’ve often spoken of the “true self” and the “false self.” Regarding this latter, a defining characteristic is the “monkey mind,” the incessant “chattering in the head,” which is just plain egocentric thinking. The egoic mind sees itself as the center of the universe, and all people and things coming into contact are evaluated in terms of labeling, comparing, sizing up, “better than,” “less than,” potential enhancement or threat.
Thinking, by the egoic mind, issues as base alloy, just mattress stuffing, not much value to it. There’s no love for the truth in it, no desire to find it; all it cares about is elevating itself. The ten violations of “clear thinking” (above) constitute a dysinformation campaign by which the unenlightened mind seeks to protect itself against all others. The incessantly chattering “monkey mind” demands this call to arms, inspired by an inner whispering-mantra, “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”
Good luck to us in finding “clear thinking” if we’re driven by these demons.
why things are arranged this way
How did all this cerebral chaos come to be? Does not all this self-seeking, this self-serving thought, become the essence of Evil, all the suffering and pain that’s afflicted Humankind? Did God/the Universe/Cosmic Consciousness/Intelligent Design make a mistake in allowing this mayhem to infect the world and all of history?
We certainly might be tempted to judge it this way; many have. However, as we evaluate the situation from a wider perspective, another view presents itself.
Ancient Spirit Guides, thousands of years old, inform us that we came to this troubled planet not fully formed. Our minds and spirits, strictly speaking, we were not “individuated,” not whole and complete and separate persons, in our own right. The Guides say that we came here to become individuals – a true person; not necessarily, immediately, a “good” person. That’s step two, which might not even happen for many in this world. Summerland is a better place for that ratcheting up of virtue. Further, a way of healing has been provided to make us whole from our disastrous time on planet Earth.
just temporary scaffolding for a building under construction
And so, how does the “chattering monkey mind” fit in with this mega-view? The egoic mind, with its dishonest tricks and violations of “clear thinking,” is a temporary, developmental stage in human evolution. We’re not meant to live there and put down roots. Selfish, self-centered, self-oriented thinking won’t win us the “Miss Congeniality Award,” but it is good for one thing – it’ll turn us into persons -- probably not a “good” person, not right away, but it will individuate us. All of that “Me-thinking” is just dandy for creating a sense of individuality, and that’s what it’s good for. Scaffolding isn't meant to be pretty. It’s like making sausage: we might like the end product, but, as they say, don’t watch the process too closely, it might turn your stomach. (An image comes to mind: when I was eight years-old, Grandma Becker was making sausage in the basement, and the scent of it was making me sick. I ran to the highest part of the house to escape the smell; but I vomited anyway – smile.)
If the “monkey mind” is a temporary, developmental stage in human evolution, what comes next? Well, a fish doesn’t know it’s in water, and those inundated by egoic thinking can’t imagine anything else. What we need to understand and come to see is that ordinary thinking is just part of human intelligence; a minority interest. All true creative thought, all higher-level thought, any thought of great worth and value, comes not from egoic thinking but from accessing the “true self” deep within, which is linked to Universal Consciousness.
This is Individuality’s true home, true residence, where our spirits will live for the next million years and beyond.