Monday, February 16, 2015

On the question of 'evil'

There is ‘right and wrong’. There is also ‘good’ (the meaning of the word ‘God’). But there is no such thing as ‘evil’.

By this I mean only there is no such as an evil ‘force’, ‘being’ or ‘person’ – only bad or even terrible acts. These come from beliefs that are fundamentally wrong – in particular the belief in ‘evil’ itself or in some eternal ‘war’ or ‘struggle’ between ‘Good and Evil’.

This most primitive and wrong belief has cursed humanity for centuries. It is also what is most of all responsible for all that we experience and label AS ‘evil’.

The belief some people or types of people are - innately and in themselves - ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ (for example all Jews or all Germans…) is a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. This very belief is what has been responsible, throughout the ages,  for the most terrible crimes and atrocities!!! For if someone is ‘evil’ one – then of course one has an ‘God-given’ excuse to do whatever one wants to them – even torture or kill them!!!

Of course it is understandable that the word ‘evil’ is used for many terrible acts of violence – such as abuse, torture, murder, rape, genocide etc. For these acts are certainly WRONG and also ‘bad’ – for they cause much suffering. And violence of any sort is not only wrong but unforgiveable.
But the danger in using the word EVIL is that it supports the belief that people who behave or act in   unforgivably bad and violent ways are themselves basically ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ – and not just their acts OR behaviour.  

The danger is also that people or groups of people who are constantly labelled as ‘evil’ may come to have enough of this and decide:“O.K. If that is the way you SEE me (or us) then that is the way we will ACT.” 

In reality however, even the most terrible acts committed by a person or group are, at their deepest level, always motivated by good intents.

The problem is that any person’s good intents can become easily CORRUPTED, twisted and distorted – for example by certain childhood experiences, by  their own suffering and, most importantly, by their own beliefs – in particular the beliefs that:  
1. revenge is justified
2. ‘the end justifies the means’, and
3. the belief in ‘evil’ itself  - the belief that certain people - not just their acts - are or can be basically ‘evil’. 

The paradox that must be pointed out again and again is the paradox that the single biggest ‘cause’ of all the worst and most terrible acts, crimes and atrocities – all those things which we call ‘evil’ is the belief in ‘evil’ beings, people or forces (and not just evil acts).

In contrast with this most primitive of ALL beliefs, I agree with psychologist and mediator Marshall Rosenberg, who argues:  

“… that the root of violence is the very concept of evil or badness. When we label someone as bad or evil, Rosenberg claims, it invokes the desire to punish or inflict pain...He contrasts this approach with what he found in cultures  where the idea of evil was non-existent. In such cultures when someone harms another person, they are believed to be out of harmony with themselves and their community, are seen as sick or ill and measures are taken to restore them to a sense of harmonious relations with themselves and others.”

Terrorists, torturers, murderers and criminals including the worst war criminals and tyrants – are not just people who cause suffering. They are usually people of a sort who need (but may never have never got) real understanding from others for their own suffering.
Thus it is well known that child abusers are mostly people who suffered abuse as children themselves. Similarly, many violent people are mostly people who suffered violence themselves.  And many so-called ‘terrorists’ are victims of state-sponsored terror – for example the terror of losing their houses, land, children or entire families to atrocious military attacks on civilians.

‘Evil’ is therefore really just a word for an extremely misunderstood form of ‘pathological behaviour’  - behaviour rooted in the perpetrator’s own suffering  or  pathos. Yes, dear readers,  you have understood me correctly. I AM saying that even a Stalin or Hitler was not a ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ person – whatever they did - and however psychopathic, paranoid or repulsive their ‘personalities’ might have been. I am also saying that those that are called ‘evil’ do not, in general, need vindictive ‘punishment’ – they need spiritual, psychological and ethical help – particularly help in understanding their own deluded or paranoid beliefs,  help in understanding that ‘revenge’ is no answer, help in understanding that “an eye for and eye makes the whole world blind”(Ghandi) and help in understanding also that even those who they feel caused them to suffer - or who they feel anger or hatred toward - are not basically ‘evil’ people.

Let me be clear. I see nothing ‘wrong’ with feelings of anger, bitterness or even hatred towards people  – for those who cannot feel  ‘hate’ cannot truly feel love either. But there is something very WRONG in seeing those you are angry with or feel hateful towards as ‘evil’ – and then seeking a type of God-like Biblical ‘revenge’ on them. 

Calling anyone ‘evil’ – even murderers, rapists, torturers or tyrants such as Stalin or Hitler - is really just the most primitive and simplistic answer possible for the question that still is so rarely even asked:  the question of WHY some people do terrible things to others?

To simply say that they do things because they are ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ is no answer at all. Not only does calling people ‘evil’ not begin to answer this question of why people do what they do – it does not even begin to seriously ask this question at all!!!

To seriously explore the question of ‘evil’ would mean searching for its roots in deep-seated but long outdated religious myths, beliefs and ideologies - and in the way these were and are still used and abused.

To seriously explore the question of ‘evil’ would also meaning questioning – as I have done here – the very IDEA of ‘evil’ – showing  the way in which it has been and still is used and abused in the most horrific of ways – in this leading to all the worst, most horrific and terrible violence and ‘wrongs’.  

The understanding of what is called ‘evil’ that I have presented here (and that is also presented in the SETH books of Jane Roberts) is of the utmost importance for humanity. This is  because, in the end, the only  way for humanity to overcome all the horrors we label as ‘evil’  is to see that they result from the belief IN ‘evil’ beings, forces or powers. This makes all the more important to understand that, however bad, wrong, terrible or horrific their acts are, all beings - including all human beings - are basically and essentially good.  

I see this understanding not only as some eccentric view of my own or that of Seth – but also as the only truly and authentically ‘Christian’ one too: ‘Hate the sin but not the sinner’. The root meaning of ‘to sin’ means ‘to miss the mark’. ‘Sinners’ are simply people whose good intents have, for any number of possible reasons – ‘missed the mark’. They – and we - need understanding awareness of how this came to be - not Judgement from those, posing as God Almighty. about how ‘EVIL’ they are!

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