Good vs Evil drawing of devil and good guy

Good vs Evil: Real or Not?

• Thinking in good vs evil gets you ... a pain in the behind
• Read what the nasty consequences of thinking in opposites are
• And learn what the alternative to that kind of thinking is
• Freedom, inner peace and a feeling of love beckon up ahead ...

• This page is an entry in "Soren's Blog: Inspirational Thoughts" - a blog aimed at your personal development & spiritual growth. This self improvement blog incorporates inspirational motivational quotes, short funny jokes, funny questions that make you think and more! 

An Exotic Animal's Reflections on Good and Evil

Approximately a years or so ago I was standing in front of an audience who was busy asking me questions.

I had been giving a speech on the subject of love and relationships. As usual, when I give speeches, do workshops and teach people the audience was composed mostly of women.

One of these women, who had identified herself as Sophie, had been asking me a number of questions and I was quite enjoying answering them.

I was also well aware that - again, as usual - most of the audience considered me ... well, something akin to an exotic animal. They loved observing this exotic animal (looking at me and listening to my speech), playing with me (asking me questions) and being titillated by me (listening to my answers and relating them to their own lives), but they sure wouldn't like live with me on an everyday basis. I was much too strange and exotic.

Good vs Evil

Anyway! This woman, Sophie, who had asked several questions already, each one more philosophical than the previous one, now asked:

"You're talking about love and fear, but you aren't talking about good and evil. Why aren't you talking about that? In your world view isn't there good and evil, isn't it good vs evil?"

What a great question! I want that to be the subject of this blog post.

It's Relative

My answer to the lady Sophie was this:

"Good and evil are very relative concepts. This means that what's good in one person's world view is evil in another person's world view.

So, no, I don't use those concepts. To me things and people aren't good or evil, they just are. They are what they are.

That being said, we humans are social animals, so in general we tend to equate 'social' with 'good' and 'not social' with 'bad' or 'evil'.

Also, we are generally fond of creativeness and watching things live and grow - which we then tend to call 'good'. We are generally not very fond of destruction and watching things wither and die - which we then tend to call 'bad' or 'evil'.

But since all of these concepts are relative, as seen from the fact that they come in pairs of opposites ... creative versus destructive; good vs evil; social vs not social; and life vs death ... they aren't in any way absolute, true or real.

I know this sounds strange, but if you think about it you'll notice that one concept, say, good, can't exist without it's opposite, in this case bad or evil. There HAS to be 'evil' or there will be no 'good'.

Do you see how the concepts are pure make believe?"

Yes or No?

The kind lady was simply staring at me. Then she blinked a couple of times and said, "You didn't answer my question."

"I didn't?"

"No, not really," she replied. "Let me ask you again: IS there or is there NOT good and evil in your way of viewing the world? That's a 'yes' or 'no' kind of question. Yes or no?"

I have to admit, this made me laugh. This was such great fun. Very entertaining, at least to me.

Yes AND No!

"Okay, Sophie. My answer then, is yes AND no.

Yes, the concepts of good and evil exist. Yes, people attribute meaning to them. So, yes, those concepts are relatively real and exist in my world view, relatively speaking.

At the same time:

No, those concepts do not exist in and of themselves, they only exist by virtue of each other. It' always good vs evil, never good vs good. If one goes away, the other one goes away, too.

So no, those concepts aren't absolutely real, and therefore they don't really exist in my world view after all. Since they have no real meaning I never use them - in the sense of good vs evil.

I do say things like 'that's a good movie' of course, but I might as well have said 'nice', 'cute', 'exiting' or someting else."

"You're a strange one," was all Mrs. Sophie said. This elicited laughter from the rest of the audience - and more than a few nods.

Good vs Evil: Terrorists

Another woman in the audience then took up the thread. She identified herself as Catherine, or Cathy, and demanded to know:

"If you don't distinguish between good and evil, what about terrorists? You MUST agree that they are evil, surely?"

"No, Cathy. How could I agree to that? Don't you think that they are doing what they are doing because they think it's the right thing to do?"

Cathy shook her head. "No," she said, "And even if they do, in their sick and twisted minds, think that they are doing something good, they're not. They're just hurting other people. Creating suffering. That's what they do. They blow things up. Kill innocent people. Children. They're killing children! That's evil, pure evil!"

This caused some of the people in the audience to mutter in agreement.

Atom Bombs

"I can see why this can quickly become a very emotional debate. So let me just ask you another question right back: Do you think USA is evil?"

"No," she answered, "they're not evil, they're just deluded. They have delusions of grandeur. And they're scared."

"Right. So terrorists are evil because they kill children, but USA isn't because they don't - is that it?" She nodded.

"So, what about, say Hiroshima and Nakasaki? The Americans dropped not one but two atomic bombs over cities in Japan, literally vaporizing or long-term killing between 150,000 and 250,000 people, many of whom were innocent men, women and children.

I'm sure that that's more innocent children than all the world's terrorists put together have ever killed. Isn't that evil?"


Ending the War - or Killing Children

Then someone said, "But the atom bombs ended the war."

"That they did. But they also killed a LOT of innocent children."

More silence.

"Isn't that evil?" I asked. Now, a lot of heads were nodding in agreement with me. So quickly the tide of group opinion turns.

"The US president in charge of the two atomic bombings," I continued, "was Harry S. Truman, the US president in charge when the US initiated the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. As most of you know the Marshall Plan really helped us here in Denmark - and the rest of Western Europe, too.

I don't think Truman thought of himself as an evil person. I think he did what he felt he had to do. I think he did what he thought was right.

And I also think that that's what the terrorists are doing, because hey, would anyone who didn't believe in his cause be a suicide bomber?

So, what is 'good' and what is 'evil'? Really, truly? That's really hard to say, isn't it?" Again, many people nodded.

The discussion then moved from good vs evil to other areas of life. I would like to make a few final comments on the good vs evil bit, though.

To Judge or Not to Judge

As seen from the example of both modern day terrorists and US president Harry S. Truman the fact that people do not think of themselves as evil does not mean that their actions cannot be intensely destructive. (Though, again, in order for new things to arise, old ones have to give way. It's the way of relative reality).

And in any case most of us have the hardest time NOT judging everything and everyone, including ourselves. This is an acute pain in the behind!

Happily, the behinds that are hurting the most when we judge ourselves and other people are our own.

So it stands to reason that at some point we'll 'get it' and stop judging. If for no other reason, then because our own behinds hurt so terribly ...

Give It an Extra Thought

I realize that most people will want to keep their belief in the familiar the fairy tale of good vs evil. That's fine, they are more than welcome to it.

But if you are reading this, chances are that you're interested in personal development and spirituality, and then you really need to give the idea of good vs evil another thought.

Good vs Evil Leads to Wars

Ultimately, this way of thinking (good vs evil) is what leads to wars.

If you can demonize your enemies ('they're evil!'), then you can justify killing them. (And remember, one day 'them' is going to be you).

Usually, in these blog posts, I'll include a quote or joke or something like that. So, I think it's time for a couple of Mahatma Ghandi quotes.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying:

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

The science of war leads one to dictatorship, pure and simple. The science of non-violence alone can lead one to pure democracy (...) Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment.
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

       good vs evil angel smiley

The Consequences of Thinking in Good vs Evil

Good vs evil is symptomatic of a way of thinking: Thinking in opposites and judging.

This way of thinking provides you, the thinker, with constant suffering.

If you think in opposites ...

- there's always someone who is 'evil' and 'bad' (it might even be you!);

- there's always something to be scared of, so you're subconsciously scared all the time;

- you're setting yourself up to be manipulated by fear-mongers in power;

- things, situations and other people are never okay, never good enough;

- you, yourself are never okay, never good enough, either (i.e. low self esteem);

- you'll have a hard time trusting and loving (both yourself and others);

- you'll never have peace of mind;

... to mention just a few of the consequences of thinking in opposites like good vs evil.

The Alternative

The alternative to good vs evil is to relax, breathe let go and just BE - exist. Experience.

Experience yourself, other people and the world. Experience everything the way it really is (i.e. absolute reality).

Things and people aren't good, and they aren't evil, either. They just are. They exist. They make choices and do things. Same as you.

By not following the herd in their judgements, you set yourself free. You start to see what is and get the chance to choose intelligently. You're free to follow your heart and act in whatever way feel right to you. And you can no longer be manipulated.

If you start experiencing without judging, you'll start noticing something interesting ...

The whole world, the whole of existence is based on unconditional love. You, too.

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