• Thinking in good vs evil gets you ... a pain in the behind
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!
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
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.
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."
"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
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,
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.
"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?"
War - or Killing Children
someone said, "But the atom bombs ended the war."
"That they did. But they
also killed a LOT of innocent children."
"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
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.
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
~ 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 ~
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!);
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;
situations and other people are never okay, never good enough;
- you, yourself are never okay, never good enough, either
- you'll have a hard time trusting
and loving (both yourself and others);
- you'll never
have peace of mind;
mention just a few of the consequences of thinking in
opposites like good vs evil.
The alternative to good vs evil is to relax, breathe
and just BE - exist. Experience.
yourself, other people and the world. Experience everything
the way it really is (i.e. absolute reality).
and people aren't good, and they aren't evil, either. They
just are. They exist. They make choices and do things. Same as
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 ...
whole world, the whole of existence is based on unconditional love.
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