If one spells “live” backwards, the result is “EVIL.” The atrocity that just occurred in NZ is a prime example of evil. The only word that can be used to describe such an act, or any of the acts of “degrees of evil” that happen on a daily basis, is just that word, EVIL. No other word could capture the degree of horror or the pain it leaves in the hearts of millions today. Daily around the world, such acts bubble in the caldron of archetypal devil’s soup, popping up anywhere and everywhere on the globe. Whether as awful as the NZ slaughter, or the daily shooting of boy against boy in South Chicago, or cops shooting boys in the back or while on the ground, or rapes of girls and women all over the world, or genocide, or “collateral damage” inflicted by Western powers, or families witnessing the execution of their loved one’s murderer….it is all nothing more than evil.
The topic of evil has been of interest to me for some years, as it is manifest in our human condition. It will not go away, it only shifts from one person to another, one group or gang to another, one nation to another. I want to know what evil is. I believe it to be a natural part of the “real world” that we exist in by perception. It is that half of the dynamic that we Buddhist call “samsara.” In my search to better understand our human connection with what one may call God, what we Buddhists and Hindus and others call in various terms, such as the Void, or that which no word can be assigned to, “neither this nor that,” I am beginning to see that what we call evil is (perhaps) just an inverted energy, if you will, that is necessary to balance the “good” energy. We can call the good energy “love,” or perhaps even “without pain.” (The photograph above is my attempt at indicating the darkness of the universe mixed with the light of the universe, good and evil.)
The fact that this world is full of misery, pain and corporeal death, for all people, for all organic sentient creatures should inform that there is an underlying energy that keeps in check that “higher” energy that the more conscious of us would prefer. I don’t pretend to have a clue as to why, if this is so, other than, “that’s the way it is.” The animal world is so cruel and one could say “evil” is it not, when one animal eats another as a natural part of its existence, often eating its “meal” while alive? What good “God” would create such a world, a God of Love? Again, since I don’t believe in any “God,” I think the question is rather moot. I just accept it is what it is. Evil exist.
It seems by my observations over a lifetime, that the axiom, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” is so spot-on true. It is fact. We may not correctly make the equation for each observation, but some where in the each moment of ecstasy or misery there is that equation at work. We cannot experience a high, with a low to comparer it to, and what was a high will have to be replaced with a higher high, followed perhaps by a lower low, unless we train our minds better. There is a somewhat humorous “axiom” that is a corollary, “no good deed goes unpunished.” I have seen the latter so many times!
I believe that what we call “evil” is an integral component of the Mind of the Universe. I also believe that we will individually not escape this until we attain some state of nirvana, or enlightenment. I am sure many readers may challenge this, depending on what one’s belief system may be (or “non-belief” system). So I am here to say only that we must face the fact of the existence of evil, and every moment strive to control the evil within our own personal psyches, and do all we can to voice and act against the next episode of outright atrocity. We cannot ever stop or contain all evil, but the very act of opposing evil is required to keep evil in balance with l-I-v-e. We must LIVE.
In October, 1987, there was a Symposium on Understanding Evil, in the town of Salado, Texas. The reader may look it up. A number of great minds attended, such as Maya Angelou, Scott Peck, Bill Moyers, and several others who had personal experience and knowledge of what “resident evil” is and can do. I will not attempt to summarize any of this conference, other than to say again, that evil is in each of us, evil comes in many forms – even the verbal abuse of elderly or children – but, we must all work to keep evil in check. Evil is insidious, sneaky, crafty and will work its way into our minds and seem totally rational to us. A good example is the constant fear mongering we see in the news today regarding people coming to our southern border. No one who is thinking clearly, who uses factual, evidence-based reasoning, would see any significant threat to “us” from this situation, but it is evil that is working its magic, not much different than what we saw Hitler spin over the minds of the German citizenry. Given the chance, evil grows and grows and grows, so that is why those of us who strive to dwell in peace must be constantly diligent in calling out the name “evil” when we see it. We need to be “ghosts busters,” ……substitute evil for ghosts.
I will close this post now, and continue to monitor this “resident evil.” Please, you also, stay on watch!
My late Mom, a fine Christian woman (who so loved her Buddhist son) relied heavily on this verse:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” <Psalm 23:4>