15 May 2009

On the Existence of Evil...

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the concept of "evil." This concept is referred to in many cultures, by many different names. Many cultures, thought-systems, and religious and faith systems refer to the problem of demonic forces. Another term for these forces I have recently come across is Ahrimanic (via an Antrhoposophical writer.) I have also read about what Edgar Cayce referred to as the "Sons of Belial." Different groups of people advocate different responds to demonism (or evil forces of whatever type.) One common approach to the problem of destructive, violent, cruel behavior is to name it, label it - and seek to destroy it through a variety of measures, punitive, and/or exclusionary.

Look UpLast night I went to see a presentation (by Stephen Zarlenga) about the problems in our monetary and economic system (American Monetary Institute) - namely the inequities and injustices that exist. At one point in the presentation, the presenter referred to what he feels are evil forces that are bent on continuingly putting people down - oppressing the masses in favor of the freedom for a few...

Obviously, it's understandable how the current system, iniquitious and unequal - discriminatory, oppressive and tyrannical - could be interpreted and perceived as bearing some sort of evilness.

However, I was struck with a thought after the author referred to the problem of evil interests. I think there is an alternative theory for why people do wrong to each other. there is an alternative, and I believe workable, theory for why people put each other down and hurt each other. The theory is this: people hurt each other, and put each other down, because of their own wounds, their own sense of insufficiency and inadequacy. People have a notion that success is dependent on having power over others, on having power over their environment. People get ego-boost from feeling superior over others, and then, once superior - they abuse their position, putting people down, treating people as if they are inferior.

The fact is that all people have power. All of us. All human beings have personal power. All human beings deserve to be respected.

Perhaps the appearance of evil is just that, an appearance. And what is really at the heart of harmful economic activity, and destructive competition, are petty fears about loss, about personal loss, about loneliness, isolation, insufficiency.

...So that if we were to be more generally supportive, respectful, and tolerant of each other, then people wouldn't feel the need to wield power over each other. And instead of wielding power over each other - people would seek to wield power to serve each other - to serve the best and true interests of a healthy and sustainable human civilization.

Let's stop hurting each other people.

Evolution from a culture of conquest, domination, consumption and intolerance — to a culture of consent, sharing, cooperation, spirituality, creativity, and sustainability... etc.

However, it's possible that there are truly evil / demonic forces. At this point I am undecided. And even if there are truly evil forces (or individuals), then it is no less important to treat those destructive elements in a way that is fair and nondiscriminatory. For example, instead of punitive justice only - major efforts could be made in the direction of restorative justice.

p.s. additional thought to consider: what are the effects of materialism, and the culture of consumption, on humanity and planetary ecology?


p.p.s. human labor is not a commodity


  1. Personally, I don't believe in "evil" as a thing or that it's caused by a malevolent force. For me, what we call evil is just a typical manifestation of selfishness. When any of us thinks only of ourselves, our behaviors and actions too often wound others. So, for me, the best way to overcome "evil" is not to think of the world as made up of isolated individuals, but as one shared community.

  2. If Berd thought of it that way, he wouldn't have a blog in which to constantly point his "peaceful" finger. Is he serious or being ironic? That's what I can't figure out.

  3. It's too bad that we have such a large resevoir of socio-cultural fearfulness.

    If we, as human beings, were only geared toward caring about each other, instead of competing with each other to the actual point of putting each other down (and beyond,) then we would all have a much better world in which to live.

    Graceful and harmonious co-existence amongst all the peoples of the world is entirely possible.

    Peace be unto you.

  4. "Graceful and harmonious co-existence amongst all the peoples of the world is entirely possible."

    Your evidence for this statement, please.

  5. "So, for me, the best way to overcome "evil" is not to think of the world as made up of isolated individuals, but as one shared community."

    I, too, share this view. Others, such as Berd, have very clear individuals/groups that are "evil" and to blame. He spends most of his time and blog space drawing divisions between groups, rather than bringing them together. Too bad, really.

  6. Thanks for your comments, I had no intention of drawing divisions between groups.

    Quite to the contrary, I hope to live my life in a way that gives hope, and shows a way to finding mutually agreeable and consensual solutions so that we can have a world where everyone is a winner.

    I believe such solutions exist. It's only common sense.

  7. "a world where everyone is a winner"