Saturday, July 28, 2012
Good and Evil
"It's true that someone will always say that good and evil don't exist: that is a person who has never had any dealings with real evil. Good is far less convincing than evil, but it's because their chemical structures are different.
"Like gold, good is never found in a pure state in nature: it therefore doesn't seem impressive. It has the unfortunate tendency not to act; it prefers, passively, to be seen." - Amélie Nothomb, Les Catilinaires
In the above quote there is an unfortunate translation from the French. The word "chemical" actually means something more like "basic" as we would say. Thus the statement is more like "Good is far less convincing than evil because their basic structures are different."
Thus it is not true that good and evil are opposites. They are not. They do not rely on one another to exist in that way. They are not linked. And yes, I agree. Real evil does exist though it is doubtful that it is a manifestation of a kingdom nor is it a rebellion. However evil is a "power" as it has been expressed and similar to "powers and principalities", though it is as I have already claimed, not a kingdom.
While the "dark side" exists, again it is not an opposite to the light. And yes, good is never found in a pure state in nature. Evil in contrast can be remarkably pure at times. However, evil relies on secrets and in that sense attempts to remain hidden.
The reason evil attempts to remain hidden is that unless it reaches epic proportions in its own locale it remains remarkably fragile when it is exposed. Ordinary men can squash evil rather easily when it is exposed under normal circumstances. Evil persists because it is so good at hiding and the lies it tells. Often evil can masquerade as the good as so many of our religions very well know from their own disastrous experience. It is religion's misfortune that it can be and has been branded for the evil done in religion's name.
M. Scott Peck wrote in People of the Lie that evil was the first identified insanity (mental illness) found in humans, that evil is a special manifestation of illness. Religion has tried to be the answer, to banish evil and to heal its after effects. I do not think religion has done so well.
I find it remarkable that I rejoice in the wisdom of the young. I rejoice in Amelie. I am very grateful for that, both that the wisdom is there to be found and that I am humble enough in my dotage to embrace it and be guided by it.
A final note: I am especially fearful that the latest sally of evil is to masquerade beneath the widespread outbreak of the varieties of so-called positive thinking, the idea that if I only think it well enough, evil will vanish and prosperity and the good will arrive. Tell that to the six million Jews and the other thirteen million undesirables all executed within the good orderly direction of freeing Aryans from pernicious bondage and creating Lebensraum. Thus was evil administered by the Nazis and their representatives during World War II. For most of the war this evil was hidden in plain sight.