—Painting “The Dance of Good and Evil” by Curtis Verdun
Do Good and Evil Exist?
By John Rocheleau
This morning I woke up wondering about good and evil. I wondered if goodness exists apart from human perception and religious concepts. I wondered the same about evil. Does evil dwell somewhere in the universe, independent of our judgment and imagination?
We use the words good and evil in pairs. Are we implying that one cannot exist without the other? If so, are we saying that the yin/yang of human perception is an absolute truth; that there is no ultimate goodness or ultimate evil; just an eternal tug-o-war?
Or, is the dualism of yin and yang the genuine original sin that bars our entrance to paradise? A necessary passage perhaps? If we did not see life in pairs of opposites, in terms of duality, what would we see? What would life be like?
I ask this because, if either good or evil does not exist outside of human perception, then reality could be one or the other–good or evil. Or maybe neither?
Is the universe good, evil, or indifferent
Does the universe even care about these concepts? Likely not depending on your definition of the universe. So does that mean that neither good nor evil exists? Is the universe neutral providing only raw material to be used in whatever fashion happens, or is chosen, without preference or support for good or bad outcomes?
All of this is of course subjective. Good, evil, and the universe, are terms that we each have our own definitions for, and they are always in flux. As I think about these things I often prefer to let the definitions evolve as I explore. That is what I was doing this morning. I was just roaming in thought without being overly precise, and I guess that is how I am expressing this now.
My fearful perspective on evil has always been: yes, evil exists as a separate entity. Evil is a force of nature. But when I observe nature and existence closely and without fear, I see only a workable design that encourages the entire cosmos and all of life to step into a creative and orderly flow. I see no evil intent in nature. No universal force is persuading the trees to do something that would place them out of the productive loop. Everything in nature moves us towards effective living. So life is certainly not evil, and it does not appear to be indifferent either.
Look carefully and you will see that nature is not at all neutral in its actions and processes. The universe clearly has a powerful creative bias. Even the destructive forces of nature are powerfully creative. The natural world, of which we are a part, is a master at encouraging life to work in synergy. This is far from indifferent.
Life is good
That clarifies what evil actually is then doesn’t it? If we are out of step with natural law, we forgo the creative support of the universe where all things good are powerfully possible. Evil then, is our perverted perception of this alienation from the natural order. Our sense of evil is also tied to our feeling of guilt over all the degenerating self-gratifications we have indulged in as compensation for the lack of synergy, true power, and genuine satisfaction.
Evil is a force we generate within ourselves as a crude attempt to gain power at the expense of everything around us. But it doesn’t seem to exist outside of our human intent and actions. Goodness on the other hand does.
It seems to me that goodness can be defined as: a force that supports creative growth and synergy between all things in existence. If you accept that this is a fair definition, then we can all rest in the knowledge that goodness is an essential force of the universe, and by extension, goodness is an essential aspect of humanity.
Now, I know that these thoughts are limited and simplistic. We could bounce intellectual arguments back and forth forever, but I have zero interest in that. These are just some thoughts that I woke up with today and I wanted to share them with you, however incomplete they may be.
These morning musings of mine were brought to completion by the sound of birds outside the bedroom window. It is spring and they are building new nests, forging relationships, claiming space, working and playing–just like us. It is all good.
Over to you now!
John Rocheleau— http://www.zen-moments.com
Striving, we become exhausted.
Ceasing to strive, we find astonishing energy.
Tranquility rests within us, "softening our edges and bringing us peace.
Where does it come from? ;
Someplace we can't name.
What is its source?
What does it do?
Everything that needs to be done.
We have been taught not to trust our true nature and to look outside ourselves for peace, tranquility, and wisdom. Yet at the core of who we are lies an ancient, innate wisdom. This is our natural connection with the Tao.
This connection is called by many names. We talk of returning to our "own hearts" or coming back to "center." We speak of our "true nature," which is compassion. In all these ways we point to something that cannot be named. It can only be rediscovered through direct experience.
We recognize it when we are doing well in the midst of the challenges of caregiving. We see it when we know deep within that all truly is well, even in the middle of the most distressing day. We sense it when we find tenderness welling up to soothe our frustration and despair when we feel we are failing at our task.
Watch for these experiences. They are available to all of us, to remind us of the trustworthiness of our own hearts.