“Oh, if you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind, Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind” Paul Simon
The concept of good and evil seems simple but it isn’t.
I believe in absolutes but we’ll get back to that later. First I’d like to discuss the concept of yin-yang. This is the image of almost all black with a little white and almost all white with a little black. I have enclosed the image on this page. The idea is that there are no absolutes, the in the wickedest man some good exists and that in the most righteous man some evil exists.
I like to see things in gray as it helps me to deal with people better. We all have faults and that includes both the writer and reader. When I analyze a person I try to focus on a person’s good attributes. I don’t ignore the negative but rather keep it in the context of the whole. When a person looks at me I don’t want my dark side to define me. Forgiveness here is key. If you can’t forgive others than you yourself won’t be forgiven. If you do forgive then you allow a relationship to continue despite human frailties. If you insist on perfection you will continuously fall down and be disappointed.
Now let’s talk about absolutes. Is it wrong to kill or not? I once wrote a story called “Ignorant of the Ignorance”. I explored Earthly laws as compared to alien cultures. One things that the aliens pointed out was that all societies on Earth forbid murder but when ‘war’ was declared killing was perfectly fine. The aliens saw this as a glaring hypocrisy.
We are coming into an age where terrorism seems to be on the rise. If we condemn somebody blowing up a bomb on our streets than we must be consistent and condemn bombs launched from airplanes or drones. Righteousness must be consistent in regards to the absolutes of good and evil.
Let us break down good and evil further to it’s simplistic core. Good is nurturing and helps society. Evil on the other hands pulls down society. It is positive versus negative. I know plenty of people, who don’t see things that way. Certainly the leaders of the United States don’t. The United States recently launched missiles into Syria to protest the alleged chemical attack of their own people. In essence we killed people to protest killing people. Not only is that illogical but it is destructive which makes it evil.
Than isn’t all war evil? Without a doubt. The wholesale slaughter of people and the devastation of resources is probably as evil as one can get, especially when you factor in that the war is about stealing resources in the first place. Of course at this point out comes the smoke and mirrors of nationalism, religion and philosophy. But let me point you back to square one, if it causes hurt and pain it is wrong. It is simple and absolute.
Evil at times seem expedient. Sometimes evil is unavoidable as we have frailties and weaknesses.
But what about good? The Bible refers to Christians as the salt of the Earth and the light of the world. What does that mean? Salt is a preserver. Have you ever had a day when people treated you badly or even with their common coldness. Then somebody comes and treats you with dignity and respect and your whole day is brightened up. It is a simple tenet be a person that will build people up instead of tearing them down. This is especially important when you are dealing with people who are powerless or at a disadvantage. I used to work as a customer service agent and the best we could do when somebody cursed us out was to hang up on them. We couldn’t fire with fire and the customer knew it. Cowards would become bullies.
I remember one time that I ordered the wrong foot caps for a customer. Foot caps are tiny plastic pieces attached to the legs of furniture. He called up very angry and I made another mistake and ordered the wrong foot caps. The customer called up and demanded that I be fired over the infraction. My manager stepped in and went to the warehouse to ensure he would get the right parts this time. What happened was that when she looked at the foot caps they were all identical. The customer couldn’t even put the foot caps in right but wanted me to lose my source of income and survival over a trivial thing which it turned out to be his fault.
In the end hear this words of caution, “By the same standard you judge others so shall you be judged”.
My book “Dark Matters” explores evil in the world. Please get a copy. https://johnkaniecki.weebly.com/dark-matters.html