What can we know about evil?
Opening this topic here to focus this discussion that crops up in various places and deserves its own thread.
I would like to point out the difference between dark and light. Darkness is not real. It is the absence of light. If you take light into a dark room, the darkness disappears. I you take darkness into a light room, the darkness disappears. All darkness can be changed with light. Love is light. That is why love is the only power. If you send love or light into the darkness, it cannot survive. That is how we will overcome evil (darkness).
Thank you for pointing out this truth. Extending your thought to people we think are evil would mean that no one is evil, only lacking light, lacking the whole truth. Your premise makes sense to me. That said, sometimes I am so hurt by someone's cruelty, that I think they are just plain evil, and that is that. But when I feel that way, I am not seeing the whole truth of that person. I want to label them as evil so I don't have to deal with the complexity. When I am willing or able to see the whole picture, I see something more nuanced, rather than just darkness. They night be sick, misguided, afraid, deluded, or ignorant. I see these truths when I am on a meditation retreat or in a situation where I feel safe.
I'm going to disagree with you -with love- on this one. Evil is real. It exists. It's not just the absence of love. Dismissing it as not real runs the risk of not recognizing evil when confronted with it. Evil has a will of its own. I believe we can to a great extent exert our own free will towards light when confronted with evil. This takes its power away. But to negate its existence is dangerous, that's one of the things that makes it more powerful.
"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." --film, The Usual Suspects
“La plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas." -- French poet, Baudelaire
I also would agree with everything you said. I believe that light can vanquish evil, absolutely. I also believe that evil is real and there is a clear danger if we do not recognize it and label it as such when it is present.
I need more explanation of what you mean when you say it is dangerous to assume that darkness is just the absence of light, that there are no evil people. I want to make sure our disagreement is not just semantics. Show me someone who is evil where the evil is not just the absence of light. But something wholly until itself. As an example, I have seen that Donald Trump was dangerous long before most people. I do not believe that he can be rehabilitated either. He needs to be locked up. I do not underestimate his capacity to do evil deeds. But I do not feel he himself is evil. Same with Putin and Charles Koch. Most serial killers are deranged and so do you call that evil when someone is mentally ill?
In many other forums on different websites, this would be a very scary topic to discuss.
I am not afraid we are having this discussion here however because this is Jeanne Mayell's site. We are a community of like minded loving people who are trying our best to bring light and love (and hope) into the world and to bring light and love ( and hope) into our hearts.
I am not a Philosopher. I not a Theologian. But I know some, especially Theologians. Last night I was at a dinner sitting at a table filled with a good number of clergy people. (It should be noted that I am not a member of the clergy). It was mentioned in light-hearted conversation that someone should put all the Theologians together on a deserted island until they stop splitting hairs and come to a consensus on pressing Theological issues and only then should they be allowed off the island. 😀
If theologians can't come to an agreement on these issues, such as the issue we are discussing right now, no wonder lay people can't either.
Everyday I find out I know less than I thought I knew the day before, and yet at the same time my knowledge keeps growing. I believe that only when I die, will I have answers to the questions I can't answer now, the ones I have pondered for years and the ones I haven't even attempted to explore yet because my brain might fall into the deepest rabbit hole ever known.
I don't believe that a person is in fact evil ithemselves, though I do believe they can act in horribly evil ways. I do believe that there is in fact evil. It is real and not an illusion. It can be vanquished, it can be cast out. and this can be done so through love and through light. But it is real and it is freaking powerful.
But LOVE is more powerful, Love is the MOST freaking powerful thing of all.
Our community is filled with love.
We don't have to all agree. Our respect and love for each other is what is most important in continuing to thrive as a community.
I am not scared of this topic being posted here.
I love you all!
I didn't know I would create so much conversation by saying "Evil is the absence of light". I am so pleased that people thought enough about it to comment on it. Through the exchange of ideas, we will all gain understanding. Thank you all.
@lovendures Thank you!
Understanding evil can help light workers respond to people we feel are doing terrible things to others. If we understand it, we let light into our thinking. That light heals us and lightens our load. It doesn't mean we turn our heads to the danger and let down our guard.
Btw, I moved the discussion to this new topic to give it its own thread.
I agree with what both of you (@Laura F and @lovendures) wrote, although I am not educated in the theological view and am hungry to learn more. I also realize you are telling us your view, not necessarily a theological view of which there are many. But you are versed in the theological view and ask if you could help us understand more about it!
I suppose my views on evil draw from psychological and spiritual perspectives.
I don't see evil as a force, but rather as a form of human behavior and consciousness. Those who have embraced deeds we would call evil may have created a body of thought. Hitler, Stalin, Mao all had millions killed. Others who used lies that have harmed millions, have used lies and deceptive strategies to gain money and power. I think of Exxon executives who knowingly engaged in lethal deception to deny that fossil fuels were warming the planet. Their actions will likely go way past Mao and Stalin and even Hitler in the number of people who die. Add to them Trump and many others.
The Italian prince Machiavelli set forth a doctrine of fear for anyone who wishes to rise to power. Many dark political operatives have followed his teachings. From these people, a body of thought is out there for use.
But I don't think anyone is evil. They may use evil ideas, thoughts, solutions to their problems, but at their core I do not believe they are evil.
When we find out about the lives of serial killers, there is almost always a trauma early in childhood. These lead to a malfunction in their wiring, including a lack of empathy.
Last year as I was making a Youtube, I found myself talking about whether Donald Trump was evil. I had had a vision of Trump as Khali the Devil god who looks like an Octopus. I saw Trump orchestrating with his many tentacles to keep threats at bay and assure is power. He would contact the Saudi Prince for support, tweet something pro-life for the evangelicals, attack a critic and rally the haters to go after that person. Later he threatened the Ukrainian president and brought in Guiliani and guys like Parnev to assist. He's the octopus always assuring his power using his many tentacles.
Is he evil? My view is that while he is not evil, he does channel evil. The dark gods of evil are feeding him. Putin also feeds him, and the Saudi Prince, as well as many unseen consultants to the GOP who create the spin we keep hearing on Fox and from sycophants like Jim Jordan and Nikki Haley. Trump copies his dark mentors and the sycophants copy him. A man appeared in my local town government recently who was copying Trump in his attacks on people. (He caused ugly drama everywhere he went, and then his wife left him and he disappeared.)
But there was a time when Trump was an innocent child. The child is always within each of us. When I attended Sharon Saltzberg's Loving Kindness retreat, I focused on Trump and saw him and his GOP buddies rushing around in circles. They were all about two feet tall. Stunted. Babies. But nevertheless dangerous. I would not let them off once the tribunals come.
So if Trump is not evil and has an innocent inner child deep within, can he be rehabilitated? I feel he would curl up and die before he would become good. He simply doesn't feel that being "good" would protect him enough. Plus he thinks he is good. He is now wired neurologically to vanquish anyone who threatens his power. He is convinced in a deep way that only the powerful Machiavellian man can survive in this world.
I must relay an experience I had .... in my early 20's. I was a single struggling mother in 1978 and fell in love with a young man... who had much Light and Dark in him. I was naive but did not remain that way. I truly believe now at this point in my life that he and I have shared many lifetimes together. He was a Scorpio and I am a Libra... suffice to say it was an INTENSE relationship.... that I ended after about 5 years. This is background to explain the experience that came after. He and I had been "broken up" for a good bit of time... when , at work one day... I was compelled to go buy the AJC for a quarter and look up obituaries. I had to borrow the quarter to do that. I immediately flipped to the obits and read of his father's death 2 days prior. I felt my Soul tell me ..see.. it was real..and yes.. it happened. What happened you say? Two nights previously... I awoke in my bed to "see" it in flames...unable to move...then? I looked through to see his father...sitting there in the flames... coming to tell me he was leaving and he had died, by his own hand, and was going to Hell but that he wanted to tell me he loved me to please take his son back in to my life. I sadly told him I can not do that ..as much as loved his son.. I have a child to raise...it won't work and I owe this child better than that. He smiled sadly and said he knew...he just had to ask. My spirit came out of my body to sit by his spirit at the foot of my bed as we talked and he looked at me tearfully. As we had talked the flames had disappeared but he said he had to go now and they began to rise again. I knew this is because he thought he had to go to Hell because of the bad things he had done. I told him ..you know you don't have to go there right? My "hand" raised to point out a Light shining brightly against a night sky full of stars... and I said to him.... You can go there... they are waiting for you... its all forgiven ... its all love. He hugged me and said how? I said ..." You just let yourself go to the Light" and poof he was gone. I awoke..able to move and my mouth was dry as I thought to myself... WHOA .. that was some more "nightmare" until I bought that newspaper and read his obit at work the next day. It was a real experience just as real as when I died and came back at the age of 18. I don't pretend to know how things work? I only know.... that we ARE loved beyond measure...regardless and that what we may do? is not necessarily.. who we are. I apologize for writing a novelette... but some one that reads these pages... needed to hear that.
Thank you so very much for sharing your powerful story. It is beautiful and filled with love. As I sit here I am quite inspired by what you wrote. It is the ultimate story of hope when all is lost. Your words that evening had the power to make all the difference. What an amazing experience.
Thank you... I greatly shortened the story..because it's not so much what all we talked about as it is about the end result... and that was for him to realize that Creator is LOVE and that that? ..is all there is in the end. My soul spoke the words to his soul.... Higher Self if you wish to call it that... the young woman living in the world was certainly not that wise. Truly LOVE heals all.
I will need a little bit of time to reflect on this before getting back, but I intend to.
Thank you once again for providing us all with this beautiful place and with your beautiful and caring words. Always.
On a slightly different note, is it just me or has anyone else been sensing the vibrational level of our community rising? This past week, and even in the past few days...wow! In so many different ways too.
Absolutely! Felt it immediately today. I wrote my Godwinks post and within an hour a multitude were written about under differing names/experiences on one thread alone.
Never doubt the power we carry individually and more so collectively-- here as in the larger collective
Love to you dear 💜
Weird that you said that about sensing the vibration of the community rising lately - I had that exact same thought yesterday and today as I was catching up reading posts! 🙂
I loved your story; thank you for sharing it!
I had a dream this fall that was one of those spiritual dreams that stayed with me.
In the dream I was in hell. At first I was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, armed with that scythe-thing she gets in Season 7, and I was whirling around and decapitating demons left and right. Soon I realized that I was vastly outnumbered and that I’d better run and hide in order to have any chance of survival. Hell then became much like a hotel with white corridors and doors everywhere. I slid into one room and closed the door, quickly found another door and went into that room, hearing the demons on the hunt for me the whole time. Each room led to another room or corridor with more doors, and I worked to steady myself, trying to use some scruples as I chose which door to maneuver through. It was one door after another and always the fear, the running away, the desire for a secure place to collect myself. That strikes me as a pretty good metaphor for hell, and most of us live our lives running through one door after another, striving to rest in comfort and security that never lasts.
At some point the dream morphed into something like “The Good Place” and I found myself sneaking onto an elevator believing I was on my way to heaven. The doors opened, and I wish I could describe for you something amazing and glorious, but the dream image is a haze, the way dream images so often are. What remained with me was the realization that I had never actually been in hell, nor was I stepping into heaven; it was all a “neutral” place, inherently empty, shaped and filled by my own beliefs and expectations. More than anything, I felt relief.
I've always felt deeply that people are not inherently evil, that "evil" actions are the result of misguided attempts at gaining power, the need for which is rooted in disconnection and insecurity, or, simply, a lack of love. I really don't know anything of evil as an external force or entity; thankfully, I've never experienced anything remotely like that, although I have been victimized by other people who wanted to hurt me in order to lift themselves up. One of them was a serial rapist at 17 years old, and in spite of the abuse he inflicted on me, I could see that hurt child within, that hunger for love that had been perverted into a love of power.
What I like about @journeywithme2's story and the dream I shared is that they reveal our capacity for choice. We carry beliefs and stories about ourselves and the world; often these are deeply held and unconscious. This is years as a zen buddhist talking here, but when we practice awareness and bring these stories and beliefs into the light, we see their inherent emptiness and we can choose something different. Sometimes these beliefs are so deep they are lodged in our bodies. One evening in a yoga class, after going to these classes weekly for half a year, in savasana I found myself experiencing the deep sense of unworthiness (that stemmed from my being given up for adoption) lifted out of my body. I realized that I carried this shame and belief that I was unlovable, so much that I was unworthy of god, and as the cloud of this shame started to dissipate, I heard a message that I was indeed worthy of god's love, and tears rolled down my cheeks as I laid there, feeling this weight lifted. Now, I can't say that I was 100% healed at that moment, but there was a significant shift in my being, one that opened a door for me to meet my now husband (a very loving, kind partner) and, years later, my birth family.
I'm also sharing this in the hope that someone finds this helpful and opens to the possibility of becoming free from beliefs that hold you back from that eternal love that is the heart of our creation.
@journeywithme2 Thank you for your forgiveness story of your x partner's father's passing. So beautiful.