There is no evil in the universe which is not the result of ignorance, and which would not if we were ready and willing to learn its lesson,
lead us to higher wisdom, and then vanish away.- James Allen
I think that the concept of evil is given too much emphasis in our lives. Yes, there are many awful things that human beings do to each other, and there are some people who seem to have abandoned all that we consider to be good and just, but it seems to be too easy to regard something as “evil” and therefore have a simple, straightforward answer to something that isn’t at all simple or straightforward.
When awful things happen, we can learn about how they came to be, how they ended up happening, and then we can hopefully learn how to avoid a re-occurrence of them in the future. If we simply say that Jeffrey Dahmer was evil, then we don’t need to look at his actions and their causes, for we have a simple explanation that keeps us from learning at a deeper level.
Likewise, there seemed to be evil at work on 9/11 in the States and 3/11 in Spain. In both cases, though, chalking it up to the evil that people do gives us an excuse not to look at the political, social, and economic causes that have led to the rise in Muslim extremism the entire world over.
If we can look at the causes of anything instead of simply labeling it, we can learn, we can grow, and we can prevent similar evil in the future. It’s our choice–the easy way out, or the useful, productive way that may take a bit more effort.
Questions to ponder:
1. Why do we tend to label things “evil”?
Does this label help us to understand root causes?
2. Can learning from “evil” really lead us to higher wisdom?
3. Can we grow in wisdom if we turn our back on things like evil acts?
For further thought:
Nothing will divide this nation more than ignorance, and nothing can bring us together better than an educated population.