This episode looks into the nature of evil and temptation, how it is resisted and overcome, and how I should relate to others in society, including those who might be involved in harm and hurting others.
Read transcript below
Good morning. This morning I want to take a quick look at the nature of good and evil, both in myself and in the society at large. I think honest people, every last one, will acknowledge that there is a side of myself that is attracted or drawn toward evil, or at least succumbs to behavior that can be described as evil, or at least undesirable, or perhaps shameful. I do things of which I am ashamed. I don’t want people to know about, or things that I have to do something to correct.
So the first thing I want to look at or ask is, what is the nature of that which pulls me toward what results in evil or shame. This happens to me all the time. It happens every day. There is a constant barrage of this either from outside of myself or from within. It constantly pushes me to move toward actions that could be called evil, or dystopic or hostile, greedy, various of the negatively described behaviors or states of being. And yet there it is, every day, either from without, or from within. So I believe one of the first things to study, or one of the first things to try to get our minds around is what exactly is the nature of that which pulls me toward behavior that eventually I find is evil or even sense before the act that the pull is toward something bad, something I know I would rather not be involved in and would rather not commit. What is the nature of that which constantly pulls me toward bad acts?
The first question is, is that force is that constant presence merely random, Or is it intentional. Does it have a design for me? Does it pursue me with intelligence, purpose or design? This is extremely important for anybody who’s trying to live a good life, and is aware that life consists of decision making. This is required in the pursuit of self improvement regardless what the area of focus might be. Interest to improve oneself might be nothing more than something entirely superficial. Perhaps a simple obsession with my own looks. Or maybe you can move a tiny bit more elevated and seek to get a little better toward bodily improvement or athletic improvement. And this could likewise go all the way to people who seek to attain an enduring state of virtue.
Regardless of where we focus ourselves, there is still, even in the most mundane or most superficial pursuits of self improvement, a side of us that fits the description of being against our higher mind. For example if all I wanted to do is be beautiful, there are still plenty of temptations or plenty of actions I can do that are directly hostile to the good I’m trying to choose. Even if the “good” is no more than wanting to be a good looking person. On that level I can eat things that are bad for my skin, bad for my hair, or make me fat. There is a constant temptation to violate the regimen needed to make myself physically beautiful. Just like there are these temptations that would harm more enduring or long lasting pursuits, more internal or deeper versions of self improvement, pursuing goodness or intellectual prowess or intelligence, useful ability or trying to leave something enduring behind for the sake of others, not just for my own good looks.
Naturally, we discover that the identical patterns obtain at the core of every person, whether they be a bodybuilder or aspiring fashion model, or if the behavior negatively impacts progress towards attainment of spiritual beauty and capacity. When we look at the ubiquity, the ever presence or constant presence of that which draws us toward behaviors that are bad for what we would prefer, bad for the good we try to pursue. Again, is this simply random. Is it just there? Or does it have intention or even personification. Does it have intelligence?
One thing for sure, if we take a close look at evil, we can tell that it’s orderly. It seems to have principles by which it operates. Again, an honest person will acknowledge that. For example, if I begin down the road of engaging consistently in problematic, harmful so-called evil, self detrimental and harmful to others behavior, it will lead to more of the same. So it is orderly. I cannot simply do evil, shameful, or disgusting things every single day of my life, and it just happens and then has no impact on it taking root in me. It is known that all evil acts lead to greater evil acts. A careful study of such behavior clearly shows that. So at least it’s orderly. That much we know.
The next big question is, is it intentional? Is it something against which we do battle that requires strategy intelligence? Is it an actual battle against something that has different designs for us than we have for ourselves? This is a very big question. Conversely, for the side of us that seems to be good or wants to be good or wants to improve or wants to keep ourselves in shape or looking good or being good or being humane or being sacrificial or helping those in need. Going to countries where hunger obtains, or where natural calamity has struck. That side of ourselves that seeks goodness and wants to be good. What is the nature of that? Where does that come from? What are its origins? This fact is another thing that needs careful study, because no matter who or what we are, whether we are a mafia assassin, whether we’re a heroin addict, barely staying alive day to day, or whether we are on the verge of curing cancer or solving the pollution of the oceans, regardless of if we’re good or bad, or doing well or doing poorly, every one of us goes through life in the exact same day by day tug of war towards that side of ourselves just wants to improve, wants to be better, wants to stop the bad we do. If we recognize a side of ourselves that is easily drawn toward things that are harmful to self, harmful to others, and detrimental to what it means to be human. This happens to the best of us. It happens to the worst of us. It happens to the worst of us on our best days and the best of us on our worst days, it’s something that needs careful attention and consideration.
So all I’m saying is, make a study of the fact that we are drawn toward behavior, and succumb to behavior, now and then, hopefully less and less, that can be described in horrific ways, that we’re ashamed of, that we wish we would never do. We’re being drawn toward that. Occasionally we fail to resist. What is that? Is it intelligent? Is it purposeful? Is it personified? Is it an entity? It definitely has clear, recognizable, operative principles. The more evil we do, the more evil we will do. Evil obviously follows certain rules, energetic rules at least. Similarly to good.
Where is it? Where does it come from? Why is it in us? Why is it constantly doing battle? Why do we resist? Why does it feel better when we have helped others, or have done good, offered something valuable for others? Where is that from? We recognize it’s not random. We recognize that it is intentional, because it requires our own intention to pursue goodness. It requires the revitalization of that intention each day, and several times a day. This is something I think should be carefully studied.
It makes no sense to constantly sit between straining forces that are with us all throughout every single day, and not make any effort to understand their nature, where they’re from, how they operate, and especially if they’re related to intentional entities, or themselves have intention.
With that, I want to move toward the expansion of that into social manifestation. In society there is the expansion or expression of this thing known as or temptation? Is there a social level attraction to that which is harmful? Are there groups of people who are basically bad? Are there groups of people who are basically good? Basically people are people. But it seems to be evident that there are groups of people who are basically bad. What should be our relationship with such people? Because above all, they’re people just like you and me. How did they get to be a social unit that functions in society with an agenda that is harmful. How did they become a group that does harm that hurts people, and is harmful to themselves?
The next thing to know is what should we do once it becomes clear that there are individuals and groups that are basically bad, cause harm or evil, and behave in shameful fashion. How do we relate to such people and groups? What would be our purpose and desire vis a vis the existence of such?
What I want to recommend at the conclusion of this podcast is that the only way we can understand, and begin to get a reliable and consistent way of behaving towards such individuals and groups whom we find to be bad in nature, is to go back to ourselves. Look at that same battle within ourselves as exists in society. Society is nothing other than self-battle writ large. Say there are people who legitimately can be described as basically bad in what they do. How am I as a member of society supposed to relate to such people and groups?
The answer is something I already know. I already know because I live through this every day, inside of myself. There is a side of myself which I recognize as basically bad. How do I treat that? The main thing we want is for anyone or thing which is basically bad that they not do bad things. For myself, I don’t care how many times I’m tempted. The main thing I care about myself, that I don’t do anything that is harmful. No matter what I think, I just want to be sure I don’t do anything.
Similarly, it’s utterly not my business, how anybody thinks, what they struggle with, or what they believe. The only thing I’m concerned about on the social level is that they don’t do things that result in harm to themselves and harm to others. The actions that are the main thing. It is the focus both inside of myself, and on the social level as well. So, if I see an individual, representative, or group of people whose behavior results in harm to our society or our nation, how do I treat them? I have only one interest in relating to people whom I feel are bad. That is that they stop doing bad things. Whatever I need to do to help these people stop doing harm, that is my entire goal and purpose. This is just as it is inside of myself. My only interest is to make sure I stop doing harm. I stop doing things that are disgraceful. Do do I kill myself in order to stop doing harmful acts? Is that the solution? Absolutely not. That is an absurd approach to the problem. Instead I try to understand the nature of how I think, the nature of how I resist. I have a catalogue of my struggle, and what works and what doesn’t. This should be the same for dealing with people and groups in society. How do I relate to such individuals or groups? Working to accomplish cures and goodness in myself should extend exactly to “the whole.” Reacting to good and evil in society should be an extension of the same treatment of good and evil in myself, and how I work to make myself an entity that does not cause harm.
Regarding individuals and groups who are not myself,I have the same desire. I want to know how to stop them from doing harm, and how to intensify and increase the frequency of them doing good. How do I do that in myself? That’s how I treat my fellow human beings on the good side, and on the bad. Thanks for listening. Talk to you again soon.