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#1752 - Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - Editor: michael  

  Good vs Evil  

If only it were so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere, insiduously commiting evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?  

--Alexander Solzehenitsyn The Gulag Archipeligo    

Dear Friends,  

Good versus Evil ah, a light hearted theme if ever there was one. As a kid growing up in the 1950's I always knew the good guys from the bad guys. The good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. But as I grew older I learned that the good and the bad come in many shades of grey.   Many religions claim that there is an ongoing battle of the ultimate good against the ultimate evil. One country lays claim to being the good country and calls another country the evil country. While the other country calls itself the good country...   Cops and robbers, saints and sinners, heroes and villans - the struggle seems eternal. Can we find a place within ourselves where there is no struggle, no ultimate good nor ultimate evil? As Shakespeare says in Hamlet, "There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so". Does this mean then, that we must simply (ironic chuckle) change our thinking to find a place where good and evil do not exist?   Perhaps. However, no matter how above good and evil we may like to think we are, the world is as it is.   Then, perhaps, we may come to the same understanding that Pogo* did when he said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."    

as ever - be well,   michael   *  


One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson
about a battle that was going on inside himself.

He said, "My son, it is between 2 wolves.
One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity,
guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness,
benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith".

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his
grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one I feed."  

Good vs. Evil

The screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's bestseller Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is neither good nor bad. It just is.

Let me explain, but to do so I will have to rely on a couple of Rowling tactics. First of all, this film review is filled with magic. It has a number of glaring contradictions and errors in logic. Secondly, I made it very long. This is heavy stuff - no less than the meaning of life itself.

But I'd like to begin by declaring that this book and movie are the death of storytelling. I figured out why too. It's because of good and evil. At some point every story told became a story about how good overcomes evil. Just look at Walt Disney movies these days. They make a movie about the natural world (The Lion King), but they can't resist the temptation to have it involve an "evil" lion (who's also gay). They're doing this in all their movies now. Even Beauty and the Beast had a battle between good and evil. It's gotten so you can't tell a story anymore unless it's about good and evil.

I recently read an editorial in a local American newspaper that suggested that one of the positive fallouts from September 11th was that people were more focused on good and evil.

And these days whenever I hear George W. talking about the "evil" people, I start developing flu like symptoms.

It's not that good and evil aren't important. They are important - they are important to overcome. Essentially they are a product of the selfish mind that labels all phenomena as positive and negative. They are also a part of the process of the division of the God that I described in my last article, I Accuse God. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's evil, but it is a very inaccurate philosophical worldview. And it has some pretty serious consequences, doesn't it? Look at the Middle East. A lot of good that battle between good and evil has caused eh?

The problem is that Harry Potter seems to be just born "good". I wonder if maybe the movie just left out a lot of Harry's own personal development that was in the book. In the old days, before the Christians got here, story telling use to involve how a person develops and overcomes his or her own personal obstacles. But story telling isn't like that anymore. It's dead.

These days storytelling is just a process of manipulating us to identify with the main character, who is good. And then we follow his (usually male) battle against and eventual victory over the forces of evil. I have countless problems with this. If you look around the world, everybody thinks they're good. The Israeli soldier who taunts young Palestinian boys into throwing rocks, and then shoots them; the Palestinian who steps onto a bus wired with explosives; the Republican and the Democrat; and on and on and on. If everybody is good, why is this world so screwed up with hatred and violence? Or are half the people wrong?

This is what everyone thinks isn't it. Even though Osama Bin Laden deeply believes he's good, he's actually evil.

Everyone universally thinks that they're good (except for your humble narrator and the most wise), and that there is also another segment of the population that is evil or bad. If only it weren't for those people then things would be good. Wouldn't it?

Actually no.

It is very important to recognize that this division existing between ourselves and other people is an illusionary creation of the ego. We extend our ego to include all things we believe in. Abortion, anti abortion, freedom, the environment and on and on and on.

The other thing to look at is how our mind labels all phenomena as good or bad. This happens subliminally. The beauty of meditation is that the mind can shift into neutral and then you can see how each slide of the film is being stamped by the ego as positive or negative.

The problem is (and why the Buddha would suggest that, "all life is suffering") that even the most profoundly good experience is subtly colored with the poison of impermanence. Nothing lasts. And deep down we know that. We try in vain to recreate it somehow or to hold on to it, but it can't possibly work. So even good can be bad. One of the parts I liked best about the movie was when it dealt with this point. When Harry looks into this one mirror, he sees his parents (who are long dead). When Harry's sidekick looks in he sees himself winning a Quiddich trophy and looking handsome. The headmaster of the school informs us that the mirror shows us what we want the most. And he says that people have gone mad looking into it - they can't take their eyes off it.

And in truth, this is what is happening to almost all of us, almost constantly. We are constantly staring into this fun house mirror, which holds the illusion of what we were or what we will become, and we are entranced by the image. And can't ever deal with the reality of what is.

The rest of it at:  

  This quiz is designed to assess your ability to distinguish between GOOD and EVIL.  

Editor's note: the Alexander Solzehenitsyn quote at the beginning of this edition was found at the site linked below. It is in Adobe pdf format and therefor not included here. However, you  may find it a good read on the subject of good and evil.     [PDF] The Nonduality of Good and Evil: Buddhist Refl e ctions on the New ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
... awakening” requires mindfulness of our ways of thinking, Buddhism encourages us
to be wary of antithetical concepts: not only good and evil, but success and ... - Similar pages  

From the July, 2003 edition of Amigo  

What amazes me is that a lot of people seem to suffer from the 'judgment syndrome'. In medical textbooks the word 'syndrome' means a complex of symptoms or complaints that are described by one word. It's not always clear how such a syndrome appears or how the different symptoms are related. For example, the 'Meniere syndrome' describes people who complain about dizziness. The 'Gilles de la Tourette syndrome' describes those who suffer from uncontrollable movements. Of course, the 'judgment-syndrome' is not described in the medical literature. The 'judgment-syndrome' refers to those who suffer from judging/or being judged.

We have all been programmed since childhood by our parents, educators and teachers to make distinctions. We all need this knowledge in order to function in society, of course. We have to learn a number of rules for practical reasons, indeed. As a result, we know we have to stop for a red light and to drive on if the light is green. Stopping for a red light is labeled as 'good' and passing a red light is labeled as 'bad'. There is nothing wrong with such conditioning. Thinking in terms of good and bad can be practical but this coin has another side too. The conditioning usually goes much further than just the practical arrangements of our everyday life. From 'distinguishing between read and green' we go to labeling 'red' as bad and 'green' as good. That is where the trouble starts. We apply our knowledge about red and green to areas where it may not be suitable. We judge or condemn people, phenomena or situations based on our own value system. We pass very quickly from witnessing to judging. So we reject everything which is red, and approve of or stimulate everything which is green. And, if we look at the history of mankind for the last two thousand years, we see that a great part of human behavior is dedicated to the battle against evil.

The question is not only whether that battle against evil has been effective, but the question is rather: is there actually something like good and bad, or does that idea only exist in our mind? When we take a closer look at what people see as good or bad, we notice a lot of cultural differences. In other words: good and evil are quite relative. It is obvious that society needs a minimum of judgment to function properly, and on that level it certainly has its value. I don't want to question that. Justice won't be possible without thinking in terms of good and bad. There is no doubt about that. But the question is whether all this judging does us any good on a personal or spiritual level. I would like to focus on that issue now. It is amazing indeed to see how deeply the 'judgment-syndrome' is incorporated into our thinking. We are so familiar with it that we are no longer aware of it. There are (seem to be) good and bad thoughts, good and bad feelings, good and bad actions. And because we project a 'doer' into it all, a person who is responsible for his deeds, people are soon categorized as 'the good guys' on the one hand and 'the bad guys' on the other. Even the fairy tales usually have some personification of evil, and in such a story there is again the struggle against evil. Our society sometimes seems to be dominated by this eternal struggle between good and evil.

The question is now whether all that fighting against evil is not an endless process. Suppose we were to quit putting labels on the people around us, wouldn't that bring us peace of mind? Suppose we no longer listen to the voices that suggest there is something wrong with anger or hate, wouldn't that bring us more peace? If all these internal dialogues would come to rest, maybe we would indeed live in peace with ourselves and our fellow humans.

The division between good and evil is also prominent on the spiritual level. Positive energy versus negative energy, good spirits versus bad spirits, white magic against black magic, and so forth. And so we go to war against blocks in the body, against negative influences, against negative emotions. All these methods may indeed bring temporary relief, but will the process ever end? Isn't there an underlying block behind every block? Isn't every struggle against evil a struggle itself? It is like fighting a dragon in which two new heads appear as soon as you cut his head off.

Maybe this story sounds a bit disappointing, as if all our efforts to create a better world are useless anyway. Wouldn't this lead to laziness and indifference? Let me tell you that there is another way of looking at this story. What is interesting is that everyone has the possibility of stopping judging. Just as people quit smoking you can quit judging and criticizing. As a result, a natural state of peacefulness and fluidity may arise, simply because you are freed from an old conditioning. There is just what there is and that can include being active. Allowing everything to be as it is doesn't mean that you have to be in a state of peace and love. When anger or jealousy arise these are also witnessed without judgment or resistance. Even if the old habit of judging itself arises it is again witnessed with a smile.

It is like being aware without interference, or 'being a witness without judging'. It is about simply being. Then all that is left is 'what is'. This 'Beingness' doesn't originate from restlessness nor from a battle against evil, it is just naturally available from a Oneness with what is without there being anyone who can lay claim on this Oneness.

For more information:  

The Gematriculator  

The Gematriculator is a service that uses the infallible methods of Gematria developed by Mr. Ivan Panin to determine how good or evil a web site or a text passage is.

Basically, Gematria is searching for different patterns through the text, such as the amount of words beginning with a vowel. If the amount of these matches is divisible by a certain number, such as 7 (which is said to be God's number), there is an incontestable argument that the Spirit of God is ever present in the text. Another important aspect in gematria are the numerical values of letters: A=1, B=2 ... I=9, J=10, K=20 and so on. The Gematriculator uses Finnish alphabet, in which Y is a vowel.

Experts consider the mathematical patterns in the text of the Holy Bible as God's watermark of authenticity. Thus, the Gematriculator provides only results that are absolutely correct.

Editor's note: the above site is listed for your entertainment and is not endorsed by the NDH editorial staff as being either correct or incorrect.

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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