Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Myth of Pure Evil & the Evolution of Compassion

The idea of blind faith, by it's very nature, forces one to suppress one’s natural curiosity and remain ignorant of reality.  One must learn not to believe every thought and that there is no monopoly on "truth."  While many of us rely of our personal experiences to construct our inner worlds and belief systems, human perception has proven to fail us more often then not (just look at any of the recent studies conducted on inherent weakness of eye witness testimonies).  Sin is nothing more than a small-minded myth created by superstitious man to oppress others.  Shakespeare said it best when he said that there is no good nor bad, only thinking makes it so.  It is a persons ACTIONS that can objectively be viewed as bad, not the intrinsic nature of a person.  "Badness" is not the essence of  humanity's ever-changing, dynamic nature.  It's a error people tend to make when they mistake dynamic patterns of inherent potential with permanence. Where does evil reside if it has no home?  Only in the mind. 

The myth of pure evil does nothing more than keep us separated into camps - where evil is viewed as "out there" and good is believed to be contained within the group one chooses to belong to.  The enemy thus becomes a projection of ones own fears and guilt.  Once this "other" group has become objectified in this way and its group members are reduced to the status of "less then animals" this other group can easily be "sacrificed" in order to wash away the collective guilt of the judging groups own hatred.  It is through this mechanism that we've inherited the oxymoron known as "religious war." 

One can not have compassion without understanding.  Hatred does nothing more than create a wall to deeper understanding of each other, reinforcing a false sense of separateness.  Truth is, we have more in common then we have that separates us, yet we tend to focus exclusively on our differences than our similarities, further reinforcing our sense of disunity.  When we objectify another in this way and see ourselves as "superior" or "Christlike" or "righteous" we remain ignorant of others true nature, which is similar to ours - namely, we all wish to avoid suffering and find happiness in our lives.  These are universal qualities of humanity.  When we don't see this reality and objectify another person or group - believing as if "evil" is the only quality of measure for a person or a group  - we are essentially simplifying their dynamic nature to a single attribute and using our unreason to place them in a rigid category.  This does nothing more than severely restrict our perception of reality.  By denying another of their humanity in this way, the impulse naturally follows to withhold our compassion and it becomes far too easy to commit acts of extreme brutality upon these "others" - acts that would most likely appear "evil" to people outside of the group.  This type of psychological brainwashing occurs each time two tribes go to war with one another.  Killing is much easier to accomplish if you can disconnect yourself from your natural state of being (which I'm arguing, is compassion). 

Evil deeds occur because of ignorance, not sin.  Most people might be surprised to learn that sin is actually a relatively new concept as far as our species goes.  Do animals sin, or do they act out of instinct and self-preservation?  Do humans not act out of habit and self-preservation?  At what point in history did our species transcend our animal nature and become formal "sinners?"  Was it instantaneous or was it a gradual culmination?  Out or our roughly 150,000 - 180,000 year existence, we have only begun to fight one another since the advent of agricultural society and the accumulated wealth that accompanies it, roughly 10,000 years ago.  I believe the formal concept of sin was adopted some time after that, when solar gods replaced the lunar goddesses and humanity began to rely more on the left-brained faculties influenced by a linear script.  My argument is that it's time for humanity to wake up and reject this inherited, poisonous Bronze Age dualism, for it is like a cancer of our soul.  No wars have ever been fought over a LACK of faith. 

Despite all the wars that have been fought, and the acts of brutality we witness humanity display on a daily basis, it is far too easy to jump to the conclusion that humanity not have the capacity for moral behavior.  Many formal religious schools of thought support this type of dualistic worldview, but this is simply not so.  If one were to suspend belief for a moment, and examine humanities nature on a deeper level, they would find that morality comes from within.  Our species could not have evolved without compassion for one another.  It was the trade off we made in order to have our bigger brains.  Most of intellectual development occurs post-conception which has the effect of rendering human infants essentially helpless for roughly the first two years of life (the head would have never fit through the womb if this evolutionary trade off hadn't occurred and mothers would have died along with our species).  Without the evolution of compassion, mothers would have likely just left their children to die, our species would have died off and we would not be having this discussion right now.  Despite what you've been told to believe, no divine intervention was necessary for humanity to acquire compassion and morals.  This is the bigger picture.  This is TRUE faith - faith in the GOODNESS of humanity.  I find it somewhat ironic that it's religion that is the main institution that indoctrinates people to remain ignorant of this simple reality.  

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