Meditations (Spirituality): The Problem of Evil
The Problem of Evil
Speaking of evil, there is a nice quote that goes: "the greatest achievement of the devil in the modern world is convincing people that he doesn't exist."
I'll save the story of my rude awakening in the former Soviet Union to the devil's existence for another time. In this column I want to explore what evil is, how it works, and what its goals are.
Is evil man-made, or supernatural? That is, is it a by-product of human consciousness, or in the nature of the universe?
If you believe there is no such thing as evil, that it is simply the projection of the human fear of the unknown, there is no point in reading further. To be sure, much of what people call evil is a projected fear of the unknown, but that doesn't cover it. Evil exists.
Just what is evil? Keeping in mind that the word is not the thing, I understand evil as collective darkness possessing intentionality. Setting aside the question of the devil, evil can be seen as a directed movement of the vast content of the dark matter in human consciousness.
The motive force of evil is probably no more, and no less mysterious than the motive force of the separate self, which is also a false thing that acts with great effect in the world. As with self-hood and intentionality on the individual level, we have a long way to go before understanding, in rational and empirical terms, the locus and movement of evil in collective consciousness.
Perhaps human consciousness is like the worldwide web‹there's an entire range of content in it, from excellent information and art on one side of the spectrum, to toxic and dangerous material on the other.
A recent example of the latter is the respectable German businessman who advertised over the net for people who wanted to be killed and eaten. He got many replies, he said, before selecting and consuming one.
That may give new definition to victimless crime, but there are predators online trolling for abused, neglected, and vulnerable children. Pedophilia is evil, though the people acting out their sick fantasies on children don't see it as such.
Dark matter in consciousness is the medium of evil, and it is growing exponentially, spreading throughout the global society. Generally, I feel it's best to stay away from the subject of evil, but unfortunately America has become saturated with darkness. Darkness is quickly becoming the homogeneously grey water in which all people swim.
I take the view that I am a man, and what is man-made I will not fear. Darkness and evil are man-made, not features of the cosmos, as Christians believe. Division, hatred, revenge, greed, etc. have been accumulating in human consciousness since the beginning of humankind. Evil does not just depend on ignorance; it requires willful ignorance.
Strictly speaking, no person is evil. Rather, through weakness of character, emptiness of heart, and deadness of spirit people become conduits for evil. In a culture and world saturated with darkness, self-knowing is the only antidote to becoming a conduit for evil. If a person is diligently aware of their dark side, evil cannot enter and use them.
Like the net, we're all connected to evil by virtue (or rather vice) of content consciousness. Some of us are born into lineages representing really nasty nodes of darkness; others into lineages that are fairly clean. But all lineages are interconnected.
The ultimate goal of evil is a world where all people are just like it. Since darkness is rapidly spreading, the future seems dark indeed. But intelligence may yet have the last laugh, or rather cry.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.