Martin LeFevre: Taking the Larger and Longer View
Taking the Larger and Longer View
The antithesis (not the opposite) of beauty and truth is the reality of darkness and evil. Good and evil are not opposing forces, but completely unrelated. Goodness, which is not man-made, is an actuality, whereas evil, which is man-made, is a reality.
Understanding of the nature and purposes of evil helps one to protect oneself and one’s family from being taken over by it. In the family, incest and abuse are breeding grounds for evil’s entry. If one happens to be born into such a home, it requires great self-knowing to cleanse the heart of the hurt and anger.
But no matter how bad one’s family or how dark the society, no one has the right to willfully or negligently do harm. Each of us is responsible for our own characters and souls. No person or group lives in a separate universe. What we think in our hearts determines how we live, which inevitably affects others.
It’s important to realize, without fear, that the weaknesses in a person can be targeted, intentionally exploited by willfully ignorant conduits of collective darkness. It is a strange thing, but the eruption of unvarnished evil in Rwanda seems to have spiritually deadened more people in the West than it has in that unfortunate country. But then, the goal of evil is not to kill bodies, but to deaden hearts.
Self-centeredness is the source of darkness, and diabolical activity is its logical end. Though in one sense collective darkness is like water, spreading over an area and finding its own level, evil is not just some impersonal force of nature. It possesses, through the individuals in whom it flows, intention and will.
Seven bands of corrugated clouds, stretching to the horizon, shimmer with a dazzling, salmon-colored light. I stand next to the car, unable to take my eyes off the spectacle. A fair number of cars go by; it seems that no one else even notices.
Then what looks like an aurora borealis appears: draperies of the richest color hanging just above the horizon. As I look over the open field, the sky is set ablaze in the most brilliant magentas and pinks upon clouds of fantastic shape and size.
Now cars are actually slowing down. One, containing a couple that is also awestruck by the grandeur, pulls over in front of me. The greatest painter who ever lived could not begin to convey the depth and magnitude of that extraordinary sunset.
The dawn of the new millennium seems a hundred years away. As the world descends into chaos, even unreflective people are inclined to think on the human condition. Whether we live in the North or South, West or East, it is increasingly rare for people to take the larger and longer view, and go beyond personal concerns. But that is the essence of sorrow.
It is estimated that anatomically and mentally modern humans have walked on earth for less than 100,000 years. The evolutionary breakthrough of Homo sapiens, which began in Africa with a tiny population of bipedal humans, has grown to a planet-encircling mass of humanity of nearly seven billion people.
In terms of adaptation to different environments, humankind is a success story without equal. And yet, even as our domination of nature seems complete, humankind can hardly be considered a success. The earth and human spirit are endangered as never before in history. Though there are innumerable humans, there are far too few human beings.
We live at a most critical time. Everything appears to be coming apart, and yet things are rolling along as if there is no other way. One cannot help but wonder —is there an intelligence at work within consciousness, available to each of us to begin to resolve the human crisis?
- 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.