The idea of good and evil has been around as far as we can go back in time, and ‘the devil made me do it’ concept probably equally as long. The question of what evil and bad are and how to deal with them is still compelling
today. The more horrifying the evil that is committed, the more we need
to personify it. In the middle ages we would have blamed it on the devil
but these days we try to give extreme acts of others a more psychological explanation like psychopath and so on. For many of us the definition of what is good or bad outside the extremes of theft, murder and rape etc is very personal. What is bad or good for one does not necessarily agree with the value systems of others. So what actually is evil, bad or negative? Our perception and mindset however will always act as a limiting factor for what we are prepared to accept as real and true.
Our concept of what is evil or bad is intimately implicated in how we create our life experience. For example: To someone who has guilt issues, upsetting someone is bad, whilst someone without guilt would not necessarily see
it that way or care. A person, who believes they need to control everyone
to get what they want, will see nothing wrong aggressively imposing their needs and expectations on others while someone without this need will get the same result without putting someone under stress and pressure. So in these instances, what is good and what is bad?
If you look really closely at the first part of both examples you will realize that fear is the common factor that binds them together. One is in fear of being responsible for the pain and suffering in others and the other is in fear of being powerless and losing control. Both need to be in control of their interaction with others. The first does so by passively suppressing their own truth in fear that it will cause pain in someone else, the second by aggressively creating fear and emotional stress in others to not be denied control over the intended outcome.
The question is — is one being good and the other bad or are they both the same? The temptation is to give the person who acts out of guilt the “good tick” and our controlling friend the bad mark. But if you do, are you being objective or are your own issues clouding your judgment of who is being bad or who is good? Protecting someone from their fears and insecurities always seems like a laudable cause and the person who is protected will appreciate this is done but what is the cost of this approach to everyone’s life?
The person acting out of guilt will stay in their guilt issues as long as they can be free to act this way and what of the person they are protecting? They are likely to have issues that make them fearful and vulnerable and therefore easily upset. They probably feel uncomfortable with confrontation but by interacting with someone who is into guilt, they do not have to. There is no reason for them to confront their fears and therefore no need to change. Each, through acting out their fears, ensures that the other and themselves are safe from having to take responsibility for their fears and that is bad.
Similarly the controlling individual is in fear of being powerless in life and seeks to unconsciously resolve this by using aggressive controlling behaviour. His strategies work best on those who are powerless like him but are passive in their behaviour and fear to confront. He capitalizes on their weaknesses to gain strength but at the core he is just as fearful as they are. The difference in victim and aggressor does not lie so much in their fears but in the behavioural strategies that are employed to resolve their inner issue. Is the controlling person evil and the passive person innocent? Is the aggressive person totally responsible for the experience of the victim or does the mindset of the victim facilitate opportunity for the aggressor. Clearly, each is equally responsible for their experience of life and needs to change for their own benefit.
This begins to bring into focus what the nature of good and evil is. It should be obvious that evil cannot exist without the active consciousness of us humans and therefore we can assume that we are both the originators and initiators of what we experience as evil. However, if we cannot make the connection of how we are responsible for the presence of evil when we are confronted with it, we look for alternative explanations. Either because we cannot see the human connection or because we want to avoid responsibility, we have come to externalize evil as a separate force. This embodiment of evil is then blamed for making us do bad things. This off course makes us powerless victims and not responsible for our actions and choices which for many can be very convenient.
The key question is: Do you take full responsibility for your life?
For more information on this subject, read: The Truth of Love and Fear.