On the subject of good and evil

It is a common misconception that there are people who are “good” or “evil”. An important distinction that is often overlooked is the intent of the attitude. Is it habit, or is it choice? From that one question, we can divide people into four groups.

The habitually good These people are good because it's a habit. They say please and thank you without ever hearing the words. Neural pathways laid down in childhood keeps these people on a narrow path of behaviour. Like a great machine they are simple self lubricating cogs, easing the path of themselves and others. Their lives become like dreams that have an unending circular logic. Not unpleasant but totally bereft of interpersonal choice, there are rules, and they follow them without even realising that they're there. The habitually evil Should you meet them, have mercy on them, for these people are ruled by fear. Like a hungry beaten dog they growl and snap in the futile hope that an uncaring universe won't kick them again. Should you be kind to them they will simply see an opportunity to exploit you. To tame the habitually evil you must simply be kind, to someone else. Wild dogs and hungry savages cannot resist the smell of a cooked meal, so to is the habitually evil unable to resist the good relationship. They see the possibility of another way of being, one unshackled by fear. Some will distrust what they see, preferring their old habits, some others may chose a path, high or low. The evil by choice The evil by choice are rarer than you might think. In truth, the choice made is strictly speaking not one to be evil, but one to be blind. Humans are incapable of cruelty and evil to one another unless they stop seeing the other as human. Sometimes this is done with language such as “Terrorist”, or they are covered in black hoods so they don't quite look like people any more, their anguish, and their humanity hidden. Those who chose the path of blindness are irredeemable, either through fear or greed they chose not to look and not to see. Firstly give them a choice to look and see; if they are powerful you can make them see; but this requires all the people to rise up and take their power away. If they are powerless, and strike out as opportunity presents itself, you can only thwart them with honesty. Tell everyone what they do, and how they do it. Expose them for what they are, what little power they have, be burnt away by the morning light. Should all that fail, and if it's in the common good, have them locked away at least, destroyed utterly at worst. The good by choice The last group is the most curious, by the habitually good they are viewed as cruel, the habitually evil as karma incarnate and by the evil by choice as dangerously sympathetic to the un-people. In truth, they are none of these things. The good by choice sees all the options and all the consequences and realises that the process of goodness is its own reward; that by being good we create the world we seek to live in, that none can be left behind and stepping on someone to get ahead just gets you stuck. The danger of the good by choice is their capacity to imagine evil, to see its machinations from the outside as the shambolic fear driven clock-work monstrosity that it really is, and to then throw a spanner in the works. If the evil by choice have made a decision to be blind, the good by choice have made a decision to see. Their perception makes them powerful, the blind will always bumble along while the sighted walk along the straight path. Do you choose? Do you see?]]>

It is a common misconception that there are people who are “good” or “evil”. An important distinction that is often overlooked is the intent of the attitude. Is it habit, or is it choice? From that one question, we can divide people into four groups.

The habitually good

These people are good because it’s a habit. They say please and thank you without ever hearing the words. Neural pathways laid down in childhood keeps these people on a narrow path of behaviour. Like a great machine they are simple self lubricating cogs, easing the path of themselves and others. Their lives become like dreams that have an unending circular logic. Not unpleasant but totally bereft of interpersonal choice, there are rules, and they follow them without even realising that they’re there.

The habitually evil

Should you meet them, have mercy on them, for these people are ruled by fear. Like a hungry beaten dog they growl and snap in the futile hope that an uncaring universe won’t kick them again. Should you be kind to them they will simply see an opportunity to exploit you. To tame the habitually evil you must simply be kind, to someone else. Wild dogs and hungry savages cannot resist the smell of a cooked meal, so to is the habitually evil unable to resist the good relationship. They see the possibility of another way of being, one unshackled by fear. Some will distrust what they see, preferring their old habits, some others may chose a path, high or low.

The evil by choice

The evil by choice are rarer than you might think. In truth, the choice made is strictly speaking not one to be evil, but one to be blind. Humans are incapable of cruelty and evil to one another unless they stop seeing the other as human. Sometimes this is done with language such as “Terrorist”, or they are covered in black hoods so they don’t quite look like people any more, their anguish, and their humanity hidden. Those who chose the path of blindness are irredeemable, either through fear or greed they chose not to look and not to see. Firstly give them a choice to look and see; if they are powerful you can make them see; but this requires all the people to rise up and take their power away. If they are powerless, and strike out as opportunity presents itself, you can only thwart them with honesty. Tell everyone what they do, and how they do it. Expose them for what they are, what little power they have, will be burnt away by the morning light. Should all that fail, and if it’s in the common good, have them locked away at least, destroyed utterly at worst.

The good by choice

The last group is the most curious, by the habitually good they are viewed as cruel, the habitually evil as karma incarnate and by the evil by choice as dangerously sympathetic to the un-people. In truth, they are none of these things. The good by choice sees all the options and all the consequences and realises that the process of goodness is its own reward; that by being good we create the world we seek to live in, that none can be left behind and stepping on someone to get ahead just gets you stuck. The danger of the good by choice is their capacity to imagine evil, to see its machinations from the outside as the shambolic fear driven clock-work monstrosity that it really is, and to then throw a spanner in the works. If the evil by choice have made a decision to be blind, the good by choice have made a decision to see. Their perception makes them powerful, the blind will always bumble along while the sighted walk along the straight path.

Do you choose? Do you see?