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  • Daniel Rodman

Evil

Evil is the opposite of love. It is the expression of selfish, attached, or harmful intention. I would like to show how evil expresses itself from the perspective of that which is not evil but called evil, that which is the aesthetic of evil in works of art, and what is true evil.

In history there have been many things that have once been called evil which are now not evil. For example, rock and roll was considered in its time to be the work of the devil. Now to call rock and roll like the Beatles evil is laughable. Some people thought that women having power or equal rights was evil or not natural. Now women find themselves candidates for president. Anyone who was racist or sexist or homophobic had an opinion about others that made them less than, even evil. Today there is a strong majority of people who are open to love all types of people, no matter what their race, or gender, or sexual orientation. History has shown that we are too quick to call things evil before knowing their true nature, and for that reason close ourselves off to what is none other than a genuine expression of love and truth.

Evil in the aesthetic arena is not true evil, but a way to make a story great. Since the time stories were told there were heroes battling against dark forces. The classic good versus evil. The more evil the villain the greater the hero's accomplishment in overthrowing him. This aesthetic evil is perennial throughout all modern creativity including books, movies, poetry, and art. This is not the evil we need to worry about, since it makes our lives more exciting.

True evil comes from people who act from attachment and anger, and ultimately ignorance. It is ignorance of the true way to be happy that people are driven to act and think in ways that are considered evil. For this ignorance we can have compassion for the people who hurt others, knowing that the light of wisdom has not dawned in them. Maybe their upbringing was horrible, or some event happened to them that made them lose their way. Lost in a self-oriented way of thinking, they didn't know how to see the love in others, see their preciousness, and from that they do bad things to people. I believe, however, that nobody is outside of the possibility of rehabilitation. Everyone learns, we are made that way, and even the people we want to label as evil have the potential to transform. To give people the chance to learn what life can teach them is an expression of their inalienable right as a human being. Learning meditation practices like loving-kindness and so forth has the power to transform even the most twisted minds.

In our benevolence practice we are taught to include people who are most difficult to love, those who we might label as evil or our enemy. But our lack of love for those people only empowers the “evil” in them. Love for those people brings forth in us a transcendent capacity for love that knows not any limitation. In this way we become the way, the way to peace and transformation. “Evil” people do not exist, only ignorant ones, as the Divine lives in their hearts as well, no matter how faint they may feel it. May they be happy, safe, peaceful, and full of joy.

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