In today’s episode, I’d like to tackle the problem of evil. How can we explain all the terror, suffering and evil that mankind has brought upon itself? Why do people kill each other in masses, why are they ready to go to war willingly, and why are they able to spill blood joyfully? In short, why is there evil in the world, and how can we eradicate it?
You have to be very careful if you’re asking this question, because this is the most dangerous question in the world. The question itself is the answer. If this question was never asked, it wouldn’t need an answer either. Why? Because the search for evil is the very thing that creates evil in the first place.
Evil is very rarely done with evil motives. Of course, there are the occasional psychopaths and serial killers, but they only appear few and far between. Sick people like these can be dealt with quite easily, they can be put into mental hospitals, and they cease to be a threat to society.
The real danger is evil committed on a mass scale, the true threat is the systemic evil built into the mechanics of society itself. If we don’t understand it and deal with it in time, we risk our survival as a human race, and we even endanger the life of the whole planet.
Through fighting with each other for centuries, humans have created weapons of mass destruction that are able to wipe out all animals and living things at once. We pride ourselves of having transcended the animal kingdom, of being more civilized and conscious, yet animals commit no such evil acts as we do so very often.
To understand the problem, we have to dig down to its very roots. What’s the most significant factor that differentiates humans from animals? We could list many things, but from our perspective the decisive fact is that man is the only animal that’s conscious of its own mortality. We had to pay a high price for our self-awareness, because it also brought with it the awareness of death.
An animal is only afraid of death when its life is in imminent danger. We, on the other side, live in a constant fear of death, with the heavy burden of knowing that our life will end and it could do so at any moment. This is how we become neurotic and paranoid, trying to notice the threatening shadow of death that may lurk in any corner.
Your death can be caused by hundreds of various reasons, and it can happen at any point of your life. Exactly this ambigous and uncertain nature of death is what’s so overwhelming and unnerving. So much so, that most of us can’t even deal with it in its entirety, we instead bite off chunks that we can digest.
We do this by arbitrarily selecting a threat and proclaiming it as the one and only evil that we have to defeat in order to win life. We manage the terror of death by focusing our attention on something we have or can have control over. This, in most cases, is another group of people: another tribe, another race, another nation.
People demonize each other because they don’t have the power to defeat the ultimate demon of death. Or rather, they falsely believe that if they defeat the enemy, they defeat death itself. By killing another person, you affirm your life, because you’re not the one who gets killed. God, Providence or whatever you want to call it has chosen you: you are special and worthy of life.
If we strive to compartmentalize the fight against death, then it’s also obvious that we need scapegoats. We need an enemy we can fight with, because we need victory to feel secure. Thus to feel immortal, we need the illusion of seeing ourselves as a hero who fights for a good cause.
This tragic heroism is precisely the downfall of humanity. In our gripping fear of death and in our nauseous delusions, we imagine the world as a theater filled with an audience all focused on us, and life as a mere act in which we’re compelled to play the role of the hero to save ourselves from vanity. However, you either die as a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Well, I would argue that you don’t even have to wait. The moment you choose to be a hero, you also become a villain, it’s just a matter of perspective. You see, most evil acts aren’t commited by bad people, but by good people with good intentions. But what’s good from one perspective, is evil from the other.
Do you think Hitler and the Nazis looked at themselves as a bunch of criminals with evil plans? Not at all! They believed themselves to be the saviors of humanity, the biggest heroes taking part in a cosmic fight against evil. They wanted to get rid of their weaknesses, to purify their blood, to strengthen themselves, all in an effort to gain immunity against death.
This kind of purification motive is true to all systems of heroism. The fight against evil takes the form of the fight against the impure, the dirty, the weak. We can see this in Christianity, in the era of the holy wars. We can see this in radical Islam, which seeks to eradicate the infidels. We can even see it among Buddhists, who wish to purify their minds and their actions.
Of course a peaceful Buddhist is very different from an aggressive Islamist, but their motivations are the same nonetheless: to defeat death. Ironically, a suicide bomber is so much afraid of death that he’s even ready to die willingly in his body to win eternal life in heaven. People are prepared to do literally anything – to die, to kill, to commit all kinds of evil against others or themselves – if they believe it will somehow save them from death.
After looking at the question from various angles, we can finally conclude then the following: Those who deny death the most, also fear it the most. Those who fear death the most, also fight against it the most. Those who fight against it the most, also want to be good the most. Those who want to be good the most, also create the most evil. So, those who deny death the most, also create the most evil.
The fight against bad leads to more bad. The fight against evil leads to more evil. The fight against death leads to more death. The only way out of this devilish cycle is to uproot it at its very core. The only way to eradicate evil is to stop denying death. The only way to save life is to let it naturally end with acceptance and dignity.
If you want to know more about death from a spiritual but down to earth perspective, you should read my book: The Power of Death. Click on the link below, and get it now! I’m deadly serious.