A Question of Evil

This article was prompted by a Richard Rohr Meditation that I got in my inbox this morning. In it, he discusses how systemic evil is in life.

D Evil Lived

Courtesy of Eastside Culture Crawl

Evil only succeeds by disguising itself as good.

Dom Hélder Câmara (1909-1999) was a Brazilian archbishop and brilliant nonviolent activist who offered a model for understanding how structural injustice leads to greater violence. I overlay Dom Hélder’s teaching on the “spiral of violence” with traditional Catholic moral teaching which saw the three primary sources of evil as the world, the flesh, and the devil—in that order. If evil and institutionalized violence (“structural sin”) go unrecognized at the first level, the second and third levels of violence and evil are inevitable. If we don’t nip evil in the bud at the level where it is legitimated and disguised, we will have little power to fight it at the individual level.

The World

This could have been called “The System”: it isn’t Creation or Gaia, but the underlying structure that’s man-made. It’s the way groups, cultures, institutions, and nations organize to protect themselves and maintain their power. This is the most hidden and denied level of evil. We cannot see it because we are all inside of it, and it is in our ego’s self-interest to protect the corporate deception.

The Flesh

Organized religion has always fixated on this part: sexuality, morality and ‘sin’. When we punish or shame individuals for their sins, we are usually treating symptoms rather than the root problem or cause: the illusion of separation from God and others.

There is a deep and direct connection between “the world” or “the system” with its culture and corporations and the evil things private individuals do. The entertainment and business worlds celebrate people who are greedy, ambitious, angry, vain, prideful, deceptive in the name of profit, and “lustful” in many ways beyond the obvious (these were historically called the “capital sins”). We can’t reward and promote evil at this level and then shame it at the personal level. It does not work. We can’t romanticize war, but then rail against murder. 

The Devil

The Big Bad Wolf is ‘hidden in sheep’s clothing’ as part of the flock, as it were. This personification of evil is hard to name or describe because it’s so well disguised and even idealized. If “the world” is hidden structural violence, then “the devil” is sanctified, romanticized, and legitimated violence—violence that is deemed culturally necessary to control the angry flesh and the world run amuck. Any institution thought of as “too big to fail” or somehow above criticism has a strong possibility of diabolical misuse. Think of the military industrial complex, the penal system, banks, multinational corporations subject to no law, tax codes benefiting the wealthy, or even organized religion itself. We need and admire these institutions all too much. As a result, they can “get away with murder.”

De Vil car

Cruella De Vil’s car courtesy of Once Upon A Time

Gnosticism

Since almost the very beginning of the Christian Era, alternate thinking has been suppressed by ‘those in control’. Early Christians were actually Gnostic in their approach to understanding what went on with Jesus’ life and “death”.  They saw that this world is actually ruled by a ‘god’ who has usurped the title. This did not win them any friends when it came time to ‘marry’ the Church and State. In fact, it caused them to be hunted down and eliminated.

So, the knowledge went to ‘sleep’, where it has been for a couple of thousand years. Now, people are beginning to ‘wake’ up from their slumber. They are starting to ask questions. And the biggest question seems to be: “Why is evil allowed to exist?”

Conclusion

Can we come back to a Truth? Nothing exists as all good or all evil, especially in this three dimensional, binary world. Light without shadow would be impossible to comprehend. And, like the Yin/Yang symbol, each half has a dot of the other inside.

Yin Yang

Well, folks, it’s the same for us humans: male or female, we each have an internal spirit which is the opposite sex. They are the anima and animus in Jungian Psychology. Why?

For Balance!

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About cdsmiller17

I am an Astrologer who also writes about world events. My first eBook "At This Point in Time" is available through most on-line book stores. I have now serialized my second book "The Star of Bethlehem" here. And to give my blog pages something lighter, I'm sharing some of my personal photographs, too.
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One Response to A Question of Evil

  1. cdsmiller17 says:

    “Our dualistic minds see evil as black and white and that the only solution is to eliminate evil. Nonviolence, on the other hand, comes from an awareness that I am also the enemy and my response is part of the whole moral equation. I cannot destroy the other without destroying myself. I must embrace my enemy just as much as I must welcome my own shadow. Both acts take real and lasting courage.” (Today’s Richard Rohr Meditation)

    Like

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