Friday, June 27, 2014

The road to evil.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when fear has passed I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where fear has gone. There is nothing. Only I remain.

Frank Herbert

The first time I read those words they struck me like a gong and they resonated through me since adolescence. I have faced many a fear with these words rolling through my mind and it has helped. There were things that logic and evidence could not discount and eliminate the fear and it turned out that they were real things to be fearful of and the litany against fear helped me navigate those things without losing my mind. But there is a thing that I keep turning my inner eye toward: fearful people do frightening things and behave in psychopathic manners. Religion tends to lean in this manner. People who have been indoctrinated into a religion and believe whole heartedly that their way is the only way have been programmed by their leaders that anything else is evil. This tends to be reinforced by their peers who have accepted this creed. We see this most recently with the discriminatory behavior by city councils who uninvite Wiccans to say prayer at the beginning of meetings and say ridiculous things in regards to their beliefs being evil and inspired by Satan. What is it about being different that inspires people to demonize another person, or group of them,  and make them a target of hate and disdain?

I have personal experience of this ilk. When my ex and I were newly married I came out of the closet to my in laws because in the course of a conversation they admitted to having felt and evil presence on their land and told me they went around its bounds praying. . . as a witch I was rather impressed that they would thing to do something as magical as this until the next words out of my mother in law's mouth:  " but it's not like we were doing magic, magic is evil." The first thought in my mind was: what???? that IS MAGIC! I immediately  came out with: magic isn't evil. Life is magic.  Well as you can guess, I have been evil in her mind from that moment forward and the conversation degraded from there. At one point in time, while being ignored at a family gathering she pointed to the cover of my by Oak Ash and Thorn book: you know the one, the one with Cernunnos sitting peacefully on the earth, well any way, she opened her mouth to say" that is evil." As the years went by her perception of my spirituality kept coloring me as evil because I was different and practiced spirituality differently than her. She even back handedly accused me of putting the evil eye on her land at one point. She and her husband came over for a visit in which she asked me if the evil eye could blight land. I told her yes it could over a prolonged period of time and left to sit. She tutted and said she didn't realize that, however, my mind immediately went back to a moment after our daughter was born, my mother in law had me have everyone touch the baby so that she wouldn't get the evil eye. I thought it funny she would ask me such a question and then it dawned on me. I was being accused. There was nothing at that point I could do that was correct, right and good. I made a charm based upon Mexican magic practices to protect her hearth and home from the evil she was perceiving from one of my aloe vera charms. . . they took that as a sign of admission of guilt. Her fear of something she did not understand and very apparently didn't want to understand made her a wrecking ball in our relationship.

Now this is a very personal example of how fearful people behave. They do it in a manner that is underhanded and sneaky so that they can get away with bad behavior and look pious doing it. Evil is not in any one thing, difference, being, or belief. Evil is an act. It is a pattern of behavior that undermines the trust and well being of others. Evil is indeed a fearful thing, but you have to understand what evil is in order to really recognize that it is not a thing that lives in something merely different than you.

so here is the dictionary meaning of evil: adjective
  1. 1.
    profoundly immoral and malevolent.
    "his evil deeds"

  1. 1.
    profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force.
    "the world is stalked by relentless evil"
    synonyms:wickednessbad, badness, wrongdoingsinillimmoralityvice,
    iniquitydegeneracycorruptiondepravityvillainy, nefariousness,malevolence;

The above is the meaning found online and perfect for our supposed ADD riddled society. However, when we actually look in the hard dictionary clarity is brought into view and a deeper understanding begins. I am looking at the Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary and evil is defined as thus:

1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked; evil deeds; evil life; 2. harmful; injurious; evil laws; 3. characterized as misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous; to be fallen on evil days. 4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation 5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility etc. . .

The list goes on for a count of 14 aspects of the word including an aspect of nature that gives rise to wicked behavior, but each time it is defined as a behavior. . . not a person or a thing or something that is different. A behavior.

We see evil every day. It is in the group of people spewing hate at gays, lesbians, and trans genders for loving another person who happens to be of the same gender. We see it in school yard with bullies both young and old. We see it in our politics, relationships, religious leadership and followers alike, yet, we insist on turning a blind eye and name it a being. What inspires us to do such a thing??? Two words: power and control.

When we grasp for power and control we are acknowledging that we have fear in our hearts that something will not go the way we insist it going. So we manipulate our environment and the people in it to elicit the reaction and behavior we want. Not all of this is evil. Spanking a child because the child dashed into the street or parking lot and almost gets hit by a car is not evil. It is an incentive for the child to remember to never do that again. Dashing into streets and parking lots without looking can be lethal and as parents our job is to ensure the maturity of our children arises. Did fear occur in the moment the child dashed into the street. . . hexes yes! However, it was a thing to genuinely fear. Undermining a relationship because of your religion  is also a fear and acting upon that fear in a destructive manner is evil. Not even fear itself is evil. . . however, unexamined fear can most assuredly pave the road to evil. Fearful people do frightening things.

1 comment:

  1. A lovely take. No matter what path we follow, evil is evil, and it's not always what we perceive. Some of the greatest evils have been done under the impetus of "I only want what's best for you," which is itself a form of fear - fear that someone doesn't know what's best for themselves, and so cannot handle their own choices. Any person taking power over another - especially in the way you describe, through destructive, fear-based actions - is the source of many of the evils in the world. It's good to see someone speaking out in this way, thank you for sharing.

    -the Artful White Fox