“The evil in the world comes almost always from ignorance, and goodwill can cause as much damage as ill-will if it is not enlightened. People are more often good than bad, though in fact that is not the question. But they are more or less ignorant and this is what one calls vice or virtue, the most appalling vice being the ignorance that thinks it knows everything and which consequently authorizes itself to kill. The murderer’s soul is blind, and there is no true goodness or fine love without the greatest possible degree of clear-sightedness.” Camus, The Plague
I can agree with this, especially if the ultimate knowledge is love and connection. “Num”, the Koisan belief that there is “one soul looking out through many eyes.”
If we believe in “doing unto others as we would have done to ourselves,” and we love ourselves, we won’t want to do harm to others. We might order them chocolate cake when they love vanilla, however.
I am pretty sure that 99%+ of human evil comes from violating this: not seeing others as part of ourselves, and/or not loving ourselves.
This is why it is critical to love ourselves. When that is a trial (and it often is) if you pay attention, you have just learned why the world has so much pain. And you have also learned the gateway to healing.
Add another step: “Violence stems from anger, anger from fear.”
And you have an even clearer view of the problems in the world.
- We don’t love ourselves.
- We don’t feel connected to others, so that we fear them.
- We aren’t willing to protect ourselves as ruthlessly as we would protect our own most beloved children, and therefore attract predators looking for easy prey
How to undo this?
- First love yourself. If the meaning of life is to be joyful, then we have to control our emotions. We do this by controlling our language, focus, and body movement. The “Morning Ritual” is all about this, and it is fascinating how I can say POINT BLANK over and over again that “you move continuously for 10-20 minutes WHILE focusing on positive things, past successes, and future outcomes” and people will report back that they “meditated and then did Yoga” or something. NO, dammit: AT THE SAME TIME. Sheesh. Your ego will trick you. It does NOT want to die, and if you have a negative self-image, it may try to harm you to stop you from killing it. Believe that shit.
- Love one other person. This is generative. After you learn to love yourself, if you love another human being you want to give them the gift of joy. You’ll start noticing that the same things that create pain in your lie (negative self-talk, negative focus, lack of healthy movement) create pain in theirs. If you have children together, you start seeing how they grow up, what affects them, and will apply those lessons there.
This is where control of images connects to “control of language” and “control of self-talk.” Self-talk would include the images you make in your head. If they are images of pain, failure, and fear, you will avoid actions that take you in that direction.
You have to have PERMISSION internally to take an action. You have to believe that an action will take you closer to pleasure and further from pain, OR YOU WON’T DO IT.
This is where a movie showing someone you identify with as heroic is so important. The hero ALWAYS hits the “Dark Night of the Soul” (T’Challa is thrown off the cliff) and all seems lost. The way through is the “Leap of Faith” in yourself, your companions, or a Higher Power.
And of course, in Black Panther it was all three. As it was in Star Wars: A New Hope. Beautiful.
This is CRITICAL for children and adults, because you simply cannot move from one major level of life to another without expecting failure. The problem is that we forget this lesson, no matter how many times we go through it.
Fiction helps to remind it. Seek out images that nurture you, and your “tribe”. If there is a lack of them, create them. I suggest that this is meat-and-potatoes, not “frosting” on a non-essential cake. The evidence is the frequency with which these images are created and devoured by any autonomous culture.
If you are underserved by the majority culture for whatever reason, these images will control your emotions, and your emotions determine your actions, and your actions create your future in a feed-back loop that will either ascend or descend.
Be the hero in the adventure of your lifetime
Write with Passion!