Evil. "Evil", just like "love", is one of the most over-used words in the English language. How often is it used do describe something we disagree with, or find unpleasant. It is often used when we are trying to convince others to dislike something we find disagreeable. But what is true evil? Yes, there is true evil in this world, but I think most would be stunned to find what they may consider evil, may not really fit the description.
Sure, there are the obvious evils, like murder, child molestation, and their ilk but I propose some other more unorthodox ones as well. If we accept the definition of evil as being something which causes harm, limitation, ignorance, or leads to the downfall of man, this list becomes much bigger and encompasses a lot more than the traditional evils. Most people see evils as some vague medieval concept of the Devil trying to tempt man to be bad, or of demons trying to wrest control of man's souls. This IS the 21st cenury, I think we should broaden our horizons a bit. Demons exist, but they are not what most people think they are. Believe me, I know. So what is on my list of evils?
1. Money - While money itself is not evil, the busines of money has a particular demonic spirit which seems to bring out the worst in man. It is the root of all the world's problems, and the solution at the same time. Money is not an evil until this greedy spirit takes over, rendering the fiscal bottom line as the most important achievement. If you doubt this, look at the current state of the US economy and people like Ken Lay of Enron.
2. Religion - For something that was originally intended to illuminate mankind, modern religion has become one of man's biggest limitations. Originally, religion was based upon mythic teachings intented to promote harmony between man and his world. It was supposed to connect man with the creative spirit inherent in the world from which we all sprang, freeing man's mind and bringing him closer to the creator. The end result of this being the promotion of love and human compassion. Religion, being a very close brother to Art, in this respect. Centuries of maniplulation and misunderstanding, has given rise to a strict set of dogmas in most cases, and lead to the death of millions martyred as unbelievers, heretics, infidels, witches, or just plain enemies of religion. In the current state of affairs, Christianity has denigrated to a conformist death cult, and we all know about the current state of affairs between the Jewish and Muslim religions. Just about every religion has it's stories of massacres, and wars fought in the name of religious views. If religion does not fit the definition of limitation and ignorance, I don't know what does. Anything to me that promotes limitation and blind obedience is evil to me. They are doing the exact opposite of what religion was originally intended for. It has simply become a way to manipulate the masses by people seeking power. Real religion exists, but it is not found in a church.
3. Consumerism - This evil is directly related to the first one on the list. It is, in fact, a tool utilized to feed the insatiable desire for money, and it is directly leading to mankind's impending doom. Freedoms have been replaced with the desire for comfort and cheap consumer goods at the expense of the world we live in. The point of existence has been reduced to the acquisition of more and more disposable consumer items. The meaning of life is now known; it is mindless shopping. No thought is given to the consequences of this lifestyle by the consumers. Endless millions are enslaved for pennies a day, to support this lifestyle. If you don't believe me, look at China. 16 hour, 7 day a week work schedules for less than a dollar a day (sometimes by children), all to feed the insatiable American consumer market and to line the pockets of the corporate entities with more money for as little expenditure as possible. These poor souls are living as veritable slaves so we can have such worthless things as electric hand lotion warmers, or coffee filter dispensers at the local Big Box for a dollar less than a US made item, etc. The whole effect of this is a vicious cycle, with the end result of losing American jobs and making us weaker. Sounds like evil and limitation to me. It is also destroying the Earth. We are the living dead and we do not know it. Unless we change the current dead-end consumer society that is being adopted world-wide, the Earth's resources will be totally consumed in as little as the next few centuries. Thus will mankind's reign end. (Funny the Bible does not mention this, and most religious people do not see how any of this is evil).
On the evil scale... Very evil, simply because it is self-generating and tied to core of all the other evils.
At this point, I think some mention should be made of our society, and how it views evil. Most accept evil as some vague fire and brimstone concept of demons and things out of the movies. Typified as being the source of what ails mankind. This squarely places the blame for man's ills on things that are alien to man, thus removing the blame in the eye's of most people. If it is alien, then it is not like them, and they do not have to change because they do not see themselves as part of the problem. People must be taught to see evil as something different, and not all inclusive black and white as taught by most religious demogogues. The true forms of good and evil are not black and white, but shades of gray containing elements of both. The only true evil is what hurts or limits us.
As a sideline, being a proponent of an alternative religious view, I would be seen as a minion of evil by most orthodox religious folk. I have been accused of this many times, by many different people. Yes, I like the dark side of things, and take the left hand path on many things, but this is simply because I do not follow the more restrictive Right Hand. My actual religious views being more of an anti-religion, but definitely not atheism.
Do I hurt anyone? no.
Do I limit myself or anyone? no.
Do I challenge long held orthodoxies and blind dogmas? yes.
Do I hope to enlighten and free the minds of others? yes.
Does this fit the definition of evil? no.
Does the priest on the pulpit fit this definition? yes, in most cases.
Am I evil? In the eye's of conservative society, I am, since I do not play their game and represent all that they seek to limit.
Been Away Far Too Long...
6 years ago