Rule # 25 : There is Evil in the world
In this blog I focus on “life’s rules” that I can share with my children in a more lasting way than just a talk. I hoped that by sharing my experiences they could find their path with less unnecessary turns or without hitting some of the big bumps in their travels.
Occasionally I am slammed with the reality of life’s dangers and forced to find a way to give advice when the world seems to make no sense at all. I find myself at one of those moments in trying to make sense of the mass killings in Paris and San Bernardino- what lesson do I need to share to protect my children?
After thought I have come to the conclusion that they must understand there is Evil in the world and they must deal with it on their own terms.
As my children were growing up I taught them all to respect different views of the world, that there are more than one approach to a situation. I reinforced the values of tolerance, understanding and compromise- that with discussion and love every situation could be solved by finding common ground, relying on the basic good that exists in people. I believed that by teaching my children how to be kind, they would know kindness.
I may have taught them to be sitting ducks.
Unfortunately this all works well in 99.9% of situations until you are confronted by Evil. Evil is different than just someone doing something bad to someone else. People that do bad things generally know it, and feel shame and guilt for their actions. It is the shame or guilt that ultimately stops bad things being done by most rational people. Evil to me is when bad things are done but rationalized as acceptable because of some internal lie being told.
Sometimes this lie is hidden in a political belief, other times inside a religious theology and other times inside a talking cat that tells you to kill your neighbor. Its is the lie that allows all the bad things to exist. Without the lie the bad deeds would be seen for what they are and never become evil, but hidden in that lie the evil grows and becomes more dangerous.
If you had a neighbor that told you that his Cat was telling him to kill you I hope that you would do two things. First protect yourself through avoidance, calling the police and taking defensive actions against that neighbor, and second not blame the Cat.
It gets more complicated when a bunch of people think that neighbor’s Cat is actually talking and start to agree with the neighbor and think killing you is a good idea. No matter how many people agree killing the Cat won’t help, because there are lots more Cats they can listen to. But the more people live the lie, the more difficult it will be to contain the Evil. Shooting the Cat will seem like a better and better solution as the group becomes more comfortable with doing Evil things, but it will not solve the problem.
There are three things you need to do in situations which you are comforted with Evil.
First, recognize it for what it is- Evil. It frustrates me that the current media debate as to motive on the California killings, trying to explain it away as not Evil but just a bad thing done in the name of workplace violence. A co-worker just got upset and decided to seek revenge, more mental illness than Evil they will have you believe. These people are dangerous because they are masking the lie, hiding it in layers of rationalization and self-loathing.
But Evil is not hard to find. Its obvious and sloppy. Someone building bombs in their home, stockpiling weapons and ammo want one thing – to hurt many people. People pushing the lie will want you to not think of this as Evil, but to explain and rationalize it as good people’s fault. They will tell you we were not accepting enough, our gun controls not strong enough and our mental health systems not responsive- everything will be our fault or the fault of another group. Someone protecting lie will want the conversation to move away from evil- on to any other issue that will distract us from seeing the Evil. It is important that you recognize the lie, and you understand that when you see 14 people murdered in cold blood that the thing to blame is the people that did it and the people that are pushing the lie that rationalized it.
After you identify the lie you need to protect yourself from it, and the Evil. The same avoidance, calling the police and taking defensive actions are key. I’m not encouraging you to buy guns, but I am encouraging you to take action to protect yourself anyway you feel is appropriate. Evil has the lie driving, it will not stop, you have to be prepared to defend yourself.
Finally call the lie for what it is – a lie. When others say the Cat is talking to them, tell them it is not and warn others that the lie exists. People in their hearts know when something is wrong, focusing on the Bad things and the Lies that allow them is the only way others can help you stop it. Knowing that no lie can support these actions is the only thing that can restore the truth.
And remember never to trust anything a cat tell you- the are liars and evil.