Most of us are familiar with the concept of Good and Evil.
Indeed a few religions adhere to this type of dualism.
This philosophy has captured not only our imaginations in art and other mediums, it has dictated how we live, how we view the world and how we view each other.
Is the Universe really comprised of “Good and Evil”?
Of Karma or the Three Fold Law?
In Nature there is survival and there is death. How do we view this ever changing scene of survival? Is the lion “evil” as it kills the baby antelope?
Is the antelope good? Lions have been known to attack people. Antelope, well not so much.
Many people would root for the antelope and hope it gets away. Some may root for the lion, she needs to eat too right?
A shark breaches out of the water chasing after the sea lion. A deadly dance of hunter and prey and is too heart wrenching for many to watch. The shark has been cast as a man eating creature.
Although hunters too, the sea lion is not known for being a man eater.
Is the shark “evil” and the sea lion “good”?
Are these hunters evil because they have killed humans?
The Western ideas of good and evil cast shadows and light on our very way of life.
If something is “evil” then it is to be feared and if possible, destroyed.
If something is “good” then it should be worshiped.
Those that do not worship “good” are then following the “evil” path.
Herein lies the problem.
What is considered “good” may be considered “evil” to others and vise versa.
This causes intolerance, indifference, violence and war.
Many Native American Indian tribes considered it a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood if he could steal another tribe’s (or in many cases settlers) horse. This was acceptable to American Indians. The colonists considered this to be unacceptable. Stealing of course was “evil” to them. Apparently though, not if it was in their interest to take Indian land.
Good and evil.
In this case the colonist with war, much violence and loss of life on both sides and the demise of Indian culture.
There are many different philosophies to good and evil. Some think of Karma, others think of The Three Fold Law and others think of No Harm.
Is the Universe that simple?
Doling out suffering to those doing bad things and doling out good things to those that live rightly.
It is impossible to live without harming.
Sitting down to a steak dinner has done much harm, to the animal most of all however,
there are those that say the meat industry is harmful to the environment and those that say meat is harmful to the body.With growing evidence to support both claims.
Are those vegetables organic? Were they produced with sustainable practices?
How many small animals were killed in the harvest of those vegetables?
Is the coffee you drink fair trade? The chocolate?
Were those jeans produced in a sweat shop? Is the cotton organic?
How about those birth control pills? Were they produced using mares?
The battery in that hybrid vehicle causes harm to the environment.
The very act of living and consuming causes harm.
I’ve heard Christians say “God will make them pay for what they have done.” I have heard Pagans say “Karma will get them, they will pay.” Do we pay for our “sins” in this life?
What about the next life?
Will we become that cow in the factory? Will we become that child forced to pick poisoned cotton for those designer jeans? There is no a human being or creature on this planet that does not suffer. From the rose attacked by a parasite to the eagle with the broken wing and the lion with a broken jaw, to the little boy locked in a closet.
Earth suffers too.
From her rivers of clogged arteries to her soil and poisoned choked air.
What did Earth do to do deserve this? What Karma in her past life led her to this path?
Most importantly I think the question we should as is…
What can we do?
Can we move from this type of dualism thinking to that of kindness and compassion? Can we move from paying for our harmful ways and making others pay to working on solutions to make life better for everyone including the planet?
I think so.
This does not excuse those that have caused harm to us neither does it excuse our own harmful behavior. What it does is stop the cycle of harm because we were harmed.
I am reminded of a pagan parenting story of a little girl who was hit with rocks on the play ground because she believed in faeries. The mother asked her what did she want to do?
She replied “I want to let them go”.
And the cycle is broken.