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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Notes on several napkins

The Big E-V-I-L

I'm more inclined to believe that evil is when one turns away from God, or even in ignorance, acts in opposite to the Light of God. Much of what in the past was considered evil incarnate, I would say was ignorance of mental illness. Of all the countless electrochemical processes that take place in the human brain, a symphony of precision and exactitude, it is mindboggling how we can be so 'normal' and then add the burden of the modern environment (or the ancient environment), and add all that takes place in the formation of the brain from conception until whatever current state you find yourself, amazing that 'it' works at all. So I view aberrations in human behavior as understandable, understandable in the sense that any man-made complex machine that could function year in and year out without 'crashing' is really unthinkable. Yet we consider it normal for the brain to do just that. But it does 'crash' in many nonfatal ways, in the ancient world we could only make sense of someone so 'disabled' as being possessed by evil spirits, today we seek to either repair the brain chemistry, or 'help' the mind to self repair. Some speak of great evil beings, such as Hitler and the Nazi 'elite', yet some of the decent beings that were eye witness to the Nazis more often than not came to report their own astonishment at the banality of these evil beings. In which I return to what I believe is the greatest evil, the 'reverse born again' or the turning away from God. I have never experience a credible personification of evil, one medical doctor that I know who once examined prisoners said he once experienced a prisoner that he was sure was possessed by a real evil that transcended 'mental illness'. For me, the first step in discernment is to use common sense and logic, and when it comes to evil humans, I find it too easy to logically uncover their behavior. If humans behaved as most animals behave, then we would call all humans evil, yet animals are not evil. Without self awareness, animals act only to survive, their actions are appropriate for survival, even when the actions bring horror to us humans. We do not consider animals possessed because they slaughter other animals, for them it is normal. So as we need not a personified evil such as Satan or devils to explain the actions of snakes and tigers and sharks, so too with those humans that turn away from God, for them evil is when one's self awareness is perverted to the point where empathy is lost, and then, with the masks of humans, these humans become animals.

Shalom,
Bro. Bartleby

3 comments:

Moof said...

Shalom l'cha, Brother Bartleby ...

That was an excellent, very insightful post. I've never thought of evil that way, but it does make a lot sense.

I'm still a little confused on the following set of ideas, however:

"So we need not evil or Satan or devils to explain the actions of snakes and tigers and sharks, so too with those humans that turn away from God. Evil is when one's self awareness is perverted.

Isn't "mortal sin" a breach between a person and God? And isn't mortal sin evil? Wouldn't it follow, then, that it would be evil to do something that puts a breach between you and God?

As far as "self awareness," mental illness can go a long way toward "perverting" a person's self awareness ... even a medical illness can cause a person's self awareness to become "perverted."

I was wondering if I could ask you to elaborate just a bit more on those two points.

Your entire post was amazingly cogent to me - until that paragraph, and then I wondered if I had really understood what you were trying to say.

Thank you in advance.

Bro. Bartleby said...

Sorry, but after all these were napkin notes and alas, I ran out of napkins. But I admit to the fuzziness of what you speak, so I have attempted a bit of editing to hopefully clarify my point.
"We do not consider animals possessed because they slaughter other animals, for them it is normal. So as we need not a personified evil such as Satan or devils to explain the actions of snakes and tigers and sharks, so too with those humans that turn away from God, for them evil is when one's self awareness is perverted to the point where empathy is lost, and then, with the masks of humans, these humans become animals."

Moof said...

"[...] So as we need not a personified evil such as Satan or devils to explain the actions of snakes and tigers and sharks, so too with those humans that turn away from God, for them evil is when one's self awareness is perverted to the point where empathy is lost, and then, with the masks of humans, these humans become animals."

That does, indeed, bring it together with far more clarity, and I thank you for taking the time to shed some light on the thrust of your idea.

By the way - I would be quite happy, dear Brother, to send some napkins down your way. You seem to have very interesting uses for them ... ;o)

Thank you for your response.