Sunday, February 11, 2007
The matter of early darkness and the big EVIL
For some of us our electricity-free experiment is moving along just fine, and one interesting observation made by Bro. Juniper last night was that after sunset the desert becomes exceedingly dark, especially during new moon, and without our normal "lit up" environment, the bit of candle light here and there seems to heighten the senses, so much so that even the ears become super sensitive. Our former familiar environment suddenly became unfamiliar, new sounds emerge from the night. I guess prior to turning off the electricity we more or less created an artificial daylight far into the night, and with that light most of us were active in one way or another, but with very early darkness, our night time activity has nearly slowed to a halt. Whatever cannot be performed under candlelight, has been eliminated from our evening and nighttime activites. Prior, we would turn the light off only when we were ready for sleep, and for most of us sleep came quickly, so no time to really sense the quiet sounds of the night. Now we have many hours of darkness before sleep, so those quiet sounds are taking on new meaning, and in some cases we know not the source of the sounds. That is why our imaginations have suddenly become more active. I admit more than once being startled by a weird sound in the darkness. The desert may appear deserted to some, but I can assure you that is not true. Especially at night, creatures large and small abound. Which brings us to the matter of the big EVIL. In darkness the mind seems to want an explanation for everything, and when an answer isn't forthcoming, then just like last night, every sound became a creature prowling about the monastery. Is that what evil is? We cannot see what is producing the menacing sounds, so devils begin to dance in our minds, all sorts of crazed thoughts take the cue. But then a flip of the switch and light shines near and far and the wild imagination is startled by the normalcy of it all. Which is why 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.