The Essential Paradox, Good and Evil. Part 1: Defining Evil

One of the most intricate discussions that can be held is one of the delicate balance held between good, and evil. Naturally, everyone has their ideas on what is good and what is evil, and there are socially held beliefs that make up the two. We will begin, by defining evil. The idea of evil is one one associated with the dark, the deep, the earthly. It is no matter of coincidence that our culture associates evil with snakes, insects, and animals which live primarily underground. Death is also considered to be evil, and is reflected by the things which we consider to be evil. The animals and objects we associate with evil, are all associated also with death. But what is death? Death in the unknown, the incomprehensible and chaotic element of existence. So then, in our culture chaos and uncertainty is often seen to be that which is evil. The kind of person which we consider to be evil, preforms acts that are unpredictable, and contrary to what the rest of society normally acts out. All that exists has the potential for good or evil. The base state of the universe is one that is naturally free of meaning, and intrinsically pure; until the human mind projects onto it the concept or meaning it has perceived. This is why, in Zen, it is said that having a mind like a mirror, which does not project itself onto the world, is the purest form. Evil then, is perceived, and an illusion of the human consciousness, which imposes its meaning onto the meaninglessness of reality. It is the perception of that which is evil, which has allowed us to determine what continues and improves life. Because we value life, or rather survival so heavily, it is that which i good that ensures survival. Whether it is the survival of a person, an idea, a moral, or a truth, all which is good is living in our culture. Evil however, while being associated with death, is the true origin of the life giving principle. It is the chaotic fire which destroys a forest, that allows the forest to flourish once more. That which is evil is potential, and uncertain, and beyond a doubt scary because of it. In an anxious attempt to hold on to what is alive, and in an effort to prolong it beyond what is natural, we create the conditions for that which is neither good nor evil, but strange. Evil is the necessary counterpart for good, just as death is for life. It is a conceptual reflection of the paradoxical nature of being and non-being. In part 2, we will define good, and describe its place in existence.

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