Good vs. Evil

I think sometimes all my talk of love and happiness makes me sound like a Pollyanna who thinks everything and everyone is wonderful and there is no such thing as evil or suffering. This post is an attempt to describe how I actually see things.

At some level, it's true: I do think that everything is good, miraculous even. This life we're part of is amazing! Take a God's-eye view of the vastness of time and space, and even the most tragic human drama starts to seem pretty insignificant.  

But we've got human eyes too, which look out at the world and see a lot of violence and cruelty and unfairness. And I can see how it would be infuriating to hear someone like me talk about love and goodness, assuming that I am oblivious to the suffering.

I even had someone call me "dangerous" recently because he thought my attempts to humanize Donald Trump meant that I was unwilling to call evil evil. So I've been thinking a lot about good and evil, and what it means to me. 

My biggest beef with most talk about good and evil is the way it's treated as a fixed identity. Either you're a "good guy" or a "bad guy," and it's black and white: If you're good, you deserve happiness, and if you're bad, you deserve to suffer. 

The problem is, when we see things that way, we end up spending a lot of time making sure that we are the good ones, by pointing out other people's flaws while hiding, defending or ignoring our own. We get lazy and ignorant and hypocritical -- and to me, that's evil. 

The truth is we're all a combination of both good and evil, and so is life. If someone wants to see us as evil, they will find plenty of evidence for it, and if we want to find things in the world that cause pain and suffering, we can find them. If we want to see ourselves as good, there is a ton of evidence for that, too, and if we want to find things that bring joy and beauty in the world, we can.

Judging or defending the "truth" about any of it is a waste of time. The only thing we can do is make a personal choice, in each moment, to focus on one or the other.