Understanding things is important – but understanding the origin of things is paramount.
There's no way to say this nicely so I'm just going to say it: you're evil.
So am I. We're good too. But what does 'good & evil' really even mean?
The mental constructs we have around good and evil are the consequences of what we've been exposed to so our definitions of what it means depends on what we've experienced.
So if our perception of good and evil is flawed by the subjectivity of our unique experiences, and our definitions all vary based on them, how are we to objectively define good and evil so that we may be better prepared to face it?
By understanding the origin of it.
The Origin of Good and Evil
Religion has been used for thousands of years to better explain the meaning of things we’ve been unable to understand or even accurately describe – things like consciousness, death, transcendence.
We are creatures of experience, not words. Definitions and explanations fail to encapsulate the true essence of life and all its complexities. That’s why stories are told.
Adam & Eve
The story of Adam & Eve is one we all know but few really understand it. At the core, Adam & Eve is the consummation of good & evil.
Before Eve ate the fruit of knowledge, they weren’t conscious beings aware of the world. Instead, they were simply a part of life in the same way the trees were.
When Eve ate the fruit of knowledge and then shared it with Adam, they become conscious. This consciousness divided them from the rest of the world and left them feeling small and imperfect amongst the totality of reality.
For the first time, they saw themselves as individual agents and began to understand they had vulnerabilities, imperfect thoughts, and flaws.
They became self-conscious.
The Definition of Good & Evil
Below are my own personal definitions but they draw from reading a lot about this subject and spending hours reflecting on the origin of good & evil and what it means today.
Goodness is the reconnection to the essence of everything despite being an individual. The notion of good comes from the quest to overcome survival instincts seeking to benefit the self and act in such a way that reaches beyond our vulnerabilities & imperfections to benefit something greater.
Evilness is the disconnection from everything in order to serve the self. The notion of evil comes from the quest to influence others' imperfect thoughts, capitalize on their flaws, and prey on their vulnerabilities.
Before Adam & Eve ate the knowledge of fruit, they couldn't act good or evil because they didn't believe they were separate from anything – there couldn't be intent to be good or evil.
What does all this mean?
We get to walk a line no other animal has ever experienced. We can be both supremely connected to everything AND experience life as an individual, conscious being.
But are you reconnecting to the everything from which you were born? Are you being good in spite of the difficulties?
It's fucking normal to feel small & inferior within the enormity of existence – just realize it's a consequence of consciousness and celebrate that shit.
Sure, there's work to do – we must accept our vulnerabilities, overcome influences that don't serve us, and not be ashamed of our imperfections. AND we must stop acting like we're perfect and recognize there's good & evil in all of us.
But we are also magical creatures who ate the god damn fruit of knowledge. Understand what goodness truly is, stare down the challenges that make it difficult, don't let others exploit your vulnerabilities, and then step the fuck up and be good.
For goodness sake. 😉