Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

File Under: It is Unknowable

Humankind has always sought explanations for the seemingly inexplicable.  Why do we grow old and die?  Why does the sun rise and set?  Why did the wolf or the bear decimate the flock? Why do we have good crop years and bad crop years? Why do ships get lost at sea? Why did the village get swallowed up by the ground?  And the quintessential, why do bad things happen to good people?  To answer those whys historic humankind came up with: faith, God and gods, spirits, karma, luck, and fate or destiny.  In time science answered a few whys, but perhaps the best answer rests somewhere in between, for imperfect creatures stuck within a system they can only observe from the inside out.  When seeking an explanation or where to rest blame, maybe it is not the prudent course to settle upon that which provides the most comfort and or the fewest unanswered questions, rather that which illuminates the most truth.  And here it is:

We live in a random, chaotic world controlled by imperfect people in which evil exists and misfortune can befall anyone at any time by mere happenstance exacerbated by the ignorance  incompetence, neglect, or malice of others.

Evil, the willful and sometimes joyful predilection to do what is detrimental to the  well-being of others, tips the odds heavily against everyone.  Why?  For two reasons.  First, Evil is virulent.  It spreads quickly, silently and its effects are both cumulative and exponential.  Secondly, Evil is insidious and has an intelligence of its own.  Evil, is a chameleon  a master of disguise.  It masterfully hides its agenda and true intentions, and you never see it coming.  Long after it has left, you might never have realized it was ever there.  Evil makes us focus on poltergeists and boogeymen -- things we will chase forever but never catch.  All the while its favored, true agents of destruction go undetected, unharmed free to repeat the cycle at a future time of its choosing because once the ghost disappears, we think we have exorcised it, we congratulate ourselves, and we stop searching for the cause of why bad things happen.

Evil has a root cause, and it is the only thing in the Universe that can be created and destroyed.  Evil is not a product of the existence of a Good force in the Universe, which must have an antithesis.  Evil is not a gift from a malevolent being outside of the physical realm of existence.  Evil was not loosed from a magical box thousands of years ago.  No, Evil is created in the minds of people and grown in their hearts.  It all begins with a thought, a tiny electro-chemical signal in your brain representing emotion, recognition, memory, or association.  Your mind gives birth to an idea and it comes alive, and like and living entity it seeks its own survival.  Therefore, it finds the one place in your being where it will be nurtured, protected, fed, and allowed to thrive and grow -- your heart.  The heart is the seat of human motivation, more powerful to human survival than the mere autonomic center of the brain where a stray thought can get filed away and forgotten.  In the heart, the most fleeting thought can become the strongest obsession nursed like an age-old un-healing wound.  That is where Evil finds the soil to plant its seed in powerful motivating forces like: fear, anger, hate, lust, and even love.

Evil cannot be sanctioned.  It cannot be bombed.  It cannot be arrested.  It cannot be imprisoned.  It cannot be executed.  It cannot be medicated.  It cannot be legislated against.  It cannot be banned.  It cannot be preached a sermon.  Destroy the host and Evil will be reborn in the mind of another.  Destroy a martyr and Evil will reincarnate in the souls of millions.  Evil can only be battled, and destroyed, where it is born and lives -- in the minds and hearts of humankind.  It is not enough to safeguard our own minds and hearts against the insidious machinations of Evil, we have to inculcate the same diligence into our children -- the most fertile soil of them all.  After our children, Evil seeks out the minds and hearts of the weak, elderly, infirm, and feeble; those whose minds are fractious and hearts ache.  We must be our brother's keeper, but not our brother's lord or jailer.  No, this is a solemn duty born of love, empathy, vigilance, and self-sacrifice knowing that at any moment the aforementioned happenstance could put the proverbial shoe on the other foot.  We cannot relegate them to hoosegows under the fog of psychotropics while society moves on without them, for just like a fungus Evil still grows in the darkness hidden away from the light.

It is time to stop chasing boogeymen.  We will never exorcise the true demon if we keep falling for its tricks.  Bad things happen because some person with an Evil idea made it happen.  Evil is not an inanimate thing, it is a living breathing, growing, and evolving entity.  That's why it has stayed ahead of humanity all these centuries.  Alcohol is not evil, drugs are not evil, capitalism is not evil, faith is not evil, firearms are not evil, anger is not evil, hate is not evil, sex is not evil -- what people think and do is Evil.  The only thing that will stop bad things from happening, is correcting the thinking of every man, woman, and child on this Earth and remaining vigilant against ever letting Evil take root in our hearts again.

"Dreamer" by Ozzy Osbourne from Down to Earth released 2001 on Sony

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