The problem with the word evilis that it scares us away before we can even stop to consider what we are saying. It is a word meant to distance us from it so that we don't have to consider it any further. It is a word used to judge others-so that we don't even have to consider getting any closer to the person or wonder why it is that they do what they do.
And as we said in the previous blog, we haven't ever considered a world in which we do not divide up our realities into those two incessant categories of good and evil. We write the stories of our lives based on these two categories. How small-minded we are!
So, today, we are going to get a little closer to that scary word so that we can examine how it is impacting our lives, and actually enabling us live backwards.
In the last blog I said that we can identify with the notion of evil because we HAVE a notion of evil, and that if we didn't have such a notion we might be freed up to confront the realities of our lives in wholly different ways. For example, because I believe that it is selfish of me to draw boundaries to keep out psychic vampires who want only to drink the blood of my energy without giving anything back-poor things-I will not allow myself to draw said boundaries. Selfishness is bad, right-a lower degree of evil? So, no, I see myself as a good person-and the next time my drunk friend calls at 2 am to "talk" about her ex-boyfriend, I'm just going to have to be there for her. Right? I don't have a choice, right? That's what friends do, right? Note that the "right?" at the end of every sentence there is a request to be affirmed in my rightness-as opposed to my wrongness.
These choices that we are making every day are keeping us from living forward. They have us living backwards. We are living into someone else's life, someone else's agenda, an identity we adopted because someone else said (either overtly or covertly) that we should-instead of living fully from who we are. But because the notion of evil is out there, we just MUST do the "right" thing. What if the right thing is totally wrong for us? What if the more loving thing to do would be to tell our alcoholic friend that she is an alcoholic and that receiving her calls at 2 am when she's drunk out of her mind is not helping her one iota-and that if she wants real help we'd be happy to take her to treatment or to an AA meeting? What if such a statement were not categorized out of the realm of possibility when the little box in our heads lights up with "which door will you choose-the good door, or the evil door?"
And what about the guy who has chosen to live safely ensconced in the identity of the bad guy? How hardened does he have to become to feel safe from the annihilation that is always nipping at his heels when he feels that he is not noticed? Please go back and re-read the previous blog, "The Good/Evil Complex" to see how he got into this fix. This guy is looking for a place in which he can see himself in other people's eyes and to believe, thereby, that he exists. Being bad works for him in exactly the same way that being good works in the above case. But he is only bad because badness is an option. And that option gets him the desired outcome-someone looks at him.
Unless something changes in his early upbringing, he's going to have to betray every single one of his own vulnerabilities in order to keep wearing the "bad guy" mask and costume, because without that costume he doesn't exist at all. He'll simply steal himself against his own empathy, his own self-compassion, his own remorse, his own heart, in order to keep it up-so that he can believe he is real. If this keeps working for him, he'll need to perform deeds that grow ever more evil by degree as time goes by in order to believe that he exists. And if he finally lands in the worst possible place in the annals of evil-the serial killer-he'll want exorbitant amounts of media attention so that he can prove finally, once and for all, that he exists. And if he dies in the process-he dies knowing that at least he lived.
Of course, we can see that this is completely backwards, but then it is just as backwards when we live from the notion of goodness. Living is not life when it is lived from small and plastic categories-of which there are only two. And life is so much more expansive than to ever be able subsist within them.
Is it possible that in order for us to take the next step in our socially-conscious evolution, we are going to have to find a way to live forward-without the use of these extraneous and artificial stratagems? Next blog. Wait for it.
Photo by Subbotina Anna taken from Shutterstock.com
Andrea Mathews, L.P.C., is a Cognitive and Transpersonal Therapist, internet radio show host, and author of Restoring My Soul: A Workbook for Finding and Living the Authentic Self.more...