Evil is defined by Webster's as:
a. morally reprehensible: sinful, wicked <an evil impulse>
b. arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation>
a. archaic: inferior
b. causing discomfort or repulsion: offensive <an evil odor>
c. disagreeable <woke late and in an evil temper>
a. causing harm: pernicious <the evil institution of slavery>
b. marked by misfortune: unlucky
a. the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing
b. a cosmic evil force
2. something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity
Origin of EVIL
Middle English, from Old English yfel; akin to Old High German ubil evil
First Known Use: before 12th century
The very notion of “evil” - a clearly human concept – has become quite a trigger point of frustration and an intense desire to “face-palm” for me on a regular basis. Since my own health experiences in 2011 – current, the death of a loved one, the near death of another loved one all within this last 2 years and 3 months has brought the notion of innate “evil” dwelling within humanity to the surface time and time again.
During stressful times I usually immerse myself into shows about history, spirituality, the occult, and biblical history. I am always fascinated by the new ideas that these shows bring to mind, or evidence for ideas that I've already had. Recently, I began to take notice of how many times during these programs (specifically by programs on hauntings) the mention of “evil” & “demon/demonic” are tossed about as though these ideas are just accepted at face value. With the near death of my family member, I recall that during her first few days of regained consciousness she had no awareness about having been out, but when informed her fear of “Hell” and her conviction that she was surely headed there blocked all peace from her mind and left her broken and still suffering the effects of by what could only be described as some sort of traumatic stress.
For months these observations have been gnawing at me to communicate my impressions, experiences, and beliefs on the subject. I have delayed in this, as I often do, for no good reason except that I wanted to be sure I had a firm grasp on my beliefs. I won't presume to say that I am the last word on this topic. Perhaps my experiences have not led me to see this for myself, or perhaps I am intentionally blinded to the idea, or perhaps in the future I will have evidence that causes me to reconsider my stance – so I offer this, as all other things I write, as something that you should only accept if it resonates with you.
Let's start at the head of this beast and work our way down to the root.
|Giotto's "The Last Judgement" 1304-1305|
Satan has shown up in history in many different ways, under many names, and in varying degrees of “Evil”. Most notably in the denominations of Christianity, he appears as the great “tempter” desiring only to consume our souls and defy the will of god. The very idea of this is completely preposterous to me. First, the logical approach – the Christian ideology of god dictates that he is perfect and is so offended by evil that he cannot even gaze upon it. Further, as the creator of all things he has complete power over all things. If we take this at face value, the idea that any force or being would be bold enough to stand up to god is flawed.
Humans seek to personify and quantify what we see, feel, and experience. To understand the horrors of atrocities committed by our fellow humans our ancestors created a being in their own minds to explain that which seemed to lack reason.
Most cultures that I have studied, including Jewish history, don't even express an idea of “Hell”, but instead a place where souls dwell after leaving their physical bodies. In order for “Satan” to hold the power attributed to him the absence of a place to reign from seems to limit the very idea that he does indeed exist. In fact, it was only a few hundred years ago that idea of “Hell” changed from a place of ice to the “lake of fire” we are all so accustomed to.
Demons, much like the idea of Satan, have been manifested in the minds of men to explain behavior and experiences which at face value could be nothing more than “evil”. If we consider the possibility of the absence of Satan, we cannot even begin to consider that his minions would exist at all.
Most evidence for demons seems to come from the idea that certain hauntings or behavior patterns are the result of a demon. In 33 years of varying psychic ability I have NEVER encountered a haunting that I believed to be the work of a demon. My experience has been that in almost ALL of these cases, the haunting was a poltergeist (in the worst cases) which is not even a spirit, but an energy manifestation of someone residing in the space that the haunting occurs in – hence why the poltergeist appears to follow people from place to place. The trouble here is that with the constant reminder of personified evil taught by modern churches, people are taught that they have no power and that “evil” seeks to own and destroy them. People in this mind set seek the help of clergy who in turn confirm their fears. Then in some cases an exorcism is performed which allows the subconscious beliefs of the afflicted to manifest the characteristic autonomic response of what they perceive to be “possession”.
|Agnolo Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time (1540/45), Detail|
I lump this HUGE category together because quite frankly in my experience they are always the same. Any spirit that is in one of a few states would act out in a way that could be harmful; confusion, fear, anger, and frustration. Any of these situations can create the break with perceived reality that would lead anyone, living or dead, to the potential for madness.
Wrapping it up:
So, if we are going to eliminate all the ideas that have been accepted as the source of “evil” what is left? The answer, unfortunately, is us. Humanity's inborn taint of sin is not “the original sin” (another bone of contention) but that the capacity for perfect love and perfect evil are both within each of us. Insanity may lead us to a place of doing abnormal things, but the ultimate “evil” created in our world stems from our own being for whatever reason that we justify the heinous acts we commit with.
Do not fear “evil” in the sense that you have been taught. There are no horned beasts waiting around the corner to steal your immortal soul. Instead recognize that through your own potential for perfect unconditional love you have the power to create the change that could eliminate what you fear most.