What emerges within you when the topic of ‘good and evil’ is broached?
It was a relatively big group this week with a diversity of perspectives bringing a relatively scattered exploration of the topic yet super informative in its breadth.
‘Good and evil’ invoked feelings of anxiousness, anticipation and excitement amongst the group and was seen as a technology, an inherent knowing, a subjective compass and a controlling mechanism.
Morality was introduced as the determinant of the ‘good and evil’ compass. Morality comes from the latin term, mores, which translates as the essential or characteristic customs of a society or community.
Where have we learnt morality?
We have learnt from our family, teachers, as well as our own subjective experience of life. One human mentioned that there was a point at which he began to navigate from his own moral compass, branching away from the parenting and socially induced imprint. Another human asked whether any of these morals can be determined as either nature or nurture. If evolution is nurture; from the scale of DNA to society itself then where we take it from that point is our inherent nature as we advance evolution willingly or unwillingly. In saying this I realise just how intertwined nature and nurture really is. Perhaps nature is nurture and nurture is nature. The fact that they are very similar words in structure and sound could suggest the origin from which they came has a close proximity.
Another human, scientific of mind and with a wealth of knowledge shared a scientific experiment to test the inherent morality of humankind. In a large group each person was given ten cents, when everyone places their ten cents in the centre there is a return of the ten cents plus an added percentage of the whole amount, say 20%. The study found that 20% of people are prosocial handing in their 10c each time, another 20% are antisocial, holding back their 10c and receiving a percentage of the interest of everyone else’s contribution. The remaining 60% of participants were on the fence, swaying from prosocial to antisocial.
Many of the group were intrigued by this study and attempted to find an answer to the inherently evil or inherently good conversation around the nature of humans.
Is nature inherently good or evil?
‘The road to hell is paved with good intention.’ - Lauren Hill
Perhaps the idea we place over the possibility of seeing it as an ever changing dynamic mystery is the evil thing to do no matter whether the intention is good or evil. Interrupting the natural phenomena with a righteous intervention. This brings into play the idea of a matrix of ideas, facts and definitions generating a delusion inhibiting the intake of present reality.
One human said that at the time of Plato, there was an active listening of events to understand which perennial, natural and integral archetype was being acted out by nature, humans, or event. This seems to me like a more dynamic structure of receiving reality in order to penetrate past ideas and see the dynamic changes and shifts that occur when observing without bias.
Society then moved into a Christian morality using duality to remove the remaining listening into a black and white realm of right and wrong, good and evil. This has had huge affects on society, nature and humanity. First and foremost it severed our connection to paganism, nature, the supernatural/unknown and our indigenous roots by relegating these aspects to the evil/wrong pole of morality. In turn this has created a disempowering morality in which we look to authority and higher knowledge rather than our own inherent nature and knowing. This can be further understood and explored through Nietzche’s genealogy of morality in which he describes common right and wrong as slave morality. Herd mentality that maintains a standard in which is beneficial to the weak and powerless and those who are powerful and independent from the herd are seen as evil. This connects with the very common ‘tall poppy’ dynamic within western culture to varying degrees.
The answers all seem to sit within the category of morality that most often is ignored; evil. When evil is removed we can deepen our exploration into these areas of life that have been hermetically sealed with inaccurate and biased definitions.
Once we left the garden of eden to pursue knowledge we abandoned our natural neutrality for a growing determinism that separated us from nature, community and ourselves. In this pursuit we have developed our will, the power of intention and objectivity to then see from a far the heaven from which we have come from.
Can we create a morality that is aligned with nature itself and the supernatural? Or does this require a complete abandonment of the technology of morality all together?