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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Essay #103 "The Distinction EVIL (Redux)"

Evil is simply the dis-empowerment of oneself or another being.

•       Warfare, between gangs or tribes or nations.
•       Homicide or suicide.
•       Genocide.
•       Terrorism.

        All the above are obvious and terrible dis-empowerments, the taking of somebody's life.
        But there is also:

•       Theft, of so many kinds, from plagiarism to safe-cracking to 'white-collar' crime to shoplifting, to the theft of reputation by slander or libel.
•       Assault.
•       Kidnapping.
•       Piracy.
•       The illegal drug business.
•       Pimping and prostitution.

        All such crimes are dis-empowerment.

        The two groups of examples above are indefensible and obvious evils; the examples that follow will be defended.

•       Bigotry, whether based on race or creed or origin.
•       The entrenched class system, within a society.
•       Carnal knowledge of children.
•       Cheating on taxes or on tests or on spouses.
•       Family violence, but also subtler forms of child or spouse abuse; the violence of fraternity or sorority hazing; abusive treatment of animals; practical jokes.
•       Slavery, including economic slavery.
•       The subjugation of women by a society; other forms of sexism and ageism; pornography.
•       Religious intolerance and discrimination.

        Yes, you can bet that these latter examples will be defended. In fact, for many readers, your False Mind is defending them right now!
        The only argument against the list immediately above is that these actions dis-empower – and that is the only argument necessary.

        But then, there are also the really subtle dis-empowerments:

•       Telling a child that he/she is 'not good enough', once or over a period of years.
•       Passing over excellence in favor of the common or mediocre.
•       Social strata, from the schoolyard to the United Nations.
•       Scoff-law practices, such as: parking in handicapped zones; tossing empty beer cans, or any trash, out of moving vehicles; running red or yellow traffic lights; smoking tobacco where prohibited; jaywalking.
•       Rudeness, from cutting lines to talking during artistic performances to high-pressure sales tactics to modern 'road rage'.
•       Stiffing the wait-person and-or putting less than your fair share on the table for the check.
•       All gossip – even if it is objectively true.
•       Spurious lawsuits. Heck: most lawsuits.

        And the U.S. Republican Party deserves their own section, because they advocate:
•       Subjugation of women and minorities.
•       Reversal of Constitutional precedent, including Separation of Church and State.
•       Blatant lying, to the extent of Fox News editing President Obama's speeches for false reporting.
•       Election fraud, as recently attempted in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.
•       Admiration of fascist operatives like Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan - too many to list.
•       Giving ruthless corporations a free hand in pollution, economic piracy, financial trickery, and bribery & extortion in politics.
        "If the Republican Party had anything of value to offer the American voter they would not have to lie and cheat and steal to win elections."

        Every instance where someone 'gets away with something', some other person or persons have been dis-empowered. We are all very well trained in dis-empowerment. And we dis-empower ourselves by allowing others to perpetrate such acts.
*          *          *          *
        There are only two natural human fears; that is, only two fears already in humans at birth. These two natural fears are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears in human beings are learned.
        Most fears are intentionally taught. All encouragement or teaching or training for abstract and non-natural fears is dis-empowerment. The family, the school system, religion – all are designed to teach their innocent charges the proper fears, ones that will make them – you! – properly-conditioned minions: willing soldiers in the Corporate Wars, nice and quiet Stepford Wives, obedient consumers of plastic trash, numbed voters for 'the lesser of two evils'.
        Some fears, however, may be not so much taught as they are learned by the individual in reaction to circumstances: agoraphobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia, and other such vague yet powerful fears that lodge in the subconscious and dictate an individual's behavior. This is dis-empowerment of oneself, to decide that 'I will never...' or 'I can't...' or 'we dare not...', each based on some sudden, unforeseen event in the past and its aftermath, perpetuated by a long-forgotten decision embedded deep in the psyche. Dis-empowerment from others follows in the form of agreement that the fear is valid or real or permanent.
        It is quite valid to fear 'The Tiger', my symbol for real danger. But such fear is valid and natural only when The Tiger is literally present, when the danger is real and imminent. Fear of a possible Tiger or fear based on a report of a Tiger or fear of a Tiger [event] that occurred years ago will take root in the psyche only to the extent that the person is already dis-empowered by him/herself and by others. The constant fear-inducing barrage delivered by the media is only part of the problem – You tune in, don't you? Your False Mind loves giving you more fear-mongering input.
        The antidote to these unnatural fears is always Objective Reality. When faced with a real Tiger, the real emergency causes one to invoke responses based on Objective Reality, such as the standard responses of 'fight or flight': either battle the real-world Tiger or get the hell out! When the False Mind generates a fake Tiger – based on some memory or feeling, not on a real Tiger – one is dis-empowered because neither fight nor flight has any effect on a fake Tiger.
        So the antidote to fear is Objective Reality, which can be located via the Working Mind: Am I really in danger? What is really going on here? What should I do about this [about this fake Tiger]?
        The Culture-Structure uses simple scare tactics, by which you have been taught that many fake Tigers await your least misstep, ready to pounce and destroy you and your loved ones. The priests of religion and of academia, the priests of commerce and of war have you convinced that unless you obey every anti-Reason False Value [or deity-given Law] that they offer, that then you are destined to rot in Hell {Chapter 10} for all eternity, or watch your children burn in a nuclear holocaust, or never attain some form of tenure, like a pension, and thus sentence yourself to later-life years of grinding poverty.
        The choice provided by the Culture-Structure is always between obeying False Values or ostracism: 'my way or the high-way'. The Culture-Structure will not offer the choice of Empowerment; the Culture-Structure wants you to live in fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt was not kidding when he said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." The other pertinent saying is "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the hero dies but one."
        Learn to face the fake Tigers in Life, the ones that your False Mind and the Culture-Structure make up to keep you dis-empowered. The development of your Working Mind will produce this result.

*          *          *          *
        Evil is simply the dis-empowerment of oneself or another being.
        Or the dis-empowerment of Nature.

        All the stuff of our existence was not put here on Planet Earth 'for a purpose'. You can argue that matter, but you can only cite belief for your argument.
        We are indeed here, on this blue orb circling a star-sun named Sol. And the birds and beasts of the field and of the sea are here, all the flora and fauna. That is objectively obvious. We are here, and we call ourselves 'Mankind'. And that which is here with Mankind is available for use. Mankind has long-established rules of property and so on to manage things.
        But that which is here alongside Mankind is not available for wanton destruction.

•       Poisons in our rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, and in the soil.
•       The entire technology of hydraulic fracturing, known as 'fracking'.
•       Toxins in the air, and the destruction of the ozone layer.
•       Alar on apples, or any other nasty agricultural chemicals.
•       The Pandora's Box of unregulated genetically modified anything.
•       Corporate abandonment of clear-cut forests and of strip-mined valleys and hillsides.
•       Endangerment, even extinction, of entire species for the profit of some corporation that is headquartered half a world away.
•       Burning of the Amazon, Indonesian or any other watershed.
•       All the behaviors that contribute to global warming, down to leaving lights burning unnecessarily.

        Such destruction, however minor and traditional and 'necessary', weakens the Planet, our Holy Biosphere, by its steady onslaught. This Culture-Structure-sanctioned destruction of the environment, the sum of the practices of millions and billions of unthinking residents of the Holy Biosphere, steadily weakens the ability of Mankind to survive.
        This too is dis-empowerment.

Evil is simply the dis-empowerment of oneself or another being.

[copyright 1999 & 2002 & 2013 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

The preceding is Chapter Four of my forthcoming book, "Working Minds: A Philosophy of Empowerment" and was published as Issue #27 of the WMail ezine in September 2002.

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