Disguised

I don’t know if evolution is true. I wasn’t there when it happened, and I know at least as many smart people who deny it as believe it.

However, it fits with what I know of how the universe works: many things flower, some are chosen because they fit, and the cycle begins again, ever-refining.

As I like to remind people, however, this is no way a denial of the various spiritual systems (we often call them “religions”) that spring up on earth.

Any being important enough to be called a god can bend time and space, and make a few billion years happen in a second, or vice-versa. When you’re talking about the divine, there is no way to use the material as a yardstick, except its patterns, in which evolution roughly fits.

One thing that keeps me interested in evolution is its mythic symbolism. Our glorious simian heritage may or may not be fact, but often, we act like monkeys. In fact, there’s a monkey half of us that we wrestle with everyday.

The inner monkey knows the lawn needs to be mowed, but might prefer to watch re-runs of Gilligan’s Island instead. Sometimes, the inner monkey gets drunk, eats too much, watches porn or does other things that might make an outsider observer think we really are only bunches of cells, with impulses that build up and discharge as behavior, without the presence of a conscious will.

As we experience it, the only force which opposes the inner monkey (let’s call him… Jake?) is the will, in which our thoughts are refined to questions of cause-effect with the intention of acting out our imaginative visions. We see, we learn, we imagine, and instead of projecting, we make incarnate.

There is something divine in that will. Like the force of the universe itself that wrought wonder from nothingness, our minds allow us to fixate on what we find appealing, beautiful… even love might be an appropriate term. In that, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

But every day we struggle with the inner monkey. No matter how smart we are, or how successful, if the inner monkey games us, we lose at life. We have let fear and bodily reactions triumph over imagination and will.

Naturally there are some who have turned their back on this challenge. They do not like the idea that life itself is a performance sport, and that we must master our impulses and become more than the sparking and fizzing of cell-bundles under duress.

These people go down at path that is at first mirthful, then smug, then selfish, and finally, as close to “evil” as I can identify on this earth. Evil is that which turns away from beauty and infinite potential, and focuses on the means and not the ends, as a way to avoid the question of ends.

When you are young, well-intentioned (but wrong) people teach you about symbols of evil that they describe in well-meaning (but wrong) terms to warn you of the path of Satan, evil, etc. These are meaningless. There is no Satan, except as a human symbol. What there is is a choice to go down the path of denying the beauty and potential in life in order to hold on to what you control, and that becomes evil.

Our choices are after all like the ramblings of the Hearst Mansion or an ancient insane asylum, twisty passages that start off innocent but with each step, you’re farther from getting back to where you started. Small detours end up having huge consequences.

Evil is one such path. It starts with a simple motion, like self-pity or resentment, or even excessive pride in something you have done, in opposition to pride for what aeons of ancestors, nature or divine forces have done. The path deepens and soon you are far into the woods, with no idea how to get back to the sunny glade.

Evil does not announce itself. Heavy metal bands and revivalist tracts are united in their desire to show you a lurid Satan, naked adrogynous and powerful. Actual evil is mundane, uninteresting and tragic. It is people turning away from the possibility of beauty, so that they may seize what they feel is tangible and they can hold on to in order to withstand the ravages of time. It is not power they seek, but an absence of power and an absence of cause-effect logic.

Unlike movie evil, real world evil is not exceptional — most people do it — nor is it stupid. It is crafty, because like drug addiction it makes people depend on it. It will never knock at your door and howl like a demon. It disguises itself.

Imagine waking up in the bowels of hell. The first thing you would do is disguise yourself as one of the wretched inhabitants, so they do not figure out who you are and in resentment destroy you. Evil does the same among us here in the middle.

When you go out into this world, evil will present itself as good intentions, fond notions of brotherly love, peace and happiness among people. Evil is not stupid; it knows you long for these things, because they take the load off you that requires you make moral choices and struggle to get them right.

It’s like advertising: you don’t talk about what’s wrong with the product, or how it actually works, but you spin a pleasant fable that gives it mythological abilities for good. It’s not a gadget, it’s a new Utopia just waiting to be found.

In the same way, when you venture out into the modern debacle, you will encounter angry people who want to debase you and make you feel bad about yourself. They appear as sweetness and light, as being “helpful” and well-meaning.

Not all people who appear kind are evil or angry, just as not all people who appear angry actually are. But watch how others disguise themselves. See what lives in their eyes. Sometimes you find a serpent, sugar-coated and gushing pleasant words.

19 Comments

  1. NotTheDude says:

    I always thought that when vicars and suchlike spoke of the Devil, they meant the evil that humans can do themselves. Sadly today folk only think of the Devil (the personification of evil) as an old wives tale. We forget that evil lurks still. And it loves a crowd.

  2. Lisa Colorado says:

    We can learn how to go beyond a person’s words to see the act they’re trying to do underneath it.

    If someone said “you’re not fat. Here, have a donut,” in their words they are doing something nice but in the act, whether they meant to or not, they’re giving me something that does me a little bit of ill.

    1. I remember hearing the word “enabler” used to describe that:

      http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/info2/a/aa052197.htm

      Enablers come in human and non-human form. To an alcoholic, a job in a liquor store is an enabler. So is the buddy who brings over beers after work.

      1. Jason says:

        Say the alcoholic pens a wonderful series of books enjoyed by millions?

        His personal sacrifice enriches the lives of others

        We all know the paving of the road to hell, but have we ever thought that the path to heaven was cut through a jungle of mistakes?

        1. Anon says:

          Just because the book is “enjoyed by millions”, doesn’t mean it was a worthy achievement in the grand scheme of things.

          I appreciate the general idea (good things arising from “bad” origins), but in this specific case, it is doubtful that a long-term alcoholic will suddenly turn his life around and produce greatness, due to his experience. What’s more likely for most extreme alcoholics is a slow, petering-out of life, dying in filth and wretchedness, alone. For the “regular” alcoholics, a life diminished by their habit, always living that significant level below their potential, is all too often the tale.

  3. crow says:

    Evil is the simple lack of goodwill.
    Your intentions may be good, or they may be bad.
    You may aim for a worthwhile outcome, or you may ensure there isn’t one.
    You may attach value to the frame that contains your image, or discard the frame, entirely, seeing only the image of yourself.
    Evil is what you become, when you attach no value to what you are.

    1. crow says:

      And too much, to what you think you are.

  4. Lisa Colorado says:

    I’ve studied the Qabalah on and off… In it there’s a concept called the archetypal man, an image of God, and they say Jesus knew this concept the most and embodied it the most. So I got to thinking, if there’s a good man in the image of God, then there’s a man archetype that is everything he is not. Or in other words, is all the qualities of humanity that are least Godlike, that don’t try to do good, don’t care, aren’t honest, can’t feel, and can still live as a human being.

    I’m not sure if Jesus is/was divine but I believe in the idea of the Christ. So I believe in the opposite idea too. I know there’s evil treatment of others. The more innocent the victim, the more evil the perpetrator. But like Brett suggested, you usually can’t know them on sight. Only by their fruits.

  5. thordaddy says:

    The only phenomenon capable of falsifying “evolution” is self-annihilation.. The most clearcut evidence for the embrace of “self-annihilation” is the exaltation and normalization of homosexuality, i.e., self-sexualization. Homosexuals, by their very existence and insistence, falsify “evolution.” The key has been to “disguise” the homosexual “nature” and its ubiquitous embrace. This “nature” can be disguised in an environment of radically liberated “natures” and so a conversion process becomes an important followup goal and thus the “disguise” must reveal itself as those who are most radically liberated must reveal themselves. These will be the homosexual and devout dyke.

    1. Jason says:

      Maybe it’s just my long hair talking, but…

      I don’t really think sexuality has anything to do with it.

      We really are going through a period of anomie. I became an artist out of my own lacking of faith in anything, instead choosing to observe the world and output my own reality back into it. What you claim is “self-annihilation” is what most people call self-discovery.

      I used to think the same way as you do, that gayness or whatever non-standard sexuality was nature’s way of opting you out of reproduction.

      Now I actually think homosexuality is a few parts genetic, and a few parts anomie. People are really lost and confused as to a point or purpose to their lives, and they tend to look everywhere for something, anything to fit into.(Figuratively and literally)

      Really, life’s biggest challenge is keeping oneself entertained so you don’t want to stomp on the throat of someone different.

      1. thordaddy says:

        Jason…

        Are you saying that “sexuality” has nothing to do with “evolution” and self-annihilation doesn’t falsify the process of life?

        1. Meow Mix says:

          Thordaddy,

          I’m not sure I follow. What in the world does homosexuality have to do with ‘self-annihilation’, let alone ‘falsifying’ evolution? Homosexuality in no way falsifies evolution, in fact it’s perfectly explainable in evolutionary terms. Alright, I have no clue what you are talking about.

          1. thordaddy says:

            Meow Mix…

            What do you meme?

            Homosexuality = self-annihilation.

            It is as self-evident as claiming man = woman or black = white, no???

        2. Jason says:

          self-annihilation is *the* process of life

          Strangely enough, it is also how artists are born

          1. thordaddy says:

            No Jason…

            Within “evolution” is “death,” but the ENTIRELY mechanical process does not make room for purposeful self-destruction. The best one could assert is that there exists an actual “self-destruct gene.” But this would be an “anti-gene.” And until we find that anti-gene, when the human being decides to self-annihilate, he is going around and over “evolution.”

            He is, in fact, with his PURPOSEFUL subversion of “survival through reproduction,” falsifying the idea that “life” AUTOMATICALLY survives through reproduction. He is asserting the power of memes over genes in directing “life.” He is asserting that one CAN AND WILL reject survival because he rejects reproduction. He snatches the “automatic-ness” right out of “evolution’s” mechanical process.

            1. Jason says:

              What does any of this have to do with enjoying life itself?

              1. crow says:

                Nothing.
                It’s not about enjoyment, for some.
                Then again, it depends, too, on what your idea of enjoyment is.
                I’d say that when you treat life as a candy store, for taking enjoyment from it, and without regard for consequences, then that might be questionable.
                Whereas when you derive enjoyment from the process of living, that would be in keeping with life.

  6. Meow Mix says:

    Thordaddy, you win the award for most opaque writer. Summary: gays are ubermensch because they embody the death drive. Got it.

  7. hv says:

    Interesting post.

    Watch this excellent lecture by Jordan Peterson on this very issue. You repeat many of the things he says about Hell being a place on earth that people find themselves in as a result of going down the wrong path, usually because of resentment and envy. It’s a powerful lecture and I highly recommend people listen to it.

    Jordan Peterson on The Necessity of Virtue

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwUJHNPMUyU

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