I believe that what we consider evil is directly related to inescapable actions by others, perceived by them as necessary for self preservation, self interest or a bit of both. The need for actions of self preservation or self interest is triggered by threats of evil. An act of evil and an act of self preservation or self interest cannot exist without the other just like a hole in a piece of paper cannot exist without the paper. As long as a ‘SELF’ exists, its actions has the potential to be perceived as evil by another ‘SELF’. Even a single person that has transitioned from one mood to another may experience evil toward oneself due to specific interests of a mood. Every single conflict in the world that causes human suffering no matter how small or how big can be attributed to self interest or self preservation. Moreover, every good action is also directly or indirectly attributed to self interest or self preservation.
Self preservation or self interest is not in itself necessarily good or evil but any level of action taken for self preservation or self interest invokes some magnitude of an opposition of good or evil.
This philosophy can be applied to diseases and natural disasters in that nature is performing an act of self preservation or self interest, and so is a virus which is responsible for a disease. As part of nature, we therefore cannot escape perceived evil no matter which side of an issue we take. Any action we take is therefore perceived as evil or good depending on the perspective.
I believe that ‘threats’ is the glue between evil and self preservation or self interest. The bigger the threat of destruction, the more drastic a measure is perceived needed to be taken to prevent the consequent evil. In other words, the stronger this glue of threat, the closer and stronger the ties between the resulting evil and self preservation or self interest. If that threat connection is weaken, we reduce the strength of the ‘TIE’ between evil and self preservation, thereby minimizing the level of the potential human suffering.
We can minimize the evil of diseases caused by viruses by weakening the threat posed by related viruses. Through education we weaken the threat posed by ignorance which causes hatred, poverty and disease. Setting good examples is a great way to educate others at minimal financial cost, and an investment against human suffering.
I believe that we cannot eliminate or escape physical or mental suffering but by minimizing threats, we minimize and weaken the connection between evil and self preservation thereby minimizing human suffering.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.