Good and evil
What is morality?
What is right and wrong?
How do you answer this question?
Different people answer it differently.
Different philosophies answer it differently.
Different religions answer it differently.
Different legal systems answer it differently.
However, that which is perhaps most fascinating is not what is different but what is the same.
Beneath all the rules of all of the moral codes of all of the philosophies, religions, legal systems and individual belief systems of all the inhabitants of all of the continents of this planet throughout all the ages lies a single rule from which all other rules are derived and all morality springs.
It is the Golden Rule.
“Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.
Ponder that truth.
How can this possibly be?
It is my belief that the golden rule is seared into our very DNA.
It emerges from the neuro-chemistry of our brains.
The seed from which the Golden Rule germinates and the very foundation of morality is the emotion of empathy.
When we feel empathy for other beings we cannot harm them or through inaction allow harm to come to them because we feel their pain as if it were our own.
We do unto them as we would have done unto us.
What we refer to as our “conscience” is the powerful emotive force of empathy that guides our decision making.
When our empathy is strong we are at our happiest and feel most driven to share our joy with others and to treat them with kindness.
We do unto them as we would have done unto us.
Love is the word we use to describe a state of deep and consuming empathy.
We know intuitively that those who have the most love in their hearts are the ones whom always seem to have that sense of inner peace that comes from acting in harmony with their conscience.
They are the ones who are constantly seeking to bring joy to (and alleviate suffering from) the lives of others.
Unconditional love is the means by which a state of maximum empathy can be maintained.
When we feel unconditional love for others there is nothing that they can do which would cause us to stop loving them.
We are at our very best as human beings when we are consumed by feelings of unconditional love for others.
Why then does there appear to be so much evil in this world?
If morality is innate because we are all born with empathy, why does there so often appear to be such a dearth of it?
Empathy is not the only emotive force which drives us.
It has a powerful adversary in the emotion of fear.
Empathy and fear are constantly at war for control of our mind.
Some of our decisions we make under the influence of empathy, but some we make under the influence of fear.
Our destiny is shaped by which of these two powerful winds we choose to fill our sails with.
The power of empathy is inversely proportional to that of fear. One can only gain at the expense of the other.
When we feel fear our empathy for our fellow human beings is switched off.
The greater the fear the less we are able to connect with them.
The greater the fear the less we are able to feel their pain or joy as if it were our own.
The greater the fear the more self-absorbed we become.
The greater the fear, the more likely that the “fight or flight” response will be triggered and the fear will turn to anger.
The greater the fear the more likely we are to lash out at that which triggered the fear and bring pain to others.
Consequently the more likely we are to receive retaliation and to jointly descend into a downward spiral of barbarian conflict.
The inability to feel the pain of others, combined with the destructive emotion of anger can escalate into hatred, physical violence and even murder.
Are not most of the violent and unstable people we know men and women who are ruled by fear?
In a very real sense this neuro-chemical battle between empathy and fear is the battle between good and evil that rages within us all.
The impulse of fear puts us on trial and our conscience is the judge, jury and executioner.
How we choose to respond to the impulse of fear will put us on the path towards good or evil.
The root of all evil is the choice to respond to the impulse of fear with coercion against others.
The root of all good is the choice to respond to the impulse of fear by courageously seeking to overcome the fear itself and avoiding the temptation to initiate force against others.
The former is a choice to not to feel empathy for those who seek to control.
The later is a choice to embrace empathy for them and utilize it as a motivator for us to overcome our own fear.
Those who choose coercion chose to embrace the immediate gratification of short term pleasure at the cost of the long-term suffering of being tortured by their own conscience.
Those who choose to courageously face their fears choose to embrace short term pain in exchange for the reward of the enduring joy of living in harmony with their conscience.
The decisions we make under the influence of fear are not moral though we invariably try to deceive ourselves into believing that they are.
When you are unable to control your fear what do you do?
Be honest with yourself.
When you cannot control your own fear do you not seek instead to control your environment?
Do you not seek to control others?
Do you not seek to use coercion against them and limit their freedom?
When you do so are you really giving any thought as to the pain that you are causing them or are you too self absorbed by your own pain to feel theirs?
Is your empathy turned on or off?
Do you truly have their best interests at heart?
Be honest with yourself.
When the fear subsides do you not feel remorse?
Do you hear your conscience screaming at you “do unto others as you would have done unto you”?
What do you do about the screaming?
Do you embrace the short term pain of undoing what you have done in order to make peace with your conscience?
Or do you cower in fear at the thought?
Do you tell yourself lies?
Do you seek to silence the screaming by morally justifying your coercion against others in some fashion?
Does this really work?
Are you truly happy?
Are you able to experience deep love and intimacy without feeling pangs of guilt?
If you truly seek to silence your conscience there are but two ways to do it.
You can make peace with it by embracing empathy, choosing to make amends for the harm that you have caused and resolving to be a better person henceforth.
This is a choice that leads to a life of unremitting joy.
It is the choice that was made by the greatest human beings who have lived. The ones whom we revere.
People like the Buddha and Jesus.
The other way to silence your conscience is to choose to live your life consumed by the destructive emotions of fear and anger and to never experience love.
This is a choice that leads to a life of unremitting self torment.
It is the choice that was made by all of the great monsters of history who were driven by fear to ascend to the pinnacle of state power and use it to slaughter other people by the millions.
People like Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.
The physical manifestation of evil
What is government?
What is the state?
Why does it really exist?
Please really think about that.
Is not the state simply an organization that forcibly robs from us and utilizes the loot to create and enforce all variety of laws with which to control us?
Recall for a moment the time in your life you were the most consumed by feelings of love and joy.
Picture yourself actually reliving that experience.
Recall the sights, sounds and smells that remind you of that moment.
Feel now as you felt then.
Now ask yourself the following question.
Is the existence of the state moral?
What was your initial gut reaction to this question?
Did you initially say “No”?
Did you then feel fear at the consequence of that answer and change your mind?
Did you search for a way to morally justify its existence somehow?
When you made this decision were you filling your sails with the winds of love or fear?
Do you accept the truth that decisions made under the influence of fear are not moral?
Is it moral to take what does not belong to you?
Is it moral to put a gun to the head of your neighbor and steal their hard-earned income?
Is it moral to stand by and not defend them as they are being gang-raped of their possessions by the state?
Is it moral to support and encourage the police state to inflict the will of the many on the few?
The prison system of the state is overflowing with people who have done no harm to any person who are being dehumanized, brutalized and raped as you read these very words.
Is that moral?
Deep down you KNOW it is not.
Why do you pay taxes when you know they will be used to finance barbarism?
Why do you vote when you know that the system would collapse without the consent of the voters?
Why do you refuse to resist evil?
Is it not because you like the security of believing that the things which you fear are being controlled by a big brother who cares about you?
Are you sure about that?
Do those coercion lovers who fight their way to the pinnacle of power truly have feelings of deep love for you? Is that what truly motivates them?
Even if it were true, have you ever asked yourself what price others are paying for your sense of security?
Do you have the courage to open your heart and allow yourself to feel the pain of your victims?
Is the existence of the state moral?
What is the state *really*?
The root of all evil is the decision to respond to the impulse of fear with coercion.
The state is an organization which exists solely for the purpose of enabling people to inflict their will on other people without ever having to look their victims in the eye.
As such, it attracts into its ranks the very worst elements of humanity – Those who are ruled by fear and who consequently actually enjoy using coercion against others.
The state is nothing more and nothing less than the physical manifestation of the evil that lies within us all.
The destruction of the state is a moral imperative.
But the way to do that is not by attacking the state itself.
Rather it is to focus on the force that gives rise to it.
The size and power of the state is directly proportional to the inability and/or unwillingness of the people within its domain to control their own fear.
Each time that each of us summons the courage to face and overcome our own fear instead of choosing to use coercion against another is a victory.
Overcoming fear in this fashion brings great joy to our lives because it enables us to live in harmony with our own conscience.
Conquering fear expands our comfort zone, and builds our self-confidence in our own abilities, and makes the world a little bit more beautiful than it was before.
And each time that one of us does this we deal a blow to the state.
In this fashion, love will overcome fear, good will triumph over evil, and the state will die a well deserved death.
The age of barbarism will come to an end and where coercion once ruled a new voluntaryist civilization of peace and prosperity will emerge in its place.
And in changing the world we will change ourselves.
After millions of years of evolution, our species will finally have transformed itself into one which has mastered fear.
Imagine what we could accomplish.
All of this can be achieved by the simple practice of choosing to overcome our own fear instead of using coercion against others.
All of this can be achieved by simply choosing to follow the Golden Rule.