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About Good and Evil

Posted by on in General Ideas


There is no doubt that good and evil exist and no denying that most humans need laws that (one would hope), limit evil as much as possible. Watching the news, looking around, evil has the upper hand in this world and if it is not reigned in, it will continue and escalate in doing the dirty deeds. Good and evil is generally seen as an abstract concept and as such it is a product of the mind. Though it is universal, it does not necessarily mean the same for all. Requiring a system of values by which it is judged it depends on the morality of a single person, as much as on social norms or the prevailing culture at large. What is seen as evil or good can therefore vary though basically the good is associated with kindness and life enhancing experiences, and evil with malice and suffering. There is also no clear definition of the two, but that is not necessary anyway because they are really not ever misunderstood. In fact, they are incorporated in everybody far deeper than the intellectual mind suggests or perceives. Apart from the external variables that intelligence creates and its societal and cultural context, a person’s internal and emotional understanding of good and evil is indeed very much the same for all people, no matter where they come from or belong to.   

Good and evil have such an important role in human life that the questions of their nature and origin are of particular interest and hotly debated by certain groups of people, mainly in the field of religion, philosophy and ethics, social science and psychiatry. None however seem to have ever considered to go back the evolutionary pathway to find answers, though it is a very logical approach, at least since science has opened that avenue. 

Of course science cannot answer all questions. But science should not be excluded from matters concerning the elusive mind, or the aspects of an even more elusive soul. The exploration though, if confined to debates by interest groups alone, would be flawed, not only by bias but by design. Though the article emphasizes on the aspects of science, it is unavoidable to look at some theo,-philosophical aspects too. So please be patient and after all let us take the journey back in time, back to nature, the universe and its history. 

Sozieterna considers good and evil to be a fundamental force, such as the electromagnetic force is. Mechanical or ‘macro’ physics defines force as the interaction between two items (objects), one exerting push the other pull and because force is also a vector quantity, it has magnitude and direction. If the push is equal to the pull, the interaction is balanced, meaning, the object does not move or is inert; there is equilibrium. In quantum or ‘micro’ physics, forces are mediated by particles, in fact they are an interaction of ‘quanta’ between different charges or fields; and, particles can also be waves, having a dualistic appearance and property. Moving up the evolutionary ladder to the fields of thought, good and evil are still a force though no longer affiliated or associated with its origin in matter despite behaving in the same way. There is still the to and fro and opposing direction, (with hardly ever balance in sight), and they are a dichotomy or an antagonistic duality. They depend on each other and there is constant interaction between their charges, their opposing poles or fields, one positive (good), and the other negative (evil). Though the poles or fields may be seen to be separate items, depending from which end you look, overall they are a unit. Good and evil can never come alone, they are just like day and night, or black and white, or God and Devil, or like in physics, positive and negative charges. Seeing only one but not the other is deceptive and erroneous. Or isolating them, as it is done in some instances, causes significant confusion, serving only the moral stalwarts who worship one and condemn the other. It does not make the world a better place. 

Sozieterna, though making no claim on being right or wrong, nor insisting to be the only one to have such philosophical stance, does not separate, nor consider them to be only an intellectual construct, the fabrication of an overactive mind so to speak. Some readers may feel challenged to shift their focus for a moment from their convictions to another concept than they may be accustomed to. It means at least for the moment to accept good and evil as a unit, with the intrinsic potential of one containing the other as the Yin and Yang emblem symbolizes, or to see them as a coin with two sides. The value is the coin, not one or the other side of it. So, God can only be both or He is neither.

Sozieterna does not share the view that God is only the ultimate expression of the Good, or simply put, the one side of the coin. Many have pondered about the question why God, the Almighty, does not subdue the Devil once and for all, instead of allowing him and his evil to bring so much pain and suffering. It is simply due to the fact that God and Devil exist as moral ideals. One is desirable the other unavoidable. But ideals are not 'persona grata', they are as entities only actualized images of particle-force duality. There is really no one or the other, only the interactive both. It has practical implications, and Buddhism and Hinduism are far more realistic in their approach to understand the nature of and deal with good and evil than the Bible or the Koran. Of course, this is rather due to past cultural requirements and ongoing rigid interpretations by clerics who do not keep up with changing times and growing intelligence. Sadly, some truly got stuck in a time warp and refuse to let go of the out-worn old. 

To highlight the difference: the Buddha is transcending Good and Evil, and in Hinduism, Lord Shiva has tamed the passions keeping them perfectly balanced. Though all religions emphasize on the Good, it is the Bible telling of God casting out Lucifer, the unruly angel, who became the Devil setting up his own realm. Obviously, externalizing a problem does not resolve but relocates it. It is in fact symbolizing an event of creation (see below) but is emphasized on as a moral foundation, which is flawed and only misleading. It did not go unnoticed and the question, why God would do such a thing, is still open: ‘Tough love may be, or God was not in control?’ The coming of Jesus was definitely needed bringing with him the most significant change and important new orientation based on love. But the mixed messages remain. No surprise then, that many Christians lose faith and their connection to God, because separation of Good and Evil contradicts in fact the notion that He is All, (and really caring).     

Sozieterna does not judge the different ways good and evil fit into religious thought and teachings. Everybody is free to believe in God of any kind or persuasion as they wish, because Sozieterna knows, ultimately, no God is better than the other, or is the right or wrong one. That would only apply to idols. They also understand that nobody is just good or evil, both is within all, and they agree with the notion that ‘humans are created in the image of God’, just not in the way as it is usually seen. (This and other related topics will be discussed on their own merit or within other contexts on other occasions). But Sozieterna insists, man himself has to decide which side of the coin he wants to make his dominant feature. He cannot blame God or the Devil for his choice.

No doubt, many people need guidance, not dogma however or subordination. And man need not despair either, because Good and Evil can live together, if the balance is kept right. (See the blog on ‘peace’ for some reference). Or just look at the atom, having equal numbers of positive and negative charged particles makes it the stable atom it is, which in turn keeps matter neutral and makes life possible. Man lives in fear, how can he ever win? Well he can’t, he has to make peace. So how do you reconcile good and evil? The answer is actually simple, but I leave it to the reader, to answer it. To be fair, - simple does not imply it is always easy.        

Sozieterna can never see organic life, including the highly intelligent, separate from matter, all-encompassing matter that is the universe itself. Organic life is part of this evolution and intelligence is inherent in all. Even a simple beetle has its intelligence, though of course of a different kind than is expressed in humans. 

There is also no question for Sozieterna that wherever the process of evolution begins, be it the ‘Big Bang’, ‘Strings’, ‘Membranes’, cell mitosis or human conception, there is duality from the beginning, from every angle and all the way. Duality is two-sided or has two parts and can mean, they complement each other, or are antagonistic, seek unity, or repulse each other. This or the other way, duality is an essential ingredient of nature, from the beginning to the end. All nature strives for the utmost sublimation possible, unity, not separation, though separation started it all; already there you have the duality, or opposing fields. 

Good and Evil are an antagonistic duality, and as we have heard, as a force they have opposing interaction, heading into different direction, just as if they wanted to move apart, and bring on change. You may blame Good and Evil for creation or blame God for casting out Lucifer, no matter how you view it, it marks the significant event of separation and hence the beginning of something new and an end to what was. Sozieterna does not put blame on anything of course. They love life and they love the beauty that is in it. They love also the Bible’s story for the obvious reason though do not agree with the image of God and Devil the way it is portrayed. 

Clearly, nature is neither good nor evil but the intelligent mind is, and the mind attaches the moral tag. And yes, nature can be cruel, but only intelligence causes intentional hurt. The battles of good versus evil are the battle of one’s own consciousness, and soul’s unbalanced charges. The attempt to eradicate one or the other is futile, but to neutralize, balancing them is necessary. Ever wondered where conscience comes from? Well it is right there from the beginning, because the balance between positive and negative charges, and after all Good and Evil, has to be kept within a sustainable range.

But let us look at the evidence that this world of matter can or has so far provided to show the curious mind where the origin of the concept of good and evil lies, transformed and shaped by the developing intelligence of organic life. The story begins at ‘ground 0’:

“Once upon a time there was a tiny, tiny dot, named ‘Singularity’, that was all alone in an ocean of ‘Nothing’, or ‘Dark Matter’ it may be. It was so full of energy that one day it could not contain itself any longer and it stretched out to give itself some space. But by doing so it made a ‘Big Bang’, and it burst and it walked right into the Planck Epoch, spilling out all that could not be contained anymore. And a bloom of cloud followed the firework it unleashed that, in less than mini seconds, dispersed into a sea of whirling specs, flurrying away from the hot plasma soup that it was now, known as the plasma-gluon state. And it kept expanding, inflating like a balloon, getting a little less hot during all this huff and buff. One may see this event as a firework display with all its magic unfolding in a dark matter sky, or one may say, ‘all hell broke loose’.” 

Of course, in reality, no firework or even explosion took place, though expansion did, followed by inflation. There are also some holes in the theory and the brains have a lot do, to actually find the ultimate answer, the so called “Theory of Everything”, but where this article’s interest lies, most of it is well proven. The reader must however look up the details in the literature himself as it exceeds by far the purpose of the topic discussed here.

As already mentioned the present and most accepted theory is the ‘Big Bang’ theory, where history of the universe begins with the ‘Singularity’ suddenly expanding into space and time, or the space-time dimension. This ‘Singularity’ is likened to a sharpened pencil head, the one point,  that, containing all and everything, gives rise to a still unfolding universe as humans observe it today. One may liken it to a seed that suddenly germinates. That analogy is however only used later for the birth of the stars and galaxies, which evolve from clusters of small dense clouds of cosmic gas collapsing under its own gravity, ‘the seeds’.  

Any of the measurements applicable to the size of the singularity and that of the universe, including time, in its earliest stages are so minute that the human mind can actually not really comprehend it. It is more nothing than anything. To give some kind of an idea, at the stage of the singularity’s expansion, called the ‘Inflation epoch’ or ‘cosmic inflation’, the universe is the size of a grape-fruit.

In the ‘Singularity’, containing everything, no concepts or rules can be applied but with the ‘Big Bang’ everything changes. Expansion, inflation are thought to be caused by phase transition: as the immense temperature cools the freed energy acts as a repulsive force expelling matter, breaking off unification and symmetry, creating gradients and charges. With distance comes direction, and there are two ends, or two poles and there is space and time, a beginning and an end. All thanks to the expansion, and no matter how small such an expansion may be, at least one dimension, (if not all three) makes its mark; time is a consequence not a simultaneous event. This is however not the point of interest here. Of interest are the fundamental forces, in particular the electromagnetic force and the electric charges of the fundamental particles. 

So, from the initial ‘Grand Unification’, where nothing is separated, one by one, the four elementary forces, - gravitational, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, do separate. The gravitational force is the first to do so and well ahead of the others, but as one force after the other depart, the elementary particles such as quarks and electrons, bosons, tau, gluons, photons, neutrinos and muons, and their antiparticles emerge, some carrying electric charges, such as quarks (positively charged), and electrons (negatively charged). By the way, the positive and negative symbols of electric charges were arbitrarily allocated for the practical reason of science’s theoretical work. So quarks could have been called negatively charged and electrons positively. It only shows how quickly the human mind customizes and associates: “Electrons could not possibly be positive, and negative could not be positive ever, isn't it?” However, the significance is that elementary particles carry two kinds of electric charges, and are the absolute must ingredient for matter. Without it, no universe! Quarks and electrons are essential for the formation of the atom. They carry the atom’s charge, which is 0, because protons (composite particle of three quarks and 1 neutron), and electrons are in equal numbers, meaning, solid matter is usually neutral.

As we know from physics and electrodynamics, same charges repel, opposite attract. One can muse about that, because who is not familiar with the notion that interaction between humans can be of similar nature? How often have we heard about good girl being attracted to bad boy or the other way round?  

Electromagnetic force and the electron are not only fundamental but also extraordinary versatile; they are the drive of everyday matter, e.g.: part of the atom, governing chemical reactions, and underpinning all forms of phenomena, - light, magnetism, thermal conductivity, and more. And quarks are the most prolific particle, forming the proton, which is the most common composite particle in the universe. 

Though creation has such a positive and somewhat magic association, seen through the human eye, the process of creation is nothing but; filled with destruction and violence, particles colliding, smashing into and annihilating each other, relentlessly pushed to fuse under heat and pressure, nuclear splitting and gas implosions, you name it, the birth of the universe was extremely forceful and violent. It is a story of Life and Death, of turmoil and upheaval, where the good and bad is interchangeable and where both could be and were in fact the other at the same or the other time. This interchangeability is still applicable today, be it in the realm of matter or the mind. For example, flooding rivers fertilize the soil, fires help propagate the germination of seeds, and intense heat and pressure produce a most lustrous gem. And don’t we know the quote, ‘The way to hell is led by good intention?’ 

The violence in nature finds its expression never the less in the refined matter of the mind and its intelligence. The more refined matter becomes, the higher is the level of intelligence and the easier it is for the spirit or soul to emerge and manifest. It is no more than the process of evolution, but with it, good and evil evolve too. Its expression intensifies, and with the intentional acts of good or evil, humans truly take the crown. The evil minded knows no happiness with no one to blame but himself. He hates all that is good, because he lives in hell and therefore creates it for others. You see, one does not need to be dead to live in hell.     

But there is no point of waiting for divine intervention. If man does not take care of his own destiny, nature will take care of it by default. He has to realize that the evolution of the universe superimposes his. He can join in, but cannot go against or without it. It is therefore up to human kind to make the “quantum leap”, for the next step in his evolution. Homo sapiens can progress, but no less will do.   



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