In the Taoist “Yin Yang” symbol (representing the balance between chaos and order), there is a little chaos in order and a little order in chaos. Or you could say a little light in darkness, and a little darkness in light.
There’s so many things this applies to in reality and life. One I want to focus on today is the battle between good and evil. “It seems you cannot have good without the potential for evil. If there was good without evil, it isn’t really evil, because you wouldn’t have a choice. Good has to be chosen over evil, it’s the choosing that makes it good”.
The fallen archetype is evil because it has chosen it over good. And it seems that most evil is done by people imagining they’re doing good. No one thinks they’re the bad guy. For example the church burning and drowning women they saw as ‘witches’. Or Hitler killing Jews. Adolph Hitler read Nietzsche, mistook the diagnosis for prescription, and proceeded to act out the worst of the scenarios Nietzsche could imagine, ironically incorporating precisely that nationalism and anti-semitism that Nietzsche most despised.
“Evil is the force that believes its knowledge is complete.” – Jordan Peterson
There’s many more examples of this in history and all over the world today, it’s what one of the great thinkers, an author and self-described agnostic mystic Robert Anton Wilson termed ‘The Right Man‘.
The Right Man is always right, “the Violent Male—the extreme form of the Right Man1—edits out the suffering and pain he causes to others. That is only appearance and can be ignored. In The “Real” Universe, the victim is only one of Them—one of all the rotten bastards who have frustrated and mistreated the Right Man all his life. In existential reality, a large brutal male is beating a child; in The “Real” Universe of self-hypnosis, the Right Man is getting his just revenge on the oppressors who have abused him.” – Robert Anton Wilson
“The totally convinced and the totally stupid have too much in common for the resemblance to be accidental.” – Robert Anton Wilson
In Taoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are also perceptual, not real. Everyone feels correct from their perspective.
“The pride of the intellect: The intellect is the most incredible human capacity. It is the highest of all human capacities, actually. However, it is also the thing that can go most terribly wrong because the intellect can become arrogant about its own existence and its accomplishments, and it can fall in love with its own products. That’s what happens with ideologies. You become obsessed with a human-constructed dogma of which you believe is 100% right, and it eradicates the necessity of anything transcendent.” – Jordan Peterson
“In a conflict, each side sees itself as good and justified and the enemy as evil.” Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD
“Reprehensible acts are often disguised by intentions people have convinced themselves are good.” Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD
“People who do evil have justified the morality of their actions to themselves in some way. By convincing themselves their behaviour is moral, these people can separate and disengage themselves from immoral behaviour and its consequences.” – Albert Bandura
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an un-uprooted small corner of evil.
Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.