THE HOME OF
GOOD AND EVIL
Where can goodness possibly live? Is it a thing? No. Is it alive? Of course not. Then it cannot be anywhere on its own then. For where could a non-thing which is not alive possibly be or live? It is with God you say? Well, what is that? What is this God you refer to? What’s that you say? God is everywhere present and evident. Why do you make such a claim? Oh, how could it be otherwise you ask me? A little frustration and anger in your voice. Just look at the trees you say! Or the human eyeball! You ask if I think these things come about simply on their own. Was there just a “poof” and a random series of events leading up to these things? Yes, I answer, it does seem there was a “poof” at the start of it all – at least that’s how it seems from our current knowledge and perspective, though I don’t know what was or happened before that, and I daresay neither do you… What’s that? What are you muttering about faith? And as far as random, I think that’s kinda true and accurate, random seems to play a role in the events which are the material of selection. Random events like genetic mutation give rise to life features—like long limbs or arched feet—which allow the better adapted to go on living and make more copies of themselves—through reproduction—than their rival less favorably endowed. But, you argue, these changes only occur in small ways, “micro-evolution” you call this? What you are calling “micro-evolution” is simply evolution seen across a short period of time. Successful great changes require much longer periods to try and fail different options and slowly propagate the successes. We don’t live long enough to watch these changes unfold such that fish become salamanders, which then become reptiles, which in turn give rise to mammals and eventually us. You can’t see this happen without a time-machine, though you can cross time quite easily through geology and biology guided be reason. What? You are still going on about faith? Where is your Nobel Prize for anything discovered by faith? We have much better ways to uncover and know what is true.
So, where then beget good and evil? What? Again, with God? I might believe you if, and when, you prove your God is real. Talk to me more then. For me, I can see no other source for good and evil besides ourselves. Where is the good in a stone? What evil is the sea? Does starlight have malice? Is there really any anger in the wind? Good and evil are our designs and opinions. These are weak in the mind of just one. Weak and fleeting. As fleeting as that one’s brief life. Though when we find consensus with others regarding what is good and what is evil, well then, we’ve got something to show and talk about. We have found the home of good and evil.
Destroyer of worlds
I made something since my friend Eric became done. We never once spoke of this thing during our talks at college, as I think we were both then far too young to see beyond life's many distractions. But more on that later perhaps... This thing I made–found really–consists of Objective and Principles, life guides I might perhaps call them? I made (found) and kept these for myself, collecting them mostly from things discovered across the years, like seashells picked up while walking along a seemingly long stretch of shoreline–cloudy with fog–extending the length of a lifetime before and behind. A cold northerly shoreline; shrouded in mute clouds, obscuring the true distance ahead and making the view behind a blur of indistinctly remembered shapes and forms–remembrances of what may or may not have truly been. The sands along this beach fade to gray in the near distance–disappearing and merging with the forward clouds. There is a deep silence always ahead; not a sound of waves, or of bird call, nor of anything. Why is that? Would he could, I think my friend Eric would already know the answer...
But there are things in the sand. Interesting things...
I have collected and assembled the best of these found things on a shelf within my mind and have assigned someone I call the Homunculus to curate the collection. This Homunculus is an utter fool, though there is nobody else inside me to do the job–so I am stuck with him. But he is such a dummy. He thinks sometimes he is immortal. Even the memory of Eric kindles his vain suspicions. But I digress... The point is, my Homunculus is the caretaker of these things he and I have found, though he may sometimes read more into them than the things truly deserve. It is my–his–sentimentality. And who can blame us that?
My Homunculus watches over the discovered Objectives and Principles like treasured photographs on a shelf. I assigned him to curate their utility...but mostly he only keeps them free from dust, and sometimes imagines more into them than they deserve. Such a waste of effort... But what is a mortal to do when there is nobody else to do the job? Bottom-line, the Objectives and Principles work. They appear sound. Quite sound, indeed. Though honestly, I wish Eric were around to take a stab at destroying them. I bet he could find some fragile failings I have missed. Oh, how I wish Eric could shatter the glass on my cherished little collection of photos, my curated assembly of found things. Better still, if he could kindle a worthy bonfire and then make such sound arguments to convince the Homunculus and me to transfer the found treasures to the flames. Eric was always that kind of worthy friend to me. Always a destroyer of worlds.
Walking the shore with seashells in my hand
I have such a small and precious set of values—objectives and principles to guide my life. So very few. Each one is precious to me, as an object and guide to better living. I found these along the way of life, ideas begun with someone else long dead, passed to me through example and word of mouth down time. I found these precious things laying about within the books I have read, and the admired actions of others which I have seen, and with the consequent ideas I then made my own with perhaps just a little repair, polish and shine. And now I carry these small values with me always, like a worthless, precious treasure clasped close within the mind, as like a handful of seashells found while walking along the beach. And I demonstrate these things to others when I can, carefully, through careful words, considered actions, and especially my willful and decided inaction—as what I choose not to do is often the greatest illustration of what I hold most dear.
Values are like shells collected at the shore
Reflective of preference,
And carried in our hand
While walking 'till sundown
Dropped at last,
With the arrival of night
Or possibly passed...
To those who will walk another day
As a father, I have tried to carefully show my grown child these things which I have found and now carry. I have shown her these by the way in which I walk, and how I talk, and also when I neither walk or talk, and instead simply allow my eyes to express my considered, willful effort and intent. And if I have done these things well, then maybe she now carries some of these small treasures too, like a handful of her own found shells by the sea. Maybe she knows a little better now how to step well where the stepping is difficult or unclear, or how to say more clearly what might be most helpful to be said...or when to remain quiet, when she understands that silence alone is sometimes simply enough.
Notes from my muse
I define evil as the deliberate and willful negation of the well-being of thinking creatures. What we’ve begun doing to the children of illegal immigrants in the name of deterrence is evil. There are better and far more humane ways of handling the issue of living in a country where the less fortunate want to live. Let’s not become evil people.
Evil is a concept that only exists in the minds of those who can conceive of it.
Moral governance is a too blunt instrument, though it sure feels good in the hands; hard, weighty and sound. We can do better.
Always trust living conscience over deceased dogma.