Saturday, 16 July 2016
How to defeat evil
Like everybody I have been shocked and deeply saddened by yet another example of man's brutality to man. The inevitable question is raised: what can we do in the face of such evil?
Some people have posted prayers, asking for their god to intervene. Others have pointed fingers at a particular group of people to say 'Its their fault'. Most I think just feel helpless and some perhaps don't think about it at all as it hasn't happened to them or theirs.
My own answer is that I think it starts with every single one of us. It starts when we think of ourselves as 'us' and another human being as 'them'. They might be people of a different religion, or no religion. They may be people who support different politics. They may have voted leave... or remain. They may have been born in this country or they aspire to come here to live the good life. They might have a posh house and aristocratic ancestors, they might be begging in the street or burgling your home. They might be black, white, female or male. They may call themselves freedom fighters while we call them terrorists. They might just be people who piss us off. We all, myself included, have people or groups of people we think of as 'them'.
But as soon as a person becomes 'them' to us, they become smaller. They are less important, less worthy of respect or even human rights. It gives us someone to blame when things go wrong or when we don't get our own way. It gives us someone to hate, or at least to feel superior to. In short, 'they' become the enemy. And the more people who agree with 'us' and gang up against 'them', the safer and more right we feel.
So I have decided today to do my very best to root out 'them' from my life and to see all people as 'us'. It is going to be hard as I am a very judgemental person. It is going to be hard because it bolsters my ego to be agreed with and to be part of 'us'. It will be particularly hard if I meet someone like the human being who used a lorry to mow down children. But I believe that, until we do this, evil will triumph and we will keep experiencing events like that which happened in France.
I know people will say that by taking this approach you condone evil people and evil acts. They may be right. But I think to confront evil at its source, we need to look into our own hearts, rather than others. Anyway, it's worth a try.