The more I think and see, the more I experience this world. This is what it is leading me to believe. There is no devil. But there are angels gone wild. A disproportionate number of pain and grief in the world is tied to the actions or choices rooted in good intentions. And there is a fraction of pain that is caused by course of nature, unavoidable and unpredictable.
I have tried to read both sides of stories for several conflicts in the world, current and past. Most violence seems to come from the idealistic visions of harmony. Most wars are just clash between just two difference ideas of peace. Most hate is just love blinded by fear.
Most pain seems to come from ethical debt and the collateral damage that results from it.
And there is no such thing as unethical behavior. There is only ethical debt. At times we don’t understand the consequences of our choices. At other times we do understand we are doing something wrong. We just have a justification.
Often a man plans an ambitious conquest with the desire of more power and in process ends up making a series of unethical choices. The justification in his own mind that “Once I have extra power, I will do more good and more than repay this ethical debt.” But power corrupts. Minds, ideas, opinions drift from what they were before becoming powerful. This ethical debt is forgotten. But it lingers in the minds of who suffered the damage.
Or else, imagine a mother wanting to protect her child. She understands that her child can get Malaria from a mosquito bite. Thus she decides to go on rampage and kill all the mosquitoes in the world. In the process, she disturbs the cycle of nature so much that ultimately her child is ends up suffering more. We are all like this mother when it comes to our family, our religion, our country. We go to extreme in some cases just to be protective, and the harm that comes from the collateral damage we inflict often outweighs the protection offered by the action.
Thus I am coming to believe, there are no devils. There is only forgotten ethical debt and collateral damage that came out of it. And then there is conscience blinded by the love of self image. We like ourselves when we are killing the devil. We like ourselves when we are fixing the world.
So we just badly want a devil, and make one up from the circumstances at hand.
Filed under: Atheism, Christianity, Fundamentalism, Hinduism, India, Introspection, Islam, Jihad, Life, Philosophy, Religion, Self Improvement, Spirituality, Thoughts, Zen | Tagged: angel, devil, ethics, harmony, peace, power, violence, war |