“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2: 17)
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23: 7)
In my view, there is no such thing as good or evil, no matter what the situation. Some people might argue, surely there are evil acts such as abuse or murder etc? My view is that it depends on your perspective. I believe life to be a series of experiences unfolding in what we refer to as time/space, where one can experiment without judgment, in order to determine what works for the individual. Later, I shall discuss how an event that was considered to be evil is now considered by many to be good.
Within the human experience is the belief in good and evil; right and wrong. Things are either considered both good and bad, or good or bad. We even see ourselves as having good and evil tendencies. Have you ever been to a job interview when you are asked what your strengths and weaknesses are? I have felt like saying: “Actually, one of my weaknesses is that I can be a right bitch!” Imagine the look on your potential employer’s face. Well, you did ask.
Ideas, in my view, mean nothing without practical application. Here’s an example of an everyday event in my life that could be seen as both good and bad. Have you guessed what I’m referring to? Travelling by buses, of course.
There is a particular bus route I use sometimes. The buses used to be served by double decker Route Masters. A Route Master is the old-fashioned bus with an open back door. I find these buses fun because you can jump on and off whenever you like, which has given many a bus conductor cause for concern, particularly if the passenger is jumping off in the middle of traffic. Apparently, many passengers have been injured while trying to get on/off a moving bus. Over the years, the bus company has been systematically replacing these buses with single-deck and double-decker buses which have doors that remain closed during the journey. This bus route recently replaced their buses with a new version – a single-deck bus that resembles a tram. Because of the way this bus bends while moving, it is affectionately called the “Bendy Bus.”
Here are a few reasons why I consider the Bendy Bus to be good and bad.
I think this bus is good because it is slow and you can relax and enjoy the journey; on the other hand, it is bad because it’s slow and takes way too long.
This bus is good because it has loads of space and standing room, therefore, it can carry a lot more passengers; on the other hand, it is bad because there are fewer seats for passengers.
This bus is good because you don’t need to buy tickets from the driver which means the driver can focus on the job in hand; on the other hand, it is bad because the driver is so focused that he is disconnected from passengers and hasn’t got a clue when passengers need his help.
This bus is good because you need to buy your tickets in advance so you can get on without having to queue up; on the other hand, it is bad because if you don’t have time to buy tickets in advance, there is no opportunity to buy one on the bus.
This bus is good because there is no conductor to hassle you about tickets, and no conductor parading up and down the bus; on the other hand, it is bad because it’s nice to have a conductor to ask him/her for directions, and some people feel a lot more comfortable having a conductor around.
What is considered good ends up being bad and vice versa. Of course, “good” and “bad” are mere concepts. That’s what the mind is like, give it a reason to find good things, according to your definition of good, and it will find it; ditto bad. You can prove anything to be good or bad. In the above example I am merely playing with the terms “good” and “bad.” As I see it, I have simply listed ways of experiencing the Bendy Bus; they are neither good or bad.
Another example of an experience that could be conceived as both good and evil is what happened to the biblical figure, Jesus. Whether it happened or not, millions, possible billions, have based their faith on this figure. First of all, let’s take the man who betrayed him – his disciple, Judas. On the one hand, Judas could have been considered evil for betraying his Master. On the other hand, when Jesus was resurrected, the same Judas, if he was still alive, could have been considered a saint, good and courageous for doing the deed. Someone had to. I’m sure Judas has many followers.
It is written in the scriptures that Jesus already knew what he was going to experience and tried to console his disciples as follows:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John 16: 20)
Just as he had predicted, Jesus was crucified; the disciples wept and the world rejoiced. When Jesus was resurrected and he appeared before his disciples, their sorrow “turned into joy.” And the rest, as they say, is a massive following. Thus, the crucifixion could be interpreted as both good and evil.
It is also written in the scriptures that when Jesus was being crucified he said the following: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34) Why would Jesus say this if he couldn’t see beyond the experience? As for those who wanted him crucified, they didn’t know any better, they were only acting according to what they believed to be true.
What about what goes on in politics? I remember when New Labour won the landslide victory here in the UK in 1997. The newly elected prime minister, Tony Blair, could do nothing wrong. The New Labour slogan was based on the pop group, D Ream’s song : “Things can only get better.” That song was played ad nauseum. Now the same Tony Blair is considered a “bad” prime minister whom people can’t wait to replace. Well, if you think someone is good and bad, the person is bound to meet your expectations. C’est la vie!
In the same respect, if you believe the food you eat is both good and bad, what gives you strength is going to make you weak. What gives you life is going to kill you. When I was a child and didn’t like my food, grown-ups used to say, “what kills not, fattens.” The implications were there that food has the potential to be good and bad.
What about one’s personal experience of the world. If you think your body is both good and bad then you are not going to feel at peace with it for long. The body will seem to work well for a while until…somewhere down the line it will turn against you.
There was an Anti-War demonstration yesterday in central London. I think it’s all well and good for people to do what they believe to promote peace. My opinion is that peace starts within. How can there be peace outwards when you are at war with yourself? When we stop fighting against ourselves by accepting all that we are without judgments, peace will reign supreme, according to your definition of peace, naturally.
There are some things that are good or bad depending on social mores of the day. What is considered good taste ends up being bad and vice versa. I have observed this phenomenon within the Fashion industry.
Let’s go back a few years. A woman is about to go out. She says to her husband: “Darling, does my bum (bottom) look big in this outfit?” Her husband says it does. Bad! Fast forward time to the present. Another woman asks her partner the same question and he replies that her bum is big. Since it is now fashionable to have a big butt, she doesn’t mind. Good!
I took a bus into town yesterday. Because of the Anti-War demonstration, it took me 3 hours to arrive. By the time I got there it was too late to go the shop I wanted so I waited for another half an hour for a bus to take me home. What a productive journey that was! Bad! On the other hand, I used the time to ponder and was inspired to write this article and a few others. In actual fact, the journey turned out to be very productive. Good!
On the same bus journey I saw a little girl and her mother. The girl, aged about 5 years old, was making her own protest: “I am not feeling hot and I am not feeling cold. I am not feeling nothing.” I thought to myself, “good for you little girl for transcending the dream of duality.” On second thoughts, maybe I should have said, “bad girl, for being so cheeky.”
I see the world as opportunities to experience life, without judgments. Things are the way they are. It is one’s belief that attracts people to experience such and such . For instance, if I ever want to arrive quickly at my destination, I don’t get a Bendy Bus and expect a miracle, I catch the tube (underground) or the overground train. If I wish to have a nice relaxing ride, I catch a Bendy Bus.
For me, fighting against something is like an incident I witnessed this morning on another bus. When my bus arrived, it stopped behind another bus. When it was time for our bus to move on, our bus driver honked at the bus in front, indicating he wished the bus to make room. In my view, our driver had ample room to reverse the bus and overtake the one in front of him. When the bus in front would not budge, our bus driver reversed and overtook the bus. Did our bus driver let it go? Oh, no, he had to make a point to show how angry he was, didn’t he? Our driver opened his front door and had a go at his colleague for getting in his way. I see this as meaningless. Then again, who am I judge? For all I know, my bus driver may very well have been looking for a fight.
My life is a series of choices. I have had experiences which some people consider to be bad, such as abuse. You could ask, would a child choose “abuse?” All I know is I experienced a reality where abuse was part of that reality, where the people concerned didn’t know any better. In my view, this experience had a purpose, it gave me insight into the human condition. It is not something I would choose to repeat though – “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.” Neither do I consider it good or bad. It was simply an experience.
I believe experiences are opportunities to help me realise who I am. It matters not how an experience is labelled. My truth is I am awareness, the one behind the various masks, passing off as an experience.
Am I a good or a bad person? Neither. I Am.