The Nature of Evil

The Nature of Evil

The concept of evil seems to overshadow the concept of good in our society. Another way of saying that is “fear in a greater motivator than faith.” I open this thread to listen to others on this subject. Just please note I hope to address the subject of good and evil metaphysically, not materially or physically.

Are there two creative forces in the universe, one good as we in the west use the term and the other evil as we use that word? Is the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang as equal parts of All a concept closer to reality? In the Taoist sense, neither is designated good or bad. There is night (Yin) and day (Yang). Opposites, but both are part of a life cycle. Is the Torah concept from Genesis more on the mark: “God looked at all he created and said it is good.”? Or Job, “That which you fear shall come upon you”? Is the Christian concept, “As you believe so it is done to you” apropos? Perhaps the Buddhist concepts of Kusala and Akusala or Hindu KuKarma and KShema (Kushala). Perhaps none of them. Perhaps all of them. If there is an “evil” force in the universe, what is its nature?


     I don't think there are two forces in the universe, one good and another evil. Because the natural laws are the same everywhere and at every time and bring about indifferently good or evil. There are not two sets of conflicting natural laws, one responsible for good things and another responsible for bad things. 

The law of attraction, the law of entropy, these laws apply everywhere and are morally indifferent. They bring about good and bad events. They do not seem to be designed for one kind of event.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; Good is what you like, evil is what you don’t like. Purely subjective, purely perceptive.

Hi Waterlover

As I understand it, there are three creative forces in the universe. It is more normal during these times to consider just two and especially since the idea of the Trinity where God exists simultaneously as one and three is considered the ramblings of madmen. Yet regardless of these "expert"opinions, I find it necessary to try and understand it for myself.

I agree with you that the integrated functioning’s of these three forces taken as a whole is “good”. The statement “let there be light” is the statement of intention, of God’s “will” that comes into being as “good”

However, there can be a difference between the objective good and subjective good. Misunderstandings here were created and perpetuated since the days of the very first “experts”. Take for example the difference in subjective good from the point of view of a forest and one of its trees. For the good of the forest certain trees must die or not be allowed to live. Their seeds must feed the earth or be eaten by animals such as squirrels. The tree has two lives: its own, and its existence as part of the objective good of this organic process we define as “forest.” On one level, the needs of the forest and tree conflict but on another level, they are the same.

So for me, the division of good and evil doesn’t objectively exist at its highest level. The universe is a continual process the purpose of which is the transformation of substances. Every-thing basically is serving the complimentary proccesses of involution and evolution and is born, lives, and dies. Each creation is a blend of three forces in matter that varies in density and vibration in accordance with the quality of the forces permeating it. These forces I understand as the active (Yang), passive ,(yin) and the third force that reconciles them into “one” often represented symbolically as the unity of the triangle.

Subjectively speaking, evil only comes into existence in relation to our goal or aim. Man on earth in the sleeping fallen state defines evil by what denies him his goals in life. Someone mugs him it is evil. On a large scale, warfare considered evil.

But objectively speaking evil does not exist on earth. Is it evil when a virus destroys the majority of a bird population for a time or when a school of bluefish devour a school of mackerel? No. It is just part of the life cycle which is serving a cosmic necessity and therefore part of the good even though a mackerel may argue with you about this.

War is not the result of politics. Rather politics is the result of man’s level of being which attracts his life just as the level of being of a bluefish attracts its life. Collectively, when certain earthly and cosmic conditions correspond, war is likely to result.

Since man on earth is serving the same purpose of organic life as a whole, evil doesn’t exist for him. In fact no one does anything for the sake of evil but instead from their own conception of good. Now I must admit that when I first read this I growled for a month before beginning to see the common sense of it. The whole “What about Hitler” question was very strong.

Adam and Eve became conscious of good and evil as it relates to themselves within creation butit was not the right time. Man has the possibility of conscious evolution which is the change of his being itself. The objective “Good” of man is his evolution. It is what man can become from the conscious change of his “being” and the “evil” is what struggles against it once he has seen it. So “evil” from the point of view of man on earth is entirely subjective. But evolution is an objective reality so “evil” exists in man once he becomes conscious of what keeps him, as many traditions describe, “attached.” Where organic life on earth has reached the height of its evolution, man being dual natured, that is, not just the arising from the earth but the descent of higher, the possibility exists to evolve from the earth achieving states of being described differently in their own way by all the ancient traditions initiating with a conscious source.

Evil in the objective sense is defined by what denies this awareness of our potential for ourselves. We struggle with evil when we struggle with ourselves to awaken since the lives of our misconceptions are threatened by such knowledge and they do not want to die.

This evil is the force of imagination. It is the force that is taking the place of the necessary human function of conscious awareness or “Attention.” It is what denies us the impartial experience of reality which would provide the necessary impulse and courage to consciously grow in the direction of human evolution. All the ancient traditions speak of becoming aware of this imagination or “sleep” through awakening. But having become content with our imaginations and being surrounded by “experts” only a few “black sheep” can ever begin to surface and help the human condition in the objective sense.


In the Taoist understanding, there is no good nor evil outside of mind. If you say good, you have just created bad. Just as light creates dark. But this is always a concept within mind, and has no actual referent in the way. We will always have the concept of good and evil, as well as light and dark, because they are of our sense perspective. Only transcendence of mind allows us to see that good and evil come from the same mother.


I am open to all you have noted, but I think we enter the world of semantics when we say one god and three creative forces. The way Thomas Aquinas had to twist his brain into a pretzel to try to prove this was enough to make me cringe and couple that with the fact that Jesus never mentions it, it is not mentioned in the Bible and was not even a concept until the 3rd Century when Tertullian coined the term. I think it an unimportant concept except to those that support dogma. Remember Moses’ declaration: “Hear O Israel, the Lord they God is one God!” Which would actually be better understood if rendered as, “Understand, Israel, the gods of Genesis is really one God.” I rely on Moses and Jesus more than a religious leader who went on to believe that he communicated directly with god.

I am with you as well, but since evil only exists as the Yang to good on a subjective or human level does that mean that the Biblical notion of man being made in the image and likeness of god (who looked at all he created and said it is good) is just more fantasy or is there a metaphysical legitimacy to the myth? Is this where free will and choice come in?


Why did god warn Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

Why were Adam and Eve thrown out of the Garden of Eden after they ate from that tree? Is it because they began to see some things as good and others as evil and in mind they create a world of duality?

Does this connect with Jesus saying, “Unless you turn back and become as a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”?

Or when Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the sky they neither reap nor sow and their heavenly father takes care of them. What makes you think you are less than one of these?”

If there is no objective evil, then is Dr. S correct when he says that good = what you like and evil = what you don’t like? Is it that simple?

Dr. S
Does the statement “good = what you want and evil = what stands in your way” stand as subset of your overall definition?

Life on this planet is a gory spectacle, a science-fiction nightmare in which digestive tracts fitted with teeth at one end that are tearing away at whatever flesh they can reach, and at the other end piling up fuming waste excrement as they move along in search of more flesh… each organism raises its head over a field of gnawed carcasses smiles into the sun and declares life good.

Natural Law is under constant revision as we come to understand aspects of existence previously hidden from us. And even at that, we are only assured that the natural laws we think we know may apply to this planet and this plane of existence. An acorn grows into an oak tree according to natural law, but there is a school of thought that says that the oak tree is already present in the acorn. Once something is conceived in the creative mind it will manifest. Beethoven said he heard the Ninth Symphony in a simple moment and as single note. It took weeks to write it and it takes over an hour to play it, but he heard it in a single note. Was that Beethoven’s version of, “Let there be light.”? “Let there be Ninth Symphony!” A single eternal moment of conception and the manifestation on the human plane of time and space?

Yes, I see no evidence of a universal arbiter of some objective standard of ‘good and evil’ (which would be required for such things to exist)
These things exist soley as subjective judgement calls, interperative judgements.
Good is to each man what benifits him, what he see’s as ‘right’ through his interpretive lense. Evil is that which brings harm to him, discomfort, shame, pain, etc.
If good and evil were indeed objective and set, one man’s good couldn’t be another man’s evil…which is often the case.

Hi Waterlover

Well that takes care of that. :slight_smile: I’ll be interested to see how you answer these questions without it.


Lot’s of questions. I’ll try to answer as briefly as I can.

Was man created in the likeness of God? I have no problem with this with the caveat that my understanding wouldn’t fit well in ‘traditional’ thinking. In a processual universe, All that is, could be called “God”. As we emerge from the field of animated potentiality into being, we are a part of that which is, or a manifestation of that which is God. In the likeness of that which is? Of course. We cannot ‘know’ in the traditional christian understanding of that statement, that is beyond our capacity to understand, but as an event of particularness within the field of becoming, we have no choice but to be “in the likeness”.

Free will and choice? There is nothing else unless we chain ourselves to duality. To see directly and act directly out of our spontaneous nature is the exercise of choice, and from that, our free will.

Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge was the creation of duality. It is the moment of creating I/me, of abstracting ourselves away from that which is (God). A beautiful metaphorical story.

Yes, the 'fall ’ from Eden is the creation of duality. The abstracting ourselves away from reality The beginning of ego.

Do we need the mind of a child to enter heaven? Again, a metaphorical reference to the absolute need to transcend duality. A child has few pre-conceived ideas and sees reality without distortion. We cannot ‘see’ that which is, through the colored glasses of duality.

Jesus’ metaphorical ‘lilies of the field’ story. My understanding is that we needn’t seek out our way. We do not need an operator’s manual to function, but to release duality and live out of our given nature. We have heart and mind and that is all there need be, but only if we center ourself and and do that which brings benefit to others. Wu wei.

There is always good/bad in the sensory world. I would rather ask, is this of benefit to others? Will this bring harm to others? That which is good is my lot, as is that which is bad. Good and evil is within us, and what I choose to act out will be returned to me. There is no objective external evil. No place for saying ‘the devil made me do it’.

I cannot say that this is Tao, but only my poor understanding.


Thanks Tentative,
I will absorb what you wrote. I think that I am bollixed up trying to put together some thoughts.

A note to Nick and all:

First, Nick: I apologize if my response gave the impression that I was being dismissive. I was not. I think what I go on to say below will explain that. I concur with almost everything you said. The concept of the 3 creative forces (the Trinity) brought up such a swarm of ideas for me that I wanted to swat it away because of my own tendencies to get too bogged down in intricacies and stray off subject. You dealt with it in one paragraph. I would still be writing about it now if I were to address it and Aquinas and I would be inexorably linked as two intertwined pretzel-brains (as we were years ago when I first addressed this concept.)

To all: I am new at posting my thoughts in this kind of forum. I have refused to do so for many years now. I am internet illiterate for the most part and am used to exchanging ideas in a personal setting – in the presence of the people engaged in the process where there is immediate give and take and where facial expression, tone and inflection are as important as words – or through my writing – which tends to be rather long-winded and complicated because as I write down one idea other points of view on that idea spring up and I feel compelled to address them. That is why when I first-draft 100 pages it gets edited down to 30.

I can see where in trying to be brief on some posts I fall into a stylistic problem of appearing didactic and dogmatic. That is not where I am coming from at all. I do find myself getting annoyed with intellectual gamesmanship. I guess the issues are too important to me because in my day to day work (and life) I see how thoughts and ideas can have a powerful effect on people’s lives. I see how these understandings shape not only parents’ lives, but their children’s. Thoughts, ideas, prejudices and beliefs get passed on from generation to generation because people are not shown another way. Many are taught as children of one way of life and live their “lives of quiet desperation” because the way of life they were taught does not work. The quiet desperation is that they know this and feel trapped by it. It has been my experience that when shown a different way there is such an emotional release you can see the weight actually lifting from them.

I could go into a whole harangue about the failure of modern psychology but I will spare you. However, suffice it to say that it is of extreme importance to me that this “other way” be something that people can rely on, not someone else’s faith and understanding, but an understanding that is accessible to everyone. Not an understanding that is going to feel like it is undermining the faith of their fathers, but one that incorporates that faith. It is vital that people not be lead to another way that is simply going to fail them and their children again.

See what I mean about long-winded?

Best to all.

Hi Waterlover,

Welcome to the frustration of internet forums, where all we have to communicate is what can be expressed through a keyboard. For those of us who are accustomed to 3D ‘roundness’ of discussion, who sprinkle liberal amounts of metaphor around, who tend to be long-winded (I identify with that), it can be a whole bunch of fun. :stuck_out_tongue: You’ll get on to it. Every once in awhile, even I manage to be understood! :laughing: Kinda sorta…


Hi Waterlover

“other way”! Now you’ve got me worried. :slight_smile:

I’m more like the salmon swimming upsteam to get back to the source which in this case is help for the human condition. But various experts have devised so many new ways and improvements in the cause of imagination that it has just created so many more dams to jump

The essence of Christianity was alive and well in ancient Egypt where knowledge of the three forces was also known. Jesus, through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, made it alive.

The “Law of noncontradiction” seems so obvious that no one would think to question it:

It has become dogma for some. It is based on duality but in the context of the three forces, it is found wanting in both the external world and our personal inner world.

I respect the fact that it is important to you. It is important to me also which is why I put effort into it in real life. I’ve come to the conclusion that if our species is to continue it will require the sincere efforts of a minority that will be universally hated for their common sense. If I can help in that direction, it’s worth a bit of scorn. :slight_smile:

id love to stay here and chat about these terms, drink tea and eat crumpets, but quite frankly, i beleive perception cuts off the ability to universally define a word.
:sunglasses: maybe some other time…


I have seen an animal show on TV, it was about lions. Researchers followed the life of a group of desert lions for a long period of time. One of the females in the group never had cubs, but was always very eager to babysit others’. For years the cubs were always got killed and the adults were getting to the end of their reproductive life. Finally the researchers found the culprit. It was the babysitter. She must have had some medical problem to make her sterile, and she loved the kids, but at the and she killed them all, cosing the pride to die out.
For a lion there is no evil. For us this is a crime. We created evil as a category of things we should be afraid of.

Hope brings harm, love brings pain… are they evil? No. Evil is the intension of bringing harm and pain.