Love to everybody. Hope you are all doing well in the pandemic. I am talking about the pandemic of psychopathy and narcissism.
While i was growing up in my 20s, i was the quintessential nice person. Nice means a person who never got into conflicts and never had any enemies and was liked by everybody. I was also very well read and aware about the world. Would please everybody. I was lucky and was a prodigy so always had plenty of opportunities and choices for work. Nice however is very different from Good. Nice is not a bad thing either but it can get you in trouble. We will come to the point.
I was that way because i thought everyone is good and in fact I am even now. It is hard to change your fundamental thinking habits. Infact we can say that one of the tenets of spirituality is to see god in every living being and never hurt anyone. And to love everyone. And believe that the intrinsic nature of all humans is actually good. Thankfully a lot of people do this. It is very hard for them to believe when you narrate them stories of evil. They would say “why would someone do like that?”. Even, I used to be like that. You can leave the doors of your house open thinking “why would somebody steal?”. After all Jesus said that God created man in his own image.
It is understandable that some people might do something bad in dire necessity. Having dire circumstances is debatable. It is hard to tell what will you do in such a situation unless you have been in such a situation yourself. But we will not talk about that. Duryodhan was under no circumstances. A rapist or a violent husband is under no circumstances. They do have food, medicine, clothes and shelter. There are plenty of other examples. What about stealing someone’s manuscript and publishing it in your own name ?
Evil used to be much more blatant in prehistoric times. The predatory parts of our brain are much more older than the more evolved frontal cortex. It means, long long back everybody was a predator. At first violence was the only way to climb up the hierarchy and secure resources to survive and reproduce. Then came in cunning and deception. The idea that power and control should be given based on other criterias much later on. Plato gave the idea of Philosopher Kings – the idea that only the more nuanced thinkers should be up in the hierarchy. We also have democracy where leaders would get to the top by popular mandate. Hierarchies are always going to exist but we don’t want selfish brutes and egomaniacs to get to the top. And these people are naturally more driven by power and control. Hence in the political arena, they have an innate advantage.
In treta yuga, if you are an asura and want to establish your dominance and control on someone, you can simply invite them for a physical confrontation and settle it. Asuras would mostly live in different communities and not mix with more evolved people. In the Mahabharat era, it became more sophisticated. In today’s cosmopolitan culture, it has become much more sophisticated. Evil has too evolved a lot and become very complex. Although the fundamentals remain there. Why did Duryodhana hate Pandavas ? He could have given 5 villages. Why would he always call Pandavas as “cowards”. Because they didn’t want to fight with him ?
Can we define evil ? The closest I can come to is this – “evil is the force of nature or the force of human psyche which wants to twist, turn and bend reality and truth”. For the purpose of acquiring power and control over resources. You will also find that a majority of evil in today’s society especially in the interpersonal conflicts is not done for power or control. Not even for vengeance. It is emotional currency. Your very existence and your normal good values and virtues and behaviour makes me feel humiliated and hence I want you to feel the same way. Hence i am going to plot to destroy you.
The original primitive human nature is what is called psychopathy. Although modern psychiatric manuals define it as “AntiSocial Personality Disorder” (ASPD). Perhaps because psychopathy is a dehumanizing term. And science aims to make it a treatable condition. There is very little effectiveness so far. These people don’t consider themselves sick. They think of themselves as a genius. As i said evil has evolved a lot in the current era and it doesnt work like it used to work earlier. In fact there can be another article or a whole book about it.
In Gita, chapter 7, Bhagwan said that human beings are fundamentally divided into good and evil. “I cast them (fallen souls) again and again into the wombs of those who are like them”. Actually, it is also true that crime runs in families and there can be a genetic component.
Mahabharat has also shown us that good can sometimes use shady and cunning means in the service of higher values. Communists also claim that in order to establish the proposed utopia, it is okay to use violence against all those evil people (which in their definition means people who own any private property).
Nietzsche announced that God is dead. But it was not a triumphant proclamation as it is made out to be. He was talking about most people leaving religion and becoming atheists would lead to nihilism – a state of mind where there is a complete loss of all values, meanings and ideals. He was even quite prophetic in saying that this would lead to mass psychosis and bloodshed. It happened in the world wars. Extraordinary cruelty was displayed. In the nazi and soviet concentration camps, they didn’t just want to kill – they wanted to give them a cruel death. Some great writers of world war era who experienced good and evil in the camps also concluded that the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. Everybody deep inside knows what is right.
Let us go ahead with that original idea. That deep inside our hearts we all are good and we know what is right and what is just. Just that we lose touch with the self to varying degrees. Evil psychopaths are so far from the truth that their worldview is 180 degrees opposite of the truth. So they come up with wierd ideas like “perception is reality”.
It is not a binary, rather it is a spectrum and people are at various places in the spectrum and our job is to pull ourselves and others to left. The leftmost is Sainthood and rightmost is Satanhood. I wish we could develop a metric which can measure where we are on the spectrum. Spiritual Quotient. It is probably a gaussian probability distribution.
Coming back to the original point. How do we conduct ourselves in such a world. We won’t be able to fight evil and cunning easily. Most likely we will lose. Because we are not capable of cruelty and don’t have it in our nature to hurt others. Evil people have practiced this their whole life. We need to awaken our inner psychopath but with good ends and intentions in mind. Perhaps that is what we can call good. So that you know one when you see one. Our intuitions can take us so far in the diagnosis. But what about the medicine ? What about knowing how to react ? You should be able to become evil and cruel yourself but you have it under voluntary control and will only deploy it when the situation demands. Imagine how hard it would have been for Arjuna to fire on Bhishma.
If your primitive brain is not very active and it gets over stimulated or shocked. You can get PTSD. It is basically our brains snake circuit always in alarm mode signalling that a predator is around you and it needs to be convinced that you are safe and nobody is out to destroy you. If you stay in this mode for long and have nothing to latch on to, you might fall into the underworld yourself. That is concluding that human beings have no moral worth whatsoever and all humans deserve to be dehumanized. That is what the satan ultimately wants. To recruit more people on their team.
Thanks for reading. I am new to spiritual practices. I have to repair myself. I currently turn on mantra chants and ask Godess to destroy my delusions and follow swamiji school of wisdom.