Tag Archives: evil

Both Kinds of Good

It should be said (at least one time in jest)
that in the world exist two kinds of good
to separate what matters from the rest,
for use by some discerning soul who could

in keening the true nature of a thing
believe their observations to be fact,
and, damned be the naysay blabbering,
to light the world with simple, subtle tact.

To say the thing could scarce but make it so!
The world believes the magic of such words,
and will, despite what evidence may show,
imagine rocks transformed to cooing birds.

And what are these two parts of goodness named?
The pointing finger, and its share of blame.

14 MAR 2015

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Divine Intervention: Blessing or Curse

For a while, it is comforting to think everything happens for a reason. But honestly, MOST people who lay that on as a platitude mean that it applies when bad things happen to YOU. Just like so many go around with, “God is good” on their lips when they’re in clover, but blame others when the chips are down. There’s even a Muslim proverb that states, “Everything good in my life is thanks to god; the bad things, the rest, are my own doing.”

When people think of divine blessing, they usually think of largesse, of abundance, of ease and the absence of strife. A divine curse, on the other hand, is usually the opposite: ruination, famine, loss, defamation and sadness. If the presence of the divine is in both, who is to say which is the preferred state, at least theologically?

Diversity and conflict define us as individuals in a way that blissful homogeny never can. It is only along the fault lines that the world grows.

A loving god, like a loving parent, wants us to grow, right? And like a wealthy father (and by definition any divine being surely qualifies) they surely want “to give us enough that we can do anything, but no so much that we need to do nothing.” There’s a balance between hard and easy, convenient and difficult, joyful and painful that MUST be the underlying composition of any divine gift or inheritance.

The Buddha I think had it right when he proposed, “all life is suffering.” We suffer when we are without, surely. Without food, water, shelter, opportunity, we wither. But at the same time, unwarranted (or should I say untoiled for) abundance creates another kind of suffering. Without challenge, without effort, we become weak, shallow, malleable and cruel. Of the two conditions, the complacency inherent in luxury is the more dangerous, if not to the “soul” and our spiritual health, then as the result of the “rich man’s” problems (i.e., diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, obesity) that the majority of oppressed, underprivileged and cursed of the earth are blissfully free from.

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To Live Unveiled: an anagram

If there is evil in the world,
some vile persistent force for ill
that while we live pursues our souls
in secret, behind beauty’s veil,
I wonder at its silent spells.

Because when all the world is still,
when you can listen close enough,
there is no dark-masked murmuring
beneath the roar of living’s sea;
and even on life’s jagged coast,

where quiet inlets wait, unmapped,
to enlist unwary travelling ships
and lure them into mire and doom,
I’ve found no trace of infamy,
nor any signifying mark.

09 NOV 2010

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By Faith Alone

Religion is not the enemy; it is just a tool
employed by those who would control
and those who seek to rule
by any means to make it seem
as if this world is just a dream.

It’s not great evil or great good;
it does exactly as it should,
considering why it was made:
to keep in silence, and afraid
to challenge why the poor remain
and their hard lives
are filled with pain.

For if this world’s a proving ground,
it should be so for all;
instead, it’s playground for the rich,
and workhouse for the small
who’re told that they’ll inherit
the whole next world, in due time.
And the powerful are happy
as long as each week, in long lines,
their labor force goes willingly
to hear how they should wish
for more of the short end of the stick
and fill the offering dish.

To know is to have learned it,
and by use, to understand.
To believe is just to claim to know,
by learning second-hand.
But faith is more: believing
in the absence of all facts,
or when facts contradict belief
or are against it stacked.

And that’s the tool religions use
to subjugate the throng:
convincing you something is true
when sense tells you it’s wrong,
belittling your lack of faith
when you express some doubt
that those in power should be there
and you should be left out.

19 MAY 2006

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Ambrose Bierce

Despite the bitterness that hits the tongue
when you first taste his clever barbs of prose,
and one’s initial gumption to suppose
his wit just tiny pearls amidst some dung,

there is in Bierce an underlying faith
in humankind, despite his cynic’s guise;
it shows itself no matter how he tries
or fancies life a trifling, mundane waste.

His sorrow, I think, comes from knowing much
of the dark underbelly, which he fights
against by piercing shadows of the night
that meet the world of light at twilight’s touch.

To chronicle life’s whole palette is his aim,
beyond the lines and simple white and black;
and so, his characters are flawed, and lack
the standard heroes’ virtues. In his frame,

the villains wear the white hats, and the good
can be perverted or mislead by ruse;
great ladies, too, pass wind; the mighty lose
to freaks of chance, when you least think they should.

With Ambrose as our culture’s looking-glass,
we gain needed perspective on ourselves;
the less authors like him are on our shelves,
it’s far more likely that we are an ass.

07 MAY 2005

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In my inbox this morning

(edited slightly for content and privacy)

I like you train of thought. I was in church this christmas eve to see my little girl in a play. I heard the preacher talk about Jesus (you know the one from Nazereth), being the “Prince of peace”. I thought you know this just dosen’t seem right. I mean all throughout history people, mainly governments have used his name to cause suffering, misery and conflicts all over the world. I wonder what he would think about that?

Any way, I thought of creating an orgainization called x For the purpose of promoting peace worldwide. Not a religious organization. God is Good Religion is Evil pretty much sums up my religious beliefs.

I have some really good ideas on how to make the organization grow exponentially and really making a differance. Would you be interested in working with me in this endeavor?


(and here’s my response, again slightly edited)

Dear x:

While I am flattered that you think my participation in any organization devoted to the purpose of world peace might be useful, I am sorry I must decline. At this point in my life, I feel that organizations really make little difference if the individuals who comprise them have not “made their peace” with themselves and their immediate surroundings first. After all, of what good is a hypocrite who attends peace rallies and then goes home and grumbles about how loud his neighbor’s stereo is, or yells at his dog? I think you get the point. All the organizations in the world will not do what is required, which is to change each single mind, one at a time? What that requires is that each individual who is interested in peace act peacefully — and from that small ripple in the pond, echoes emanate endlessly to all shores. That is the exponential growth that is needed, I think. To start with an organization, no matter how noble its intentions, that does not have as its core that basic belief — that individuals, not organizations, make the difference, is to pursue the wrong means, at least for me. And the means must justify the ends — after all, they define it if, as in my life, the journey, not the destination, is the whole point of existence.

As for the Prince of Peace … I have often wondered why such a prince would require such an extensive army. That seems to defeat the purpose. After all, peace-keeping is NOT peace-making. It is only punishing hatred with the threat of reciprocal, impassionate violence. And THAT surely is not Peace.

Thank you again for your kind words. I wish you well in your endeavors.

Happy Holidays.

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If they should tell you all the world is full
of evil, and there’s nothing without sin,
that life’s bitter extent is but a test
to grind away transgression from the heart,

the better to prepare your way elsewhere,
or that salvation is beyond our grasp,
enmeshed in esoteric rites and laws
requiring a third party to reveal,

know this: they haven’t listened to the word
that fills the universe with life and breath,
but learned about the sacred second-hand.
And should they tell you that they speak to “God”,

or know “His” plan for you, just smile and nod,
and seek the source if you would know the truth.

13 MAR 2004

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