Good vs. Evil

To understand the concept of good and evil, one must consider the definition of “evil”. The Apple Dictionary defines it as “profoundly immoral and malevolent.” To clarify, “immoral” is defined as “not conforming to accepted standards of morality”. By this mark, yes, humans in their natural state are evil. However, one must also delve deeper and consider that “accepted standards of morality” have changed continually throughout the ages. It is then that one must ask oneself, “How can one be sure they are not being evil?”

To understand morality, a baseline must be established. Humans in their natural state are neither good nor evil, but that doesn’t mean that “regular humans” wouldn’t perceive some of those neutral actions as ‘evil’. For example, a toddler in kindergarten who has not been taught manners will take toys from another child without asking, as this is the way of the wild. People would interpret the action of “stealing” the toy as evil, but that is just because they have already been conditioned by society. The alpha-wolf gets to eat first because it is stronger. It is capable of taking the food from the weaker wolves. Toddlers are, in a way, animals. If left to their own devices without intervention from authority figures, toddlers will eventually form a hierarchy of sorts, the strongest child having all the toys and food it wants. On another hand, primates kept in captivity have shown signs of humanity after being surrounded by “properly conditioned”, normal humans. Wolves are not evil for asserting dominance based on strength, nor can unconditioned humans be considered so. Upbringing is the conditioning humans go through. During the upbringing, basic moral grounds are set. The conscience is brought about, and children are taught fundamental differences between right and wrong. Studies have shown that the conscience and all moral thought is cemented before the age of five. If a child is not taught the fundamental differences between right and wrong during that time, they will be generally considered evil by society.

Society perceives the unconditioned human as evil. However, society itself is an unreliable measuring device. Merely more than a century ago, it was considered commonplace to own and trade slaves, discriminating one human from another based merely on race or socioeconomic status. Today, it is obviously considered profoundly immoral and therefore evil. There is no reason to believe that something else we consider commonplace today will be considered profoundly immoral 100 years from now.

How, then, can one truly tell what is good and just? Steve Taylor, Ph.D. defines it as “‘a lack of self-centeredness. It means the ability to empathize with other people, to feel compassion for them, and to put their needs before your own. It means, if necessary, sacrificing your own wellbeing for the sake of others’. It means benevolence, altruism and selflessness, and self-sacrifice towards a greater cause – all qualities which stem from a sense of empathy. It means being able to see beyond the superficial difference of race, gender, or nationality and relate to a common human essence beneath them.” (Taylor) Continuing on Dr. Taylor’s train of thought, the character known as the Doctor from the TV series Doctor Who recently said, “hate is always foolish, and love is always wise.” (Moffat)

These quotes all portray a concept that is beyond ordinary definitions of morality or standards of society. A concept that separates humans from other animals: humanity. Should one ever feel like their moral compass could use a recalibration, they need only remember that the definitions of good and evil aren’t necessarily important or even accurate; but humanity is something that is innate to every person, should they delve deep enough. As the Doctor said, “always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind.” (Moffat)

Works Cited

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time. By Steven Moffat. Perf. Peter Capaldi. BBC. BBC, 2017.

Griffeth, Jeremy. The Book of Real Answers to Everything. Sydney: WTM Publishing and Comunication, 2011.

Griffith, Jeremy. “Good vs Evil.” 2011. The Human Condition. <https://www.humancondition.com/good-vs-evil/>.

Taylor, Steve. “The Real Meaning of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’.” 2013. Psychology Today. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the- darkness/201308/the-real-meaning-good-and-evil>.

Does God Exist?

Does God exist? As long as the concept of an omniscient and omnipotent overlord has existed, the human race has asked the question: “Does God exist?” It can be argued that this is the oldest question in the universe. However, I disagree. I think the oldest question in the universe (or at the very least, the first question that any being would ask as soon as they are capable of thinking) is “why?” This question can be found at the root of every science, philosophy, art, and religion. It is the explanation for the modern interpretation of God. In The City of the Shadow Realm – a novella I wrote – an ethereal character states, Religion is a construct of the human mind that was designed to help them cope with their fast-growing intelligence. Thousands of years ago, when humans were beginning their climb in the scale of knowledge, they started to ask too many questions to which they were unable to acquire answers for. They invented religion to explain away phenomenon they couldn’t grasp. (Bajaj, 2016)

As I stated, the “God” many religions have come to accept does not exist. It was and is an explanation to something beyond limited human understanding. The Greeks were one of the first recorded civilizations to practice religion. They believed that Zeus was responsible for thunderstorms, and Poseidon caused tsunamis. They invoked the name of Ares when going to war, and blamed Aphrodite for love. For every phenomenon they did not understand – every time they asked “why?” to an unanswerable question – there was a God to explain it. This, in my opinion, was nothing more than a fallacy they told themselves, because human nature cannot handle a question without an answer. I would not go so far as to say that there is nothing beyond death, and I still believe there is some form of transcendent energy that controls the universe. However, I do not think there is a corporeal, sentient, or even conscious God as depicted in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. I believe God is energy, a primordial spiritual power that exists beyond time and space. God is a law of nature, and is nature itself. God exists to be called upon by the beings of the universe. In The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, the Law of Attraction is elaborated upon, described as energy in the universe. Byrne states that “Your power is in your thoughts, so stay awake. In other words, remember to remember.” (Byrne, 2006)

To paraphrase: our thoughts create reality. We can imagine our lives the way we want them to be, and it will happen. Is this not how God is commonly thought of? People go to places like churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and shrines to pray: asking their God for the things they want and need. In my opinion, there is God in all of us. Every being that has ever lived has had God inside them. This is because God is thought, and thought is God. People do not need to go anywhere or pray to any specific being to ask of the energy we call God. However, one should not ask for anything. If you ask for something, it means two things: you do not have what you are asking for, and you are not showing your gratefulness for what you have.

When you want to attract something into your life, make sure your actions don’t contradict your desires. Think about what you have asked for, and make sure that your actions are mirroring what you expect to receive, and that they’re not contradicting what you‘ve asked for. Act as if you are receiving it. Do exactly what you would do if you were receiving it today, and take actions in your life to reflect that powerful expectation. Make room to receive your desires, and as you do, you are sending out that powerful signal of expectation. (Byrne, 2006)

So, am I an athiest because I don’t believe in a God? Or am I a thiest because I believe in some manner of higher power? It is not as simple as that; I would define myself as an agnostic non-deistic thiest. That is to say, I believe in a God (I am a thiest), I do not believe that God is a deity (non-deistic), but I’m not one hundred percent sure of my beliefs, and I accept that fact I could be wrong (agnostic). To conclude: I believe in a God, but not in the traditional sense.
Works Cited
Bajaj, Satraj Singh. The City of the Shadow Realm. 0.4. Vol. 1. Toronto, 2016.
Brietbart, Peter. Atheist, Gnostic, Theist, Agnostic. 2009. <http://web.archive.org/web/20140325160011/http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/09/25/8419/>.
Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret. Ed. Rhonda Byrne. Beyond Words Publishing, 2006.

Doing the Minimum

It’s disappointing when doing the minimum one needs to do to get paid, and reliance on the insurance industry to pick up the slack when one fails to do even that, becomes normal. But it’s worse when, rather than showing the moral courage and owning up to it, one uses lies, rudeness and offences to cover up one’s incompetencies.

Doctors need to have skills greater than the sum of the books they’ve read. Even a simple computer program can look up diagnoses and prescribe medication per established protocol by following a flowchart; and AI can probably do better than most consulting doctors. I came across an elderly person who lost the use of his legs because five doctors all came up with the same wrong diagnosis. It seems that either their need to respect each other’s professional opinions exceeded the need to correctly diagnose the patient’s health or they were all equally incompetent and looking up the same book.

Lawyers take on more and more business while actually doing less and less work, most of which is delegated to law clerks who in turn do the same, due to the safety net of making the client pay for insurance, so if anything goes wrong in a transaction, including due to their incompetency, they are not only safe, but actually get paid by insurance for more of their billable hours for filing the claim for the client to get reimbursed.

Banks are similar. They actually do not check the signatures on cheques under $1,500 due to the volume of cheques. If they do wrongly pay out a cheque, and provided the client notices, they have 30 days to recall the funds they incorrectly paid out (if it was to another bank), failing which there’s insurance to reimburse the client.

Insurance brokers make a killing on fear mongering, like there isn’t enough of it already. First pay premiums to cover the various risks, then not file a claim in the event of a loss, so as not to risk being dropped by the underwriter for filing the claim. Because being dropped by the underwriter would end the recurring revenue stream for doing pretty much nothing after first raking in the client.

“Professional” is a word that gets thrown around a lot in almost every context. Everyone considers themselves a “professional” in the sense that they are highly skilled at their craft and conduct themselves in a commensurate and ethical manner. To me that word simply means a person who charges money (as opposed to amateur) for whatever they have managed to make a go of in their lives.

I could go on and on – from people offering to help (for a fee, of course) to so-called “professionals” and businesses, everyone seems to be in a race against time to amass as much money as possible while doing the bare minimum possible.

Is Knowledge Detrimental?

When people ask the question “can knowledge be detrimental”, I always think about how ironic that is. If knowledge really is detrimental, then even the knowledge of that is detrimental. It isn’t as simple as that, however. There is a saying: “ignorance is bliss”, and to an extent, that is true. For example, if someone is bad at keeping secrets, then they shouldn’t know something of a sensitive nature. The secret-keeper will feel burdened by the secret, and the secret-giver will be hurt if the secret is revealed. The secret might be for the benefit of a third party, who will also be hurt if the secret is revealed.

In the popular anime/manga series Attack on Titan, humanity lives within a walled city surrounded by man-eating giants known as Titans. The residents of the wall have been living there for a mere century, but believe that they have been there for much longer. Furthermore, they believe themselves to be the last of humanity and completely isolated. They don’t know, however, that they are merely on an island off the coast of Marley, a country who they (the island of Eldia) lost a war to 100 years ago. The king of Eldia modified the memories of the Eldians and marooned them on the island, completely isolating them from those who would seek to harm them. The king obviously thought that the knowledge of a world beyond the walls would be detrimental to the people of Eldia, so he shrouded his citizens in blissful ignorance.

Another example would be the series of novels written by Jeanne DuPrau; specifically, The City of Ember. Ember is a city located deep underground the Earth, hidden away and populated by people who were raised not knowing there is a world beyond the cave in which they dwell. The City of Ember was created by the Government as a contingency plan for human survival, in the event that the impending nuclear war would wipe out the rest of the population. The first generation of Emberites were instructed to raise their children to know nothing of the world above, so that they would not try to surface from their safe underground dwelling prematurely. Once again, the government officers in charge of the Ember project decided that knowledge would indeed be detrimental.

However, in both of these examples, there was a flaw in the plan. In Attack on Titan, the Marleyans sent undercover soldiers to destroy the walls of the city and let in the man-eating Titans. The Eldians were blindsided and massacred, not prepared for an attack and unaware of what to do. If they had known about Marley, they’d have been able to expect an attack and prepared. In The City of Ember, the time capsule (containing instructions on how to exit Ember and knowledge of the world above) set to automatically open well before the Ember supply stores ran out, was misplaced and not found for hundreds of years later. The lack of knowledge put the entire population of Ember at risk. The city was on the brink of electrical failure (which would plunge them into absolute, deadening darkness) and their food supply war running low. It was a fluke that the protagonists found the capsule and led the city out of the long-past-due-to-fail Ember.

In conclusion, knowledge can be detrimental, but one must consider the implications of ignorance too, which can be equally harmful.

Equality vs Equity

The call for equality, whether it be based on race, gender, age  or such is based on the fallacy that it’s about fairness.  On the contrary, it’s anything but fair, and what we really need is equity, because unlike absolute equality, it takes into account individual needs.

A patient belonging to a race that would not do well on a certain medication would be foolish to demand a similar prescription as a patient of a different race that it’s suited to.  A woman suffering from menstrual cramps would not do herself any favours by insisting on standing when a chivalrous man offers her a seat on the train.

Fact is, we are all different, and even being the same person, from moment-to-moment we vary in physical and emotional characteristics, various abilities and circumstances.  We aren’t even equal to ourselves!

Sexism Still Exists

“The women’s liberation movement is not really a liberation movement. It is in fact just the opposite: it is trying to imitate man, to become as hard as men are, to do whatsoever men are doing. And remember one thing: if women try to imitate men they will always be carbon copies; they will not attain to their fulfillment, they will not attain the full potential. And they will always remain lagging behind. And they will become ugly too! The real liberation movement has not started yet. The real liberation movement will insist that the woman has to be more and more feminine, that she has to be rooted in HER nature, that she is not to follow men in retaliation, in reaction, in rebellion – that is stupid. No reaction ever helps. The woman has to be herself.’
— Osho, The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty

Not many people consciously realize that societal values have over the past few decades resulted in become increasingly oppressive of men. Men’s rights have been stifled in the pursuit of women’s rights, at least in first world countries – but to an extent in third world countries as well. Neither men nor women are, or ever can be, superior to the other, and therefore it is essential that both genders liberate themselves to be who they are without the need to prove superiority over the other.

Some Feminists have been pretending that their goal is to abolish all gender discrimination and differences – no matter how reasonable. The reality is, that this type of feminist isn’t really a true feminist at all! They are out to punish men, guilty or innocent. They routinely make domestic violence accusations just to get even, with no burden of proof or prosecution for perjury, and accused men are neither accorded due process nor considered innocent until proven guilty despite their reputations, jobs and money being at stake.

Both women and men seek empowerment, and both have at some point, believed to have it. However, true empowerment is giving yourself the permission to be who you are without hubris or ego, without the need to prove something to yourself or others around you.

The unfortunate reality is that a large proportion of women, citing patriarchy and oppression by men, as a weapon of covert emotional abuse, guilt men into submission so they can dominate and ill-treat them on an ongoing basis. They even taunt men with sexist clever remarks like, “Age – few women admit theirs and few men act theirs”.

Men are ordinarily considered to be at fault due to their physical characteristics; and these pseudo-feminists leverage such gender profiling by dictating that men are naturally oppressors and women are naturally victims. All women are acutely aware of this societal advantage, whether they choose to take advantage of it depends on their definition of right and wrong. The knowledge of this is passed on to future generations through the school system. For example, while violence by a girl towards a boy is often overlooked, never is violence by a boy against a girl condoned, and with no heed to the physical characteristics of such boy and girl, especially considering that in school boys and girls are at vastly varying stages of growth and development and as such it is very common to find girls who are bigger and stronger than many boys. An example of this is when I was in the seventh grade. I was walking around during lunch and a ninth grade girl who was significantly stronger and taller than me, approached me and swung me upside-down by my feet. She proceeded to kick and punch me repeatedly, just for the savage pleasure of it. When I managed to get a foot freed, I kicked her and ran away as she dropped me. An hour later, I was called to the principal’s office and reprimanded for hitting a girl! Where is the logic!?

Similarly, if a woman were to slap a man in public, other women would likely cheer her, and men might say he asked for it. If genders were reversed, other women would be appalled and protest, likely report to the police and a chivalrous man would step in to protect the woman. Why the difference? Society has men convinced that they are always the ones at fault, which is a form of emotional abuse; they believe that the man deserved it, whereas women as a collective look out for each other.

Another example is, if a woman were to tell her friends that she is the one that cooks and cleans, her friends would think that she was being horribly oppressed and they would tell her so, perhaps offering to confront her husband. Conversely if she mentions that her husband does all of that for her, her friends would say, “He really loves you”.

The sexist double standards of modern society are evidently in reverse. We have yet to reach true equality, and I fear it may not happen for a very long time. What we can do is try our best to treat everyone truly equal. We need to let go of social norms, societal values, prejudices and stereotypes to reach for a society where people can live in peace, equality and harmony.

Works Cited:

Posts by Gary Bajaj

Why

“Why is this happening to me?”

My answer is, “Drop the question”.

Why do we ask Why?  It’s because we want an explanation to justify to ourselves why we need to accept a certain happening.  However the pursuit of an answer overshadows and envelopes us, keeps us engrossed to the point where we lose sight of the reason we asked Why? in the first place.

We get entangled in a quagmire of questions in the pursuit of answers.

The question Why?, while thus starting out as a means to an end – the end being, getting an answer in order to be satisfied, and as such being able to move on – ends up becoming an end in itself – as in getting an answer becoming our focus, preventing us from actually moving on – and thus becomes an impediment to our happiness.

Any way we justify them, all explanations are just that; explanations; and are worthless as their pursuit detracts from being happy, regardless of what the answer is to the Why.

Success

The definition of failure follows one’s ideas of what success is. I believe that success is being happy, yet unhappiness isn’t failure; it’s a temporary, passing condition, so recognize it for what it is.

Love vs Money

Money may not be the answer to all problems but it does make life a bit easier. Knowing that you don’t have to choose between feeding your kids or yourself, you aren’t one paycheque from being homeless and your car won’t be repossessed, has to make you feel a little happy. But beyond that, there are completely miserable and bitter wealthy people. Many truly believe (even if it’s subconscious) that the diamond ring will make them happy, that luxury goods will make them happy, the big house will make them happy. It doesn’t.

The problem is that people don’t seem to realize that no amount of money or “things” will ever bring any kind of real “life satisfaction”. It will bring some comfort, luxury and ease of living (maybe), but nothing more. Not even if money is simply considered a form of security, because they are tons of financially secure miserable people.

While arrogance or lack thereof is all about character and not how much you have in your pocket, money and/or the stuff, anything from a 2-carat diamond ring to placate the wife at home to the women at the strip club that you buy with that money, does exacerbate the problem. He who has the gold, makes the rules. Sometimes the money maker is not arrogant, the people (family members, friends) around the money maker, using his/her money are arrogant.

Then people crave something more, something priceless that money can’t buy. Like love. But unfortunately, once they find love, they forget why they sought love in the first place; because money and everything it could buy, bought them no happiness. So they look for money to complement the love, which is reasonable to the point it fulfils one’s basic needs, not numbs one to reality and brings one back into the situation where one was willing to swap money for love.

Do not seek to be loved at any price, because love has no price.

— Paulo Coelho

Beliefs

The biggest destroyer of oneself are one’s beliefs, if such beliefs lead to other than one’s happiness. We emotionally cling on to and defend our beliefs as defined by our observations, deductions and experience, even contorting logic to support and reinforce them, so they become irrefutable facts. Our reality then becomes how we see and interpret the world through this window.

“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
— Alan Alda