“Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Part 2–It’s God’s Fault (how unsatisfying) or Amor Fati
But even if you hold to the notion of victims, then here is the other big question: Why would anybody be cruel, be the villain who victimizes the innocent?
You can argue two ways here: Those people (all of us at one time or another) choose to be cruel–for whatever reasons, by whatever personal history. Or, they_we don’t know they are being cruel. Usually that comes with arguing that perpetrators simply feel they are pursuing certain good ends, albeit through means that are certainly cruel on the receiving end. To those who are cruel either by choice or out of some sense of purpose the ends justify the torture or mind games or rape (don’t know how on that one) or whatever ends up hurting one or many.
Often cruelty, or anger, or rage/violence, is a last desperate act. One of outsized aggression and power, born of frustration, fear, powerlessness—it’s a call, a cry for help, a last attempt to be heard. The pain of an imbalanced life on the inside and/or outside is too much and acts are taken against a seeming enemy.
There is cruelty for revenge. There is cruelty for justice. There is cruelty to gain an advantage. There is cruelty for a cheap thrill. There is cruelty, mostly for power. And mostly out of a life of a perceived lack of power, or love.
As it plays out relentlessly in our lives–in the news and on screens and stages–the line of what is real and what is “entertainment” blurs. As it is, many actors prefer to play villains. And people fall for them too. There is an allure to the bad guy, and there is an allure to being bad. A thrill. At a certain level it can be a very sick thrill. Like firing a gun at people or animals and not targets. But most reported cruelty happens, thank God, indirectly to the majority, whether in news or fantasy–which means it didn’t actually happen to the gapers at all. When it’s really happening, not on a screen or by gossip, that’s a different story. But the following still applies.
The lines blur and we live in world of stories. Good and evil is the biggest story, the biggest myth of all. And as the many variations of that one main myth play out we learn that you really can’t have a super hero without a larger-than-life foe. The bigger the obstacles the greater the lessons and the more intense the climax. All that.
One of the main things about the bad guy is, besides not having a conscience, he or she is usually powerful, but here’s the thing: he or she is also fearless. (Part of being Evil, it seems, part of being Crazy.) Cruelty and misuse of power has an element of conquering fear in it. The whole role may be based on massive fear, but the execution of the part usually shows a remorseless, fearless killer.
Let there be no mistake, there is massive fear in the backstory of the evil character. Fear of the “Other,” fear of power itself, fear of being betrayed, or being wronged, or simply and most likely, fear and immense frustration and anger that is leftover from having suffered repeated previous cruelty. Insane unleashing of rage does not come from nowhere. In other words, it is a response, a reaction, often like a string pulled repeatedly and violently until it snaps. This is what makes up most cruel characters.
Here’s the sad part: I_You_We all play into that narrative because what do we want when we confront a villain? Justice with a capital J, which is simply frustration and vengeance delivered in a white hat.
The most powerful villain in Western mythology of course is Lucifer, the Devil. A fallen angel, he started as good as a character can start. God’s favorite. The Morning Star though, turned bad, by and because of heated choice. (No angel even has choice, quite the running metaphor in our oldest religions eh? This freedom of choice, the knowledge of good and evil. Cast out of Heaven or Eden for exercising choice.) And now this disgraced angel is almost all powerful, with the incredible power to take men’s (and women’s) souls out of their bodies, out of reach of God even—usually by playing on the “victim’s” own greed.
These different sort of “chosen ones” may or may not suffer on Earth–but afterward look out! Their soulless selves are condemned to a perpetual, miserable, fiery not-end. Eternally returning to and suffering massive pain, the stuff beyond dread. (Interesting this mythology, because what it says is the soul is a thing. Something that can be lost or given/sold away. A soul as a thing is not even close to the Truth, but it makes for good theatre, good drama. Instead, we are souls wearing bodies and nobody can separate us from our essence. However, and where all of this stems from, is we have the power to delude our selves. This is a crucial point.)
With a limited perspective on our immortal, eternal Being as Soul, what do we fear most? Death maybe, but even more so, pain. With death the pain ends, right? But not if there is Hell. Hell is where there is only the hope of death, but never-ending excruciating pain. Hell and pain have many other faces, as does Evil and the Devil. But we attribute those powers to so many on a daily basis that we forget we made it up, and that Lucifer is a character, a role, meant to teach us Contrast, the power of our unpredictable free will, and how to use that to believe in Love, no matter the circumstances in the present. Oh wait… too soon??? Not really. It’s been a long time coming to finally get past these old myths.
In Truth, I_You_We create evil. I_You_We create cruelty. We act it out for our own purposes or because we have let things get so bad we have almost no control of ourselves. There are those who abuse power. Too many in fact. But we let them don’t we? Whether in a democracy or a dictatorship, I_You_We let them hold the reins. Why would we give over such power except because of fear. Fear to confront, or a feeling of helplessness. All because of a fatal ignorance about the fact that I_You_We don’t really die. So we have nothing to fear.
When we understand that a bully can only make us feel pain for so long as we allow them, and that they are the fearful ones, we regain our power. But sadly, might keeps making the rules across this planet. Bullies still arm themselves with their gangs and guns and take what isn’t theirs. We really don’t have to hold our tongues, or walk in lockstep any more. They only have power for as long as we give it to them, and they can’t really take away our souls. (The repeated hitch in the story, one that we have to get past, is that usually those who overthrow the bullies then become bullies themselves, and the cycle keeps playing.)
But first you have to believe that you are eternal. And you have to believe that if there is God, and God is AllThatIs, then there really cannot be Evil. Not as some preternatural outside force that can work outside or beyond God’s influence. If there is “bad” in this world, then it is because God allows it. Just as Nature allows any event to play out in physical reality, simply because if it is here it is natural, then because of the nature of the gift of truly unpredictable free will, God allows us to create even the most horrendous stories. We can do anything, good or bad. And then we see how the balance plays out. And maybe from them we decide we might not want to experience that kind of thing any more. Which becomes a guide to our future decisions and actions.
(On a short side trip that we will return to next post: The other thing that most people don’t consider is the reincarnational aspect of our stories–especially the brutal ones. In some plays we are the good guy, in others we are the suffering innocent. It’s not really necessary to keep playing these morality tales–that’s the entire point of this blog–but we are still doing so in the early 21st century. We are playing out, directly and indirectly these victim and cruelty stories, but there are much better stories to live.)
Still, when the worst happens, we need some way of making sense of such unfathomable pain. The term I use—to make sense of the inexplicable, especially personal and group tragedies—is “Radical Faith.”Not just “sometimes faith,” for when it feels right. Faith at all times, in all circumstances.
Radical Faith is a perspective in which nothing isn’t from God/Our Soul/Our “Bigger” Self. Nothing. Ever. As we have been arguing throughout the Core Material, no thing or event happens in a randomness vacuum–without Meaning/Purpose/Reason or outside of AllThatIs. Including the worst moments. The next post will try to explain the mechanics of thorough accountability, and most of it is non-physical but let’s wrap up the introduction of this concept.
The radical part of it is that it is faith that never wavers, for any reason. It may be a small bad thing, there’s a reason. It may be an epically horrible event. Still a reason. It usually will be inexplicable in the near and maybe even far term, from the Earth view. But there is still a reason, or many, and it’s never out of nowhere or completely “random.”
The hardest thing to resist is blame. Blaming others for bad events and situations. From parents to horrible neighbors, it is way easy to tell that story. Blame is the other side of shame. For creating an event and avoiding knowing how it was created—through collaboration.
Most of the interpretations of this Radical Faith concept says you are “blaming” the victim for their unfortunate experience. Victims are not to be blamed for creating horrible situations. In fact, take out the word blame and substitute “credit.” I know it sounds unbelievably callous, but there is a connection between the word credit, and roles played—in theatre and cinema. I think we can credit victims (and I suppose perpetrators even though it’s so distasteful) for the courage to create and live through really painful, ungodly awful experiences, in the hopes of learning something really important and lasting.
When you look back at a turning point in your life, even a painful one, you often are grateful, right? That event changed your life. But you would never have learned that lesson—usually a big moral—without that pain. You know the phrase “And they lived happily ever after?” That doesn’t usually follow an easy ride.
It’s hard to put things into context without a great deal of time usually, and there are those who will never forgive. But except for the most extreme cases, perspective does come later. And even in the most extreme cases there are those who forgive, for their own peace of mind, but also because they learned a valuable lesson that they couldn’t learn otherwise. Trial by fire, going through hell, but coming out the other side a better person, that’s how heroes are born.
This is where the Hell myth breaks down. There always is a reason for pain, no matter how bad, and it doesn’t last forever.
I coined Radical Faith based on learning that there is a Jewish prayer of thanks recited at funerals. How can you give thanks when so much sadness surrounds the fact that somebody has passed out of existence seemingly forever? But it’s there. I think it is the Baruch dayan emet and here is a link to a further explanation: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1582773/jewish/The-Jewish-Blessing-on-Death.htm
It’s Bashert. “Meant to be” is of course fatalistic. But there is a far bigger meaning to the process—involving many actors and choices and agreements—than the usual connotation of fatalism. The old connotation says you have no choice in the matter. We are passive victims of events occurring to us. As you will see in the next post, choice—our glorious unpredictable free will—is part of fate. Maybe the new interpretation of fate comes closer to Nietzche. Amor fati.
There is also the phrase, used in the hardest times, “This too is for the good.” It’s easy to say that when things are good. It’s radical if you say it when things are bad. If you trust a greater purpose in any possible situation, then that is what I call Radical Faith.
All of these words are not meant to just be philosophy. They are meant to be tested, put to use and tested. To see if they add value to one’s experience, help bring peace of heart and peace of mind. These words are useless if they cannot improve one’s life.
The biggest upside to believing in meaning and purpose to everything and everyone is a sense of freedom, freedom from fear. With death a non-starter, and pain being temporary–I would argue that pain is most of the time an indicator of imbalance—then there is no excuse for fearing any moment, in the large sense, and for not trusting that there is a way out of the worst ones. It’s a far bigger freedom than that of those fearless villains. It’s freedom from villains. Freedom to stand up to bullies, and for the innocents. And freedom to not be a bully.
Nobody in their right mind would consciously choose horrible tragedies, especially if there were any other way. Right? But we have to wonder, in looking back, about the crazy number of coincidences that have to occur for certain events to play out—good or bad. You have to look at those who missed that plane, or called in sick, or slept late and wonder what they might have known on some other conscious level to avoid being part of the tragic story. As well as why those who were there, were there.
What it really comes down to is My_Your_Our God. If I_You_We think that there is evil, then My_Your_Our God lacks power at a certain turn. If My_Your_Our God is all-encompassing goodness and love then whatever evil occurs must have purpose and cannot be random. So if that is My_Your_Our God then evil events are chosen for a reason by all the participants, bad and good. For what? Learning. (Maybe also for “entertainment” and the experience, but that is really out there and will draw serious flames.) But “bad” events only happen because what needs to be learned has been avoided for so long that a really extreme lesson becomes the method. And ends up a powerful story with a mythic moral.
But that is the old Way. If we understand we do not die, that life is a story, that pain is real, but not necessary, that fear is to be conquered and may be the only evil (okay along with greed and jealousy and blame), then perhaps we can start to decrease the really ugly, sadistic, masochistic, cruel and unusual story lines and events that keep playing out here on Earth. Doing so I believe will free Me_You_Us to create and love on higher and deeper levels.
Even a catastrophic storm is connected to the choices we make and act out. A reflection/enactment/materialization of emotional turbulence possibly??? (I’ll let you consider that one.) I_You_We live where I_You_We live for My_Your_Our reasons. Come what may, we face it together. Or we move a couple months beforehand.
One other thing: this new Way also helps us face our fears of so many faceless foes. Bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, sinkholes… There is almost nothing we can’t find to fear. If we want to. Our choice how far to go with our fears, seemingly justified/blamed, or not.
There really is no evil, cruelty or tragedy that I_You_We don’t make/create/allow “happen” to us—for whatever My_Your_Our our purposes. God just allows us the full use of unpredictable free will in this defined space/playground called the Earth Experience, again, come what may by our limited perspective.
We write and then we live these stories. Mainly so we have some good ones to tell when we’re all done here. Let us put the shameful stories to rest. And take credit for writing way better characters, plots, and endings.