If only the playing was consigned to childhood. But it’s not. In adulthood the duality becomes Commies vs Capitalists, Catholics vs Protestants, Bible Bashers vs Immoral Atheists. It gets played out in the Cold War, the threat of the Yellow Peril and nowadays as the War on Terror. All require an evil force or an evil doer to fight against.
But what is evil?
“We must take up arms against this evil power that threatens our way of life. With God on our side we must fight to defend our glorious traditions and values.”Who said that? George W Bush? Or was it Osama bin Laden? It could have come from the lips of either couldn’t it? Perhaps it came from that devout Christian, Adolf Hitler.
Indeed, many of the atrocities that have plagued our history have been carried out in the name of eradicating evil. By thinking that “the other” (person or community or nation) is evil we allow ourselves to justify harming or even killing that person or group of people. That’s a trap!
The problem with a concept like evil is that it is viewed in terms of it’s dual opposite – good. Good and evil is a dualistic conception. By viewing the world through this dualistic lens we inevitably act in a manner that says “my side is right – your side is wrong.” The conflict that ensues from this can then only be resolved by one side winning and the other side losing, often via violence.
The problem is further exacerbated by our propensity for seeing ourselves as separate entities. I am separate from you and we are separate from them. Another trap that is easy to fall into.
Perhaps, then, the evil is that we are too prone to look for evil in “the other”. Continuing with the thinking of ourselves as separate and that the other side is evil means that when we look for evil we will surely find it. For it was always there, embedded in our misguided thinking. Time to reassess our thinking, methinks.