Sunday, May 5, 2024

Knowledge of Good and Evil

Why do we have an assumption that "good" is pleasant?  Why do we define a good day or a good year or such as something where everything goes our way?  We rightly are aware of those that would just use us for themselves and seek liberty from the control of others to be able to live our own lives, but as a society we have for thousands of years defined the very definition of good to be based upon our own desired outcomes.  I have come to realize over the last years, especially, that much of what we decide is evil is either for our own good or is good, itself, for the changes and growth that it creates within us.  Even when something is bad and sad in truth, it leaves us changed and matured for the better, often.  But, since traditions are passed down from generation to generation, the story is written or told to be that good is what we desire, and evil is what we do not, even if that is not necessarily objectively the story that has happened or even what prior generations wanted us to learn.

In my life, I have had a lot of struggles and things happening that I did not want to happen.  I have had others abandon me, and I have learned that I had to overcome much on my own... to rise when I fell, even when I didn't want to do so.  I'm not alone.  I believe that given enough time that everyone will learn this in varying degrees.  Why?   It is a truth.  

Imagine that you wanted to prepare your kid for success in this life.  Would you want to tell them to always believe in the best of others and rely upon others only to be hurt over and over again?  Or, do you want to prepare them for what society REALLY looks like, so they can navigate life with wisdom to prosper?  I am reminded of the movie The Village where a group of counselors created a society and didn't tell the kids born into it the truth but gave them horror stories about monsters on the outside to keep them inside, where it is safe.  As such, they became unprepared for the simplest of challenges that presented themselves and horrors that can be found within, as well.

So, returning to my point, above.  Is GOOD having no challenges, or is good found in the trials and struggles that educate us.  I made a comment on my social media some weeks back where I said that while I don't think it justifies a god to do it that being forced to experience evil can cause us to grow and take the steering wheel to create the kind of life that we want to have.  At the time, I said that the only way that you can justify it is to say that the devil is working for God, since the "evil" done to us causes us to become a more mature person and for us to create our own lives and more around us.  There might be some truth to this, and I think it is actually found in the Bible written by men trying to convey truths.

The earliest book of the Bible that was written, according to dating and tradition, is the book of Job.  In that book, the devil comes walking right into God's presence without restriction or binding.  He discusses Job with God, and then God has the devil strike down Job with sickness and poverty.  Society has deemed this as a trial that Job had to overcome... but .. was it?

Recall that in the Garden of Eden that the tree of whose fruit was eaten by man in the first "fall" was the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The tree was present... in the perfect garden that was made by God.  It was honored and protected, in fact.  Then, mankind was... punished, as described by many churches, today... by being given work for men and childbirth pains by women.  Of course this is all analogy, but what were they trying to teach?  Is work bad?  Is childbirth bad?  No.  But, those things that bring us good came with discomfort and struggle.  It was the beginning of the lesson of the tree... and it was GOOD.

We all must struggle.  I know that it always feels personal.  We feel that our lives are cursed and not as good as others.  However, over my life, I have heard people of all backgrounds and levels say that they are struggling over this or that.  So, my life wasn't abnormal to face struggle.  It was normal.. It was prescribed.  It's not always the same level of struggle, and more of us have more struggle than others.  But, that means we are more educated and wise.

Then, after we experience people letting us down, we learn to stand on our own.  When plans fall through, we learn to be prepared for unexpected changes.  When our dreams are shattered, we learn to be more realistic.  And, when we lack, we learn to create.  We are gods of our own lives, and that is the divine plan... much like the independence we want for our own children to thrive without us.  We create good by acting with intention, or we create bad by resignation, fear, and bitterness.

Also, as we learn to stand on our own, we will face judgment by others for doing it.  This too is educational, as it teaches us to stop caring about the judgment of others in order to have what we want to have to be happy.  That wouldn't happen if we were content to change whenever someone objected to us in a world free of conflict.  

Life also leads us to a life of being content being isolated.  It's built right into our code.  We do what we like.  Others that don't like those things back off some.  Not everyone wants the same thing, so we learn to accept others for being different and as we differ from one person or another we learn to like things on our own and be ok with that.  We were born single.  We will have many single moments over our lives, even if we are in a relationship.  In fact, it is healthy to have personal time, even in a relationship.  Why?  Being able to stand on your own is a part of the lesson, as well.  It is... GOOD.

So, to return to the initial question.  Why do we have the assumption that "good" is pleasant?  It is because we define good and evil in terms of what we desire instead of what will grow us as a person and make positive changes in our lives prompted by loss and discontent.  And, that definition will often be the very thing that will stop us from finding the happiness that can lie in the freedom of the journey and the growth and changes in our lives that we will find along the way.


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