We must improve our understanding of ‘evil’, because our lack of understanding gives evil vastly more power over us and the way we live, than it would if we knew more about what we were dealing with and how to deal with it. We need to know how to recognize it, realize when it’s right next to us, when it’s coming, when it’s gathering strength, when it’s sneaking something by, deceiving us, when it’s building something in secret, when it’s waning, when it’s pretending to be something other than what it is, and a bit about what to expect from it in general.
Maybe it will be clearer if we talk about cruelty, malice, abuse, brutality, hatred, hostility, violence, madness, tyranny, domination, authoritarianism, enslavement, war, theft, murder, assassination, torture, betrayal, deception, destruction and so on, instead of talking about ‘evil’ which too easily lends itself to abstract moralizing about some literal outer ‘devil’. But these terms don’t do the trick. Together they make ‘evil’ sound commonplace and ‘normal’, and of course in many ways it is.
Yet our problem remains, that a few people are in a class by themselves. They exhibit a degree of murderous animosity that staggers the imagination, throttles our sensibilities, and surpasses the typical person’s ability to believe and accept that a human being could possibly behave so despicably toward others or toward life and nature itself. Then, since too many people fail to recognize these ‘monsters’ masquerading as human beings, and often as ‘leaders’ no less—we follow them! We revere and follow grossly unbalanced madmen! It’s our own responsibility as sane human beings to stop respecting them, obeying them and following them. It is not their responsibility to stop preying upon our ignorance, stupidity and passivity. Their claims that we’re mindless, spineless and stupid, form their self-proclaimed justifications for preying upon us as they do in the first place!
People who do not possess a fundamental regard for the health and welfare of other human beings, who do not care about other people they don’t know personally, tend to behave in ways that become functionally ‘evil’. They are capable of knowingly doing things that injure, oppress, destroy or disadvantage others for what they perceive as their own interests or their own security. Empathy and compassionate concern for others is not a part of their makeup, even when disastrous consequences to other people stemming directly from their actions are brought to their attention. They tend to view those who value humane and caring regard for others, as naive, weak, idealistic, dumb or childish fools who remain unaware of the evil (their own calculated actions) actively preying on their wide-eyed, innocent, and under-educated attitudes.
Still, it’s not just that we fail to recognize inverted (reversed or upside down and backwards) leaders, it’s that our systems, institutions and organizations are so money-power dominated that inverted leaders, inhuman characters, and inhumane values are not discriminated against if they continue to make more money and accumulate more power for their owners or controllers. Better characters who are clearly not corruptible are screened out of the higher ranking positions because they are unwilling to disregard or knowingly injure others in order to increase profits.
Those insiders who expose crucial information of interest to the general public about corporate abuses of money-power, often called ‘whistleblowers’, need to be praised, honored and fully protected personally and financially for telling the truth. They are potentially the general public’s most precious source of knowledge and information about what’s actually going on in our institutions and organizations.
Who is Responsible?
We all do a little ‘evil’ in our lives, we have our dark sides, and actually need them for the strength to do certain difficult, unpleasant, yet sometimes necessary or important things, or perhaps to rebel against legal injustices that when carried out to the letter of the law, crush its spirit. These systemic failings often involve regulations, processes, and bureaucratic institutions considered as status quo, established ‘norms’, socially preferred and officially sanctioned. We sometimes have a need to ‘run counter’, to ‘rail against’, to refuse to play games others around us may be embroiled in and invested in winning. The shadow, our dark side, may empower us to disobey ‘authorities’, to challenge their sometimes very obvious inhumanity, to do something other than what we’re told to do or expected to do. The shadow can also get us into plenty of trouble for pursuing these self-authorized actions….
For example, I once had a boss who wanted me to collude with him in taking credit for the work of those in our department, do very little ourselves, and have fun making sure they did plenty of work and the two of us took all the credit for it. The ‘rules of the game’ demanded I go along with him and why not? It would be to my advantage. Why would I possibly refuse to go along with his scheme? I believe the possibility I might have a problem with it never entered his mind. If his boss had offered him such an opportunity it would have been a dream come true for him. At any rate, ‘going over his head’, discussing his plan with his boss, was definitely not ‘proper conduct’ in this workplace. Plus, he was well known and I had just arrived.
Outwardly, I nodded my head in apparent assent and understanding. Then, partly because I was very new to the job, I went and discussed the situation honestly with the people in my department to get their perspectives and insights on who this man was and what he was like. The whole group was in unanimous agreement the guy was a jerk and had a history of abusing those under him. The stories were worse than I had imagined they would be, yet they enabled me to develop a shared understanding with my team.
Pretty soon it became apparent to my boss that I was not on board with his plan, as I kept crediting the others with the work they accomplished, in key meetings and reports. Unknown to me, he began attacking me secretly in emails to his boss, who I was repeatedly warned not to approach directly. I later found out he was claiming some very nasty things about me. Then he screwed up on his financial reports in a very visible and embarrassing way. The financial reports were the one item he claimed full, direct, sole personal responsibility for. As a result, he was fired.
His boss, the one who fired him, was going to fire me too, because if even half the things he’d heard about me in those emails were true, then I was not the type of person he wanted on his project. Luckily for me, he advised the other members of my department of his plan before enacting it, and they defended me to him, convincing him I was not the person my boss had painted me to be. I came very close to being fired myself, however, and that was definitely a risk I took when I decided to stick to my principles and betray his plan.
We cannot ever completely overcome evil, wipe it out, vanquish it so it never bothers us again. That only happens in fairy tales and utopias, where the deep complexities of the human psyche are left out, ignored, unexplored, unexplained, so they drift off into the background to be safely forgotten forever in the fantasy land of ‘happily ever after’.
What we can do, potentially, is to become more conscious of and therefore more able to take personal responsibility for our own shadow behavior, our dark or evil sides, and at least as important in our time (2017), to realize that some others revel in their darkness—they celebrate it and glorify it. In other words, certain people are happy to do evil—knowingly, willingly, exuberantly, and even with fierce determination and dedication.
Many times we overlook and disbelieve the simple truths of what’s going on around us precisely because we find them so ‘grotesquely’ evil. ‘Normal’ people refuse to believe that anyone would, or even could, do such things. Nobody would endanger the whole planet, their own children, risk their own lives, knowingly lie about such and such… It’s completely unthinkable. The government wouldn’t do that. It can’t be true. Thus, the truth of what’s going on remains functionally invisible, willfully ignored, disbelieved, dismissed.
Are you familiar with ‘chemtrails’, for example? Did you know there are ‘people’ spraying highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the sky at great expense, without public knowledge or significant medical safety testing? Nobody would actually spray highly toxic substances from jets in the air over heavily populated areas where anyone and everyone could be poisoned by them, would they? I mean, their own children could be at risk as well—whole cities at risk. It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make sense to ‘normal’ human beings but it obviously does make sense to those who are ‘inverted’, because they’ve been doing it for decades and show no inclination to stop doing it in spite of numerous reports of human illness, poisonings of trees and waterways, and large tracts of land that will apparently no longer support plant life that has not been genetically modified to resist aluminum in the soil. This can’t be. I know. It sounds completely insane and impossible.
The evidence that it is indeed taking place, however, once you look for it, is overwhelming. Take a look if you dare. Maybe you’ve already noticed some strange-looking stripes of clouds, or checkerboard patterns in the sky overhead. They look somewhat like clouds but they don’t have the normal-looking shapes that clouds have, the ones those of us in our thirties or older (in 2017) have been used to seeing all our lives. These are commonly called ‘chemtrails’. You may have already seen them without clearly realizing what they were, what they are, and how ‘anti-human’ whoever is spraying that poison onto our skin and into our lungs and onto our gardens must be. It’s hard to believe.
The tragic result of the exclusion of this “devil’s hand” in what we allow ourselves to consider viable and important solutions to our problems, is that any proposed idealistic resolutions that leave this deeply ‘evil temperament’ out or undervalue its power and destructiveness, are simply not going to work. They will not be ‘practical’. They will require goodwill to be applicable and effective, and therefore, just one or two people of ‘ill will’ in the right places can bring the whole enterprise crumbling down upon its noble aspirations before they get a chance to become watered, fertilized, and maybe even eventually flourish.
The missing element, “the devil’s hand”, the pitch black secret we don’t want to face and confront, is that there are many people ‘in power’ who are aware of these facts, and like the current situation just the way it is. They do not want people awake to the horrors of the actual situation, aware of the trivialities and distractions enslaving their attention to areas of minor importance. They don’t want people thinking for themselves, making their own evaluations.
They benefit from preying on the infantilism and irresponsibility they intentionally foster, feed and promote, educating us to bow to their authority in mandatory schooling systems and so eventually in our attitudes and imaginations—as this increasingly becomes our automatic reflex behavior.
We learn to obey authority without even thinking about it, automatically. Even considering not obeying makes us uncomfortable. We get nervous imagining ourselves going against the grain, standing up for real human values, taking responsibility for actively supporting and furthering what we know is right. “Good people always do what they’re supposed to do, they never break the rules, they never bypass authority, and they never do anything that’s not expected of them.”
For example, I recently saw Jennifer Margulis (an award-winning science journalist) interviewed in a “The Truth About Vaccines” documentary directed by Ty Bollinger. She explained that only minutes after her baby was born in a United States hospital, the nurse said that now her baby needed to get her Hepatitis B vaccine. She knew she was Hepatitis B negative so she told the nurse she wasn’t sure she wanted to do that. She felt uncomfortable with it and wanted to talk to her pediatrician about it first. The nurse immediately got angry with her and started talking to her with a nasty attitude. Jennifer felt like the nurse was implying she was acting like she wanted to kill her child, or something. All she wanted was to protect her child and to talk to her doctor about it first. She said she had never thought about questioning vaccines before, but she didn’t know why a tiny newborn of Hepatitis B negative parents would possibly need to have a Hepatitis B vaccine.
The experience stayed with her and she was terribly worried that she had said “no” to this vaccine because she wanted to do what the doctors told her. She knew they had her best interests in mind. She felt distressed that she had disobeyed the medical authorities and was concerned she might have made a serious mistake. Social wisdom proclaims that “good people just aren’t supposed to do that”. ‘Good people’ do exactly what ‘the experts’ tell them to do, and if they want to be really good, they do it quickly without even thinking about it or ‘wasting time’ considering other options.
Two weeks later when she went back to her pediatrician, her doctor very casually explained “It’s a good thing you didn’t do that. That vaccine has been counter-indicated in newborns.” She and her husband looked at each other with “white faces” as they were shocked at the possible problems they might have just barely enabled their baby to avoid. Would you have acted on your conscience if you had been in her situation or would you have ‘done as you were told’ by those in positions of authority? Hard to know for sure, isn’t it? We’ve been ‘schooled’ to obey.
Coming Up With ‘Kind-hearted’ Solutions
Many good-souled and kind-hearted people offer very good descriptions of the major problems we face and occasionally offer some pretty good solutions to fix them. Yet they are typically based on the premise that all we need to do is spread the good word, spread ‘the truth’. Then the well-defined problems we agree are plaguing us, will gradually melt away as more and more people realize the clear and simple truth of what the soothsayers are laying out for all to see in their carefully considered explanations and propositions. Most people will naturally and automatically begin to act more intelligently and humanely and begin to implement the suggested solutions because they make such obvious sense and are so clearly ‘true’.
These solutions, however, typically don’t work. Not because people don’t recognize and accept the truth being articulately spelled out in these keen-eyed proposals, but because a few key people in a few key positions actively oppose solving the problems. They do not want to relieve the suffering they are committed to continuing to inflict upon those serving as their intended, or at least convenient, prey. These are the ‘inverted’ people among us who thrive and prosper on the suffering of others, and passionately devote themselves to continuing to take advantage of others for their own personal gain, without end.
We need to devise possible solutions and approaches that do not expect only altruistic, well-meaning people to be involved. We need to build systems that expect ‘evildoers’, ‘inverted souls’, or nasty self-obsessed egotists, to become involved in the center of most of our activities, because they inevitably do, especially once there is enough money or influence involved for them to take an interest.
The Inverted Among Us
We need to become better educated as to how inverted people think, work, plan, connive, deceive, charm, cajole, and corrupt any system, plan or solution they become involved with. We need to get far better at recognizing them and marginalizing their influences over our affairs. One key to doing this is becoming more aware of our own dark interiors, and getting a better, more self-accepting handle on managing or tolerating our own darker drives and impulses. We might eventually reach a state of sufficient psychological maturity that far fewer of us will be so easily corruptible, unthinking, unprincipled, and lacking personal integrity and responsibility—instead of continuing to become increasingly prone to accepting unprincipled behavior as normal and ordinary, maybe even desirable and intelligent.
We haven’t learned to take ‘evil’ seriously enough. Evil is a vital part of the human psyche and needs to be accepted, included and endured boldly, individually in ourselves and socially in our communities and in our expectations of those in positions of power and responsibility.
We can’t get rid of extremely evil people. We can’t wipe them out. They will always be with us as will our own temptations that challenge even the best of us to ‘sell out’ for personal gain at the expense of others. Yet most of us are not ‘extremely’ evil or ‘inverted’, though we are frequently seduced and manipulated by those who are. We are frequently unaware of what’s going on beneath the surface appearances of our jobs, responsibilities and obligations.
Maybe we can get better at marginalizing the relatively evil influences shaping our decisions and behavior by becoming better educated and more aware of how ‘evil’ our simple act of ‘going along to get along’ can actually become, in the dynamic world of people living in pressing situations. Consider the attendant future consequences our passivity inherently supports. We don’t take evil seriously enough. We don’t respect it enough. We don’t include it, accept it, consciously integrate it as best we can, and let ourselves agonize over it. We don’t discipline ourselves to marginalize it in ourselves and in the world, mindful of its fangs and talons, to remain humbly attentive and aware of it, to keep it somewhat in check, within reasonable bounds, to knowingly and willingly suffer and bear it without becoming completely consumed and overwhelmed by it—by including it as a valid part of ourselves and accepting that we can never completely overcome it or get rid of it.
Good Can Never Completely Destroy Evil
Degrees of evil will always be with us, yet it can become a little less dominant and overpowering part of our lives, if we can get better at taking responsibility for the darkness in our own attitudes, personalities and behaviors, and learn to stealthily, carefully sabotage the administration of clearly inverted directives in whatever little ways we can, whenever we find an opportunity… if we dare.
For example, in a certain medical office, the entire staff colludes in filling out all the proper forms that certify everyone in the office has taken all their scheduled vaccines. This is because it’s now apparently a legal requirement for remaining employed, that all medical workers have all their recommended vaccinations. They refuse to do so in this particular office because they’re convinced of the profound dangers to their health this would represent. So they cover for each other. This is an example of human concerns triumphing over bureaucratic madness—not openly and directly but in secret. People are learning to use some of the system’s own weapons and techniques against itself, such as secrecy and stealth, to healthy human advantage.
We cannot avoid suffering the shadow’s negative energies in our lives, neither in others nor in ourselves. Perhaps by becoming more accepting of this fact, less surprised to find negative forces inside our skins as well as outside, more aware of our susceptibility to being blown off our footing by surging waves of hostile emotion and aggressively destructive impulses—we can avoid being driven to act automatically on these floods of negative energy that abruptly possess us—a little more often.
Maybe we can learn to endure them without suppressing or repressing them, until we gradually shift inside, from the sustained heat and pressure of containing our inner angst, hostility, fury or indignation for a sufficiently long period of time for a new attitude to emerge—for some alternative orientation to find purchase—something new we can begin to lean on for a sense of satisfaction, strength and direction.
Maybe we can learn to breathe, relax, find poise in some central eye of our internal storm, just a few more times in our lives—by consciously remaining attentive to our shadow selves rather than ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist. Possibly we can express our negative energies a little more creatively or a little less destructively… I can see no greater challenge to our humanity, nor a starker demand for our development and maturity as human beings. We must strive to develop what bridges we can between our conscious willfulness and our unconscious ‘otherness’, the parts of ourselves that bring us anti-social, selfish impulses, deep if fleeting desires for destruction and rage, and other darkly passionate forces—scouring ourselves for whatever attitude, posture or ‘release’ might unify the whole of us to some slightly greater degree.
In the Louvre there is a picture by Guido Reni, of St. Michael with his foot on Satan’s neck. The richness of the picture is in large part due to the fiend’s figure being there—that is, the world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck. —William James
It’s dangerous to oppose inhuman directives directly, and they’re typically so ‘well-dressed’, so ‘well-rehearsed’ and so ‘professionally presented’ it’s easy to discount and ignore the evil outcomes they will inevitably foster. We tend to rivet our attention on the present moment and avoid the consideration of likely future consequences to people we don’t know personally. Yet sometimes there are relatively safe little ways we can soften their impact, lessen their sting, or make them more broadly visible to suspicion, investigation, and criticism.
Hopefully, you find the above medical office example inspiring and can dream up some other ways we can better support human values and welfare in an ‘underground’ fashion. This is an example of shadow energy channeled constructively in the interest of human health and welfare. These medical professionals are not injuring anyone by their technically illegal actions, they are only protecting their own health and their right to decide which options of medical intervention they want based on their own preferences as responsible adults. They’re standing up for their right to control what goes into their own bodies—a very basic human right that only a tyrannical ‘police state’ would challenge in the first place.
It is definitely easier and ‘safer’ in the short-term to ‘go along to get along’, look the other way, and worry only about ourselves. This is precisely how and where we fail to take evil seriously enough—in the little things we do to further it or to avoid getting in its way. We’re horrified at the evil in our world yet we allow it to increase and multiply every time we take advantage for ourselves at the expense of others, keeping the wheels that are rolling over others in motion. Idealistic? Well, yes, and sometimes we have to go along with things as they are because we have no practical alternatives.
Sometimes unconscious forces simply overwhelm us before we know it and we never get an opportunity to make a conscious choice, take a stand, or even see dark influences brewing. Yet we ourselves are the ones allowing the evil in our world to overpower the good, as it obviously sometimes does.
Sometimes we take various actions to distract ourselves, to avoid lingering on things that disturb us, so that we don’t see, don’t feel, don’t know, don’t experience life very deeply. We act to avoid facing the painful reflections, memories, guilt, remorse, self-doubt, paralyzing fears, and dizzying worries our unhurried stillness and sober reflection may at times invoke in us and confront us with. Chronically denying these painful thorns keeps us broken inside, divided from ourselves, unwhole, hurting, separated from the drives, impulses and energies that could lead us to act in ways that might help us heal, become more whole and well and more actively responsible for our own well-being.
We need to shed some light on the influences of evil in our daily affairs so its true character becomes less hidden, secret, underground, unseen, and unconscious. We have to learn, accept and effectively grapple with the fact that some people do not mean well. They do not have ‘good’ intentions and it’s our responsibility to deal with them effectively and to stop letting them dominate our values, our decisions, our preferences, and our ‘ideas of the good’. We don’t want to hurt anyone who may be inverted unless we have to, unless we’re actually directly defending our lives, we just want to marginalize their influence over our values, decisions and aspirations.
Responsible adults need to be able to command a firm ‘no’ when infants, animals and petty tyrants demand, through their destructive behavior, to be kept in line. Yet we also need to watch for betrayal from within, lest the infant, animal and petty tyrant inside us will, unbidden, mirror the antagonisms we’re consciously attempting to oppose. Parenting ourselves humanely into adulthood is no easy feat. We need to educate ourselves and our children about the present reality of evil in the human psyche, before it destroys us while we’re pretending it doesn’t exist, it’s not that bad, and ‘everything will be alright’.
We want to keep our children ‘innocent’ and ‘safe’, yet what about mature, responsible adults? How and when are they going to appear? Where are they going to come from? Does dealing with the dark side in ourselves and in the world take more adult responsibility, more strength of character, more courage and integrity, than we’re willing to accept we’re capable of?
Do we want to keep our children perennially innocent and safe, or do we want them to become gradually more knowledgeable, savvy, and well-informed? Do we want them growing more aware of and more skillful at wrestling with their own internal ‘demons’ so by the time they need to confront the demons of others in the adult world, they’ll already be comfortable with the process? Maybe they’ll develop some basic skills they can use to protect themselves from unwarranted abuse they would otherwise remain powerless to recognize, let alone oppose. Would we rather have them blind-sided by the existence of these dark forces, unknowingly ‘innocent’ and completely unprepared to stand up for, or perhaps even recognize, what they know is right?
When I was growing up I kept wondering what in the world was going on, because my parents, family and teachers kept telling me that everyone is basically good, most people mean well and treat you fairly, and we live in a free country where everybody can do whatever they want to. Ours is the best country in the world and life is wonderful. I had a terrible time reconciling these ‘truths’ with the unhappy, stressed out, careworn faces I kept seeing on the people who were supposedly enjoying this fabulous country of mine.
If this place is so great, I kept wondering, why don’t more people look like they’re enjoying it? Why don’t more people look happy? My questions were never addressed with anything more illuminating than “don’t worry about it” and “everything will be alright”. So, I had to spend a chunk of my life grappling with finding some way to understand these basic discrepancies. I would have been far better off, or so I imagine in retrospect, if someone had explained to me some basic realities about social pressures to conform, the reasons so many people have to bow to petty tyrants and cruel, uncaring bosses, the temptations leading to corruption, the immense drive many people develop for accumulating as much power and wealth as they possibly can at any expense, and on and on. Instead, I had to gradually figure these things out for myself as part of a very painful process of outgrowing my naivety and deep ignorance of these basic social realities.
Which young adults are safer? The ones who know and accept their darker impulses and have spent time developing skills to contend with them, or the ones who have ignored them, don’t know about them, and spend time living as if the evil inside themselves and others is not a present and ongoing danger?
Innocence is America’s mystical cloud of unknowing. We are forgiven simply by virtue of not knowing what we do. To wrap ourselves round in the Good—that is the American dream, leaving place for the evil nightmare only in the “other,” where it can be diagnosed, treated, prevented, and sermonized about.
A society that willfully insists upon innocence as the noblest of virtues and worships innocence at its altars … will be unable to see any seed of any kind unless it be sugar-coated. … The idea of the Bad Seed, the idea that there is a demonic call, should startle our native intelligence, awakening it from the innocence of our American theories so that as a nation we can see that evil is attracted to, belongs with, innocence. —James Hillman
However we deal with these issues, ‘evil’ remains an energetic part of the human psyche. We can attempt to get better at taking responsible ownership of the evils in ourselves, in others, and in our lives, or we can attempt to get better at pretending we only need to focus on the good. We can pretend we need to ignore these problems because addressing them only gives them more energy, or that we can’t do anything about evil anyway, or something else that seems to absolve us of the responsibility for directly confronting the evil in our world.
We can attempt to grow up into responsible adults accepting the evil in ourselves and others as a vital part of our being human, or we can remain irresponsible children who refuse to grow up because it’s ‘too hard’. Or we can try to stand somewhere in between or somewhere else. Any way we go, however, we cannot avoid ‘dancing with the devil’, the human darkness we have yet to accept, include and take ownership of as part and parcel of the human race. We cannot put an end to evil in our lives, we can at best improve our attitude toward it and better our relations with it.
Degrees of Evil—Lesser and Greater
There’s a difference between a person monitoring their own inclination to occasionally overlook slightly inconveniencing another person or persons and someone or some group actively preying on other people, systematically, to hurt them in ways they believe enrich themselves. The difference is fundamentally a difference of degree, yet a very important one.
Maybe you took the book you borrowed from Alice and loaned it to Jim, who you’re confident will love it, without asking Alice if it’s okay for you to do that with her book. This subjects Alice’s book to additional wear and tear and extends the time it’s out of her possession. Do you know how much care Jim takes with other people’s books or are you unconcerned about the condition Alice’s book will be in when you return it to her? Maybe she has a friend she’s promised the book to, who she cares more about than Jim, who she doesn’t even know. Okay, that’s shadow behavior to some very small degree. We have put our concerns ahead of someone else’s and caused them a minor inconvenience.
I recently watched a new (2017) documentary called “Take Back Your Power: Uncovering a Trillion-Dollar Crime” (www.inpowermovement.com) directed by Josh del Sol, which was very powerful. It documented that some power companies are forcibly breaking into people’s homes (obviously illegally), to install Smart Meters that they know cause some people severe illness, that they know create profound vulnerabilities to cyber-attack, that they know will cost people more money instead of saving them money as they are promising.
They repeatedly refuse to answer direct questions about the implications of what they’re doing, they’re encouraged by government agencies to create this massive Smart Grid for surveillance and profiteering purposes. They devote themselves to the process of deception, denial, avoidance, secrecy, stealth, and carefully picking and choosing their words to remain as vague and evasive as possible in order to make money at the expense of the numerous people they’re preying upon.
They consciously realize they are causing severe illness for many. Some people are adamant that they don’t want these Smart Meters installed in their homes. People working for these companies have repeatedly gone to the point of illegally breaking into houses in order to install these dangerous devices when they need to, some people doing it solely for the relatively small and potentially short-term reward of simply keeping their jobs. They want to keep their job even if they know by doing their job they’re injuring indefinitely many people, causing them undue hardship, violating their basic rights, and breaking the law. This is shadow behavior run amuck.
These are human souls who have become to some degree inverted, valuing personal profit more highly than even a moderate degree of regard for their fellow human beings. Their natural ‘humanity’ has become ‘anti-human’—and not just occasionally—but systematically, chronically, as a technique of profiting at others’ expense. I tend to call this type of behavior ‘evil’ or ‘inverted’.
As another example to consider, Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, was asked in a televised interview if people should be treating Google like a trusted friend. He answered “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place”. How does that strike you as an answer?
He’s saying, or at least clearly implying, that not only do human beings not need privacy, but they’ll likely be better off if they know Google is watching them because then they might do fewer things they shouldn’t. So he’s perfectly justified in dismissing the value of our personal privacy because only those people who “do something they shouldn’t do” have any use or need for personal privacy in the first place.
Well, there are a couple of flaws in that ‘reasoning’. Those people who at least occasionally, whether intentionally or accidentally, knowingly or unknowingly, “do something they shouldn’t do”, includes nearly 100% of the entire human population. There are starving, impoverished and very ill souls who never get an opportunity to do much of anything at all and we can likely exclude them.
What someone should or shouldn’t do is a highly subjective opinion at root. Not all rules, laws, conventions and regulations are ‘just’. Sometimes the duty of those pursuing freedom and justice requires them to do things they “shouldn’t”. Those ‘founding fathers’ who initially formed the U.S. Constitution were definitely behaving in ways existing authority proclaimed they shouldn’t. Without personal privacy any significant form of a free and democratic society is impossible. In my passionately strong opinion, Mr. Schmidt shouldn’t be embodying such little respect and regard for others’ privacy.
Google has, apparently, “been caught and fined for systematically hacking and harvesting passwords from millions of private WiFi networks with their mapping cars”. I used a search engine called ‘duckduckgo’ and looked for “google fined for hacking millions of private networks” and found dozens of stories about this. They also apparently hacked a bunch of information from iPhone users. Some people have complained that the fact Google would intentionally do this in the first place is downright “creepy”.
In a recorded ‘Atlantic’ broadcast I saw a clip of in the same recent documentary on Smart Meters I mentioned above, Mr. Schmidt stated “There’s what I call the creepy line, and the Google policy about a lot of these things is to get right up to the creepy line but not cross it. I would argue that implanting things in your brain is beyond the creepy line. At least for the moment. Until the technology gets better.” That’s an exact word-for-word quotation.
So it’s not the act of implanting things in others’ brains that he finds creepy. Controlling others by controlling their ‘minds’, compromising their personal autonomy and their free will, their liberty to make their own decisions so he can have them do or buy what he wants them to doesn’t ‘creep him out’—we’re left to wonder what (if anything) might. It’s presumably getting caught at it or failing to do it effectively he finds creepy, because the technology to do it isn’t good enough yet.
Judging only from these few statements, omitting who this man might be in other dimensions of his life, this is an example of an inverted human being. Human welfare and concern for others he doesn’t know personally does not appear on his menu of concerns. This is the type of person I tend to call functionally evil. Creepy works too. Implanting ideas in others’ brains, as long as the technology is good enough to do it well… is not ‘creepy’ to him.
Perhaps if the technology allows him to do it without causing too much peripheral damage, so it doesn’t destroy a person’s ability to go out and implement the ideas he’s just implanted, and if it can be done stealthily and effectively enough to consistently influence others’ thoughts and decisions without them realizing they’re being manipulated—this is perfectly fine with him. And he’s not trying to hide these inverted values, he’s made these announcements in public with cameras rolling or I never would have found out about them. He’s obviously not embarrassed about these values or trying to hide them. He’s presumably parading what a tough-willed, bottom-line oriented CEO he is—a model for others to emulate and admire. He puts business first and that’s what makes a good corporate leader.
Some have said ‘business’ is appropriately ‘amoral’. In other words, it’s perfectly justifiable to separate money-making from ethics and morality of any kind. Business practices are therefore not moral or immoral, they have nothing to do with morality. I find this approach inverted as well. Human beings dealing with other human beings, in any sphere, with no positive regard or concern for the consequences of their actions upon others, no regard whatsoever for their health and welfare, are anti-human, sub-human, primitive, animalistic, infantile, ‘inverted’, or just plain creepy.
Their characters and their behaviors oppose human welfare generally, and they will not relent their practices even after the negative consequences their actions are having on others are brought to their attention. Functionally, these people oppose humanity and treating others humanely—thus, I call them inverted. It’s really just another word for ‘evil’, but less loaded with religious and other cultural baggage. These people no longer have shadows. Their shadows have them. Their positive humanity has taken a back seat to their greed and egotism and closed down any human goodness they may have never had or deeply repressed. It is their innate goodness that may occasionally surface in spite of their best efforts to put power and domination first, from time to time, in brief flashes of escape from the control of their predominant dark side. This is the ‘inverse’ of our normal struggles to keep our shadows from overpowering our basic goodness to whatever degree we can.
Inverted people like this are not fixable. They do not consider themselves broken or in need of help. They typically consider healthy human beings weak and naive for believing that basic human decency and goodness will ever get anyone anywhere worth getting to.
The point, however, is not this one company and this one CEO. The point is that these kinds of values seem to be becoming more and more prevalent in the ‘characters’ of very powerful people in major corporations and governments around the world (in 2017).
The Pain and Suffering of Adult Responsibility
If we don’t stand up for what’s true and what’s right to the best of our ability, who will? And when? And where? And how? There’s too much ‘evil’ going on that too many people are afraid to address. We’re becoming more and more afraid to voice what we know to be true if it’s politically incorrect or embarrassing, or challenges prevailing pretenses we’ve been paid to cater to, or otherwise influenced to support, foster or at least keep quiet about.
We’re not dealing responsibly with human evil, the human dark side, the shadow self, powerfully negative energies, and we need to get better at it. Maybe the first step is facing it and accepting it and helping more people become aware of it. ‘Freedom of speech’ looks like it’s dying on the vine from neglect, from lack of use. If we don’t actively fight to resuscitate its more faintly glowing embers, our right to freedom of speech will likely continue to atrophy until it’s only a dim memory.
So, in the end, we’re all somewhere along the scale of a good and evil balance, an interplay, a teeter-tottering dance of light and dark, good and bad, right and wrong. The first challenge is becoming conscious of, accepting, including, integrating as best we can and living with, our own evil impulses and shadow drives. We need to become increasingly conscious of our own darkness, at least to the degree that we more rarely project it upon others and more consistently take conscious responsibility for our own un-princely actions. We need to accept and live with an awareness that we ourselves are not wholly and only ‘good’. There is nothing easy about this.
This is a necessary first step yet an insufficient total effort, because we also need to take the second step of better managing the darkness in the public and private institutions and organizations that largely shape our lives and act to compromise our health, welfare and fundamental humanity. Once we get ourselves somewhat toward the good end of the good/evil balance of character, by remaining conscious of and including our dark side, we still need to deal more effectively with those far to the evil end of the pole.
We can’t just work solely on ourselves, we also need to work on the environment around us that shapes our opportunities and limitations in highly important ways. We need our relatively ‘good’ voices, values, characters and behaviors to help balance out those who are obviously, profoundly and despicably ‘evil’—those with no regard for others, incapable of empathy, absent a conscience. We need to become ‘better’ and ‘more responsible’ citizens, more engaged members of our communities and organizations, better at challenging, standing up to and making visible the inhuman attitudes and behavior we’ve become accustomed to tolerating and obeying because it’s easier and less perilous than confronting it, or collaboratively working around it with stealth and secrecy.
How? Ha! That’s the big question. We each need to contribute what we can to the effort, what we can create and imagine, to the best of our ability. We need, at least, to attempt to head in the ‘right direction’, knowing our sense of ‘right direction’ is prone to error, and that we can only see so far. Every step we take, we need to reevaluate where we want to plant our next footstep. The further along the path we venture, the further we can see.
We must not aim for any forms of perfection or utopia, because to accept that perfection or some utopia is possible, is to deny and exclude our shadow selves. We cannot reach perfection. Still, we can do far better than becoming enslaved to hugely tyrannical corporations, a tiny yet crushing ruling elite, a government bureaucracy that serves itself at the expense of the citizenry that feeds it, and grossly anti-human values and predatory ethics in general. Can’t we? Well, we’re apparently right smack in the middle of finding out.
We can’t completely control the shadow, our dark side, through the conscious mind/ego/will. Active suppression of our baser impulses by our conscious willful ego alone, will ultimately fail as our excluded energies accumulate in the unconscious until they eventually explode in the form of uncontrollable outbursts.
We can certainly discipline ourselves, however, to respect the health and welfare of other people we don’t know to at least some ‘reasonable’ degree. Isn’t part of what it means to be ‘human’ that we care deeply about others who are also ‘human’, and we want them to care about us too? We can use our ‘humanity’ as a ‘symbol’ to guide our efforts and to give shape to our efforts to act more humanely, knowing and accepting that our abilities to do so are limited by our unconsciousness, and being willing to suffer the struggle of persisting in our well-meaning yet inevitably imperfect attempts. We struggle to become more wholly conscious, knowing the journey toward greater awareness has no end.
What do you think? Any suggestions? Can you clearly recall some ‘evil’ things you’ve done or known others to do? Have you personally witnessed something you believe is way beyond the pale, way beyond reasonably ‘human’? Are you aware of such things? Evil is such an abstract word. Perhaps you can share some concrete examples of what you consider ‘fits the bill’ of ‘evil’ in varying degrees, so we can all become more clearly aware of what we’re up against in our present times and circumstances….