do we transcend good and evil?
Jan 05, 1994 07:46 AM
We are brought up in the west to consider good and evil as two opposing
forces, with us on the side of good, and our opponents in life on the
side of evil. We may as children play with ourselves being cowboys,
fighting the bad indians, being Christians battling the non-believers,
or being policemen, chasing the crooked robbers. It is all the same
game. The situations may change, but it all resolves to a drama of a
battle of wills in life, with the victor as the good guys, and the
vanquished forced to accept the label of being the bad ones.
In eastern philosophy, we find the idea that good and evil are relative,
that we can achieve a state of consciousness where we rise about it,
and experience life from an entirely different perspective. And there is
such a consciousness, but it is not as easy to attain as we might think.
There is the ever-present danger of abusing this idea, of not really
achieving this type of consciousness, but rather twisting the idea into
being an excuse for doing evil without a sense of guilt, of condoning
what we had previously avoided and thought to be wrong.
Even when we achieve this state of consciousness, and are not making
personal judgements about others, and not personally defining things
to be good or evil based upon what we know in our current life, we
still choose the good, and don't give ourselves to evil. We may not
be aware of doing so, we may not be conscious of making choices, we
may not think in terms of such distinctions, but we do know and
follow the good.
It may sound paradoxical, as do many of the experiences of the higher
life, but the paradox is only apparent, it is only due to a lack of
The transcendence of a personal sense of good and evil, of the
exercise of the *moral consciousness* in the personality, does not
leave us with no sense of morality, no sense of telling right from
wrong, no sense of appreciating the impact upon others of our actions.
When we, in the personality, have no consciousness of making judgements
anymore, when we do not exercise this form of awareness, it is because
we now have it functioning in a higher part of ourselves, in a higher
Consider our sense of self. At first it is identified with the
personality. If we lead a spiritual live, and elevate our consciousness,
we can center it in the individuality. When we have done that, we
are aware of what we do, but there is no sense of us as personalities--
as this creature of flesh and blood and petty habits--doing things.
We still have personalities, we still are people doing things, but
the seat of consciousness is in a higher self within.
It is similiar with the moral consciousness, the awareness of our
relatedness to others, the awareness of the impact that we have on
others, through our connectedness with them, the consciousness of
right and wrong, of good and evil. This too can be elevated from the
personal to the impersonal, and in doing so, from the standpoint of
the personality, it will have disappeared. When this has happened,
there will be no personal sense of right and wrong, no personal sense
of distinguishing good from evil in one's life. But this is because
that sense has been *elevated*, and functions deeper within.
People may hear that it is a higher form of consciousness to
transcend the consciousness of good and evil, to no longer think in
those terms. This is simply not true. There is always such an
awareness, because we cannot exist, were it not for our being related
to others, and part of that being related to them involves knowing
them, truly knowing them, and that knowing involves judging,
evaluating, understanding them in terms of their place in life.
When we entertain such a thought, without carefully thinking it
through and seeing its fallacy, we open ourselves up to negative
influences, and our lives can be changed for the worse. And this is
true of many spiritual things, they can be twisted in such a way as
to apparently condone self-choosen failures in life, to condone our
turning of our backs on the good and right and beautiful in life, to
condone our accepting and our weakness and failing to keep striving
for the spiritual.
Transcend the *personal* consciousness of good and evil. Elevate it
to the impersonal! See and relate to life in terms of grand causes,
universal themes, in selfless actions in service of others! And forget
the low, petty, judgemental side of things, forget the personality,
when uninspired with the higher, forget the mean, the selfish, the
narrow-minded. Open up to the higher side of things and expand into
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application