[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Two Types of Evil

Oct 13, 1994 05:40 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Eldon Tucker

---- Two Types of Evil

       There are two kinds of evil in life, each with its
own related problems. One kind is self-conscious evil,
the other is unconscious evil. Both can become a part of
our lives, bringing harm to us and darkening life for
others as well.
       With the self-conscious evil, we are aware of what
we do. We have some consciousness of what is right and
wrong, and still choose the wrong. There is a sense of
choice, an act of will, and the resulting karmic
consequences that arise from adulthood and moral
       With the unconscious evil, we are changed in ways
that catch us unaware. Things happen in our lives that
we are not paying attention to. Our thoughts, feelings,
and actions are redirected. We come under confusion. We
are led, a little bit at a time, in a direction that is
wrong for us, and we don't see it happening.
       Consider what happens when someone overeats for a
couple of years and puts on weight. There was not a
conscious choice to get fat; there's a shock and "I
didn't mean to do this!" when he finally realizes what
has happened. While the weight is being put on, a Maya,
a veil is put over his perception that prevents him from
seeing what he is doing.
       A second example is when little things become
magnified out of proportion. Someone says something
thoughtless. The other person reacts in anger. The back-
and-forth exchange escalates until there is a deeply-
felt hatred. There was never an intention at the start
to create such a hatred. It came about almost taking the
two people by surprise.
       Another example is the Theosophical Network. It
started out with good intentions, with about half-a-
dozen people heading up the TN Committee and working for
it. Over a few years there continued to be fragmentation
and loss of interest until it was down to a single
individual, subsequently losing interest and folding it
into his new magazine. It could have grown and continued
to do useful work, but instead the forces of dissolution
overtook it and it came to an early demise. (I was one
of the initial people working on it, and saw this
happen. Sometime I'll have to tell some stories about
it. These stories could be considered "historic
documents" since they would be first-hand accounts.)
       It has been argued that the fragmentation of the
original Theosophical Society was for the good, rather
than the result of calculated opposition to it. The
fragments were able to specialize and appeal to
different segments of the "seekers market", drawing
people from different walks of life into contact with
the Outer Mysteries. I'd suspect that there was a mix of
good and bad in what happened.
       A final example of unconscious evil is where one
comes under thought control of some cult. One's thinking
is subtly changed, one is given conditioning to behave a
certain way, and exterior forces have been used to mold
one's personality according to the cult leader's
preferred pattern for life. This is the opposite of what
the Mahatmas ask of their Chelas, whom are left to their
own device and council up to the last and supreme
Initiation. During this conditioning, one does not see
it happening; there are other people, exterior forces,
acting upon one changing one in ways that are not the
result of self-directed will.
       We practice this upon others when we manipulate
them. We do it when forcing our will on others, despite
their wishes. The practice is called interfering in
others' karma, and it is generally considered wrong. To
the extent that another person can tell right from
wrong, and is an adult, the power of choice should
remain theirs, and they should not be coerced into
actions that are not self-chosen.
       In a sense, this second type of evil is evil done
unto us. We open ourselves up to it and are harmed. With
greater clarity of consciousness we can avoid this kind
of evil.
       With increased clarity, we take greater control of
our lives, and have a more responsible role in the
world. More of our actions are self-initiated, and we
can become a greater force for good--or for evil--in the
world. Aware of what we are doing, we make choices with
moral responsibility, and the good or evil that we do
becomes an attribute of ours, it becomes part of our
Skandhas, and qualified who and what we are.
       As choices are made from the perspective of the
personality, we acquire personal karma, and add to
ourselves additional good or bad qualities. When the
inner faculties awaken, and the higher nature comes into
play, our choices and the resulting consequences become
more far-reaching. We get into the realm of good or evil
       At our present stage, though, we deal primarily
with personal choices for the good, and with the
influences of others upon us. Those influences,
unconscious evil, are not obvious like horrifying
dreams, like a feeling of dread in the dark, nor the
shock and horror felt upon seeing first-hand the
violence and bloodshed in the world. No. The influences
are subtle, overtaking us unaware.
       We may be able to stop and look and realize what
has happened to us, or what we have done while unaware.
"Did I really say that?" might be thought. Or we might
deny that what we did really was all that bad, and not
want to think of it. Denial happens. We look the other
way. We allow things to happen about us while trying to
fool ourselves so we don't have to take moral
responsibility for what is going on. Unconsciousness is
chosen, rather than clarity of mind and moral
responsibility. And in this state, we can be influenced
for the evil, we invite it into our lives and are
       This is not to say that all unconscious influences
are evil. There are both good and evil influences in the
world. But when we approach the Path, we stir a deeper
part of our natures, and we start to stand out. Both
greater influences for good and for evil are directed
our way. And we are at greater risk of being harmed or
unwittingly doing harm to others. With the inner
awakening that we have started, we have a responsibility
to take greater conscious control of our lives, and be
much more moral than before. We need an increased sense
of good and evil, and an increased vigilance against the
subtle influences that would bias, distort, and redirect
our minds and hearts. The penetrating insight of Buddhi
is needed, and without it we could easily be lost.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application