Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.
Come sit over here by me.
It seems a very odd thing for most people to look at evil squarely in the face with all of its evidence and to deny it, to deny its rights and to deny its very existence. And yet that is what many great thinkers of the past and present have told us to do. The slate must be cleaned before the right words can be written on it. Denial must be matched with affirmation, and affirmation with denial.
The director of a local high school play called and asked if I would come and help him. He was having trouble with the last scene and he didn't know what to do about it. The students performed the scene for me and it was a mess. First I had to get the teacher's permission to take over the redirecting of it, then I undid everything he had done, brought the whole scene to a stand still and started over to do it right.
One day in New York I was stopped by a radio interviewer who wanted to know my opinion about a current homicide trial that was happening and what I thought of capital punishment. I had no opinion about the murder case but I said I was not in favor of capital punishment because I believed that anyone is basically redeemable no matter how tethered they are to crime and violence. If I did not believe that, though my sins may be minor compared to some, it would be hypocritical of me to hope for my own redemption. And it has happened. People have been inspired to turn their lives around, overcome the crimes, malignancies and anti social behavior of their pasts and emerge as good people.
I knew a man who, because of a minor indiscretion when he was young, was required to register with the police as a sex offender wherever he went. And yet he became very effective at straightening out other men who were guilty of even worse such behavior and an advocate for the protection of children.
When the war in Iraq started those who pray were, I'm sure, praying for the safety of our armies, for the right actions of our generals and the right decisions of our president. But I'll bet none of those who prayed were praying for the one man who needed our prayers more than anyone else, Saddam Hussein.
"WHAT??!!" you are screaming. "I should have PRAYED for that son of a bitch???!!!" The answer is "Yes." After all he was the one caught in the spider's web of evil. Hussein was an intelligent man. He could have brought together the disparate elements of that society in a diplomatic attempt to resolve their differences. He could have established an agreement of safety and security with his neighbors. He could have been friends with the free world and been a force for international peace . But somewhere along the way he was convinced to take the wrong road and, as a result, he kept half of the country under suppression, thus feeding the fires of divisiveness, legalized torture to satisfy the sadists and became a world wide threat. So they arrested him, tried him and executed him, which accomplished absolutely nothing. It wasn't Saddam that needed to be destroyed, it was the dark, evil road he was on. The Koran says "Evil shall recoil on those that plot evil."
It has also been written that evil is never a person, it's a thing. And it's a thing that needs to be denied existence, to be cleared away, erased, wiped off the mental slate. And the good must be affirmed with just as much vigor, or more, as one uses to fight against the beliefs of evil.
This two part activity is the diastole and systole of our lives. It is cosmic in its importance, It's ebb tide and high tide, night and day, plowing and harvest, winter and spring. Deny the wrong. Give it no place, validity or reality. It is the absence of good. Affirm the good and claim its rightful truth. Denial and Affirmation. They go together.
DB - Vagabond Journeys
Delight yourself in joy, please.