Our good friend and sometimes student Joey Weigant (AKA, Weeg) posted a thoughtful article, “The Nature of Evil,” on his excellent blog, “On Metaphysics: The World Beyond Our World.” You’ll find the article here.
Weeg posed a number of insightful questions in his article—is there some separate, external force that inspires evil? Are our own ego needs at the root of human evil? Or does evil not exist in and of itself, but is merely the name we give to people acting in harmful ways? These are paraphrases, but I think they capture the essence of his discussion.
He concludes, “Serial killers, Politicians, in-laws; they all seem evil. Are they evil? Are they only looking out for themselves? Furthermore, is looking out for yourself evil by definition? I don’t dare try to provide an answer to these questions. I don’t have the Capital-T Truth on this one. I can only provoke thought. You must come to your own conclusions.”
A recurring theme in this blog is that no one has a lock on The Truth, including me; with that said, I’d like to add some thoughts to Weeg’s discussion.
Rather than philosophize, let me share some experiences with you. As to the first issue—whether there’s some separate, external force that inspires evil—my wife, Neva, and I (and Weeg) have run across strong, persistent entities that had taken up residence, if you will, within their human hosts. In one case, the entity had infested (for lack of a better term) and strongly and negatively impacted the person for 13 years. In other cases, the infestation was far more recent. In all cases, the entities displayed self-initiative and at least some recognizable ability to think.
Now—were these entities something spawned by human beings? Our experiences suggest that they were not, as on numerous occasions the beasties were removed using some of the same phrasing (in Latin) that the Catholic Church has used for centuries to banish demons. I prefer Latin for the hard cases, as it’s my belief that there’s considerable energy invested in the Church’s ritual, making it almost a thought form, if you will.
I should point out that none of the “victims” were aware of the infestation; and in many cases, they didn’t know what would be done to remove it. As they trusted us, they simply gave consent when we told them that we would like to do something to help them. And several times, when we were done, the people asked, “What was that?” In another case, the entity was bound and rendered harmless from a distance of 300 miles without the person’s knowledge; this is a very close friend of ours. Within 36 hours he was back to his “old” self, laughing, joking, and sleeping well. We finished removing the entity when next we saw him.
While not a definitive answer to the question, these experiences strongly suggest that there are discrete entities that can and do affect human beings—an external source of evil. How strongly evil manifests due to infestation is variable, based on the infested individual and one other factor.
Just as the Catholic rite of exorcism has become invested with considerable energy through use, belief, and faith, places likewise become invested (or infested) with energy. The term “places” includes homes and buildings, of course, but can also include towns, cities, and entire regions. Generally speaking, this type of negative energy is the result of human action and emotion—violence, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, grief, despair, resentment, and so on. As these emotions tend to be “food” for the sorts of entities described above, it becomes something of chicken-and-egg question as to whether the entities influenced the humans, or whether the humans attracted the entities.
Regardless, once a structure or an area is infested with this type of negativity, the humans suffer. Robert Heinlein, the science fiction author, once wrote that evil consists of treating another human being like a thing. That’s what tends to happen, to varying degrees, to people who are exposed to this type of place-based negative energy over time. In susceptible individuals, exposure brings out the worst in them, and they begin to treat other people as things for their personal use, gratification, and amusement. It’s also possible that such people attract entities that infest them and that are richly fed by the negative emotions.
It is possible to clear an infested structure through “house blessings,” smudging, and other methods. It’s also possible to clear an infested region, but it takes considerably advanced chops and someone, or a group, willing to undertake the extremely difficult and exhausting task.
To sum up: from my perspective, evil has both extrinsic and intrinsic causes that can and do become so intertwined that it’s really difficult to separate them. Evil has been part of the human condition since time immemorial, if the stories from ancient civilizations are to be believed, and I don’t find that surprising. As I’ve written elsewhere, we’re on this planet to experience everything—good, bad, and indifferent. Evil, then, is a force for spiritual growth. With that said, I don’t believe that we need as much evil as seems to be manifest on the planet right now, and Neva, Weeg, and I stand against it when we can.