We all love the struggle between good (us) and evil (them). It is, in its own way, deeply satisfying. Think of the plots of the James Bond films, the Star Wars films, the Indiana Jones films. In such movies, it’s quite obvious who the bad guys are. Caricatures of evil, they are ruthless, maniacal, without remorse, and so they must be stopped by any means necessary. We are meant to feel that it is okay—even, to tell the truth, pleasurable—to see violence inflicted upon them. Because the villains like to hurt people, it’s okay to hurt them. Because they like to kill people, it’s okay to kill them. After all, they are evil, and evil must be destroyed.

What is this kind of story teaching us? That if you really want to hurt someone, it is important to demonize them first—in other words, fit them into your good-versus-evil story. That is why truth is the first casualty of all wars.

– David R. Loy, from “The Nonduality of Good and Evil,”

Tricycle, Spring 2002 Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Nonduality of Good and Evil

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