The Path of Goodness
James Adrian
January 22, 2024

      Some of us are fortunate enough to have friends who, to some noticeable degree, are caring, compassionate, courageous, forgiving, generous, grateful, honest, humble, kind, moral, and trustworthy. At the same time, we certainly must admit that many people do not have all of these characteristics.

      How can we explain the features of goodness that we see in some people? Some say they love all of humanity. How can somebody love all of humanity when it is populated by so many villains?

      I found this last question very interesting. Looking for answers in ethics, science, history, spirituality, and in a few other areas, I eventually saw a telling fact - the first piece of a puzzle - that should have been obvious:

      We have been barbarians for many centuries.

      This seems to account for many of the emotional feelings that are so engrained and regarded as natural in all countries of the world today. They are the feelings intended to defend a village or a person's honor. The feeling that I am referring to are feelings like resentment, fear, envy, anger, revenge, blame, hate, hostility, arrogance, selfishness, and the wish for power over the choices that rightfully belong to others.

      The second piece of this little (and introductory) puzzle came from wondering how many of these feelings people are born with. It turns out that the reactions observed and measured at birth are simple and few. They include responses to sudden and loud sounds, responses to pain (crying), and positive responses to comfort; but they do not include the ones learned during the intensely barbaric centuries.

      These feeling are learned by the young from adults and therefore can be unlearned.

      The unlearning of destructive feelings can make a more tranquil world, but it isn't explaining love of all humanity. This is a second puzzle.

      The cultures of the world, having accepted these inherited feelings, have made governments which find it quite easy and reasonable to encourage combativeness in defense of their country and therefore to tolerate a degree of combativeness in the social interaction of citizens.

      Meanwhile, this inheritance has created quite a lot of crime.

      All of this has affected belief systems. Very many people believe that there are some people who are evil and cannot be forgiven. They have yet to realize that every perpetrator is first a victim, and usually for a long time before their transgressions.

      So many are victims of the most widespread brainwashing there is. Like most people, they are at least somewhat combative. They will defend their honor when insulted. They want revenge for their earlier life struggles. They envy the rich. Not being well cared for, they want the camaraderie of gangs. Their subculture is violent.

      The evil that is perceived by victims of crime is not invented or created by the direct perpetrators. They are used to pass on injury from sources of evil that are not thoroughly understood, and may not be understood in any objective way. The point is that we are all human beings without an inborn desire to hurt people. The fate of those who are trapped in destructive feelings, and from there go on to defend outrageous values, is a loss of human beings that were overcome by forces that they could not understand or counter. They are not beyond your forgiveness.

      Knowing that evil is not created by people can allow you to recognize that the love of humanity is the path of goodness.


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