In class we talked about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I call this story a myth because in a simple narrative it holds depths of insight and truth about the human experience. Myths, like dreams, tell us truths that are veiled. They invite us to step into them, to experience them ourselves so that we can understand what they are trying to tell us.
My own interpretation is that the human species has an innate desire to do what is right. Now, as soon as God pointed out that Adam was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam learned that he didn't yet have that knowledge.
My further interpretation of that story is two-fold. On the one hand, though the ending seems to align with the actual world in which we live, i.e., hard labor, pain in child-birth followed by inevitable death. On the other hand, perhaps the story is still in process. That is, in the larger story-line of the Scriptures, there are an awful lot of promises of life.
Maybe the Schroedinger's Cat paradox is correct after all! Maybe we are both alive and dead at the same time!
- Evil involves the intentional infliction of harm on people.
- Evil is driven primarily by the wish to inflict harm merely for the pleasure of doing so.
- The victim is innocent and good.
- Evil is the other, the enemy, the outsider, the out-group.
- Evil has been that way since time immemorial.
- Evil represents the antithesis of order, peace, stability.
- Evil characters are often marked by egotism.
- Evil figures have difficulty maintaining control over their feelings, especially range and anger.
If we accept the premise that humans want to be safe, and that safety depends upon securing a place within in a group, perhaps the desire for "rightness" is associated with wanting to justify oneself. Perhaps it is even deeper than that I wonder what you think about this.
It seems that it this sense, illusory or otherwise, that there is a right and a wrong that underlies the question of free will. If we have free will and choose the wrong thing, then aren't we accountable?
On the other hand, what if we have free will, but there is no real "right" and "wrong"? What if there are only better and less good choices? What if our challenge is to "make lemonade when we have lemons." What if we actually get pleasure from taking something purportedly "bad" and finding a way of turning it into something good?