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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %ESSENCE OF EVIL ULTIMATE FEAR DISINTEGRATION 880605 Evil is that which we may with personal and communal integrity most fear. Whether or not we live with both personal and communal integrity depends much upon whether or not we have a coherent sense of the essence of evil. Some people think/feel that the essence of evil is displeasing some particular person or group. Others identify the essence of evil as non-conformity; perhaps some particular form of non-conformity, perhaps non- conformity in general. Yet others may feel that the essence of evil is pleasure which has not been properly earned or authorized; e.g., sexual pleasure, relaxation, unconditional personal acceptance, etc. The nature of a community depends greatly upon what it and its members most fear; and upon what the community regards as the essence of evil. If what it most fears leads to the breakdown of communication within the community, the community will disintegrate both personally and communally; it will lose its unity and no longer be a true community. It will disintegrate and lose its unity. It is important to have a coherent conception of the nature of evil, else the community can not remain coherent, whole. If the essence of evil is believed to be such that there can be evil people, then it is logical that we should be able to identify and fear evil people with ultimate concern; for they would be the incarnation of that which is most to be feared. It will be of ultimate importance to know the characteristics by which to identify evil people; perhaps they are non-conformists who do strange things. If so, we should fear certain non- conformists. If the essence of evil is to displease some particular person or group; then it is important to know what will displease that person or group, and to govern our lives accordingly. That person or group will dominate our lives. If the essence of evil is non-conformity, then it is important to know what form of conformity is the essence of goodness; and to know which conformists are good and which non-conformists are evil. We are likely to believe that we are among the good people and are properly alienated from all the evil people; or perhaps that we are among the evil people and justly are alienated from all the good people. Neither alternative is particularly attractive; but then, maybe the universe is essentially evil. If the essence of evil has to do with pleasure, then it is important to know which pleasures are most evil; e.g., sexual pleasures. If we know which pleasures are most evil, then the essence of salvation is to avoid the pleasures which are most evil. Life then becomes a story of avoiding pleasures which are made all the more attractive because they are unfamiliar to good people, but familiar to evil people. Evil people then are those who enjoy the forbidden pleasures which we greatly desire, but more greatly fear. Such a conception of evil leads to both personal and communal disintegration. Each conception of the essence of evil leads us either toward disintegration or towards integration. If we most fear the loss of personal and communal integrity, we are not likely to be lead to either personal or communal disintegration. Yet, it is not enough to merely fear the lost of personal and communal integrity. Fear alone does not lead to integrative behavior. Healthy fear provides motivation, but not even healthy fear can provide guidance. In addition to a healthy fear of loss of personal and communal integrity, we need a coherent sense of the dynamics of personal integration, and disintegration. We need to understand with our hearts, minds, bodies and souls which attitudes, thoughts, behaviors and spiritual lives lead towards integration; and which lead towards disintegration. In the absence of such understanding/wisdom, our fears drive us towards that which we most fear. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================