Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good and Evil and the Human Dilemma


Well, it’s like this. Heroes of disability are inspiring me daily. I enjoy adding a new hero every day to my facebook page. These people reflect good qualities in the human spirit of determination, perseverance and hope. There are also people who live for doing kind acts. They let us know that people do good deeds out of choice because they are sure it’s right.

On the other hand, people are also capable of choosing to be horrible. I now have to face some sad truths about human nature. My world has become sadder since I started thinking about the Holocaust. I sort of knew, because it is a well known history, and it is awful to be sure. Children and old people, and anyone the Nazis hated, were abused so cruelly and really tormented physically and mentally before being slaughtered.

I think about it because I read Anne Frank’s story and I came to care about her and her family. It happened long ago, but it feels like hearing a friend got murdered. I seem to feel it personally. Some of my classmates could not care less, but I think about how people chose to commit horrible evil in the name of Nazism and attacked defenseless civilians. It’s one of many cruel acts humans have done.

We are, as humans, a mix of goodness and horribleness. It is in all of us and we are required to choose. The heroes I show are choosing goodness. The Nazis, and those like them, chose to live in hate and sadism. Now I try to make sense of it all.

I believe God gave us free will so we can choose and decide for ourselves. I am sure free will is necessary or we would be sheep in a robotic world.  Stopping evil means denying us choice and free will. It would be a dead life. 

On the other hand, evil is awful and I struggle with this concept. The innocent Franks and their horrible fate- is this the price humanity faces for freedom of choice? This is my internal struggle. Now I must work it out as best I can.

3 comments:

  1. Hi-
    At least you are struggling with what is really an age old dilemma-the struggle between good and evil-so that the next generation will learn and not repeat or allow another genocide. Like you said, some of your generation do not seem to even care because it happened a long time ago. So they think it won't happen again or in their life time. Not true! Every individual has a personal responsibility to do their part so evil does not become the norm. No matter how small a contribution, it is the sum of the parts that make the whole. I admire your willingness to struggle with the hard questions about the human condition; instead of ignoring and being ignorant.

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  2. One must separate the evil of individuals and the evil of mobs. The evil of individuals is persistent - you could never have convinced Hitler to do anything different; when about to be captured, he killed himself. The evil of the mob, e.g., the German people, is transitory. The evil of the mob is due mostly to decent people who keep quiet in the face of a Hitler. When confronted with the result of their complicity, many were horrified, and the German entered into what may be the most broad reappraisal of national guilt in history.

    Governments take the people in a direction. Some citizens object, some go along with enthusiasm, but most people would rather not be bothered. Personally, I would rather be wrong than not be bothered when confronted with evil.

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  3. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for a thought provoking comment.
    Please check out my newest essay in response to your ideas.
    ido

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