That's Good Except for When It's Bad

Good and evil were supposed to be none of our business.

Of course not.  

Not when you think about it.

Something can only be good or evil in relation to an absolute.  Our stomachs weren’t made to digest the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

And why would they be?  We are not absolute.  

I think something is good when it satisfies my selfish desires.  I think something is evil when it frustrates them.

But that’s not really good and evil at all.  

 

Once there was a farmer who had a son.  One day a horse jumped the fence into the farmer’s pasture and began grazing, and the son said, “That’s good, now we have a new horse.”

The farmer said nothing.

The next day the horse jumped the fence again and ran away.  “That’s bad,” said the son, heartbroken at the loss.

The farmer said nothing.

On the third day the horse returned with a dozen more wild horses following.  “That’s GREAT!” said the son.

The farmer said nothing.

On the fourth day, the son tried to ride one of the horses and was thrown, breaking his leg.  “That’s AWFUL!” cried the son.

The farmer said nothing.

On the fifth day the province went to war.  Army recruiters came through the town and took all the eligible young men to fight the war—all except for the young man with the broken leg.  

“That’s good,” said the son.

The farmer said nothing…

 

We’re like the son who keeps declaring something good or bad depending on whether we personally like it or whether it makes us comfortable or not.

I don’t think it was supposed to be that way.  

I don’t think we were supposed to spend all our time preoccupied with how events affect us personally and allowing our feelings about them to define them.

Artists always draw Adam and Eve in a garden wearing sewn-on fig leaves, but that’s because they don’t know how to draw what we really jury-rigged.  They don’t know how to draw SELF CONSCIOUSNESS.

 

Self consciousness is like a town crier who reports everything he sees by constantly shouting and ringing a bell.  Problem is, he can only see three feet in front of him and not at all to the sides, he’s deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other, only smells roses, lives on a diet of junk food, Ramen Noodles, and Marlboros, and he’s pathologically biased for the home team. 

Self consciousness is a giant swarm of bees that never stops buzzing.  It’s a t.v. with the volume turned all the way up so that you have to shout at me for me to hear you even though you’re only sitting a lean and a reach away.  It’s a strobe light, one of the really big ones from a 70s disco, that flashes all the time, even when you’re trying to sleep.  It’s one of those Chinese finger traps where you put in a finger at each end and then the harder you pull, the tighter it gets and the less able you are to escape.  

It tells you you’re great.  Except when it’s telling you you’re garbage.  Somehow it mysteriously melds the two into meaning the same thing.  That's one thing I will give it...it seemingly accomplishes the synthesis of a complete antithesis.  Like, all the time.

 

As you know, culture encourages us to become even more self-conscious, because popular culture teaches us that we are sufficient unto ourselves and to ourselves we are obligated first and foremost.

It’s wrong about that, by the way.

I think we put the “self,” in self-consciousness.  I think in the beginning we were aware of a very different reality.  I think life happened in the space of the true reality of our existence instead of inside our own heads.  I think we were aware of existing as creatures of a Divine Being and being part of His plan.  Then the "self" part happened and we started thinking we existed apart from all of that, and our hallucinations began.  Before, good was whatever had to do with God, and evil was everything apart from His plan.  With self in the picture, good and evil are a confusing mess of self-indulgence.

So maybe it’s time to take the self out.

What if we ditched self-consciousness for God-consciousness?  What if we turned off the t.v., exterminated the bees, pulled the plug on the disco lights so that we could become much more aware of God for a change?

How much of our fear has its origin in whether we feel that some aspect of our "self" is threatened?  

What if we stopped reacting to whether we thought something was good or bad and just asked God for His response to it, and then actually listened to it and acted accordingly?

In fact, what if we acted like good and evil were no longer any of our business—like it used to be—and just took our responses directly from God instead of expending gigantic amounts of time, energy, and resources—material, emotional, and spiritual—on them?

 

Heck, I might not feel so tired at the end of the day.