The laws of modern science offer no explanations why history and
current events always include good (constructive) and bad (destructive)
human behavior. Some claim that bad behavior results from our genetic
heritage, a result of humans not having evolved enough. Many of
today's statistics would suggest we haven't evolved at all. Some
people assume that an evil force leads inherently good humans astray;
only their religious beliefs can overcome them.
Can metascience (a combination of 21st century science and traditional
wisdom) offer us any better insight into the whys and wherefores
of positive versus negative behavior? I would like to suggest combining
new concepts from quantum mechanics and the millennia-old Hermetic
Principles may be helpful.
The Principle of Polarity
The subject of good and evil relates to the Principle of Polarity,
one of seven Hermetic Principles. The articulators of this principle
believed that every facet of the universe exists with two poles.
As a coin has two sides, an "up" can exist only with a "down," a
positive charge can only exist in relation to a negative one. The
same principle applies beyond the physical plane.
An IQ score one calls high may be considered low by others. My
strong sexual expression may be relatively weak on another's scale.
Expressing love by one may be seen as meddling by another. Thus,
we have no absolutes; all things exist on a gradient from one pole
While the content or the energy form may change, the dynamics remain
the same. Let's temporarily try to leave value judgments aside and
consider behaviors as the expression of positive or negative energies.
The Yin/Yang symbol has a dot of white in the black area and a dot
of black in the white area to illustrate that anything which is
more one kind than the other still has something of the other in
it. Within each of us the shadows mirror the lights, and the phase
shift from one to the other can be instantaneous. (Exquisite pleasure
very easily crosses the threshold to pain, as laughter can quickly
dissolve into tears.)
Any system over time manifests equal impulses for each polarity.
For example, extremist Puritans had to act out the compensating
impure energies within themselves. Their chosen outlet was to conduct
witch-hunts. The cause of witch-hunts, or pogroms against Jews or
any other group, lies not in the behavior of the victims, but in
the unrecognized destructive energies of those who consider themselves
The form or content of polarized social behaviors may vary, but
energy equivalence is always the result. The extent to which the
60s and 70s contained excessive amounts of an open, giving energy
(whether time, love, sex, or social forgiveness), was mirrored by
equal energy in the 80s and 90s devoted to protection and acquisition
(whether property, financial success, or social judgments). Of course
behavior in the 60s and 70s was in reaction to the exercise of power
and the force of authority in the 40s and 50s. This is why extremes
in any area always cause the arc of the reverse pendulum swing to
Just as in physics where an action begets an equal reaction, those
who would lead in relationships or in nations must understand that
attempts to control are always reciprocated by movement toward freedom.
You can't have one without the other.
Gandhi and King could not have mobilized so many people if the
energy of oppression had not been so great. As the degree of government
interference in individual lives increases, the energy of resistance
builds up. Suspicion by a lover of a partner creates the need to
assert that one's independence. One extreme leads to another in
either case. Such is the challenge of navigating between the energy
polarities good and evil.
Striving for Flexible Equilibrium
The spiral of progress, whether for an individual or a whole society,
depends on continual shifting between the positive and negative
poles. Testing one's range of emotional energy and learning from
experience requires this freedom to shift from one side of a point
to the other. Since we can never have one polarity without the other,
we must identify the optimum range for creativity and growth, and
keep ourselves within those changing limits.
Reducing Social Violence
The United States' current political and religious approach to
"evil" is 90 degrees off course to deal with our rates of criminal
violence, school shootings, hate-based crime, road rage, and all
forms of self-abuse. Adding to our already excessive number of laws,
developing new controls, adopting so-called "zero tolerance" policies
in schools, conducting the "war on drugs" (which is really a war
against people), and preaching commandments and other "thou shalt
nots" all have the impact of increasing the negative energy charge
in their targets.
Energetically, the reason proponents are so emotionally attached
to such draconian measures is that acting on them permits a release
of their own negative energy.
The more we repress the normal dissipating/destructive energies
within others or ourselves by only allowing the expression of conserving/constructive
charges, the greater the likelihood of subsequent antisocial, "evil"
behavior. The answer is to find ways for everyone to release his
or her negative emotional charges before they build up to the point
of behavior that violates others. In the most common terms, all
it takes are creative outlets for everyone to work off steam before
the internal pressure is blamed on someone else.
Paul Von Ward is a cosmologist emphasizing the fields of prehistory,
frontier science, and consciousness studies and the author of Solarian
Legacy: Metascience & A New Renaissance. Visit his web site:
www.vonward.com for samples
from his work on The Emerging New Human Story.