Welcome to another blog book tour with our friends from WOW (Women on Writing). Today’s guest author is Leona Stucky. The work we are posting about today is her memoir, The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God. The subject for today’s post “Recognizing Evil-An Underbelly Job”. Ms. Stucky will be stopping through. Feel free to talk with her and make her feel welcome. Enjoy…
Recognizing Evil – An Underbelly Job
Blog by Dr. Leona Stucky, www.thefogoffaith.com
Seldom can human evil be fully known before it slashes its wrath across the soft underbelly of human constancy. Evil causes immense suffering and yet it confuses us.
Evil is “gift” that keeps on giving. One patient told me that since terror struck her she thinks double and contradictory thoughts simultaneously. They circumscribe her mental and emotional movements. If danger persists, so does the anguish that surrounds it. The soft underbelly thickens. Evil has to be considered. We guess and re-guess. We are not free to set aside the slashes and live as if they had not happened and will not strike again. We are not free to banish troubling thoughts. They come unbidden. We think and fear them before we can consciously understand or attempt diversions.
Evil eviscerates the safe-harbors of our well-being and leaves scars that won’t allow our soft underbellies to stay placid and playful. We lose our innocence, trauma unfolds, and memory membranes, scattered asunder, must be recollected as if sense can be recreated.
Evil and Good Together?
Evil, it turns out, is ubiquitous, as is good. And it would be a mistake to fully separate those two characteristics. Usually human intentions are mixed, and the results of those intentions are also mixed, but when evil is imposed, suffering is the predominant result.
To find evil, we must listen deeply to any clarion cry for help, look intensely into suffering, and be wary of jumping on the bandwagon of public blaming – for many people will point the finger at other’s evil while practicing their own. Here, careful discernment is required.
- Are the people pointing the finger the people who are suffering the most?
- Where does our empathy find an authentic landing place?
- In which position would we need to stand to feel the evil slashes across the soft underbelly of our constancy?
The first place to explore evil is within ourselves. If we can understand our own evil intentions and actions, often enacted against ourselves, we will know the fundamental essence of being human and will be able to grasp the magnitude of the problem of evil in our lives.
How We Deceive Ourselves
Ron, in my memoir, The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, thought his needs and his divine right to subject me to his desires were justification enough. He was an ordinary guy, in his assessment, not an evil one. He felt entitled to his minimal pleasures and survival necessities, no matter what suffering his requisitions caused for another person —quite similar to first world inhabitants feeling entitled to the resources and means of production that leave a muted holocaust for millions of others working long hours without enough to sustain their families.
We can and should be enraged at the evil of many Nazis, who blindly did what they thought was right—followed orders without thinking for themselves about the consequences of their death-to-millions actions. Sometimes we might also wonder about our propensity to silently brush by the causes and effects of global warming or deadly militaristic answers, as if blindly following the dictates of capitalism is the only choice we can make. Many people have no trouble denying culpability. Some don’t empathize with those who suffer and seem oblivious to the anguish their beliefs and actions cause. Our human minds quickly and naturally collude with others’ pre-rationalized dictums to avoid culpability. Compromised by political, cultural, religious or psychological diminutions of our responsibility for the sometimes devastating effects of our actions, we seldom recognize our own evil. In the instances when it ricochets and devastates our own lives, blaming others is a likely response. I know of no country or human who surpasses these tendencies, including myself.
Perhaps claiming full responsibility for who we are and how we act is a faculty we humans have not yet mastered, especially when the harmful effects of our actions are not directly experienced or observed by ourselves. Evolutionary biologists tell us that we have not evolved to care about distant others as much as we care about our own family or tribe. This is not offered as an excuse for people, but an awareness of how powerful a foe, cold and unthinking evolutionary forces, we must engage to learn how to operate differently than the format evolution has prescribed.
I guess we will live in an entirely different way, in an entirely different world, when and if humans learn the lessons of recognizing evil and imposing it on no one, including ourselves. I, for one, hope we don’t destroy ourselves before we learn those lessons!