Usually when I go to the mall or out to town, I don’t go to buy anything. Instead, I have this habit, kind of a game I’ve been playing since I was a little kid, where when I go to a place, and I pretend i’m Osmosis Jones. I only ever saw that movie once, maybe twice, but the concept had an effect on me that pretty much changed the way I viewed the rest of the world for the rest of my life. By the time the movie actually came out, I had written 8 or 9 fanfics of it. I was pretty obsessed with the idea that my body was just a large city that housed all walks of life. That on smaller scales of matter, things like bacteria, or maybe even basic elements, were under the impression that they were human like me.
I don’t want to say the whole idea of this came from Osmosis Jones. When I was even younger, I would go around my back yard, and pick up pieces of wood, and watch the ants move around from under them. There were so many of them. I would write little stories about their society. Maybe invent a hero or two that would go and get things done when the hill was under attack from another tribe of ants, or some other species of insect. In the stories, I’d make them climb up fences and gutters like they were mountains. I was pretty sure those ants I was writing about were very real, too. Why wouldn’t they be?
I do this on occasion: I drive through the neighborhood, get gas, leave, stop at a red traffic light, go at a green one. If this is a body, what is all this for? Gas stations and other stores all of a sudden seem really similar to dispensaries that I have in my own body, giving out nutrients, or oxygen.
All of a sudden i’m ultra-conscious of the importance of the turn signals on my car. I wonder how many car accidents happen on a daily basis in my own veins.
And then I’m there, at the mall; Where so many humans seem to gather. I make my way through one of their department stores. The symbols people put on their clothes stand out a lot more. Symbols that, last time I checked, were just catchy eye-candy, are now archetypal and meaningful.
Then in the middle of that, I think of food. I should of figured I’d get hungry, so I head down tot he food court. A store were I got my glasses fixed, some indie game store, a spencers, a candy store. There used to be a pretty awesome arcade were that photography place is now. I remember playing mortal combat and time crisis in that black-light lit room, having my senses overwhelmed by clashing sounds from other games. Just over 10 years ago, it was the only reason I ever came to this place. Now I start to think that all the electro music I listen to now is the shadow of a childhood well spent playing arcade games.
I grab lunch, go sit down. The cool part about this food court is the way its domed with glass windows and steel beams. Sun gets in, and creates shadowy shapes over everyone. Sometimes birds find their way in and make a home up top. Although I’ve never had the fortune of having a bird crap on my food. It had to happen to someone, though. Is that worth a refund?
I take a sip of my drink, then put it back down. Its right next to a shadow of a steel beam, about 40-50 feet above me. I look around. I might think about random things I see. I start paying attention to the noises in the room. One side gets louder and louder, One person started shouting to talk, then another. Than all 30 of them are shouting. Then like a popped bubble, they all get quiet, and talk normally- all for no apparent reason. A few seconds later the same effect takes place on the other side of the court.
I take another sip from my drink, but before I do, I notice the sun moved a bit, and the shadow with it.
This makes me think of a man named Plato, who once argued that everything we saw was just a shadow of the reality. That in reality, his perception was chained up in a metaphorical cave, and the only source of light was an artificial fire, the source of which was out of our sight, but you could still see the shadows of what was going on up their, in the higher part of the cave, because of the fire. Of course, you never saw what was really happening. Shadowy shapes would mix with each other, combined with noises bouncing off of the cave walls. If you lived your whole life in that cave, and never escaped, you’d probably make some sense out of things, but you’d never really know the truth of how things work in ‘reality’.
I don’t feel like I’m in a cave, like Plato thought. But I felt like we were in something strange. Maybe I was simply in a dome, kind of like the one i’m sitting in. Maybe a Deity built this Dome, or at least an architect of some kind, and maybe there were beams making the shadows, cast by the sun.
Another bubble pops.
Then, out of nowhere, another old token from yesterdays philosophy pops up into my head.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
A fitting argument from logic. It’s been used to discredit the existence of God for longer than I care to comprehend. It always annoyed me though, because what is evil?
Bad stuff happens to me, yeah; but is that evil? The two are associated with each other in a lot of peoples heads, but are they really all that alike? How many painful things have I been through that, on the other end, helped transform me into something I liked? Something Good? I used to get picked on and called names when I was younger. A couple of people threaten to beat the life out of me, and call me a slur to top it off. At the time, that was traumatizing. Now, though, people don’t really mess with me anymore. Somewhere between then and now I began lifting weights and taking Martial Arts Classes, and I stopped being a snot nosed pansy and became the opposite of what I was. Not a jerk, but a Man who stands with his back straight for the values he believes in.
What if God stopped those bullies? Would I value Honor, Muscle, and Morality like I do now? What if I never got picked on, and I stayed the way I was my whole life, than when catastrophe finally came along, I didn’t have the strength or fiber to pull through? I’d be pretty deep in trouble. A lot more trouble then what those bullies had in store for me.
I guess in a sense, I’m kind of thankful that I went through all that. I’ve learned a lot. Looking at what I’ve been through, Epicurus’ problem of evil seems to be just a shadow.
The Fall and winter compliment spring by renewing soil and crops, to make life all the more liveable. Knowing that, the ‘bad’ seems pretty essential to make the ‘good’ even better.
I was in the shade. It had gotten a bit colder. In a moral comparison of light and dark, I may have been “in a dark place”. I’d definitely been there before in real life. Lost a job, been through wrecking break ups, been scared for my life, had people die. But somehow it all passed. Maybe because I made an effort to make it through, or maybe because the sun came up later naturally. Either way, I believe that’s how all things work out.
But even I haven’t been their my whole life. In my youth I had done decidedly wrong things, out of malice, revenge, spite, anger, or sadness. My thinking was; ‘bad things had been done to me, so why should I be nice to anyone else? I should drag people into the were I am.’
More often than not, acting off of that logic made things worse for me, later. I can say I’ve paid the price for all my wrong choices.
I suppose thats what evil is. We all have good and bad things happen in our life, but to focus on your pain, and use it as an excuse to spread bad things into other peoples lives, thats evil, People say the devil whispered this or did that, but we’re the only ones who ever did anything.
Now all that stuff I read in religious scriptures, forgiveness, and wishing luck to your enemies, makes a whole lot more sense. I tried doing it just to be nice but now I feel like I have to do it as an obligation. Everybody is pretty messed up. Life is hard enough as it is, and its unfair for everyone. What makes a person Good or Evil is how fair or not fair they try to make it for everyone else.
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other