Bear's Blog

The Human Dilemma

Mar 03, 2022

How do we think about good and evil? We don’t usually discuss morality in such stark terms, but when the subject of evil comes up Hitler is usually considered a prime example. Yet nobody can be 100% evil, or 100% good either. Human nature encompasses the whole spectrum. How we manage these impulses is the challenge. What are the drivers of one kind of behavior over another?

The soul is eternal; it comes in at conception and lives as part of the physical body throughout a lifetime. At the moment of death, the soul exits as the body expires. No matter what your beliefs about the soul or the “afterlife” are, the dynamic between good and evil is clearly at play in us all. Whatever you call it, this tug-of-war between our “higher self” (the soul) and the “lower self” (the body) is evident.

Basic emotional states humans experience run the gamut from fear, aggression, jealousy and greed to empathy, courage, joy and love. The need for security, food, and belonging can elicit many of these emotional states, rationale and behavior. While we have felt this range of lived experience, the key is how we decide to act upon these compelling desires.

The amount of influence the soul has over the body can determine the choices a person makes. The more in touch and connected we are with our spiritual selves, the more coordinated the soul is with physical expression. Mercurial and instinctual aspects of human nature dominate when the soul has less impact. A person like Hitler – or Putin – is an example of the soul having lost control, and results in base nature being allowed free rein. In psychology, it is classified as a personality disorder. I actually believe any pre-meditated, violent act is a kind of mental illness.

That extreme aside, how do we work with this dichotomy within ourselves? An unconscious response is a reaction, versus a considered response. It takes a lot of practice to change our hot buttons, our defenses… but they are just patterns, not who we are in the deeper sense. The first step to foster the goodness in us is becoming aware of those moments when we just react. Next, imagine a new way! I guarantee you won’t be able to just switch your behavior immediately. You’ll still jump in with the old familiar reaction and then realize it later (that will happen a LOT.) Then a different choice may occur to you just before you launch into the old pattern - but you still can’t stop the train. Maybe after a few hundred times of practice, you’ll actually be able to respond differently (once in a while.) Practice more and it becomes a new pattern! Personal growth is our continuing pursuit of doing better, and practice is the key. The Soul aspect of our Being (by any name) will help us be our best selves.

Notice, notice, notice; practice, practice, practice!

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