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An article donated by
Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys:


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I spent two weeks working on the first two essays in this series. After I finished them, I still wasn’t satisfied.

For one thing I don’t like putting people into categories and classifying them as "Good" or "Evil." I think that is a false dichotomy. But having a third category of "good people who have been duped" doesn’t fully account for what I see in the people around me. There are indeed some folk who are basically "good" people and they have indeed (I think) been "duped" by unscrupulous politicians and pastors. BUT I think there are also folk that simply aren’t good people, though I wouldn’t call them EVIL.

To be EVIL I think a person has to willfully cause harm to others and take pleasure from the harm they are causing. Evil requires intent. Not so good, or bad includes indifference, carelessness (they should have known better — like those who text and drive and cause an accident that harms another).

This fourth category of "not so good or bad" also  includes the narcissist who is so self-centered that they are seemingly unaware of the needs of other folks.

Theologians have given lots of thought to this issue of Evil. I addressed this issue in an essay in 2018 "What is evil?".

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This morning as usual I cast the I Ching and I was amazed at what I cast. Sometimes these casts are perfectly in accord with my deepest thoughts and concerns. This morning I cast #12 with no change lines. My old paperback copy by Sam Reifler calls #12 "Disjunction." 1 The Wilhem/Baynes edition calls #12 "Stand Still." Both say the same thing, though slightly differently. Both titles explain the current situation perfectly.

From the Sam Reifler book:

        "The great ones have gone and the small ones have come."

I think this sums up the "times" we are living in right now that are sorely "trying men’s souls". Social media have given "the small ones" a platform and a reach and influence they never had in previous times. The Conservative authoritarian types are far too easily "duped, coerced, or manipulated" by what they have to say -- seemingly unable to distinguish between the "great ones who have gone and these small ones who have come" and taken their place.

By "small ones" I am referring to:

  • Folk with a small constricted heart who show no compassion for the suffering of others and feel the need to demonize those "others" -- all of those that aren’t like them -- in order to justify in their minds what they do to them.

  • AND, I am referring to folk with a small closed minds — those who seek confirmation for their biases rather than knowledge to help them overcome their biases.

  • AND, those that refuse to learn from or listen to anyone with an opinion that conflicts with theirs.

To be fair there are also Liberals on the extreme left who are also far too easily "duped, coerced, or manipulated" by the "small ones" on their side of the spectrum. These extremists on the left also have small constricted hearts and small closed minds.

"Smallness" isn’t confined to Conservatives and "Greatness" isn’t confined to Liberals. There are small and great ones in each group. Right now the "small ones" seem to be in control or, at least, on the rise. It will take more "great ones" from both Conservative and Liberal groups to break the "stand still" and bridge the "disjunction" that keeps us from doing what needs to be done to make this world a better place for all of us — Conservatives, Liberals, homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender persons, native born and Immigrants, AND for the plants and animals that make life on this planet possible.

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Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. book cover Sam Reifler, "I Ching: A New Interpretation for Modern Times, "Bantam trade (1991). Available in Kindle and Paperback editions. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

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Original posting: 2019-MAY-29
Author: Contributing Editor Susan Humphreys

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