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Is Man Good or Bad?

There is a common belief among many that the core nature of every person is evil and that we are all miserable wretched sinners. This belief takes root because we have not probed any deeper than the mind with regard to the nature of our own being. It is the mind that harbors evil. If we believe that we are the mind, then one can more easily come to the conclusion that the real nature of man is evil. We see humans acting selfishly and assume this is the bottom of the human well.

Deeper than the mind is the core of our existence which is pure awareness; the very presence of God. Observation and introspection can prove that we are not the mind. Consider our own mind which is nothing more than the sum of our thoughts and emotions. We ourselves, as awareness, observe the mind. This means that we are not the mind. If we are the observer of the mind then we cannot be the mind. In conversation we say, “I have a mind” and not “I am the mind”. To illustrate, if we are reading a newspaper it is proof that we are something other than the newspaper. This brings us to our point. We are not the mind or the body and any corruption in these does not affect the quality of our true Self. The core of every person is eternally pure. There is no original sin but only original innocence.

These opposing points of view, man is good or man is evil, have a profound effect on our culture, politics and approach to life. A democracy depends on the attitude that man is basically good. The people of a democratic nation will collectively make constructive decisions. Thus the best depository of power is with the people. A free society in which anyone can criticize political leaders also depends on the attitude that an informed and freethinking populace will make the best decisions. Open debate is encouraged because the good in man will ultimately prevail. In the United States the constitution guarantees free speech. We tolerate publications that display a broad spectrum of views because the overall benefit of a free exchange of ideas will outweigh the negative impact of publications that promote man’s lower aspects such as hatred or licentiousness. Most will rise above these base attributes because the nature of man is inherently good. We can be trusted.

The belief that man is basically evil cultivates an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. This will always encourage various elitist groups to see themselves as the bearers of the true interpretation of reality. It then becomes their duty to subdue the unenlightened masses and impose the will of the few on the many. Once empowered, they will eliminate political dissent under penalty of harassment, imprisonment or death. Intellectuals, professors and practitioners of the various arts are suppressed. Individual liberties must be curtailed to save the ignorant masses from themselves. The few can never trust the many because the many are perceived as being morally, intellectually and spiritually inferior. They believe the many are not capable of making good decisions.

From the book The Mystic Christ.


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