“Little evil would be done in the world if evil never could be done in the name of good.”

I love this above quote from Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, but I wonder what the real consequences might be of attempting to enact its words?   I say this because I wonder,  if her eloquent sounding statement actually has any “real meaning”  when we consider the possibly undefinable words it relies upon, “good and evil.”

If  the end of evil, in the name of good,  became a reality, would the basis for many of our best adventure stories vanish like fog in the morning sunrise?   In our most dramatic stories and plays, from ancient times onward, it is essentially the battle between good and evil that occupy center stage, despite the actor’s exuberant strutting and stammering.  Not to say there would not be enough to write about.  Just living, surviving, exploring, advancing society and technology, challenging the limits of our existence, reaching out to the beckoning call of the sea of space, to name just a few………..  would surely be enough to write about.  Just one type of “evil” would vanish, that being the actions of one being or group of beings, against another of opposing opinions or values.

This concept of  the “end of evil in the name of good”  makes me wonder  what is “evil?” How do we define “evil?”  We won’t touch this much right now as it has been debated for centuries and appears clearly unresolved to intellectual thinkers, though perhaps not so to religious ones!  Yet,  Marie, personally,  had no problem with expecting that evil could be defined by someone; If not, her quote makes no sense!

If we step away from living entities performing evil what else is evil?  Is there evil?  One enticing thought that comes from this discussion is can we define death as evil?  Perhaps it is unjust to call death an “evil”  after all, we don’t know what death is because we don’t know what comes after it (at least other than by faith), just before it.  However, this is a whole other subject and likely a floating away from the torrentouous  sea of thoughts that Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach’s words, seem to have set astorm.

But back to Marie. How many times can you look back on history and see that a war was fought in the name of “good,” but that good appears to have been very one sided?  Perhaps that means that one sided good is another name for “evil.”  In fact this appears to make a lot of sense, when you give it some grey cell time. Does that mean that whatever we do as a nation that we declare is “good” has to be seen by all as good to truly be good?

One of the salient issues of our era, at the moment, is Islamic terrorism. Islamic Terrorists claim that they are on the side of  good,  and those whom they are attacking are evil.  The peace-signWest, mostly Christian and Jewish, in its essential values, sees it the other way around (for the most part). We do not often deny that we have made some poor decisions in our effort to “rescue”  other nations from the villainous grips of tyrannical leaders. History is replete with good guys waging war on evil.  We hope history will see us as the good guys. Maybe Marie’s statement is nonfunctional because of its dependencies?  Should we consider perhaps that forceful actions taken in the name of “good” are the issue and not the definition of good? In that case, evil might not be done if warfare was not allowed!

If only we could agree to ban war as a method of “overcoming evil” can you imagine how we might resolve our differences?  We might even be able to throw out trying to define good and evil.  Martin Luther King, amongst other good company, championed the concept of war free conflict (non-violent protest in his case). It does produce results, even without a martyr. Unfortunately the rioting thugs (who like to be misidentified as Afro-Americans, don’t know enough about the great men like Martin Luther King).

Perhaps a potentially better statment (though longer)  than hers might be considered.

  • Little evil would be done in the world if evil never could be done in the name of good”  might become…
  • “little evil would be done in the world if warfare, of any sort,  was not permitted in an effort to replace perceived evil with perceived good.  

Warfare is also not so easy to define.  Is economic warfare war?  Is political manipulation and destabilization of nations war?

If we could ban “warfare”  of most types, it could potentially make for a great story. However, considering that the “natural order of our universe” appears to be the  survival of all living creatures who are dependent upon a hierarchy of species dominance and a food chain, it strains credulity.

Somewhere in our universe I know this story is being played out.  Ah…but to witness it in person and learn its secrets!  My exploration of this issue and slowly upcoming story currently labeled “The Carrnegg”  is an attempt to visit this time and place…….  stick around.



Exploring Values And Civilization’s End


I recently landed in Florida and as we all stood up to disembark, found that the door did not open as expected. Everyone was in a good mood.  As we were standing very close together,  we began to talk and the topic was politics and America’s decline.

To my surprise there was unanimous agreement of about 20 or more people who got in on this topic with enthusiasm. We ended up talking for nearly 15 minutes, and not one of us cared about the delay, it seemed. Without opposition, everyone agreed that the loss of morality and ethics was the cause of our political, institutional and corporate failure.  Everyone believed in America’s democracy and opportunity; however, the repression of religious expression,  the removal of  God’s name from our publications and the denial of individual responsibility was blamed by all for our challenges.

Since then I have taken the liberty of  “polling” people for this issue whenever I have a chance to talk with a new  acquaintance.   There seems to be no question about the agreement on this issue.  However,  I suspect that if I was meeting people on a college campus it would be different.   The few “intellectuals”  that I meet,  seem repelled by the thought of a God or  God’s recognition anywhere.

The “intellectual”  few I have met,  seem to look down upon those of us who “need” God as they are so sure we do so because of our intellectual inferiority.  They easily explain how “God is the reason for many of our wars and efforts to exterminate each other.”   I always laugh at this mentally,  as I never see God being the reason.  From my viewpoint it is greedy,  power hungry leaders who hijack religion in what they call “God’s plan”.  Witness the radical Islamics of today.   If the average American Christian  (or Jew) were to look into his heart for the religious values that Christianity takes from Jesus’ teachings,  he would not do what has been done to America in the last 20 years of our decline,  nor would he lead a Crusade against any nation of people.   I believe it is only those who falsely claim God’s blessing on war and then deceitfully  commandeer religious followers,  who are cause of war,  and not God.  In other words anything can be used to instigate war,  if you are a clever enough leader.  Look at what Hitler did or perhaps what we will soon learn about the Khmer Rouge as the public proceedings continue.

If you look carefully back upon this short essay,  you may sense that the key to a civilization’s survival is a balance and avoidance of extremes.   Erasing God’s name from our institutions walls,  congress’ opening ceremony,  classrooms and speech may be a big mistake.  In contrast,  I find it hard to understand values that are those that suit personal taste.  Without “ultimate values” it seems that almost anything is possible depending upon your circumstances.  At least this seemed the conclusion a sampling of America’s people who were for  15 minutes trapped in an airplane in Florida’s South-West Airport.

I do not feel I or anyone I know is wise enough to know all  the answers to preventing America’s decline as it appear today, but I have a good feeling for what is the answer is. I also  seemed my new friends on Jet Blue that day did too.   In my sci-fi books,  I experiment with what happens when we do or don’t follow these paths. I think it makes for a very interesting story; though one I would rather not live in.  Chess is too predictably complex and boring for me,  checkers too simple, but people and America an  amazing adventure.  Let’s hope we find people wiser than we have been to run our government, corporations and religious institutions.  As Einstein said,

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Janr Ssor

PS:  Why did I use “Jetblue’s”  logo when I could have put in an anonymous airplane image?  I think that as a corporation,  thought they have had failures,  Jetblue strives to treat people as they would like to be treated themselves.  When corporations,  business leaders and citizens demand values over profits,  we will all profit!  Doesn’t our common Judeo-Christian heritage predict this?