Are We Morally Bankrupt?

The duplicate nature of “good” and “evil” have historically left very little elbow room to maneuver alternate thinking or approaches. It has always been a case of either having a moral standing in society or none at all. Those that have been found guilty of some heinous activity are easily painted to be completely evil. They are then treated as if everything they have ever said or done is inherently evil.

Meanwhile, morally bankrupt leaders of industry and nations wander in and out of our media feeds unscathed. What is the divisive mechanism that leaves us unwilling to see things in shades of gray? Why can’t we accept that no man is ever truly good or truly evil?

For those who are willing to push past the taboo social lines of duplicitous notions, you will find there is always something to learn. Here are a few examples of horrible people who were never recognized for the positive work they have done.

  • Jeffery Dahmer and Edmund Kemper, two of the most notorious serial killers in North America, gave great insight to police and the FBI on how to catch other serial killers.

  • Ted Bundy (arguably the most famous named serial killer) used his skills of manipulation to successfully save people through a suicide hotline.

  • Jim Jones, the famous cult leader who drove over 1,000 people to commit suicide was a champion against racism. His work as part of the Human Rights Commission in Indianapolis is still utilized today.

  • The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski wrote a manifesto in 1995 that illustrates issues of greedy organizations and apathy in our society that we are clearly feeling the effects of today.

We may judge them for the unspeakable things they have done. Honestly, they may even deserve it. On the reflective side of this psychology, we as individuals judge ourselves with even greater impunity. A nasty habit of judging ourselves just as radically for lesser crimes and habits as we do for those that have gone beyond the walls of reasonable action.

When was the last time you reminded yourself of the good work you have done? Do you let the poison of negative experience allow you to drown yourself in sorrow? Are these feelings of judgment society’s reflection turned inward? Or is it my own moral compass showing I’ve been on the wrong path?

Duplicity in the Mental Matrix

Society has done well to program division into each of us. Each of those divisions reflects inward as much as they reflect outward. Each of these divisions has an origin that has mutated over time. Sometimes, this pathway of social evolution has taken us to greener pastures and a better structure. Sometimes that pathway corrupts us more than we were previously.

The history of “Good” and “Evil” begins in the days of ancient Persia. Where their understanding of morality was much easier to understand than our ever-changing mindset toward the issue is today.

Modernly, we see “Good” and “Evil” as a result of a contest. Where history will show the victor as being a part of the righteous hand. Being on the wrong side of that history results in being painted unrighteous and unworthy of glory in the history books. This leaves a single question in mind. What if the winning side was wrong in the long-term gains of humanity?

The ancient belief of this division was seen simply as “Favorable traits” and “Unfavorable traits”. Unlike today, the division was clearly illustrated and was not poised to political or religious opinion. It stood judgment-free in society. You were either one or the other.

The Favorable expressed their desire toward illumination through knowledge and connection to their spiritual roots. They treated people with dignity and placed others before themselves. They believed that every person had good in them. There was salvation found even in the most unfavorable personalities.

The Unfavorable expressed their desires toward corruption. They tended to be greedy individuals who desired power and wealth. Their work ethic was that of “what can others do for me” rather than “what can I do for others”.

It’s easy to see the parallels of today’s standards have traded position with those of ancient times. This methodology of thinking reigned for more than an era. Moving through the Classical Era into the Medieval Era where the ideals of religion finally determined the difference.

A Corrupting Force from Well-Meaning Hands

Outside the nearly universal approach to favorable personalities, there was another scale the world lived by. Honor. This was a little more complex and balanced along the lines of a warrior’s lifestyle. You needed to be loyal to the leadership and traditions of your people. If you were a great warrior, you were more favorable for having a loyalty stronger than your steel. As a result, war was the one true way to prove your worth.

The early days of the Christian faith during the Medieval Era were paired with high levels of aggression and the division of power. This was seen as the will of God in these times. You either stood on the side of Christianity, or you were seen as an enemy. There was no middle ground.

It was at this time that the favorable and honorable moved away from loyalty, strength, and honor. The new absolute of favor became “Those who follow God”. Leaving all else to become Unfavorable.

The Christian warriors saw this as a physical representation of the ongoing spiritual war. Backed by belief, their victories in battle bolstered and strengthened their resolve. The more wars they won, the more solidified their beliefs became. Idealism, however, always has a way of corrupting absolution in society.

At the time there were military and church leaders that began torturing foreigners in order to convert them to their way of thinking. This also was a means of extracting information about the perceived enemy. Ultimately, this resulted in the destruction and even genocide of many civilizations. This was the bloodiest war in history known as “The Crusades”. This war shifted the perception of favorable for the entire world.

Today Christians practice much more peaceful means for missionary work. However, what has never changed is the perspective of what is good and what is evil. The world has accepted the fundamentals of terms for righteousness being the ultimate victors of history. Regardless of the ever-present gray areas that are presented by those that don’t follow this approach.

Our Roots Never Proven Wrong

Our root thinking of favorability and honor has never been proven wrong. They have been forgotten. As our televisions show us disloyalty is attractive and honor is a facade presented on social media. The newer theological approach of following faith and belief has also been forgotten. They have been replaced with popularity. The more popular something is, the more correct it must be.

How are you doing? Have the shifting grounds of acceptance shaken the resolve in yourself? You aren’t alone if you feel this way. The societal representation of good and evil will continue to change. We shouldn’t let that detract from celebrating values that are true to us. Nor should it remove our desire of accepting the traditions of others.

I do not believe that the Ancient methodology and the Medieval approaches were flawless. I believe a hybrid approach creates something more valuable. Combine the system of loyalty and honorable traits with the conviction levels of purity and acceptance. There we have a formula of growth. Don’t allow the facades of dishonest people with perfect images to sway you from your own seat. Remember that nobody is ever truly evil, or truly good. Not even you.

Create a level of acceptance that allows you to forgive yourself for the unfavorable things you have done. My hope is that this inward journey will become an outward expression. Allowing yourself to dissolve the absolution and definitive thinking of good and evil will lead to a healthier approach to the social structure.

Remember that your individual efforts are a part of the larger picture. You impact everything around you. Worry about strengthening your personal acceptance levels and see the change it makes over time.