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Chapter One -- Searching for Evil (The other evil thread is too long to load)

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Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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0 posted 09-19-2000 06:29 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

So -- why not just start fresh....

I was going to wait until I could get the whole chapter done -- but might as well post page by page..

Chapter One -- Searching for Evil

Her hand was yellow in mine, which seemed almost red in comparison.  It was also puffy and swollen with waste fluids her heart was no longer strong enough to evacuate from the distance of the extremity.  A red puncture mark on the back of that distended limb echoed where the needle of an IV had resided for a couple of days until it was removed and placed in the other.   From 1966 until 1998 this hand had been part of a body of incredible strength, skill, and beauty.  But now it had betrayed her.  Tiny mutated cells from her uterus had decided on their own to migrate throughout her body and start growing elsewhere.  This had happened all quite without her permission.  In time those malignant cells would take root in her brain, as well -- indeed -- we all were soon to find out they were already moving in.

I could tell the pain was starting to overcome the power of the morphine.  Lying there on the hospital bed beside her was a blue button at the end of a not long enough cord attached to an innocuous looking blue box hanging on the IV stand.  I reached down to the button and asked her if I should give it a push.  She tried to remember what I was talking about as the pain, morphine, and cancer sometimes confused her to the point that short term memory no longer functioned.  I reminded her it would take away the pain.  A pain she had likened to lying down against hot coals.  She was no pansy when it came to pain either.  She was a military officer who'd seen action.  She'd been the victim of violent crime.  She was a body-builder and martial arts expert.  She'd endured what some call is the worst pain a woman forgets -- that of childbirth.  But this pain, this constant pain, constant nausea, constant confusion, this pain -- had beaten her.  

I pushed the button and a little hum meant the volumetric dispenser had injected a few more cc's of morphine into her IV.  In a few seconds she stopped convulsing from the pain and turned to look at me again with tearful eyes.  We spoke a few minutes.  She told me things that she wanted me to hear before she couldn't say them anymore.  Promises she wanted me to keep.  Things about me.  Things lovers say to their loves.  And she knew me.  She could feel the pain wrapped in my own heart with every beat her own struggled through.  

She squeezed my hand.  She paused.  It seemed as though she was trying to emphasize the next sentence and wanted to make sure I was paying attention.  She was very deliberate and lucid for a moment as a solitary tear journeyed down her face.

"There is only one true evil," she said "to be disconnected from the universe".

I told her I knew that, and understood, as I kissed her and told her to sleep well.  Her eyes closed and she drifted off.  I held her hand until her dad suggested I should probably go before she awakened again.  There would be things, procedures and the like, that would need to be done.  I left the room, left the hospital, somehow realizing that she was already gone.  Her body would awaken four or five times a day over the next week but she'd left the building--so to speak.  

If there was evil in the universe I was sure this was it.  We'd had our debates.  Even if I was fortunate enough to win one I knew it was because she was just letting me be the man.  But now I knew she was wrong.  If there was evil in the universe I had surely just seen it.  A body's own mechanisms turning against it and ravishing the most beautiful woman in the world with incredible pain as it slowly killed her.  That was evil.  But her words -- in the words someone else used-- fell to the floor of my brain and took root.

She would have said pain is a teacher.  Pain isn't bad.  It tells us what we need to know.  When there's pain we need only look for the lesson in front of us.  What was the lesson here?  Simplistic answers abound.  Don't smoke could be one of them.  But does that make smoking evil?  If so then what qualifies as evil? Mummies have been excavated in China where the cause of death was years of inhaling sand and sediment as it was blown across the plains by harsh winds.  Certainly people are maimed and killed by the wind itself.  Is the wind evil?  To those who drown at sea the water may be evil.  But to the descendents of brave pilgrims, indentured servants, who sacrificed to build a new nation the water was good.  To the Native Americans displaced by the newcomers -- to the slaves taken by force --the water may have been evil.  The bite is evil to the heel but the heel is evil to the snake.  Where do we turn to find evil?  What did she mean? -- to be disconnected -- from the universe?


Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


1 posted 09-19-2000 07:46 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

This is just to say a quick thanks for starting another thread.

Brad
doreen peri
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since 05-25-99
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2 posted 09-20-2000 10:28 AM       View Profile for doreen peri   Email doreen peri   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for doreen peri

some time back we had a similar discussion which is here
http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum8/HTML/000089.html

don't know if this is relevant to the previous thread in regards to what direction the conversation was going, but i thought i'd direct you all there just in case you were interested in reading what was discussed before  

it's funny you posted this today, rebellious one.... i'm feeling a little disconnected from the universe at the moment  
((hugs))

ok.... carry on people!     

[This message has been edited by doreen peri (edited 09-20-2000).]
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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3 posted 09-20-2000 01:48 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Brad -- you're welcome..

Doreen -- thanks for chiming in -- that's an interesting thread you had going there...and quite germane.. sorry you're feeling un-strung today  

on to page two:

It had been quite some time since I was asking any questions like this one.  I'd been through my adolescent searches -- my young adulthood--my mid-life crisis.  Now I was back to this.  I had searched for evil with grand fervor before.  

Being a teen-ager in the '70s was a lot like 'That '70's Show' on Fox.  But there was a much darker side to it that doesn't come out in that sit-com. The whole nation was darker.  We'd been through the Vietnam war experience -- the protests at home -- the loss of the war -- the political spinning of it all.  We'd been through Watergate together -- waited in line for gasoline -- watched our economic might begin to crumble to the powers of globalization as we hummed around in our Honda Civics. Simple relationships between men and women were (rightfully) under the gun and the battle between the sexes was metaphorically won on the tennis court.  

We watched our embassy in Iran fall and expatriates abused.  We heard our nation called the Great Satan and watched our president being burned in effigy in the streets.  The echo of Kruchev's shoe banging on  Kennedy's desk still rang in our ears as we felt the wind chill from the cold war blowing our futures into a huge mushroom boom. Our government began wracking up debt like there was no tomorrow. Orwell's 1984 didn't seem that far off and the lack of national leadership punctuated the report from the assassin's bullet at the grassy knoll the decade before.

If I may insert parenthetically: It's really no wonder that Ronald Reagan was elected president at the end of the seventies.  When he called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire it was really all over for Jimmy Carter.  In short -- to use a 90's phrase -- he had it at hello.

We were a very wealthy nation with a huge self-esteem problem.  Collectively it seemed we searched to find a raison-detre.  In an anthropomorphic sense our country was shaking off adolescence and entering young adulthood as we celebrated our Bicentennial year.  

In that kind of mood it's always nice to suppose there is something more evil than us.  It was not surprising that movies like The Godfather, The Exorcist, and the Omen were huge successes.  Images of Mafia thugs being really bad reminded us that we -- driving around in our fossil-fuel burning ecology wrecking poor quality American made gas guzzlers back and forth to school, work, and church every day -- were not such bad people.  Images of demonic possession let us escape into the notion that there really is supreme evil in the universe and that sometimes we have no control -- hence the phrase made popular by the television variety show Laugh-In; "The Devil Made me Do It".  And what better escape could there have been than an apocalyptic presentation of the New Testament's Revelations in the movie 'The Omen'.  We could, for 90 minutes or so, rest easy in our unrest, that it didn't matter how much mutually assured destruction existed in the arsenals of the world's superpowers. Because there was underneath it all this universal battle between omnipotent powers of good and evil that rendered our most frightening technology mere toys.  

I remember being taken to see the movie 'The Omen' by a youth minister with a group of other teenaged miss-behaved males -- ostensibly with the goal of 'scaring us straight'.  I can't say that his ploy was totally ineffectual because seeing the movie did spark my interest in things biblical.  It sent me on a search.  I'm sure our heroic youth minister would have been quite distraught at the conclusions I drew though.  It was, after all, what could be called a millenarian sect of a basically fundamental Christian church and it would be accurate to say the end result was my total rejection of his philosophy.


[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 09-20-2000).]
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


4 posted 09-23-2000 03:23 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Local Reb:

Now you've gotten my curiousity piqued ... millenarian sect?  Amillenialism isn't a particularly popular point of view these days.  But then again, I was never one to go along with the crowd either.  

Back to the evil thread: We are all evil ... we either (1) admit it or (2) spend a great deal of time qualifying our evil by white-washing it with euphemisms, (3) point out the greater evils of others (whether they exist or not) to distract the attention of others from our own evil, (4) put our civil righteousness on a pedestal, thinking that little idol of our good deeds makes up for our greed, selfishness, hatred, and dishonesty or (5) deny that evil exists.  Not necessarily a comprehensive list but I think it serves to get my point across.

I suppose I'm sick of tip-toeing and I've suddenly developed a tremendous appetite for all those canned worms.  

Jim
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
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5 posted 09-28-2000 12:40 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one. -Thomas Carlyle

I never go along just to get along but -- first ya have to fit in a bit before you can stand out.. lol

nope it isn't exactly popular but -- I doubt most of my conclusions will be popular but may, ironically, turn out to be populist...

and -- I'll wait in future pages to bury your worms sir.. lol

White Wolf
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since 09-18-99
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Somewhere in the vast wastelan


6 posted 09-29-2000 02:14 AM       View Profile for White Wolf   Email White Wolf   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for White Wolf

Some would say evil doesn't cept in the "eye of the beholder".  Others would say that "we" are inherent.  And yet still others say there is no such thing.  For me, yeah it exsists for without it how would I know what is good.  Furthurmore I believe that we are not inherently good or evil but conditioned by our upbringing until we are old enough to realize what it is and how to tell the difference.  Evil in itself resides in one's own heart and is made know by one's actions and is confirmed by the recation of those around it.  The choice is our's.  And it is this choice that defines what and who we become.


The White Wolf


Would the bunny like this nice carrot? I don't bite. Much. :)
Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


7 posted 10-03-2000 12:21 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

OK - so Jim - Are you saying that we're predomintantly evil, or simly that we bear the propensity for evil.

If the former, I think that a little unrealistic (you'd have to meet my aunt. I've never met a more sickenly sweet person in my life! ) If the latter, then I personally would definitely agree. And I would agree with your list as well, though I think it might be a little limited in its scope as well.

"Fit in." What's that?!!!
Christopher
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Purgatorial Incarceration


8 posted 10-03-2000 12:25 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

BTW - Local Rebel - I wanted to say that I found your intro here a compelling read. I was instantly fascinated by your writing style!

Chris
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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9 posted 10-03-2000 12:33 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

thanks chris -- I hope to get back into it this week some
jbouder
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since 09-18-99
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Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash


10 posted 10-03-2000 12:39 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Chris:

I think my point was well demonstrated on a "Friends" episode of all places.  

Phoebe was going to be the surrogate mother for her brother's baby and got into a discussion with Joey on the "goodness" of people.  Joey argued that even a little bit of selfishness while doing a good deed made the deed imperfectly good.  Phoebe mentioned her surrogacy, Joey asked if having the baby for her brother made her feel good, Phoebe, of course, answered yes, and Joey leapt at the opportunity to point out that Phoebe's intentions were not entirely selfless and, therefore, her very good deed was not entirely good.

Martin Luther clarified his views on human goodness by setting forth two categories: (1) civil goodness and (2) Godly or perfect goodness. Civil goodness involved obeying just laws, giving to charity, virtuous living, etc.  Godly or perfect goodness involved exactly what it implies: being perfectly good in every thought and deed. You asked:

quote:
OK - so Jim - Are you saying that we're predomintantly evil, or simly that we bear the propensity for evil.


I would certainly say that all of us have both the propensity for good and evil when it comes to Luther's first category (civil goodness).  But living in perfect accordance to Luther's second category, as Joey demonstrated to Phoebe, is impossible. In that sense, I would say we're predominantly evil or, to put it another way, in opposition to that perfect standard of goodness.

Jim
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


11 posted 10-03-2000 12:44 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I'd reccomend that both of you, Chris and Jim, do a web search on Taguchi's and Loss Function -- study up on the concept a bit -- I'll be expounding more in subsequent chapters/pages et al
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


12 posted 10-03-2000 12:54 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

this will save you some time
www.mv.com/ipusers/rm/loss.htm
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