Saintly Thoughts

Either/Or (and a little Buddha)

Could it be that the nature of evil is determined by the very either/or category we have recognized which distinguishes the good from the evil; that is, that evil springs from the capacity to recognize something as good or not good?  For, nothing in itself is evil, at least, not from the perspective of most orthodoxies which have considered the issue.  This would appear to place us in a conundrum, however.  If the nature of reality is not expressed in the dualism between the either/or but in the unity (not a pantheistic unity, you understand, though such is also a meaningless distinction from the perspective of Unity Itself) of Goodness Itself, than we are forced to play a sort of middle game.  For, even if we understand the true nature underlying reality, and understand it truly, we cannot live out such a reality in the world as we know it, as created beings.  To put it another way, while it is not incorrect to say that our corporeal bodies are nothing other than complex interactions of forces and energies rather than the concrete matter which we perceive with our senses, it would be wrong of us to live as though we are no different from those impersonal forces which rule the nature of reality.  For we recognize ourselves as body, and those forces do not recognize themselves (so far as we know).  Thus, we are forced into another kind of dualism; a humility which accepts our state as bodies subject to the laws of becoming (which end, ultimately, in the death of the body) while recognizing that there is a more fundamental nature underlying the becoming of the body both truer and wholly other from the body.  What will that otherness tell us that is useful concerning our own existence as bodies?  Probably nothing (naturally).  While the course of the Buddhas has its appeals, this seems to me, at least, the error (trap of the either/or distinction) of an over-spiritualized doctrine: that it does not take seriously (enough) the state of bodies.  It is right, however, in recognizing the transience of bodies, and the ultimate unity of existence, where the either/or distinction breaks down, and all that is simply Is (as opposed to good/evil) and recognizes Itself as such and is recognized as such.  I do not mean this as an accusation of the Buddha (what a beautifully pragmatic faith!), only a point of contention.  That to deny the efficacy of the self as self is wisdom, but to deny the other itself is to attempt to reach, not beyond the either/or distinction but to reach beyond the very understanding of Unity Itself which proclaims the selfness of creatures "good" and creation itself as "good".