This has been a globally frightful week, filled with misunderstanding, painful memories, fear, group-think, and death. There is evil in the world, that is for sure. It lies hidden from our minds until just the right moment of collective unease and vulnerability presents itself: a religious high holiday, an historical event, a political campaign that is being watched from all corners of the world. . . None of us are exempt from evil thoughts. But we can all work to curb our own evil actions.
I may not agree with everything that Rabbi Michael Lerner has to say. But in a timely interview on “The Folly of Nationalism” for the September 2012 Sun Magazine, I embrace his answer to the question:
Is better education a precondition for building a more caring global society?
He replies, “…there’s no particular action that must be taken first. . . . Whoever you are—whether you are a postal worker, auto worker, lawyer, doctor, high-tech expert—there are multiple ways you can advance the cause of love, kindness, and generosity.”
This means that no matter who we are, no matter what our personal or ethnic or national history, no matter how learned we are or how unschooled we are, we all have a responsibility to think first about the evil that lurks within our own hearts before we race off to declare some other person or group evil and unworthy of a place in the community. One evil act is no logical excuse for another evil act.
This is no easy task. It is my life–long battle. I am frequently unsuccessful. For example, at the moment, I can’t stop wondering if this entire You-tube video event wasn’t somehow orchestrated by some evil US political interest. How about you? How do you manage the evil that lurks within?