What Is the 'Root' of Evil?
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” ~ Thoreau
Lake dweller Henry David Thoreau enjoyed an enviable, pastoral life in the pre-industrial age. Living in the woods on the shore of the 60 acre Walden Pond, a mile from the village of Concord, Massachusetts , Henry had ample time to dwell on the topic of good and evil.
The year was 1845. Slavery existed then in America . The Mexican War had not yet begun but would very soon. The War Between The States (for some unknown reason called a civil war) was 15 years in the future, but the issues drove many men into a frenzy. Most of the native tribes, “Indians,” living west of the Missouri River, hadn’t yet been eradicated. And all of these topics and hundreds more caught the attention of Thoreau. Like Tolstoy, 50 years later, Thoreau dwelt on the topic of good and evil, (among many others), trying to determine the clearest definition of the two in a so-called civilized society.
What he discovered was what most folks discover. Nobody much gives a damn about good and evil. Most folks were just too busy. At any moment, anywhere in the Western world, most men simply want to work and relax, “get paid and laid,” as my younger brother so clearly defined the focus of most civilizations. The only root most men want to strike lies between their legs.
Good? Evil? Can anyone define the terms? The Seven Deadly Sins your definition of evil? What about a flag-waving series of wars based on lies? Is that good for some people and evil for others? Most folks prefer their Congressmen or televangelist or talk show host to define good and evil and do all their thinking for them. Never mind that these televangelists and US Representatives seem to represent themselves, rather than any declared ethic, and instead rapturously rubberstamp those wars ...