On television, The History Channel tends to be top-heavy with clips of World War II and thin-tea approaches to Nostradamus/Apocalypse/Revelations/Anti-Christ/Doom-'n'-Gloom.
But yesterday, during a channel-flip, something caught my ear on The History Channel. I probably got it wrong, but how wrong, I'm not sure.
What I heard was that up until the Zoroastrians, Christians and Jews started promulgating their faiths, the notions of good and evil were joined at the hip so to speak -- kin whose separation was impossible. This accords with anyone's common sense and yet the dream/belief/hope that there might be some light without darkness was so compelling that common sense was swept aside in a bolt of pure light ... or pure darkness, I suppose.
Pure goodness surrounded by imaginative tales of how evil entered the picture. No longer kin. No longer brother and sister. No longer fruit of the same loins.
And to the extent that I got this notion right, all I could think was, "No wonder things got so fucked up." Not that it's not human and understandable, but rather what a good pointer to return to a common sense that points more assuredly to understanding a peace.
Anyway, what I found interesting in what I only half-heard and perhaps heard badly was the delicious public relations to be found in good and evil. It's so damned attractive that it takes some real courage to get beyond Disneyland -- courage and patience and doubt.
What would man's good be without man's evil? And what would man's evil be without man's good? It is fertile ground for the weaving of tales (tales I have woven and so perhaps have you), but for the serious student, it is also idiotic and half-baked, a stumbling block made particularly dangerous by the vast social agreement it can invite.
If so-called good and so-called evil are separated, isn't this the same as taking the wetness from water? How good could a man possibly hope to be good without the capacity to purify evil? How good could he be if all he could do was to point out evil as distinct from good? How could God be God if God were not God?
It's not tricky of philosophical or religious. It requires no books and no hierarchy and no convincing. It just requires common sense and a willingness to pay attention.
Still ... what a great p.r. gimmick: Good and evil, separate and distinct. If you have any doubts about great p.r., just check out the size and membership of some of the megachurches in the Midwest.
If only it assured peace.
If only it worked.
PS. As a footnote, someone posted this oldie-but-goodie elsewhere:
A teacher asked the children to draw a picture. Checking on their progress the teacher asked one little girl: "what are you drawing?" the girl answered: "a picture of god". The teacher pointed out that no one knows what god looks like.
"They will in a minute," replied the little girl.