Posted by Loren (18.104.22.168) on September 07, 2002 at 16:06:01:
In Reply to: Re: The Non-Existence of Evil - The Ultimate Pure Argument posted by Stuart on August 25, 2002 at 05:58:57:
I think you have missed the beauty and truth in 'Abdu'l-Baha's both simple and elegant explanation. Who, I might add for clarification is NOT a Prophet as you suggested.
Perhaps the easiest way to understand this is with examining light, and its opposite dark. Light is a very mysterious and not completely understood, and my example not be demonstrated on than as (don't try this at home! (-; )a "thought experiment", if you will.
Suppose you have a cup of light particles (or waves depending on your method of observations), and that cup contains light equivalent to 1000 lumens.
Now suppose you wanted to reduce the amount of lumens in that cup of light to say 900 lumens. How to do this? It is unreasonable to consider adding a certain amount of darkness to it, say 100 "anti-lumens" or a measure of darkness equivalent to -100 lumens.
The other more reasonable approach is to simply pour off some of the excess light until the amount needed to reduce the lumens of light by 100 lumens has been removed.
Suppose you continued in this manner until you had a fairly dim cup of light with only two lumens. Now if you remove one of those remaining lumens, relative to when it had two lumens, or even more so when it was a full cup of light, this is a dark cup-- Relatively speaking of course. If you were to examine this cup of one lumen of light in broad day light, and no other external lumens entered the cup (to maintain control of our experiment) everyone would agree that this is now a cup void of light--a dark cup. Or, if you wanted, you could say this is a cup "full of darkness" and if you said this, you would probably be understood, but incorrect. Why?
Try now to perform the same light experiment on the darkness. If one wants to decrease the amount of darkness by "removing" a portion of it, it will be discovered that this is impossible to do, because darkness has no qualities or properties of its own. It can neither be removed nor added to our magic cup. In order to affect the darkness in the cup you may either remove the last lumen, creating absolute darkness,(note that this is a zero property, and not a negative) or I can once again add light to it, thus gradually "decreasing the darkness" which in reality is only increasing the light.
This is why I would disagree with your analogy, that "light and dark BOTH don't exist" (and exist?). In the experiment, we are only removing the light from an observable container. The light does not cease when I remove it, it is merely displaced or separated, by the walls of the cup. The situation with the dark cup (containing one lumen) in the sunlight is only dark relative the daylight outside the cup. If you were to examine the cup of one lumen in a room containing zero lumens, you would observe the cup was not dark, but in fact light. If you removed the lumen from the cup and the room you would be in total darkness, i.e. zero light, which only means that the physical walls have separated all the light from your presence, but it still exists outside. The reverse of this experiment is not possible, because darkness does not have any properties of its own to experiment upon.
In conclusion, we see that light exists, and darkness does not. This is not to say there is no such thing as darkness, and that the essence of darkness can only be defined by the degree that it lacks light, or in its (light's) conspicuousness or inconspicuousness. Now back to the original theme of the states of good and evil. Look, darkness is "bad"! If all the light (good) were removed, and we lived in a state of utter darkness "evil"... well we can't and we would all perish instantly. We do however live in various degrees of darkness (evil) which is only quantifiable by observing to what degree of light (good) we are living in.
The Late Adib Taherzedah related in a talk some years ago, this principal in a humorous way. He gave the example of a person who is living in utter poverty, going to come and visit you. Now the poor person cannot say, "I am coming to visit you, and I am bringing all my poverty with me!" No, the poor person can bringing only the "good" things he possesses, if that be a penny, or only the tattered clothes on his back. The things he lacks (evil) can not be brought.
This analogy works for all moral and ethical aspects we call good and evil. Try it. Evil is always on evaluation the lack of a virtue, moral, or understanding. But DON'T UNDERESTIMATE IT! Evil is dangerous! It DOES EXIST in its state of "Non-existence". We need to avoid it, and seek as much good as we can in this life, if not, what will you "take with you "?
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