The Knowledge of Good and Evil
Whenever spiritual logic obsoletes old conclusions about the nature of creator and creation, a world of brighter conclusions is ready to emerge. In the progression of human thought, our acceptance of a world of brighter conclusions is followed by a new set of questions. At each level, thought is turned, if only briefly, to satisfy logic and consistency, to the world of appearances, to develop a sufficient explanation for whatever sense of the negative might remain.
Evil appearing to human sense goes from a first recognition of it as untoward material phenomena to its last human appearance in level four belief as spiritually mental empty space. One reading these last few chapters could conclude that infinite evil is an inconceivably wonderful abstraction that can make us all feel safe and warm because we know about all the bad things that can never happen to us. Well, if this idea of infinite evil is so wonderful, what is the explanation for all the obviously rotten things that may go on in our world, things we might call evils?
One could suggest that apparent evils on the human scene are like so many balls of tangled string. When confronting a hopelessly tangled ball of string, it is sometimes a surprise to be able to pull the string, carefully and patiently, until all the tangles disappear. One could sometimes unravel an entire tangled ball of string and find no knots. If there were no knots in the string, how could it have looked so hopeless? Even with no knots at all, if you do not pull on the string, if you yank too hard, or if your string pulling is not done with intelligent sensitivity, you can still have a tangled snarl. Knots or no knots, if your string looks tangled, you have to work it out.
* * *
In chemistry, there are mixtures and compounds. A mixture is like salt and pepper poured together. They are together in physical proximity, but they can be separated through simple means. A compound, on the other hand, is like the salt itself. Salt is a compound made of sodium and chloride atoms joined in a chemical bond. When a compound is created, it has characteristics and properties that may be far different from the properties of the original materials.
When you have money in a savings bank, the value of your money can increase over a period of time due to compounding of interest. This compounding is a form of fractional self-multiplication. If left compounding for long enough, your money can double or even triple in value.
If a bone is broken, it can be a simple fracture or a compound fracture. A compound fracture is where not only the bone breaks, but the broken bone breaks through the skin. It is a bad situation gone worse.
If you are working on a project and you make a mistake, you can correct the mistake or you can ignore it. A mistake may often be quickly and easily corrected if it is detected early. For instance, if an engineer is thinking about a design for a bridge and he makes a simple math error in his head, he can detect that error and correct it even before writing the incorrect calculation on paper. If the engineer does not detect his error, he may commit it to paper. This will compound the error.
The consequences of making a mental mistake are not so much related to the enormity of the mistake as to whether the error is corrected before it is compounded. The most monumental mental error we could possibly imagine would cause no problems if it was corrected before it was compounded.
In the case of the bridge engineer with the math error, were his mistake to go uncorrected for several months, its correction might require the redoing of countless calculations or scores of drawings, or the generation of volumes of change orders for materials purchases.
Were such an error to go uncorrected during construction, and if its consequences were not observable during final inspection, the error might be detected only after the bridge collapsed carrying rush-hour traffic during a storm. By the time this mathematical mistake, an abstraction, is detected at the level of full manifestation, it is too late to correct it. At this point, correcting the error by building a new bridge is an insufficient remedy.
A simple error can compound, and its consequences can compound, and the cost to correct it can compound. As errors compound, certain resulting losses can appear seemingly irreversible.
There are some errors that are not related to other events, errors upon which no other things are dependent, and they tend not to compound. An incorrect spelling on the memorial plaque on the new bridge might be an error that would not compound.
The reason compounding is mentioned here is to suggest that there is no point in taking infinite words that are inconceivable and turning them into human beliefs that are frightening. If instead of thinking correctly from spiritual principles, one merely supposes and assumes and believes, one could become involved in an unfortunate compounding process.
As with the bridge, the consequences depend on what mistakes are left uncorrected, how we carry them into action, and what their position is in the chain of events leading to causation. If we live by flawed assumptions and act on them, if we energize negative beliefs and exert our will in wrong directions, we might have a case of taking nothing at all and compounding it into serious problems.
Our abstract awareness that compounded nothingness can never be more than nothing might be comforting. But the one who does not correct the arithmetic problem in his head is not absolved, when the bridge collapses, by saying it was only a silly mistake and he knew the right answer all along. Culpability may not be so much in making the mistake as in letting it compound.
We know that the only right sense of evil comes from the infinite idea of it as abstract nothingness already filled with goodness. The infinite idea of evil does not exist alone; it exists in an infinite compound with the idea of infinite goodness. The compound they form is the whole idea of infinity, an idea whose union is greater than the sum of the parts, an idea experienced as sensible and supersensible wholeness.
To lend one's mental weight to a human sense of evil, to energize thought or action based on a limited sense of evil as finity, mentality, belief, law, or substance might begin to compound an easily correctable error.
* * *
Since infinity is true identity, compounding at other levels than the infinite might lead to aberrant and undesirable beliefs of identity. To the degree that the ideas providing impetus for our thoughts and actions are in harmony with the infinite idea, the resulting beliefs will be proportionately free from unwanted side effects.
If one attempts to employ mental action with bad seed, it will eventually come to nothing. Worship of the negative always comes to nothing. The forms that any compounded aspects of human nothingness might present, during their resolution into abstract nothingness, can range from the monstrously horrible to the laughably ridiculous. If we experience beliefs from incorrect compounding, they will tend to have a mental aspect consistent with our individual level of perspective.
We may be able to take some very good human ideas and compound them into wonderful things. This will be possible to the degree that our actions, beliefs, and principles reflect their infinite originals. The process of finitely compounding evil might go through a progression from finite concepts, to material misconceptions, to fears and doubts, to wrong actions. These might appear to result in human limitations, material discords, evil adversaries, painful punishments, or worse.
As always, the infinite idea about everything is the ultimate antidote. Just as the infinite idea of evil provides us with the not-knowing needed to preclude sensible evils, the antidote to fear of false compounding is appreciating the infinite idea about it. Compounding an infinite idea of evil defines a larger sense of place within which to conceive the infinite idea of good. Compounding the idea of infinity compounds holiness. Compounding holiness is infinite identity compounding itself. It is the natural activity of infinitely minded being.
The right sense of compounding as infinite spiritual activity can help correct, replace, displace, and dispel any false or limited sense of it. A most powerful standpoint for the infinitely minded thinker is to consciously and affirmatively be. At the standpoint of the infinite I, simply being results in right compounding, wholeness, and revelation.
Copyright 1994, Jim Chapman
Continue to Next Chapter.
Return to Table of Contents.
Return to Web Map.