Essay, Reflections

“Choosing Cruelty…?”

I had an interesting discussion with my roommate yesterday that I feel compelled to share for some reason, even though the post I planned for today is almost complete.  Please accept it as offered, an impulse without explanation, though it be a difficult topic to explore…

The discussion centered on Karma, and the soul’s choice to incarnate into certain situations for the purpose of learning lessons.  It is not a concept that everyone believes, even here among my friends at WordPress.  I understand that we of the Otherhood come from a variety of backgrounds, and hold diverse sets of beliefs and convictions; it is one of my fondest goals achieved and the one I am most grateful for. I count among the followers of this blog people from many faiths and perspectives, and I value each of them immensely!

It is for that reason that I am identifying the subject matter clearly in advance, for I do not wish to offend those who believe differently than myself.  But if you are open to outside ideas, this post may engage your interest nonetheless, as it deals with “evil” expressed in human affairs.  If such does not appeal to you, feel free to move along now… 🙂

So the question we were considering was this: why would a soul choose to live a life which centered on being cruel to others?

It is not hard to understand the lessons associated with victimhood, as they range the spectrum from self-empowerment to forgiveness; there is much of value to be gained by being a victim.

But the lessons of victimage (scapegoating, the act of victimizing others) seem less accessible to me.  It is almost incomprehensible to me that someone would choose to harm others.  And yet, without victimizers, we would have no victims, and no opportunity to learn such virtues as forgiveness, tolerance, patience, compassion and grace…

Could it be that simple?  Could a soul choose such a path for the primary purpose of aiding other souls in their development?  Or are there lessons to be gained by being the perpetrator of such acts?

I’ve heard it said that “evil is as evil does,” though I have no idea from where it comes.  Still, its message seems clear enough.  No soul is born good or evil; rather it is the choices we make that determine our character.  So evil is, at some level anyway, a choice that someone makes.  So why choose evil?

The easiest answer, perhaps, is that someone is driven to such a choice by their own experience as victim.  If you’ve been traumatized by events in your life, you choose how to integrate them into your experience.  One obvious path is to become the traumatizer, thus insulating yourself from further abuse.  Or perhaps you are merely “acting out” your rage against such injustice.  This explanation may suffice for much of what we see happening in the world today, from “legacy of abuse” stories, to random acts of mass violence against others, but it does not explain those who simply seem “born to be bad.”  (Can’t help thinking of George Thorogood here…)  What then motivates them?

If you believe that such is possible, you might be tempted to explain evil in terms of possession by outside forces; “the devil made them do it.”  Or perhaps an interest in scientific/psychological studies might lead you to believe the brain of these individuals is miswired or defective; certainly there have been scientific breakthroughs in brain mapping that show what is different in sociopathic and psychopathic brains.  But neither of these possible explanations for cruelty explain why a soul would choose to experience such a path.

One could fall back on sociological explanations as well, I suppose, blaming society itself for fostering such power-over relationships.  Certainly humanity’s propensity toward being alpha predators aids those choosing to be cruel by providing a framework upon which to justify many incomprehensible acts.  From slavery to slaughter, society institutionalizes acts of extreme cruelty, creating a world in which such acts are expected.  But aside from pointing out the prevalence of such life-paths, these explanations do little to explain why they are necessary for a soul’s evolution…

And from my own professed perspective, I am further confounded by the need to understand the role of cruelty in the expression of Love, for I have frequently avowed that All of creation is Divine and manifested from Love.  Even cruelty.  Even evil.  How can I embrace that conviction??

There are certainly occasions when honest acts of love are perceived as cruel.  Consider medical attention for a beloved pet or child too young to comprehend that inflicting greater pain now is necessary to aid healing later.  Setting broken bones, for example, is excruciating, yet the long-term consequences of not doing so may be worse.  And discipline is often perceived as being cruel by those disciplined, though it will likely yield positive results in the future of that disciplined soul’s evolution…

But no such logic can be applied to those who are cruel simply for the sake of being cruel.  To torture animals, or children, or neighbors, or strangers…?  How can such acts be justified in a world created of, and by, Love?

Were I to take a more philosophical approach, I might suggest that such acts create balance and wholeness in the universe.  But if my soul is Whole and created of Love prior to my incarnation in a dualistic world, then why would I choose the darker path?  It seems to me that such a choice these days only further destroys any inherent balance, as more and more souls choose a destructive life path.  And yet…

And yet, the sheer numbers of souls choosing such a path these days would seem to imply that some vital lesson must be learned, and soon, if we are to salvage anything from this planet.  For my understanding of the Karmic cycle is that one will encounter lessons in ever-increasing intensity until the soul grasps the truths it came seeking, and integrates them into an evolved perspective.  That being the case, we surely have reached a crisis point, as so many souls seek to comprehend the expression of evil simultaneously…

I have no answers here, only questions, I’m afraid.  So if you read through this entire post expecting me to offer some words of wisdom and comfort that would make this topic “feel” better, I am sorry to disappoint you.  What can I say?  Life is cruel sometimes, and so is Love; this I can say with certainty.  But the why behind that truth remains for wiser souls to figure out…

Perhaps that soul is you…?


19 thoughts on ““Choosing Cruelty…?”

  1. I want to comment but it can’t be done in ten words or less!

    The first issue here is the “law of karma” as stated. From my study of this concept I’ve concluded that it’s simply bullshit. It can’t work because the would-be “soul” born with “karma” has no idea what that karma can be. My point would be, how can anyone solve a problem if they don’t know what the problem is? Imagine you’re just coming out of the grocery store and a cop grabs you, slaps handcuffs on you, shoves you in the back seat of the cruiser and takes you to jail. You might protest, yes? Like, what’s this all about? “Law of karma” says the cop. “Need to know, and you don’t need to know. Just figure it out.” How long will you be in jail while you try to “figure it out?” Where’s the justice?

    The next assumption is about love as coming from some divine source and that all the emanates from that source is love, or loving. OK, what exactly is love? Love is a very adaptive concept, you can love a god; you can have sex with love and please your dog. You can love this dress; you can love your best friend and certainly you would want to be in love with your lover. You can put a luscious female in a bikini and that kind of love will help you sell tires and motor homes. And think of all the fun that can be bought at “the Love Boutique.” Best of all, you can kill people with it if your loving god says they’re his enemies and you must rid the world of them. Or if you love someone who doesn’t love you back, it will allow you to commit a crime of passion. A very handy tool for oppressors and controllers, and for victims as well. The Stockholm syndrome. I’ll never forget that classic “defense” of a guy who had beaten his girl friend to death: “I loved the bitch so much had to kill her; she was leaving me.”

    For me, these things: faith, hope, love and karma are pernicious inventions to keep people confused and running around in circles looking for things that do not exist. They are all based on emotion which are basically the exhaust fumes from feelings.

    Now we get to the really fun part: we throw the “soul” concept in the mix. If you happen to be a god with enough followers and enough emotional energy, you can have an entire planet under your thumb. You can control them and make them do whatever you want… because the “soul” is not an individual… spirit, or mind, or brain. A “soul” is not born, that’s religious disinformation and misinformation, and it’s totally deliberate. The actual “soul” is nothing more, nothing less than an implant which every sentient being is saddled with during gestation. That implant is how people are controlled and forced to do things they would naturally never think of doing. The implant can be tweaked and reprogrammed if you have the key to it, and those who “invented” man (created, or cloned if that works better) have that key.

    The programming can be used on millions simultaneously if you want to have a genocide, or start a war. Or it can be used to manipulate one individual to do a particular act that this individual would never think of doing if it had free thought and was free to act as a human being. This goes a long way to explain how the rich are never rich enough; and the concept of suicide bombers; or those who take pleasure in torturing people or animals, as you mention. It explains misogyny and racism, in fact all the evil that man has done, is doing and planning to do 24/7.

    When you touch on the concept of “possession” you are close to the mark, but of course “possession” is a religious term, subject to religious interpretation – very dangerous territory. I have a born again Christian friend who fancies himself able to discern evil spirits and to cast these out of individuals. There is one problem with that: he can only find evil spirits in WOMEN. Let that sink in for a moment or two.

    I’m not implying with the above that “man” is therefore blameless. We can make choices, but we make them only when we are free from “soul” programming; when we choose to become self-empowered and take steps to “kill” all effects from the implant. And that is another, very long story.

    For me, that answers your questions since they are the same questions I used to have and they have answered mine.

    Please feel entirely free to delete this comment, of course. It’s only what I have learned and what works for me. As you stated above, and quote: “I understand that we of the Otherhood come from a variety of backgrounds, and hold diverse sets of beliefs and convictions”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would not dream of deleting uour response, Sha’Tara!! I have nothing but respect for you, and I love hearing your point of view. I don’t always agree with all of it, but I always learn from it, and am frequently persuaded by the arguments you make…

      And with this post in particular, I suppose, because I have no answers. And you clearly do. I will need to re-read them to take them in, though, and that will not happen today. Duty calls in my day-to-day life…

      But please know I consider you, and your wisdom, one of the unique and compelling treasures I have found here at WordPress! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very complex one Lisa and I think you have carried out a thorough overview of the multiplicity of paths to Evil.
    To somewhat repeat and to be broad agreement. The capacity lies within us all, for so many reasons.
    As we all know children can be little horrors before they (hopefully) learn; adolescents are Nature’s way of paying us back for the time we were adolescents. By the time we are half-way out of our twenties it should have worked into our noodles what basically; is right what is wrong what is good and what is bad.
    From there on in most folk have a choice, some are flawed.
    Then you add on the layers of circumstances; ambition, work pressures, social pressures, wars (now there’s a series of blogs in itself), and the administration of your job affecting other people; political and religious beliefs. And these are to name but a few.
    Mix into the pot folk who do what they do for approval, promotion, frustration, doctrinal reasons and you have some many permutations.
    When my dark side insists on having its say, I would for the good of everyone and the stability of the nation run a state somewhat like Orwell’s 1984, and those who break laws would be in for a very bad time. Notice ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in the same sentence; all for the best of reasons.
    It would seem to me there is a constant battle within us, maybe its down to the concept of Free Will, or maybe there is an inherent Evil, or maybe it’s because we are flawed because on the basis that nothing is perfect. I couldn’t say for sure.
    One notion I hold is that Compassion, Respect and Tolerance are the benchmarks and that if someone will not adhere to those and inflicts harm on others, then they’re due to get what they deserve (Now how is that for a paradox,….Compassion, Respect or Tolerance for them????..Not in my crazy way of doing things).
    When I started replying I never intended to hand out a simple answer; just a brief essay on how we are a bundle of oddities.
    But we do try….We do try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We do indeed try, my friend! I’d say your answer is surprisingly full of Compassion, Tolerance and Respect, given the subject matter. And that subject is immense, and difficult to discuss on so many levels…

      I wonder myself why I brought it up here, as it is not usually my style to offer questions without answers. But as I said in the beginning, I felt compelled to share my thoughts, even without a snappy conclusion…

      Thanks for jumping into these turbulent waters with me, dear Roger. It is good to know I will not drown alone… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Lisa
        I guess these questions and thoughts pop into our heads because we are made that way….
        Although Christian when I consider just how big the Universe I do get these little challenges in the head saying ‘One Being created all this and knows about it all…Really?’
        I take comfort from listening to a Jesuit Astronomer at the Vatican Observatory who when interviewed said he was always challenged in his beliefs whenever he studied the universe.
        PS: No one’s drowning….we all float along 😉
        Take care Lisa


    • Sociopaths get deep satisfaction from hating and causing pain to others, animals or people. They are people with no empathy. Like for example, military people, sports hunters and fishermen or those who watch violent, bloody sports (or hope to see blood while they are watching): their pleasure comes from the feeling they get as a result of creating fear and causing pain, then of course, if you’re talking military, hunting or fishing, bragging about their kills. Don’t have far to go to find numbers of those. Some of them are, even to this day, considered heroes by society, which bring society into the mix as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed. All true, my friend. And it would seem that sociopath and society come from the same root word. Makes me wonder if society creates sociopaths, or sociopaths create society? Either way, they seem to have developed a self-perpetuating cycle now… 😉


      • When we read older works, let’s say, Charles Dickens for example, or Shakespeare even, and the widespread use of rape, torture and murder world-wide in war, against captives and Negro slaves in America, we realize very quickly that what we are witnessing and talking about on the Internet and blogs isn’t a new, or necessarily expanding problem of sociopathy and ponerology. These were always tools used to control people. Now that information is flowing faster, and there are more people, the problem appears to have exacerbated, but it remains at the same level of intensity. What shocks many is the realization that such methods are part and parcel of their own business and government practices. Once the propaganda could hide it, and point the finger at others, as it’s trying to hard to point at “terrorist” groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and etc. But the real perps are the military industrial complex, the White House and global corporations. The real guilty ones in this case are those who have, and continue to, benefit from its use of terror to steal resources and enslave such continents as Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. The direct beneficiaries of this rapine are the bloated consumers of America, primarily, then Canada (though much of our own resources have been taken for a pittance by US interests through the control of Canadian governments and imposition of unfair trade deals) and then Europeans, who have been the recipients of the “largesse” of their empires since the 1300’s and even before if we include the Christian Papal crusades.
        The “good” thing is that people are, if reluctantly, becoming aware of their own complicity in these crimes of global proportion and perhaps may even choose to actually do something about it. I’m not holding my breath that Earthians would suddenly develop a conscience… but anything is possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose you are right; anything is possible, if not highly likely. But the first step in making any significant change is awareness, so maybe the information explosion (both true and false data) will be the impetus to spawn such change.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you heard of Karma Yoga? It basically deals with work. Yes, work. Not your 9 to 5 job but the good works we do. Work that involves helping others in kindness and selflessness. It is in HELPING OTHERS that one might have a possibility of releasing any bad or negative (built up) karma. Besides helping animals, it is the only way that this can be achieved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not heard the term before, though I am aware of the need to “work” off our karmic debt through good deeds, etc. I did not know, however, that such work included kindness to animals. It makes sense to me, but it seems so often that they are ignored in our human obsession with ourselves. This makes me happy for some reason… Thank you, Eddie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The only thing my two cents i can gather is, that first rule of karma states; do unto others… In that statement alone tracks a personal thing from each person. Evidently Hitler’s passion was art, he stole all the good artworks, he hated his father coz he was half jew, so he killed all jews. In this evidence alone, it is a personal level where evil lies. It is a cycle where one follows the path that was shown to him/her then does what he/she thinks can give back what was done to them. In the process we have evilness in the heart. A collective evilness does have a word, its called “nephilism”. And yes nephilistic ways have been here in earth for generations, no matter what happens it will always surface one or another. We cannot deny that fact, evil and goodness goes together one has to balance each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting, and thoughtful, response, Oliver. I have to admit that I believe in the whole balancing act of good and evil; I just worry that evil sometimes seems to be tipping the scale. But perhaps, as you and others suggest, it is more about perception. Both good and evil exist in equal measure, but my eyes are divining mostly evil these days…


      Liked by 1 person

      • Remember in the text and context of genesis, we were children of chaos. Then the light was shown to us all, by his word and that word was “light”. In the sense of evil and good has gradations of its own. If dark has shades then light has to dim sometime. We all need those grey areas, to remind us, we are human. One cant be good all the time, and bad is not that far worse than good. Use a measure where you can find that equality of shade and dim lights and just play with it. Doesn’t matter where you want it to be, just be.


  5. Some excellent reply’s here, will have to read them properly next week as I’m just getting ready to leave for the weekend. As a quick note, I would realise the term good and evil is a man made concept to instill control and fear.
    MWT. Xx


  6. Very good question and some great replies, I also will have to wait to read more thoroughly, only just skimmed through. It’s unfathomable to me how anyone could be torturous or even murderous towards children, babies, pets, spouses, people of other countries, other faiths – so much fear of other, and I choose to embrace all. It seems to me that every experience is taking us back to Source in some way or another, but I too wonder why anyone would choose to come here to be an abuser or a murderer. Usually traumatic events trigger this type of psychotic behavior which sure doesn’t add to the Love in the Universe, or at least sure doesn’t seem to IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

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