“…Evil is that force, residing either inside or outside of human beings that seeks to kill life or liveliness and goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.”—M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie
My dear friends and family,
In his epic book, People of the Lie, the legendary Scott Peck discusses the psychology of evil and his hope for healing it. After a recent experience I had in being labeled myself, I’ve been inspired to flip the title of one of his chapters, Toward a Psychology of Evil, and take a look at the goodness side of things, instead.
We have discussed these pivotal times previously, and the wide crevasse that seems to be broadening across the world due to various positions on this or that—political or otherwise. I recently had a jarring personal experience with that divisiveness, which shocked me to the core.
I’ve led a variety of groups over the years, among which was one I called Conscious Conversations. I continue to miss connecting with many of the folks who were regulars. That group disbanded a few years ago after it had run its course, though I’ve kept up with many of the members, one of whom I considered to be a dear friend. She joined our meetings shortly after she moved here, now nearly 15 years ago, and all of us extended ourselves to make her feel welcome.
She stopped returning my calls a number of months ago. The last time I reached out to her, I inquired if I’d done something to offend her, baffled by her radio silence. No response. I’d been ghosted. That was nearly six months ago. When I happened to run into her at the summer Farmer’s Market, I once again asked, “Have I done something to offend you?” “Yes,” she responded coldly. “When you told me who you were voting for (a mistake I will not be inclined to make again), I put you in his category. He is evil and anyone who voted for him is evil too.”
Now then, this is a woman, who (by her report) has been a spiritual querent for much of her life, including a longtime student of The Course in Miracles which, for those of you who aren’t acquainted with the material, is all about forgiveness and tolerance. Furthermore, she considers herself to be a guide for others, and is paid handsomely for it.
I have to say, following this experience I have felt more distress about the state of things, although steady in my faith. I know there is a way through all of this craziness.
Rather than wallow in any woefulness triggered by another, don’t we have to forge ahead and count our blessings? Here’s one: On the very same day as the unfortunate encounter described above, I had an experience with someone that was all about “life and liveliness.” While walking up the mountain a couple of days ago on a hike I do routinely, I developed something akin to altitude sickness, which I have never had in my 20 years of living at 8000 feet above see level. Somehow, I made it home (by the grace of God). Just before arriving, I ran into my neighbor—a doctor with whom I am only barely acquainted. Without hesitation, he dropped everything to examine me, following up later in the day and the next morning.
There is goodness everywhere, happening all the time in a multitude of ways. In my opinion, all we really have to do to overcome this “evil spell” that seems to have been casting a shadow on human nature for few thousand years, is to notice goodness when it occurs, and then pay it forward. You in?
Yah. That’s what I’m talkin about.
Believing in you…
PS. I am over the moon excited to announce that the latest version of Self Belonging will be published before summer’s end, together with a handbook, to accompany the material. Stay tuned for updates! My work is all about emphasizing a manifesto on the Psychology of Goodness. Thank you for being a part of our tribe!