This is the human condition: sometimes we do less than the best we are capable of, knowingly. Sometimes indeed, we do things that are wrong. Not through ignorance, or not entirely. Knowing them to be acts that perhaps with our daylight, rational minds we would say are unworthy of us, still we do them. We are fallen creatures. I do not say that we deliberately choose evil; few among us do that, I think, choose actions that can have no possible justification, simply to wreak harm. No, there is always some justification. I did it because it made me feel good, because I was depressed, because I sought something that perhaps I should not have. Whatever. The jungles of the heart are wild places and things lurk there that need that cloak of excuses. Angels and demons meet there and contend. If a demon wins from time to time, does that undo all the victories of the angels ? Can the rapist also be witty and hard-working ? Can the wifebeater also be a good father ? When the shell-shocked neighbours say: "But he was such a nice man !" as the police bundle him away, was all the niceness false, and is its good then undone ?
And those battles have casualties: ourselves not least, but also those we care for, and even others only marginally connected with us. Perhaps we might accept the wounds on our own behalf, embrace them even as our just deserts. But we cannot accept collateral damage to others on their behalf. We can only seek restitution and forgiveness. Or turn away in search of something colder, darker, lonelier. Turn away from humanity. Turn away from hope.
Some - a few, my liberal instincts would say - have made that conscious choice. Perhaps they may truly deserve the label of evil, although even there, I cannot but think, are many who merely seek to cloak their own inadequacy with a dark glory. 'Better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven', indeed.
The rest of us must keep on dancing with hope.
Created with Sseyo Koan PRO for the AWE 64 soundcard. All intellectual rights in these compositions remain the property of Paul Blake.