c.a. davis

// filmmaker | editor | storyteller \\

The Uprooting of Evil

“______________ is the root of all evil.”

What did you fill into the blank space? Money, greed, deceit, selfishness, lust, knowledge?

Whatever it is you think fills that blank, don’t you ever find it odd that nobody knows the answer to that question? For instance, if I were to say that greed were the root of all evil, one could easily counter by saying that “greed” is just another form of selfishness. Therefore, selfishness causes greed, which would make selfishness the root of all evil. The same could be said about each of the other examples—lust could beget greed, greed could beget lust, knowledge could beget deceit, or deceit could beget knowledge.

My first point here is that we cannot define the root of all evil because it is something that is so profoundly invisible to us that we won’t ever see it without breaking our tranquil state of ignorant bliss, and therein lies the root of all evil. Did you catch it?

We are ignorant of our inability to grasp what it is we do not know. And what we do not know is so simplistic of an idea that we think it too banal to be true. Allow me to spell it out for you:

Our ignorance of our wholeness with the universe is the root of all evil.

We are ignorant—or even consciously ignore—our true state of being. We are not separate beings, but rather a collection of differences stemming from a larger and wholly intact “oneness”; that is to say, we are all many, but all one.

What is different between two trees? The way they look, grow, shape, how long they live, and pretty much everything down to the DNA strands that tells each particular tree how to grow all create an obvious difference between the two trees. There are similarities, yes, but for the most part two trees—even of the same species—are entirely unique. But, at the same exact time, they are entirely the same. They are the same in that they stem from the soil, which is composed of various fungi, nutrients, organic materials, and so on and so forth which makes up the whole of the Earth’s soil. The Earth is the composition of elements formed together to create the planets after the Sun was formed. The Sun was formed after the clouds of space gases condensed, due to gravity, to form a chain reaction, which then created the sun. Those space clouds were formed after the initial “Big Bang” of the universe in which all matter expanded into what we now call our Universe.

Artist's Conception of a Young Solar System
(Credit: NASA)
So, I ask again, what is different between the two trees? Surely by now you have an understanding that from something else arises another, and another, and another, and so on for eternity. This is where the truth resides: there is nothing fundamentally different between the two trees. They are both different but holistically the same.

Now, what is different between two humans? They have different thoughts, feelings, emotions, wants, needs, DNA, etcetera, etcetera. But each human being is born from a mother and a father, who were also born from their own parents, who (by going back aeons) were evolved from more primitive strands of homo sapiens’ DNA, who evolved from life more primitive than them, and so on until we reach the dawn of life here on Earth. And just what did that come from? The same exact organic material from which the Earth, Moon, and Sun were born, which was born from the Universe, which was created with the initial “Big Bang”.

Again, I ask: what is different between you and I? Nothing at all, besides our understanding of “you” versus “I”.

This leads me back to the original prompt about the root of all evil. If we are indeed fundamentally of the same “oneness”, why then do we attack each other, kill each other, rape and pillage each other’s homes or countries? Well, that’s where the root comes in. Our original sin isn’t our inclination to do these things but rather our inclination to think them doable unto each other. In other words, we think there is somebody else to rob from, to hurt, to lust, to envy, and on the list goes. That’s the root of our suffering, our anger, our evil—we think it’s possible to do such things because we believe there is a separate individual to begin with.

Don’t believe me? Close your eyes for a moment. Do you hear the sounds floating around you? Picture the sources of those sounds and then picture you sitting there, hearing them. Now, go deeper and picture the hearer of those sounds. Can you do it? Can you picture the hearer within your physical self? Furthermore, can you hear the hearer?

There’s no literal answer to this question. It’s meant to make you think on a level on which you aren’t used to thinking—a level outside your ego or sense of individual self. When you start thinking at this level, you start to lose the sense of “I” that you’re so used to. And when that happens, you begin to peek into the reality of the universe—there is no “I”, only your idea of “I” existing.

We all do this sometimes...
(Credit: Psychology Today)
Your ego likes to think it can exist forever, it’s only enemies being physical, chemical, or biological ailments (such as injury, illness, or death) all of which can be stopped, cured, or reversed. But if this were the case, wouldn’t humanity be jumping onto the cloning wagon? Who wouldn’t (if we all truly wanted to escape death) want to clone their brain upon each death to be uploaded into a physical copy of themselves, reborn in their roaring twenties? I think there is a reason why humanity doesn’t like cloning, why we feel a strangeness about it that makes us shudder at the mere thought. It’s simply not natural to this universe. Nothing lasts forever. Period. Nothing at all. Even the stars explode, implode, and fade out. Nothing exists indefinitely. How arrogant, how rude, of humanity to think that somehow we are special and different from the very nature of which we were born.

Now, this isn’t all to say that we can go on a killing rampage or do whatever we like. Our physical bodies still exist as do our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and so on. The trick here isn’t to get you to say life itself is pointless, but rather to realize that all of our concepts that try to contain life—language, numbers, mathematics, social science theories, philosophy even—do not actually depict life holistically. They only depict life, giving us an idea of what life is, not what it actually is. Even now, through this essay I’m writing, I am not accurately depicting the Truth of existence. How? Well as soon as you place it into a concept—via a word, number, or image—then the Truth gets compounded into something artificial, something not real. The only answer to the puzzle is to accept reality as it is, both the good and the bad, and know that everything you think about reality is just a tool with which we use to interact inside of humanity’s understanding of the universe. The word is not the Truth; the idea the word points to is.

I would like to say at this point that I am neither a nihilist nor an atheist. I think “god” is a profound image that humans created to try and encapsulate the entire universe into one image or idea. Unfortunately, we have failed, but the original idea remains intact and just as profound. So too is religion a wonderful representation of the divine, of the majestic wholeness of the universe, through which we can reconnect and worship both itself and ourselves at the same time. We are, after all, just the universe realizing itself through our own “individual” eye sockets.

So when you feel fear, anger, remorse, or even happiness, ecstasy, or excitement, these emotions are not you. And as you remember different happenings in your memory of “the past”, these things do not exist any longer in the Now, and furthermore you are not those memories or experiences. What you are is everything around you—you are both the hearer and what is being heard, the seer and what is being seen, the painter and what is being painted. You are a human being, not a human concept (such as a doctor, lawyer, writer, etcetera).

Once you allow this boundary to melt away, you’ll realize that you are already immortal. You are and always were forever alive through the entirety of the Universe. It’s when we allow the ego to rule over our consciousness we lose the Truth; we believe that we can be hurt, we can dominate others or nature, and we can even attain a superficial, artificial immortality. The reality is far simpler than all of this: there is nothing to become, nothing to attain, for we have already become, we have already attained—we just haven’t realized it yet. This realization will sprout an unconditional love for the Universe and all within it. After all, why would you hate something that really is just a part of your “self”?
Batik YinYang
(Credit: Myra Levine)