Without light there is darkness. A bright light casts away the veil, the hazy, the cloak and the gloom. Even faint light gives us clear enough sight, allowing only shadows to eclipse the uncertain. But what happens when the light goes out?
This Winter of Kindness we have focused on that light…kindness. And we introduced philosophies that supported and contradicted its pillars…ethical behavior, mindfulness and betterment. We sometimes forget we are all sources of light. The demons within us dim the kindness we are capable…but this week we will not talk about such things. This week we will explore darkness…and if kindness is light, what is darkness?
Cruelty is the result of blind behavior or malicious manners that erodes good will and fosters suffering. All cruel acts are driven by intent or indifference. Understanding intent is clear…a person purposefully acts to bring about harm or anguish to another, regardless of justification…such as vengeance, or spiteful spirit. Understanding indifference is not as clear…a person purposefully turning a blind-eye to the harm and anguish he or she may cause, because it is easier than having the integrity to correct their behavior. This is not the same as ignorance. Ignorance is not cruelty, but is unkind. We may not be cruel people, but can cause pain…and possibly suffering…by being unaware of how we impact others. Ignorant people who learn of the hurt they cause are willing to correct their mistake. And if they do not, they become indifferent.
Earlier this Winter of Kindness I wrote, “ego with blindness will lead you down a road of cruelty.” This blind road starts with “ignorance,” and may quickly lead to “indifference,” which is not far from “intent.” We have explored multiple cruel philosophies already…the zero-sum game, the scoundrel, the inner demon and others. And this week we will explore the philosophies of unkind ignorance, cruel indifference and cruel intent.
We do this to understand how we can stray from kindness. Weeks earlier we discussed “there are ideologies and behaviors that cause destruction and death…the anti-life to our fulfillment, to tear down our earthly efforts only to watch the world burn. That, in its essence, is the absence of kindness…true cruelty.” In my novel, Storyteller’s Rose, I addressed the belief that light and dark…good and evil…kindness and cruelty are balanced opposites, but they are not. I wrote: “I know good and evil exist, but one is not a cause for the other. Evil should not be allowed to fester, or exist because of a balance. To accept that is to embrace chaos. One drop of evil dilutes good, which creates a confusing gray. In this mesh of doubt, good and evil are indistinguishable, not balanced. Your balance is actually a void.”
May our lights always shine, even in the dark.