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The Seed

If money is the root of all evil, self-righteousness is the seed.

By Relentless Kindness LilaPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Canva Photos

If money is the root of all evil, self-righteousness is the seed.

Greed and wealth have been known to fund atrocities. However, before there are roots, there is a seed. Before a person gains wealth and enough power to create hurtful actions there is a source of self-righteousness that leads them to that path.

It has taken me a long time to realize that the way I think is not the only way to think. The way I feel is not the only way to feel. And my truth is not the only truth. When I feel justified in my dislike or even hatred of something, I am the most susceptible to causing harm.

Where there is self-righteousness, comes a strong direction. With strong direction comes influence and others will follow. With power and authority, wealth is gained and evil is then inevitable because with money comes ease to action. But wealth alone does not create evil actions. Evil actions require a sense of self-righteousness within the evil-doer.

When my father died I had my eyes opened to the confusing world of injustice. I didn’t realize I would have to pay for a detective, that I would have to petition for medical records, and I would have to gather evidence myself. I didn’t fully understand that justice only happens when you participate and fight for it. I was naive enough to think that when something wrong happened, the truth would come out on its own. When it didn’t, I found myself angry. My friends told me I was justified in my anger and nihilism. A seed of self-righteousness was planted.

The longer I sat in my righteous anger the more sour I became. I felt the light within me turning into a ravaging fire. Friends agreed with the mean things I said, they couldn’t relate to the immense amount of forgiveness I would have to find to ever be free of my grief. I was experiencing what many never do, the planting of evil disguised as justified pain. I now relate with those who have not gotten justice when it was within their reach. To those of us who have seen life anew after a major tragedy, unseen by the world, we know that is where darkness can take root. Righteous anger.

The loss of my father was one thing to deal with but the failure of a system that I thought was so absolute was another. I realized at the age of 27 that the world didn’t see my father, didn’t see my ancestors, didn’t see me. I realized that suffering was mankind's bruise to bear and nothing more.

I have spent the past twelve years in this awareness of deep suffering and it has enlightened my path. I no longer walk into a room and want to chit-chat with the smiling groups; I find the people with worn hands, ragged faces, and shine-less eyes much more beautiful and sincere about our interactions. My awareness of the suffering that has always been around me oddly makes me feel less alone. Funny to admit that the most encouraging thing you can say to someone suffering is, “You aren’t the only one, life just sucks.” I could have taken a path to a very dark place, but I chose a different one. I want to share the insight of that turning point with you.

Although I was right in my anger, right in my grief, and right in my disillusionment; there was no future for me there. Every evil villain feels there is a reason they do the things they do. As writers, we often try to show how villains are created, and what life experiences drive someone to embrace a way of life as a predator. There is a point in someone's life when they truly have a right to rage, to fear, to fight; but it doesn’t last long before time shifts and to continue to live saturated in anger will plant a seed that can sour a person to the way of harming others, justifying their actions each step of the way.

Many stories have been told about this topic. In Star Wars, the development of Darth Vader’s character is the perfect example of such a situation as this. When an author creates a complex character and requires the readers to understand the actions of a villain they are asking the reader to find something right about the actions that put the villain on the path to destruction.

Although it is more realistic to depict villains in this complex manner, we must also point out the decision point. The turning point of a person's character is not visible externally. Only you will feel the shift within you when warmth and hope are presented to you and you choose to stay in the dark cold so that no one forgets what happened. That is the point one has a choice. It is not far that we must forgive and continue each day as the sun rises, yet it rises and we must.

When a criminal seeks their personal gratification over participation in society we see the decay of virtues. However it is rarely discussed how seeking the illusive “justice” over forgiveness can affect someone’s life. It is a lot harder to convey the complexities of how hard it is to find forgiveness after experiencing injustice. However, seeking justice over forgiveness can be just as destructive to one’s life as seeking revenge.

So what do we do when a wrong has been done and we are faced with the cruel reality of stepping forward? How do we keep from allowing a seed to be planted that could lead us down the path of destruction?

We need to gain more discipline and find warmth in a connection.

It feels wrong to tell someone who is suffering to be more disciplined, but that is ultimately what will bring them both strength and clarity. With self-discipline also comes the feeling of being able to control one's life a little bit more. And when one is suffering it is very comforting to find a way to feel just a little bit more in control of one's life. To be gentle and to be disciplined; is the goal.

Keeping healthy boundaries is even more important when one is angry, especially if others justify that anger as well. But we must. There must be boundaries within agencies, our community organizations, our religious authorities, and our politics. When we are rightfully angry we must stay aware of the natural impulse to tear something down. Even if something needs to be torn down we must first ask: “Will I be able to rebuild it?” “Will I be able to replace it?”

If you can not rebuild or replace it, then you should not tear it down.

If you find yourself feeling justified in tearing something down then you need to be aware that a seed is growing within you. This means that your anger will ultimately cause harm if you are successful, or you will ultimately be unsuccessful in life due to your anger.

The appropriate time and place for anger needs to be limited, and we need to remain disciplined in the way we express it. We must seek balance and forgiveness that is where a future is for you and, for me. The human heart is capable of immense strength and forgiving the most unforgivable things. Forgiveness does not make you weak or small, it is huge. Forgiveness does not mean the wrong went unnoticed. Forgiveness produces life and healing that will leave the person in the wrong behind and move us all forward without them.

longevity magazinepsychologyhumanityfact or fictionaging

About the Creator

Relentless Kindness Lila

Born in a beautiful town in Arizona where the cowboys and the hippies meet. I walk with one foot in front of the other, exploring the difference between fear and freedom. I am growing into a fearless force of relentless kindness.

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