Raymond Bechard looks at what we must do to look evil in the face and conquer our worst fears.
No matter where you live, people may come for you in the night.
One unavoidable consequence of living in a free society based on fundamental, “unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is that some use their freedom for death, tyranny and the pursuit of dread. A free nation does not allow for freedom from risk, injury or annihilation. Human nature’s dark motives inevitably seep into our lives, whether through totalitarian governments in a closed system or through corruption, injustice, or random violence within nations of cherished freedoms.
Free men and slaves, neither know safety.
The story of humanity is filled with men who come in the night. Families, mothers, fathers, and children, have witnessed the killers of dreams in all generations. It is one of our constants. We terrorize and kill each other. No matter how civilized, evolved or advanced we become, hatred peers in our windows, jealous of our comfort, made vigilant by growing contempt.
Loathsome motives never rest, nor soften, nor blink. They remain woven throughout the delicate fabric of this vulnerable global community. Advanced science, communications, government cooperation and commerce have unintentionally conspired in providing us with the sense that we have moved beyond chapters filled with senseless slaughter. We believe this not because it is true, but because we want it to be true. We want peace in our time because its possibility seems finally within our reach.
Perhaps it is. But perhaps, we are farther from it than ever before.
In roughly the past century, the same human endeavors that carried us to new levels of knowledge, comprehension and understanding also gave evil the diabolical tools to destroy lives, even millions of them, at a whim. Higher levels of technology do not equate to higher levels of wisdom or compassion, only to higher levels of ability, both wondrous and insane.
Yes, we live in times of war. But we always have. The relentless, exhausting battle between good and evil lies deep within our mind’s programming, with new versions and updates uploaded all too often.
Defeating the enemy will not win the war between good and evil. First, we must defeat ourselves. We must win over our own darkness and cast off the shroud of fright and ignorance thrust upon us by those who long for a hopeless world of despair.
We cannot continue to live under their morbid dictates or be defined by those who seek to end all the possibilities of today and golden promises of tomorrow. Instead we must reject the fear and hatred of our enemies. In the face of all threats, with gladness and gratitude, we must sacrifice, serve and save. We must go to places we dared not go before, places of risk, places of turmoil, places of suffering. We must go and be far more than “good” to win this immutable struggle. We must rise now and do the hard things, the brave things, the great things.
We stand at the precipice. Bloodshed floods the valley below and far beyond the horizon. To stop it, to win, we must make this a new kind of war, one not of good versus evil, but of our vast greatness versus evil.
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men?
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
Photo: Getty Images