Origins of evil can be found in our capacity for creativity and the vastness of our imaginations.
This is why Thomas Aquinas can predict, 700 years before Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot or Vladimir Putin, that “one human being can do more evil than all the other species put together.”
Our capacity for evil sets us off from the other species. Not just the evil of the current Ukrainian war with all its horrors including the spokesperson for Putin refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons and with fires raging near Chernobyl that could add more nuclear fallout to the mess already at hand. But the evil of killing Mother Earth as we know her, the evil of climate change and people and corporations and the politicians they buy hiding their heads in the sand about that.
Creativity is about choices. All morality is about choices. Ethics is about agreed upon choices. Every society needs some basic agreement around decision-making.
That is what laws and a decent justice system are supposed to provide. And a decent political system too. The common good. Not the good of the few; or the good of the one (Putin, for example).
Cain killed his brother Abel with a stone. Putin is killing many, many brother and sister Ukrainians with an onslaught of weaponry directed at non-combatants in particular—children, the sick, the old, mothers.
Our imaginations have been busy for far too long creating ways to kill one another efficiently. And to kill Mother Earth in the name of profits and comfort.
Someone asked the other day why I bring Patriarchy into these discussions of the war in Ukraine. War and Patriarchy go together like love and marriage. I think Thomas Freedman has answered that question very well in his recent article on “Xi, Putin, Trump: The Strongman Follies” which I highly recommend. I will be sharing and commenting on this article in the video section of today’s DM.
Have we outgrown our addiction to empire-building and the reptilian brain yet? Can we move on to a balance of the divine feminine and sacred (as opposed to dictatorial) masculine—or not? Can we grow out of our species’ adolescence before it is too late?
See Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, pp. 35-37.
Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.
Also see Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: “Nuclear Nightmare – Open Your Eyes And Awake!” Composite image by Daniel Arrhakis (2017) on Flickr. .
Queries for Contemplation
How do you see war and patriarchy interacting? Do you think humanity is ready to grow beyond both? How do we do that?
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit