Whether we find it palatable or not, there is good and there is evil in the world. It is as unavoidable as the fact that there is hot and cold in the world, darkness and light in the world, school teachers and unreachable idiots in the world… Of course, any good philosopher will define the terms being used (not to suggest I am actually a good philosopher… I’m clearly as horrible at philosophy as I am at writing poetry.) “Good” is here being used to mean all that is positive, effectively aiding in life, growth, good health, love, and community. “Evil” is the negative, all that taints, poisons, kills, spoils, and causes suffering..
And as I try to play the game to win for the side of “Good,” I am often accused of being a loony conspiracy theorist, the crazy uncle who is shushed and vilified any time he says words like “Republican,” “Greenhouse gasses,” “Koch Brothers,” “Inside Job.” “Betsy DeVos,” and numerous other words that light conversational infernos in either Texas or Iowa. And I, of course, feel wronged in that I don’t believe the crazies like Alex Jones. David Icke, or Tucker Carlson. I don’t believe the world is run by lizard-men in people skins, or that Democrats eat babies and worship Satan. And I don’t care that Elvis probably faked his death. But I do believe something is wrong and being covered up about the events of 9-11, and the government is covering up the truth about UFOs. I have researched both sides of each question and found many disturbing things have more and better evidence than the debunkers can provide in opposition. Some evils in our time are threatening to cause extinction of life on Earth. That includes man-made climate change, nuclear-weapons proliferation, Chinese economic aggression, and the acidification of the world’s oceans. Opposing these bad things is not a problem caused by me. I am not breaking the rules of the game.
One definite truth that I hope holds true on into the future as it has done in the past is that humankind is made up of numerous innovators and problem-solvers dedicated to helping us overcome the evils that some men do. Solutions to climate problems are out there and being worked on. Things like vertical forests and atmospheric scrubbers already exist, and more are even being built. Gigantic, mountain-installation solar batteries are being designed and built to provide for increasing clean-energy needs. The technology exists to desalinate ocean water and remove or neutralize naturally-formed acids. Hopefully a way will be invented to clean up all the excess plastic waste in the oceans too.
Of course, the hardest part of that game is getting corporations and the billionaires who empower them to pay the price for solving these problems. The profit motive is there to be had. But it is a long-term investment being proposed in a world of quick profits and short-term schemes that rich and heartless people are addicted to.
Of course, many find “Good” is served best through faith and devotion. That might seem a potential problem for an old atheist like me. But, I remind you, I am an atheist who believes in God. I know there is a spiritual dimension to human life, and nothing works well without that. That is why I am a Christian Existentialist. The basis of most religions is some sort of fairytale about faith in a higher power and a better ultimate outcome than merely death. And that would seem to be useless if it is provably false.
But that is one of the beauties of an existentialist philosophy. Since life does not come with meaning already installed in all the hardware, we have the privilege of creating or choosing the operating software for ourselves. Most traditional religions provide instructions on how to live the best life possible and to love one another. This more than merely outweighs the evil done in the name of religion. The heroes who stand against false and harmful beliefs are given their power by being true to the religion inculcated in them in their youth.
This is why it is so tragic when great philosophers like Nietzsche are misunderstood and misused by evil men like Hitler’s Nazi Party. Nietzsche did write about the “Ubermensch” or “Super-man.” But he would never have argued for a “Master Race” like the Nazis did. He was writing about how a man takes ownership over the writing of his own story. And the man (or woman, since he talked about men as if the word meant mankind) can make goodness out of even a life of suffering (just as Nietzsche with his mental illness in later life himself did.) Nietzsche was a philosopher who taught in his writings how people should love one another and should make their own meaning out whatever circumstance they found themselves living in.
It is to be hoped that whatever religious fairytale you adhere to, and however near we are to the actual end of the world, we will all continue to strive for the Good, the Light Side of the Force. It is the only hope we truly have to ultimately win the game..