Being good and doing good.

I’ve always thought that the inability to hold contradictory thoughts was bad. I think only small minds cannot hold two horizons. There are many reasons I hold this belief, and many arenas I think it applies. When trying to find the truth, you can never truly understand a different paradigm/worldview from your own without truly believing it strongly enough to step into it. When trying to decide what person you should be, you cannot adopt only one persona. If you do, you only see one side of the world. The prophet sees hope. The politician sees a far grimmer reality. Both are right. I’ve come to believe the same of good and evil. I think being good, truly good, isn’t easy. The evil is so deeply ingrained. It requires burning away everything you are. Burning away the desire to hate and punish. In doing so, you become something else. You rise above caring for yourself or the consequences of your actions. You rise above hate or revenge. You become a pure being. The problem is that purity is so easy to take advantage of. If you want to actually change the world for the better, brutality, cruelty and hard, cynical realism are necessary. I used to think that that was the true cost of doing good. By choosing to wage the war against evil, you gave up your soul and your purity, your chance to be good.

I still think that’s true. You can’t be an angel/prophet and a leader. The latter requires compromise, both with your morals and with reality. That being said, I think the path of the leader has a risk and that risk is that, step by step, you give up the very values you gave up your soul to fight for. Every compromise with your morals, every step in to the dark is a step closer to loosing yourself and, in doing so, loosing your capacity to do good. I think there is a a way to help guard against this. Be in two minds. Don’t be the leader or the prophet. Be both. Be a leader when you need to but every once in a while step out of yourself and into another role, another person and another way of being. I don’t think drawing walls around your actions in this ways stops the corruption. I do think it slows it.

And as always, remember that if you wear the mask long enough and it will consume you.

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