Heinrich Himmler was a family man, a man who made sure that his family was properly cared and provided for. He believed that ”….. we must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and to nobody else.”
What is the nature of man? I believe that man’s nature is inherently good, and that, overwhelmingly, man desires to bring goodness into the world. This is true for history’s greatest villains as well as practices deemed by our current culture as abominable.
Himmler prided himself that, as a German, he was one of the only civilizations on earth to treat ‘human animals’ with decency. He, together with the leadership of Nazi Germany, believed they were doing the world a service through ‘evakuierung, or evacuation’, of those who they deemed to carry inferior characteristics. This was for the benefit of mankind. Those they deemed inferior included Jews, Gypsies, young people who loved jazz and swing dancing, homosexuals, and people who did not agree with their belief system. Most people today would disagree with the perspective held by the Nazis, but for them, it was a high truth and a path to perfection.
Ancient cultures practiced human and animal sacrifice. As reported by Philo, the sacrificial child was placed in a bronze case which was then placed on the arms of the statue of the goddess, Tanit. Philo reports that “The hands of the statue extended over a brazier into which the child fell once the flames had caused the limbs to contract and its mouth to open … . The child was alive and conscious when burned” Philo specified that the sacrificed child was best-loved. Only the unblemished, perfect children were chosen for this honor.
This practice was found in every culture of the time. The sacrifice of Jacob, stopped by the angel of God, was on a mountain top where child sacrifice was practiced. God providing the ram started a shift in that consciousness, culminating in Christianity in Christ, the Lamb of God, wherein even animal sacrifice was no longer considered necessary in order to have the greater society and culture survive and thrive.
History overflows with examples and instances of the killing of one for the benefit of many. What is important to understand is that none of this killing was murder. All was done SO THAT good would result.
I have long believed that there is only One: one energy, one force, one source. For me, that One Source is God. God breathes into us His nature, and in His great love, looses us to do with that power what we will. In the many decades of my life journey, I have seen the truth of Haanel’s statement on the origin of both good and evil. “They are simply words which have been coined in order to indicate the nature of the result of the thinking or creative process.”
Or, as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, observed, “…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
This is central to the Hero’s Journey. We have the power of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, of darkness and light, and unless we understand this, we are the pawns of those who do.
Life is the mastery of questions. What do we do with this paradox?
When confronted with evil, can we ask the question “What good is this person attempting to create?”
This question does not change my perspective of what I deem ‘evil’, but it opens my heart to compassion and my mind to understanding.