What If?


Lloyd H. Whitling





What if we all have been trained from birth to see good and evil as reversed? By that, I mean to see what was created to be good as evil, and what was created to be evil as good? Does that sound ridiculous? What if people had been trained that way for thousands of years, until in today’s time we take for granted what is good and what is evil, and now we take them for granted? What if everything in our lives and in what’s around us has been adjusted to accommodate that? Would that not make our first question sound ridiculous?

“But,” comes the reply to that, “we can plainly see what is good and what is evil and know it by application of common sense. How do your questions get past that?”

What if we have also been taught for all our lives how we cannot trust our senses, that they will inform us wrong, and so we cannot apply common sense to such a question?— and that science makes a wrong assumption from the outset by basing its conclusions on sensible observatons? What if we are convinced that to even ask such a question as we did at the start, is a part of what is evil, designed to steer us away from the ancient writings? What if we have always been informed that we are inherently evil in our own selves, and so must be told about the good and, through instructions and punishment, learn to accept such teachings without question? How is our common sense going to be of anything different than what those teachers tell us and show us in the ancient writings which they have apprised us as truth?

So, even now, would not our common sense about it depend on what what the teachers chosen by our parents have taught us is right and wrong? Would not some of us see differently according to what we had been taught, so that sometimes we see evil in what they see as good, and each side think the other guilty of heresy? Could they not justify, according to the view of the ancient writings they had been taught, that we are guilty of heresy and not themselves, so that no agreement could ever be had about what the ancient writings mean?— or even, many times, of which ancient writings should apply? Would not both sides try to apply them upon each other in the same manner in which they were taught them in the first place, by insistence and punishment, even to the point of war?— and let that side which is most truly God’s side win?

What if the existence of every god depends upon the beliefs about them promoted among the people by teachers who have mastered the art of pursuasion, so that their existences, all, are only found in the support such teachers raise? What if the teachers’ efforts falter, and the people stop believing?— would such gods disappear from prominence and fade away until all that is left of them are statues and paintings?

And, what if what some of those faded gods had promoted as good what is now taught to be evil? What if, over the passing of generations of human beings, the course of history would show that what had replaced those ancient gods had always also sooner or later been replaced, so that all that had ever been allowed as good had now become viewed as evil according to the teachers who spread their names and words among the people? What if the gods whose edicts we now follow are also doomed in that same way?— or even, as can be seen within the ancient writings, doomed to evolve so that what we are told about them by one end of those writings is vastly different from what is said at the other?

What if the first gods were those of people unconscious of their own nakedness, and that increased sharing of a consciousness of evil led the people into feeling increasingly exposed, so the evolution of religion had evolved away from what the first god had declared good, to a state where what had been good to see gained punishment in the latter stage for its exposure? What if more than half the crimes and lewdness of the latter generations were nothing worse than a widespread emanation of a desire to shed the unnatural evil state and return to what the first god had declared to be good?— and that the evil teachers who rail against the good were made by such acts to climb upon their pedestals and pulpits and demand that laws be made against them, and that such laws as they had already caused to be made should be more harshly enforced, so that insistence and punishment should be carried forth in evil’s cause in the name of good?

What if an early promoter of the cause of good had set himself against evil in his own time, and demanded that we should care for ourselves the same as we do our temples, that we should live simple lives free of amassed wealth and possessions, that we should give of our excesses to the poor that they, too, might live good lives free of the evils of hunger and need? What if the evolution into evil of all such messages has caused his to be buried beneath the dross from later teachers, until productivity and amassment of wealth and possessions has now become the standard according to which we live, according to which we assess each other, so that our houses as well as our temples have become ornate and gaudy, and the walls of wealth put on display are built of amassment of debt, are false, and therein the evil lurks to strike us down when we answer to the stress of it, and relax our vigilance.

What if, in earlier times, seeds for a second prosaic vision of how we should understand our existence and all that surrounds us took root and slowly spread, as vines, into all of humanity’s endeavors and, by trial and error, grew until the priests took note of it and had it declared evil. What if centuries of human torture, burnings of live bodies, and persecution only served to stir wise persons into making assessments of this newly declared evil, so that it was seen to be useful, actually pacific, and to actually work where common sense as taught by the priests said it should fail? What if the priests and those politicians they supported used technologies advanced by this new vision to make weapons so they could show how it is evil, and demonstrated that by using them to destroy heretics around the world? What if this new heresy, which offered them so many advantages in their causes of insistence and punishment, were to also evolve at their behest, so that evil promoted evil until now it can threaten all of humankind, all of the forms of life that have for millenniums roamed and evolved upon this Earth, with extinction.

What if those who declare that to be a form of good, saying it would signal the return of their missing god, should vie against those who declare that kind of ending to be the totality of evil, and win? What if that must be the ultimate test for good and evil, and what if humankind must make up its mind whether barren planets represent the good because of their vast majority in numbers, or if a lonely planet teeming with a plethoric variety of life forms represents a good thing in the midst of prehistory replicas of catastrophes. What if we should someday observe how evil seems to displace good in every kind of way we’ve observed, and that good requires guarded protection and nurturance, not cudgeling insistence and punishment, if it will survive?