“One free man will say with truth what he thinks and feels amongst thousands of men who by their acts and words attest exactly the opposite. It would seem that he who sincerely expressed his thought must remain alone, whereas it generally happens that every one else, or the majority at least, have been thinking and feeling the same things but without expressing them. And that which yesterday was the novel opinion of one man, today becomes the general opinion of the majority. And as soon as this opinion is established, immediately by imperceptible degrees, but beyond power of frustration, the conduct of mankind begins to alter.
Whereas at present, every man, even, if free, asks himself, ‘What can I do alone against all this ocean of evil and deceit which overwhelms us? Why should I express my opinion? Why indeed possess one? It is better not to reflect on these misty and involved questions. Perhaps these contradictions are an inevitable condition of our existence. And why should I struggle alone with all the evil in the world? Is it not better to go with the stream which carries me along? If anything can be done, it must be done not alone but in company with others.’
And leaving the most powerful of weapons — thought and its expression — which move the world, each man employs the weapon of social activity, not noticing that every social activity is based on the very foundations against which he is bound to fight, and that upon entering the social activity which exists in our world every man is obliged, if only in part, to deviate from the truth and to make concessions which destroy the force of the powerful weapon which should assist him in the struggle. It is as if a man, who was given a blade so marvelously keen that it would sever anything, should use its edge for driving in nails.
We all complain of the senseless order of life, which is at variance with our being, and yet we refuse to use the unique and powerful weapon within our hands — the consciousness of truth and its expression; but on the contrary, under the pretext of struggling with evil, we destroy the weapon, and sacrifice it to the exigencies of an imaginary conflict.” – Leo Tolstoy
Whenever and wherever you struggle with evil you dull your ability to cut through the more intractable questions you will inevitably face in life. Good and evil, like light and darkness are not, in truth, opposites. Evil, like darkness, is simply the absence of light — in this case, the light of truth.
To resist evil is therefore to struggle with the unreal. This is an important recognition when you also realize that struggle with indicates subjection to. As history shows, true happiness and lasting fulfillment are rarely, if ever occur as a result of subjection to the unreal.
It is hard to overlook the fact that the overwhelming majority of man-made institutions are built upon the premise of resisting evil. Which government or church, for instance, has not been caught up in the effort to defend all that they judge to be “good,” while rallying against what they deem to be “evil?” Wars on evils like terror, crime, drugs, poverty and fights against cancer, heathens, whaling, Monsanto and the devil ensue on this basis as generation after generation of well-intentioned people resist evil — often with force — using the very tactics they denounce their enemies for having used.
Evil cannot be overcome by evil. There is no end to this approach; it is circular. The only way out is lit by the light of truth. Do the ends justify the means? I say not.
The truth, in abstract, is of no use. Likewise, misconceptions and half-truths bind man to this imaginary struggle. The only way out is through the cultivation of a deep and clear personal relationship with truth. As history shows us, it takes more than earnestness, diligence and passion to develop a consciousness of truth.
That said, it is easier to cultivate this relationship than you might think, provided you begin the process correctly. So where must anyone desirous of knowing the truth begin? The first step is as obvious as it is overlooked. Your consciousness of truth widens and deepens as soon as you stop resisting evil.
Why is it that children and sages are possessed of the same quality of innocence? In innocence there is no struggle, no internal conflict. Innocence is an aspect of the radiant glow of being; being is the evidence of the union of inner truth and outer expression.
The first quality of being lost in struggling with evil is innocence. So, to return to innocence, to restore or expand your consciousness of truth, you must resist not evil. Stop resisting evil and you will soon bring sanity to the senseless order of life. Resist not evil and your awareness of truth will blossom in all its fullness.