Mathias was sharing with his friend Ananda, some deep aspects about the duality of life and “good and bad.”
Mathias: There is nothing, which is bad.
Ananda: Come on Mathias! what about a serial murderer, what about Hitler! Everyone knows that he has killed so many innocent people! He must be “evil.”
Mathias: Friend, in your religion; do you believe that you are an eternal being, a soul right?
Ananda: Right! We are eternal! I believe in that!
Mathias: Then how is it possible for Hitler to “kill” someone? In your religion you believe in the law of karma, right? Then, you know that everything is cause and effect. Wasn’t Hitler the effect of the cause? Would you ever experience something, which you do not deserve?
Friend, by calling some as “innocent” isn’t that contradicting your beliefs? And if you believe that everything is predestined, then how can you call something as “being bad” if that is the way it ought to be?
Ananda was speechless. But he wanted to test Mathias again, by playing “devil’s advocate.”
Ananda: OK. Mathias. I see your point. My belief is really contradicting itself when I label things as “good and bad.” But now… let us say that I am an atheist.
Mathias: That is another belief…
Ananda: But.. let us say that I do not believe in the afterlife or God or any of that. From my viewpoint, Hitler acted wrong. He murdered many. He caused suffering to many. He must be evil!
Mathias: In that belief when you die, everything is over. Isn’t that? Then, what difference does it make if you experience life 10 or 100 years? The end is the same. The more you live, the older you get with all the ailments of old age…to then finish in nothing…
Ananda: But the suffering that Hitler has caused to others…
Mathias: In that belief, for those people it was suffering. Yes. They experienced that in a random fashion. It was “their luck.” For Hitler it was necessary to do that, according to his beliefs. As you can see, there is always a clash between beliefs.
Ananda: But that is not fair!
Mathias: Then, change your beliefs again!
Ananda: Why is there suffering? Only because pleasure exists?
Mathias: It is growth. The consequence of previous deeds. That suffering purifies you if your consciousness is ready for a change, otherwise it is something not desired. It is what some call to “settle” your karma.
Is that settling of karma, “bad” then?
Ananda: But you can settle in other ways…
Mathias: Is that your new belief, my friend? Actions bring a consequence, which need to be experienced by the one who originated it. It is a full circle in life. That experience is not “bad,” it is necessary to grow.
When a baby is learning about life, his father will tell him: “Don’t put that in your mouth. It is bad.” The baby may think that the actual object is “bad,” and then “bad” will exist in the baby’s mind… Sometimes that belief will exist throughout his whole lifetime.