Friday, June 07, 2013


I am cataloguing books for our libray, a library in which Roma learn the alphabet and write the Lord's Prayer. And a section of it is on discrimination, the 'demonizing ' of the Other, who is a mirroring of ourselves, onto whom we project our evil. Two books I catalogue in that section are Terry Eagleton's On Evil and Paul Ricoeur's Il male, a translation into Italian of his Le mal: Un défie à la philosophie e ò la théologie. Already on this website I have Don Divo Barsotti's 'Why Evil?' These remind me of Boethius' discussion of evil in the Consolation of Philosophy, reflected in Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love and in Aquinas' Summa Theologiae, the evil is nought, is the tending to non-being. That God is at the centre, all Being, all Good, all Time; while absenting oneself from that - or absenting another from that - is the tending toward non-being, the dispersal into time, into less and less time, less being, lessness. A bomb is evil because it causes the less-being, the non-being, of the Other. Likewise is a gun. Likewise all weapons of violence.
This is the section in the library which is for the Outsiders, those 'lessened' by us, Women, Jews, Roma, Blacks, Native Americans, Aborigine. This is the section of the library on Trauma, that which damages us, which alters our brains and its chemistry, which makes us more fearful of the Other, more punitive, more rigid. We lessen the 'Other' when we deny them land, work, shelter, food, water, clothing, a blanket. We cause the evil that is their poverty. All this is done by Florence to Roma.
When we study the brain we find the right side is inclusive of the other, merciful, the soul, in contact with Godness, while the left excludes the Other, categorizes, separates, judges, condemns, is the intellectual mind. The two need to be in harmony. I once knew intimately a very ill person whose brain functioning was almost entirely in the left hemisphere, who had to separate himself from wife and sons while stealing all we had. I could not convince him I loved him, because to him I was the 'Other', to be destroyed. It would be evil to stay and be so destroyed, which would be to permit and participate in evil. But I still reached across that abyss to share my research so he could get tenure. His last telephone conversation was to say to me I was the most evil person in the whole cosmos. I was his soul he rejected, our sons' mother. I am Othello's Desdemona.
Jesus, in ministering to women, lunatics, lepers, Samaritans, Syro-Phoenician Palestinians, was right hemisphere dominant. This is Christ's Christianity. But religion binds itself into left hemisphere separations, the word 'Pharisee' meaning 'separate'. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. The separations, the divorces, the schisms, the demonizings, are the seeds of war. During which we project onto our enemy our own evil. Multiplying it into cluster bombs, nuclear warheads, extermination camps, holocausts, Guantanamos.
Florence, in reparation for the starvation she inflicted on Pisa, which caused the evil of Ugolino's cannibalism of his sons and grandsons, built Orsanmichele as a granary to feed even the enemy in times of famine. Evil can be undone with love, with communion, with sharing. Trauma can be undone with returning to innocence. Time can be undone with going backwards - or to the centre. God is the absence of evil. Evil is the absence of God.
If we go backwards with the Lord's Prayer, into the centre, mirror-reversing it, we do not end it with the word 'evil', but in our shared being with God, our 'Father': 'But Deliver us from evil, Lead us not into Temptation, As we forgive those who trespass against us, Forgive us our trespasses, Give us this day our daily bread, On earth as it is in Heaven, Thy will be done, Thy Kingdom come, Hallowed by Thy Name, Who art in Heaven, Our Father'.