How “Non-Duality” Excuses Evil

I’ll be honest with you, dear readers: I don’t get “Non-Duality.” At least, I don’t get it in the same way as the people who try to explain it to me.

So, given that HologramPress exists to facilitate Existential Question-Asking, I’m going to leave the comments section wiiiiiiide open on this one, and invite you to respond to the following essay with your innerstanding of Non-Duality. Or if you’re really feeling impassioned, submit an essay to HologramPress and I might publish it 😉

But first, let me tell you my innerstanding of Non-Duality.
Most of what I know about it comes from imperfect messengers and in highly specific contexts, as most ideas do. So I’ll start by addressing what I’ve learned about Non-Duality via osmosis in spiritual subcultures, then build my own innerstanding of Non-Duality from there.
Please bear in mind that I am not an expert on the topic (but in fairness, I don’t think most of the people who use the term are, either 🙃).


Non-Duality is exalted in spiritual subcultures, particularly of the neo-Eastern variety, as an ideal perspective to have — the most evolved perspective, even.

When faced with the problem of Evil, “Non-Duality” is prescribed to remedy the resulting discomfort. The implication is that the Real Problem is not Evil itself, but one’s belief that there is such a thing as “Evil” at all.

Apparently, The-Big-Secret-Truth-that-Only-Enlightened-People-Understand, is that Good and Evil are actually the same. It may not seem like it from this vantage point, but “take on a higher perspective” and you’ll see that ~there actually is no Duality~. Or so I’m told.

(But wait, if there’s no Duality, then isn’t the “higher perspective” also the “lower perspective”? Anyway.)

I can accept the fact that there will always be concepts beyond my understanding, as it is impossible (I think?) to know how much one does not know.

However, being committed to my Guiding Principles for Exploring the Grey Area, this blasé presentation of Non-Duality irks me to no end. I have not yet found someone who can give me an adequate answer to the OBVIOUS question of where ethics fit in the Non-Duality framework.

This is where the issue remains unresolved for me. (Content warning: I’ll be using “child trafficking” as my go-to illustration of Evil throughout this essay.)

If you were to ask me what The Most Evil Thing is, I would say the trafficking of children. Period. I can think of nothing more vile and depraved than that.
And when I ask a self-described Non-Dual friend if Non-Duality means child trafficking is, from this elusive Higher Perspective, okay, I get one of 2 answers:

1. Souls choose their incarnation before birth, so if they’re born into a trafficking ring, they chose that experience.

My immediate rebuttal to this is, “Prove it.”

Can anyone prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all victims of child trafficking volunteered for the experience before being born? This would first require proving that we have souls, proving that we have free will, proving that we reincarnate, and proving that we choose our incarnations. How would one even go about proving this?

While I do personally feel convinced that we have souls, we have free will, and we reincarnate… I’m not so convinced that we choose our incarnations. At least, not “freely.”

Judging by the massive score of Near Death Experience reports wherein humans are tricked, coerced and manipulated into reincarnation under duress, we only “freely reincarnate” on a technicality. Yes, we “choose” using our “free will,” but if we’re being lied to by trickster extradimensionals about why humans should incarnate on Earth, then the choice can barely be called a “choice.” This paradigm places the weight of responsibility entirely on the victim of trafficking, and none whatsoever on the traffickers.

Victim-blaming, but make it spiritual!
Sidequest: John Lamb Lash has an essay critiquing the idea of "karma" as it pertains to reincarnation, and I love love looooove it.

Plus, there’s the plain fact that just because something is chosen freely, that doesn’t exempt it from moral examination. MAYBE souls do choose to incarnate as trafficking victims, to “learn lessons” or whatever. But then that raises the question: Why would their traffickers choose to incarnate as traffickers? What “lesson” might there be in that? Anyone ascribing to the idea that being-trafficked has intrinsic spiritual value, is also implying that being-the-trafficker has intrinsic spiritual value. Yikes.

People freely choose to do destructive things all the time. “But should they?” is the question that I, as a Utopian, am more interested in.

2. Non-Duality is simply learning how to see the Good in the Bad.

^ This argument is usually made by people who have personally experienced extreme forms of evil, like being abused. In order to heal from their trauma, they employ mind-over-matter tactics of interpreting their trauma as a covertly positive catalyst for their evolution, sometimes even seeing it as necessary. For example, they might say, “If not for all the horrible things that were done to me, I never would’ve learned/changed/grown/healed!”

And it’s like… well, yeah. If not for the trauma, there’d be nothing to heal from. But that doesn’t mean the trauma itself was Good.

Furthermore: How can you know that you “never” would have bettered yourself as a person, if not for your trauma? How can you be so sure? Maybe the probability of a radical life-change was high due to extreme circumstances, but that neither guarantees a long-term positive outcome from trauma (as evidenced by the millions of damaged people walking the Earth right now), nor excludes the possibility of arriving at a positive life-change via one of the many other non-traumatic means of learning.

As a utopian, I wholeheartedly reject the notion that struggle is “necessary” to human evolution. Why do we glorify lessons learned through pain and suffering, when learning can just as effectively be done through grace and ease?

Astrologically speaking, this seems to be a consequence of living within the orbit of Saturn. Saturn’s rigid, brutal “teaching style” has the masses deluded that there’s something noble about their suffering — something intrinsically valuable to it, that justifies its existence & simultaneously gives them a compelling narrative to identify with. The repeated experience of pain and suffering then becomes a pattern, which becomes an expectation… Thus, the existence of suffering remains unexamined and unchallenged — taken for granted as something that must exist. (I’ll return to this point later on.)

Make it make sense!

This “seeing the Good in the Bad” may seem Enlightened at a cursory glance, but it may simply be a deceptive trick of the trauma-influenced mind. Trauma-bonding can happen with the trauma itself. Identifying with one’s life circumstances is the definition of Ego, and maybe I’m wrong, but I thought spiritual people were supposed to dissolve their Ego, not display it like a trophy?

More on deception: “Seeing the Good in the Bad” is not necessarily a noble endeavor. Especially when it comes to something as wretched as child trafficking, the existence of which has barely even been acknowledged by the world. And we’re already glossing over it with positive stories about “soul growth” and “free will” and this other spiritual-bypassing nonsense? Come on.

Seeing the Good in the Bad might be what Non-Duality is.

But how about Seeing Things as They Are? With this clarity and commitment to Truth, there’s no need to “interpret” a Bad experience as being actually, secretly, somehow, maybe, sort of, in a way, Good… ish.

When you’re willing to See Things as They Are, the Bad is just Bad.
Child trafficking is just child trafficking.
It’s not a “life lesson” or “necessary evil” or “catalyst for growth.”
It’s just wrong.
Full stop.

No lying-to-the-self required. And no spiritually bypassing on anyone else’s pain, for that matter.

No, actually, it doesn’t HAVE TO be this way.

Moving right along!

The whole “tricking oneself into seeing Good where there isn’t any” was one version of “Non-Duality” I’ve encountered in spiritual subcultures. So let’s address another one:

The idea that Good and Evil are necessary to each other’s existence.

Obviously I am of the strong conviction that Evil (for example: child trafficking) does not need to exist on the Earth plane (or any plane). Evil has no intrinsic value or function, and it cannot be justified even from a “higher perspective.” And here’s why I think Good can exist without Evil:

The notion that Good and Evil are necessary to each other’s existence, is predicated on the concept of Contrast.

Light/Dark. Black/White. Yin/Yang. Right/Wrong. Good/Evil.

According to this line of thinking, Non-Duality is not a matter of perceptually blurring opposites together into one big Grey Area blob. Instead, Non-Duality is the acknowledgment that they are merely opposite ends of the same spectrum, thus, holding space for both simultaneously.

And while I can appreciate the fact that Good and Evil currently happen to exist together, what I question is whether they have to exist together.

Anytime I hear “must” or “should” or any phrase that implies Cosmic Necessity, I get suspicious. Who is making up these Imaginary Rules? And why are we following them?

When people say “Good can’t exist without Evil,” what is their scope of reference? Is it personal? Is it interpersonal? Is it Universal? (If it’s Universal, how do we know that we know the laws of the entire Universe?)

On the personal/interpersonal level:
Certainly, there are Good households where the children are loved and nurtured to fulfillment. And certainly, there are Bad households where the children therein never know a moment of goodness in their brief lives. So right there, we know that Good CAN exist without Evil on the personal & interpersonal levels.
On the Universal level:
Does the abused child ~HaVe To~ exist in order for the non-abused child, somewhere else in the Universe, to receive Love? Why do we assume that the Universe is ultimately Balanced? If all children in the Universe were to receive Love right now, would the Universe’s “Balance” be tipped into some Danger Zone where there’s “too much Love!!! Stop it before it gets out of control!!!!!!”???

Sounds absurd, if you ask this Utopian right here.

There is no limit on how much Love can exist.

Good has intrinsic properties that continue to exist regardless of the existence of Evil. An apple is an apple whether or not oranges exist to compare them with. Light is light whether or not there’s darkness around to provide contrast.

All things in existence have intrinsic properties (an essence, if you will) that cannot be tainted by the other forms around them. This is why Men aren’t Women, and Night isn’t Day.

Sure, there might be nuances and ambiguities, but these occasional perceptual challenges do not necessitate that everything is inherently Grey.

I reckon that Duality is merely a perspective, and that perspective is the (arbitrarily limited) notion that Evil MUST exist in order for Good to exist. It’s the (questionable) assumption that Balance is this Universe’s operating Law.

In other words… I think people are describing their commitment to a Dualistic perception but lazily labeling it Non-Duality. Hell of a mental trap, eh?

That’s the thing about words that are used as stand-ins for complex ideas. The simplicity of the word gives one a false impression that the meaning can be deduced reflexively. “Non-Duality? Oh that probably means ‘thinking in a non-binary way’!” But as we know from other deceptively simple words like “feminism” and “God,” it takes a bit of effort to truly innerstand something instead of assuming you do.

So! For all the reasons outlined above, the only definition of Non-Duality that would make sense to me, is Non-Duality as freedom from arbitrary limits — even those limits we see as “cosmic givens” or “self-evident” or “Laws of Nature.” (I’m even starting to wonder if the axiom “As Above, So Below” is necessarily true. Maybe in this realm it is. But all realms? Not sure about that.)

I’ve said my part. Now:

What say you?


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Thank you so much! ~ Alicen

18 comments

  1. In my eyes, it is one of life’s most exquisite joys to be dealt more questions than answers. By my count, this essay features 30 outright questions – not to mention the dozens more implicit queries you also provoke. As usual, you inspire the listener/reader to not only identify their assumptions but to drag them out into the light for a much closer examination. Bravo!

    I can now see more clearly see that I’ve sometimes allowed myself to lazily fall back on conventional pieties when it comes to the existence of evil *and* believing that the universe defaults to what we humans define as balance. Thank you for challenging me (and doubtless, many others) to revisit what we take for granted about “non-duality.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with most everything you have said here. I have always had a visceral NO reaction to the idea that evil in any form is necessary, especially abuse of the innocent, and I’ve gotten into very heated debates with people after they make such assertions. Actually, I have a really hard time not labeling people as evil when they excuse evil in this way, even if they don’t participate in human trafficking directly. Thanks for writing this. I enjoyed as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Makes me think of when people say “morality is subjective” to excuse horrible things. We all know what good and evil is deep down, even if some deny it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, really thought provoking indeed! I believe that certain powerful people, over the centuries, have used fear as a very powerful weapon. They’ve made evil a necessity within this hierarchical structure in order to control the masses. I agree with you in regards to it not being necessary to have evil, but there’s also those tricky gray areas… Did you ever see “The Gods Must Be Crazy”? An African tribe lives happily without greed and anger, until one day, someone tosses a Coke bottle out of an airplane. The devolution of the tribe thereafter is remarkable as they fight and squabble over who gets to possess this magical item next. I believe, that in order to attain this utopian society, the system has to be crushed. The Club of Rome, the families who’ve been keeping us all slaves for centuries must be brought to justice… Then we can talk about rebuilding society, in a way that actually respects the Earth and all Her inhabitants. Then we may just have a chance.
    “I will take only the good from my life’s experiences, and preserve only the good in my memory.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
    Perspective…

    Like

  5. IMO, Non-duality sounds like individuals who are trying to cop out of bearing any responsibility for their corrupted ways.
    I and billions of others would however benefit from a world where evil being non existent. Though being a person rooting from the Abe Family, it was shown to us via Cain and Abel of mans innate ability of doing wrong to our own blood. That’s just wrong and evil as we’d both agree. That “sin nature” is the reason why we both recognize that Evil does exist and won’t hide behind terms such as “Non-duality.” Also I agree that humans don’t need suffering or trauma to be able to achieve a greater innerstanding of self though after trying times we do have the choice to learn from losses and gain knowledge from it. Easier said then done I admit. I appreciate your blogs, came across your articles at the right time in life. Thank you & peace be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another wonderful essay by the talented Alicen!
    Hey, it’s me, Jacob, from The Facebook!
    I absolutely adore your writing and am thankful you took the time to tackle this topic.
    I 100% agree with your perspective on this. Most everyone who has ever tried to sell me on the idea of non-duality was crazed and trying to rationalize evil, and did so very poorly.
    As always, I’m open to learning a different perspective, but for now, mine aligns with yours.
    Keep up the great, enchanting prose — you are loved!

    Like

  7. Enjoyed this piece and the challenging questions that reveal lazy assumptions…its as if you are practicing “Madhyamika” debate in an engaging literary style.

    I’m not sure if you’ve read any Buddhist writings but 3rd turning teachings revolve around a similar topic you’re writing about with such lucidity here. Namely – Moral Nihilism as a result of conceptualizing the experience of non dualism aka “emptiness” to fit one’s unexamined assumptions. I think you capture the essence with your statement…

    “I think people are describing their commitment to a Dualistic perception but lazily labeling it Non-Duality.”

    Yes! I used to refer to this conceptualization of non dual “emptiness” as the “emptiness of responsibility.” This results in all sorts of lazy assumptions, denials, and misuse of the dharma to fit egoic agendas. Unsuprisingly such lazy denial of karmic consequences (Buddhist ethics) leads to justifying nihilism-hedonism and evil in the name of the dharma and the well known abuses perpetrated by gurus (including sexual abuse).

    My 25 yrs of meditative practice and experience working as a chaplain in hospitals and prisons tell me that while evil isn’t “necessary” or needed to co-exist and contrast with “good” in a “cosmic balanced state” as you described but its a very convenient and easy way to postpone facing just how powerful we are to shape reality into a “utopian” Pureland or a Samsaric nightmare based on our understanding or misunderstanding of who we “Be”.

    My experience of the fundamental “Be” is one of intrinsic goodness- undefiled- no “original sin” … though generally it is more or less obscured by hangups resulting from our disempowered conditioning. Building on that false foundation (at least in the human realm) a misunderstanding of who we “be” is what gives rise to “evil”. Its Not “necessary” at all…defilement of our Buddha nature is impossible…like the apple you spoke of…but nonetheless part of the human realm. I think thats why its said that the Buddha wept when he realized that it was simply ignorance that separated us from the pureland.

    Thanks for your inspirational writing and opening up fir comments here!

    R-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since you’re talking about karmic records. Couldn’t it be that the children being trafficked have done things to be reincarnated in this way that they are. I mean we know terrible people do terrible things all the time. Maybe it’s a way they work off their karmic records – by suffering for a life/period after making others suffer before

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  8. What you propose is a fundamental denial of reality. Your post on FB is an easy clue;
    “…C’mon guys, I was trying to start a fight”, and now you have it. By simply
    admitting you need a counter point, argument to grow, you invalidate the whole
    premise of “Utopianism”. Now let us get to the meat of the article, counterpoint
    to point.
    Your understanding of “Non-Duality”:
    Non-Duality by definition encompasses all perspectives so yes it would be both
    the highest and lowest in unison. There is no blasé interpretation of that, it
    is quite confusing and contradictory at times. Ethics is a human perspective
    brought about through societal norms. At one point slavery was considered ethical.
    Up until the near modern day a woman was defined as a woman from the moment she
    had her period. Although life expectancy for the elite has been around 70 for
    centuries, the average people had a life expectancy around 30 yrs old. In order
    to propagate the species people had children as early as possible, in many cases
    this meant before the age of 18. I hate to say it but we are most likely here
    now due to what is called “pedophilia”.
    Child-trafficking:
    1. There is no proof of souls choosing their experience outside of people who
    have passed and returned with memory and the oldest oral history from some of
    the earliest tribes on the planet. If you are convinced we have souls, free will
    and reincarnation then some “free will” must be involved in our reincarnation.
    I would say that free will is within the boundaries of our karma spanning through
    time from our first incarnation. Many choices sure, but only within the framework
    of our past deeds and lessons still needed. otherwise everyone would incarnate
    into abundance. The path back to source is clear, stop incarnating into material
    reality.
    Every living thing with a soul has intrinsic spiritual value. Within the boundaries
    of karma the child trafficker reincarnates as the trafficked child to understand the
    experience from the others perspective.
    2. This is just a bunch of supposition that denies experience. Denies even your own
    personal experience. You ask for struggle then deny its necessity. The narcissists,
    the hard times, the abuse were actually necessary for your own personal growth, your
    very life is proof of it. Shall we take it further: the rose that growth from the
    concrete, the larger stronger tree that kills the smaller weaker one to survive
    due to its angle in the sun. The martial artist, the powerlifter, the musician that
    practices guitar until his fingers bleed. Suffering does not remain unexamined nor
    unchallenged it is proven every day in almost every form of life on this planet.
    Growth is attained through pain and struggle, life consumes life to live, your true
    quarrel is with the Creator or whomever created our present material reality based
    on these immutable laws. People talking about their struggles in order to help others
    avoid the same mistakes is a function of love not ego. Of course if they are speaking
    only to gain sympathy that is a function of ego. I don’t see many trying to rationalize
    child trafficking as integral to material reality. I don’t see anyone trying to invalidate
    or justify the experience of a trafficked child.
    Moving right along:
    When people say “Good can’t exist without Evil” it is all of the above; personal, interpersonal
    and universal. Our lived experience every day proves all 3 with very little honest observation.
    Even in a “good household” was the child not shamed, yelled at, forced to do things they did
    not want to? And in “bad households” it is dishonest to contend that they “never know a moment
    of goodness”. Does the abused child have to exist, I contend that the abused child was once
    the abuser.
    Love is not a finite concept, that part is certain. But love, being the creative force encompasses
    all emotion, all definition, and yes both “good and evil”. Everything is inherently grey from our
    limited perspective. Being one of billions of parts of the creative force of love our inherent
    understanding is incredibly limited. It is not assumption that balance is one of the operating laws
    but lived experience that reveals this to you. If you wish to go further into a deeper understanding,
    one that might actually help you conceptualize these concepts there are three main routes: Extended
    meditation and practice for decades; extremely powerful “hallucinogens”; near death experiences.
    Any of these will give you a much fulfilling explanation than any convincing counter argument another
    human may provide. While I like your concept of “Utopianism” it is in it’s infancy, you barely offer
    a description, just a simple sentence fragment with no fleshing out of the concept.
    What you have helped me consider with this article is perhaps this material reality and its laws is
    but a lesser creation of a lesser god and we are just ensnared in it. Perhaps a completely “good”
    reality exists outside of this realm.
    Gracias mi amiga siempre es un placer,
    Major

    Like

    • I’m breaking my personal policy of never responding to comments that contain personal attacks/insults, in order to set the record straight on something you insinuated.

      Your definition of “pedophilia” is grossly incorrect. Pedophilia is the perverse sexual desire for pre-pubescent children. Being pre-pubescent, they are not capable of reproduction. So your suggestion that pedophilia is somehow necessary to the ongoing success of the human race, is not only inaccurate, but also concerning. You really felt compelled to jump into these comments to defend the practice of impregnating young girls? Hmm. Glad you said it publicly, so it’s on record that you think this way.

      And now that you’ve established hostility by arrogantly implying that I haven’t meditated enough or done enough drugs, I’ll go ahead and take my gloves off too:

      It’s quite telling that of ALL the comments this article has received thus far, across ALL platforms (Facebook, Instagram and here on WordPress), yours is the only one that made the attempt to defend Evil, AND yours is the only one that included personal attacks against me. Whereas my essay only attacked ideas & the generalized phenomenon of “concept creep” as it pertains to Non-Duality, your comment personally insulted my intelligence under the guise of debating.
      So could it be, that your INSISTENCE that evil is “necessary,” is only true because you want it to be true?
      You came here to justify Evil, and set your rude tone accordingly. Everyone else, who promoted Goodness for goodness’s sake, was somehow able to keep their commentary civil and kind. Curious, that.

      I hope you learn from this.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Another wonderful essay by the talented Alicen!

    Hey, it’s me, Jacob, from The Facebook!

    I agree with this perspective 100%. All of the people who ever tried to sell me on the idea of non-duality were crazed and did so from the perspective of rationalizing evil.

    As always, I’m open to new ways of thinking, but for now, my perspective on this aligns with yours.

    Keep up the great, enchanting prose — you are loved!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have studied non duality for a while. I am a huge fan. I can understand your concerns. Here is my perspective 🙂
    So about the evil. Yes it only exist as an idea and once you stop believing it the evil vanishes. There will still be brutality in the world but its not good or bad, it just “is”. And they are merely two sides of the same coin. Cant have darkness without light. No peace without war. If you want to learn more about this point here is a video. Kinda long but you can watch it on faster speed. Basically the speaker in the video points out how we ourselves are the devil that is written about in the religions.
    What Is The Devil? – The Mechanics Of Evil
    Non duality is not the most evolved perspective but it is the most refined and distilled. It takes away all the fluff and leaves only what is absolutely necessary. So why the lower and higher perspectives then? It isn’t like that, there is absolute truth and relative truth. One is not better than the other persay but the absolute is true and the relative is false. The absolute is the formless and the relative is the forms. But we still honor the relative and know we have to live in that world. Again here is a video from the same speaker explaining this. Relative vs Absolute Truth
    Now about ethics in non duality, to put it bluntly…there aren’t any. Non duality means not two. If there are not two or more people than there are no “others” (only oneness/wholeness) out there. There’s only you. Why would you need ethics? You cant treat others bad because there are no others. Why would you need ethics on how to treat yourself? So where does ethics come in? Duality. When there is duality it is wise to adopt ethics and morals but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is the absolute truth. There is no secret that enlightened people have over people yet to realize enlightenment, they only seem like secrets 🙂
    Now I will address the two most common responses that you listed.
    The “souls sign a life contract before reincarnation” isn’t really taught in non duality. Non duality tries to steer away from concepts of before or after birth and focuses on direct experience. But some people who follow non duality may hold that idea. Honestly I heard this idea before from the New Age teachings. Non duality doesn’t really even teach about souls as far as I know.
    Non duality is not learning how to see the good in the bad. Non duality is not about “learning” at all but unlearning. We are taught concepts of good and bad and then we judge reality based on those inherited concepts. And what’s good to one person could be bad to another depending on their background. Non duality is about unlearning that and once you do that you won’t have to play mental gymnastics.
    Now nobody can deny that there is unconscious human dysfunction that rules over this planet. But thats all it is, unconscious human dysfunction. Once the light of awareness shines on that dysfunction then that gives it a chance to heal. Non duality says that there is nothing to change because everything is perfect as is but we can change it for the better just for the sheer joy of it. Also we do not deny the suffering of individuals and we feel what they are going through and have compassion for them but we understand that the suffering is real but the suffering originates from illusions. Take away the illusions and the suffering goes with them. There is no utopia because a utopia always comes in the future, but there is no future. No need to wait anyway, peace is available right here and now and thats the only “time” it is available.
    Yes! Non duality is about seeing things as they are. But to see things as they are the person seeing them must know thyself. Essentially, it is okay to make judgements, its just that your judgments are coming from a socially conditioned mind rather than pure awareness. Obviously child trafficking is wrong and needs to stop, but this is only true from the relative perspective. From the absolute perspective, everything that is happening needs to happen this way and its actually unfolding in divine perfection. How do I know? Well because its happening. We must accept these harsh realities and align ourselves with the present moment with non resistance before we do anything. When we say things “should” be a certain way or that this “shouldn’t” be happening we are setting ourselves up for resistance.
    Even when you say “I am of the strong conviction that evil does not need to exist”…the reason why you say evil doesn’t need to exist is because you still believe in evil. If you did not believe in evil you would not be saying whether or not it serves a function in the universe. It does not serve a function, it doesn’t have value, it cant be justified by a higher perspective. Why cant it do any of those things? Because its simply not there. There is nothing to like about it, there is nothing to hate about it, its simply not even there to like or hate. Remember both good and hate are only relative truths.
    When they say must in non duality (I don’t think they would say should) that means its an absolute truth. Meaning it must be that way or the universe cant be what it is.
    Good and evil cant exist without each other because good and evil is within us all. It is the eternal struggle of god and the devil which are both within us as well. The evil we see out in the world is a reflection of our collective consciousness and understanding. Changing anything on the outside won’t work. Basically as long as there is evil (whether hidden or out in the open) in the hearts and minds of your average citizen, there will be evil out there. Again there is no evil but just for language sakes.
    All things do not have their own essence. All “things” arent really things at all but a vast infinite unified field of consciousness. Men are women and day is nothing but the night disguising itself as day. There is no need for balance in the absolute sense. Balance is for duality or two. I think perhaps you talked to the wrong non duality folks 🙂
    All non duality means is not two (or more than two). Thats all it means. Non duality is simply a teaching to POINT you in a certain direction. It is not meant to be gospel and we really encourage to not pay attention to the words so much but where they are pointing towards. Once you go where the words point to then you can throw the teaching away, you won’t need it 🙂 In Zen they say don’t get stuck looking at the finger pointing towards the moon just look at the moon. The moon (truth) can not be spoken of so the finger (teaching) is just a tool to guide you to it.
    Now the most important part of non duality is no self. No self is when you dissolve the ego into nothingness and then you realize “you” are nothing. Essentially there is no you. You are not actually there. You are not some entity behind the eyeballs steering your body. Simply, there is no you. When you say “I” or “me” that egoic identity doesn’t actually exist, and since the ego doesn’t exist it cant exactly dissolve but that word is sometimes used. It is better to say “see that the ego doesn’t exist and then it will dissolve”. What you think you are is not what REALLY you are, its just what you think you are. Only you can discover what you really are, but first discover what you are not.
    Perhaps you didn’t get a proper first impression of Non Duality. May I recommend Rupert Spira he is a lovely and very good at explaining the teachings 🙂 Hope this perspective served 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • This comment is exactly the kind of response I was hoping for. Thank you for addressing all my points and giving me plenty to think about. Yes, I definitely have learned about non-duality from the wrong people haha. I appreciate you taking the time to write this out. It all makes sense now that the “no self” and “not two” have been brought in to contextualize Non-Duality. Your comment reveals the importance of understanding concepts in their original context, instead of only extracting the bits and pieces that sound cool (as the New Age is known to do).

      Like

      • Thanks for hearing me out 🙂

        Another teacher that might give you a good introduction is Lisa Cairns. Check her and Rupert out if you wish.

        At the end of the day all teachings whether non duality, christianity, buddhism, taoism, zen, etc etc all will lead you to the same placeless place. Non duality is said to be the direct path to realization while the others may take a longer time but they are all valid in their own right.

        The new age isn’t really ready for non duality. The new age is about making your dream better and more comfortable. Non duality is about waking up from the dream all together.

        Bye 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Alicen,

    You are correct that many people use nonduality to excuse evil.

    We should take a lesson here from Buddha, who did not preach nonduality, but rather no self, which could also be an abused concept. Thankfully, he was very clear about the importance of avoiding evil, and not harming any beings.

    At the same time, he explained, beings are illusory, since everything happens perfectly automatically due to conditions.

    One time, i had a dream where I became lucid. I then stopped speaking to the dream character I was with. That hurt her feelings. I justified myself by saying she was just an illusory dream character. Her response was, “maybe I am, but I still have feelings!”

    So, indeed, altho at the ultimate level, no beings exist in a dream, while they imagine their existence, they do suffer. The ultimate cure for suffering is to realize no self and not be reborn, but until then, each being should be treated with kindness.

    Blessings,
    Nobody

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Obviously, Alicen, you’re a dualist through and through. And good on you. I’ve spent half a life with Advaita Vedanta before I figured out I am a dualist after all.

    I did succeed in squaring the circle though, for myself anyway. I’ll come at it from the cosmic angle first. I’ll get to the moral philosophy stuff later.

    The greatest miracle is that there is anything at all. There’s no reason that anything should arise from the Great Undifferentiated, from pure Chaos, pure Consciousness.

    But there it was. A Something. And with it a contrast between the nothing and the something. And with that, consciousness had its first experience.

    The differentiation proliferates and…

    Here you are, right now, having the experience you’re having.

    So, this Universe whatever it is arose out of consciousness and exist within it. Consciousness does not reside in your brain. That’s superstitious hokum. You are not a human being. You are not a God. You’re greater than that. You are that from which the universe arises. So am I. I am you. Namaskar. Just done up in some other game avatar.

    So, the dual arises from the nondual. The nondual has an experience because of the dual. Without the dual there is only nirvana, the cold dark abyss. Which is fine, I guess. But it’s not what’s going on.

    I understand that Sri Ramana Mahrishi’s koan, “Who are you?”, was intended to point you in this direction.

    On to the moral philosophy stuff.

    Ramana’s question has an ugly little sister that I found out is mostly unwelcome in nondual world, and that is, who are we? And that’s because it is at heart a political question. And damn near all these people are cowards.

    Because good and evil are relative to perspective. They’re contingent on who “we” think we are. It makes a world of difference whether you think and act as Life on Earth, or as, say, a white man.

    But let’s state for the sake of argument that we’re human beings. We’re in a state of confusion. We aren’t over the shock of inventing/ discovering/ being infected by language yet. That’s why we’re so vulnerable to ideologies, identities, beliefs, education, the news, the need to be (seen as) good, all that cruft. That’s what meditation, occasionally sitting still and watching the shitstorm pass you by, is good for.

    Anyway, as I understand it now, the nondual accomodates the dual. Therefore, there’s no “enlightenment” to “achieve”. While you’re in the game, you might as well play. There’s no problem with the righteous fury of this particular game avatar.

    Like

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