Good And Evil

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 2 weeks ago

Dr Demartini explains why the moral and ethical concepts of “good” and “evil” are human inventions and labels more than universal values or laws. He explains why everything that goes on in your life is a neutral event until you choose with your perceptions and subconsciously stored associations how to interpret it.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 weeks ago



Rigid, extreme or absolute labels of good and evil are, in a sense, maladaptive pathogenic states that often stop people from realizing their full potential.

As I’ve travelled the world teaching for many decades, I have been asked questions relating to the moral and ethical concepts of “good” and “evil”.

My response, for some, could be perceived as unexpected and possibly even challenging to their traditional paradigm:

Human Labels

Each of us often projects our own individual values, assumptions, or views of our world and the universe onto others.

Whatever SUPPORTS our values, they typically label as being “good”, and whatever CHALLENGES our set of values, they usually label as being “evil”.

No two people have the same set of priorities or  hierarchy of values. As a result, everyone has a slightly different version of what “good” or “evil is.

In a world of nearly 8 billio

Rigid, extreme or absolute labels of good and evil are, in a sense, maladaptive pathogenic states that often stop people from realizing their full potential.

As I’ve travelled the world teaching for many decades, I have been asked questions relating to the moral and ethical concepts of “good” and “evil”.

My response, for some, could be perceived as unexpected and possibly even challenging to their traditional paradigm:

Human Labels

Each of us often projects our own individual values, assumptions, or views of our world and the universe onto others.

Whatever SUPPORTS our values, they typically label as being “good”, and whatever CHALLENGES our set of values, they usually label as being “evil”.

No two people have the same set of priorities or  hierarchy of values. As a result, everyone has a slightly different version of what “good” or “evil is.

In a world of nearly 8 billion people, you can only imagine the number of different perceptions that are constantly growing and changing.

The universe doesn’t label things as being “good” and “evil”; HUMANS label things as being “good” and “evil”. In reality, everything that’s going on in life is simply an “event”, it’s neutral until someone puts a value on it.

Your perceptions of whether the event is “good” or “evil” will depend on how you stack up your perceptions and their previous associations relating to that event:

  • If you see more advantages than disadvantages to that event, you’re likely to label it a “good” event.
  • If you see more disadvantages than advantages, you’re likely to label it an “evil” event.

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I am certain, however, that an event is just an event. Everything that goes on in your life is NEUTRAL until you choose with your perceptions and subconsciously stored associations how to interpret it.

 

As I say in many of my presentations and articles: there are only THREE things that you actually have control over in your life:

  • Your PERCEPTIONS,
  • Your DECISIONS and
  • Your ACTIONS.

Suppose you have ‘negative’ perceptions from a past event where you perceived you’d been hurt. Now you encounter something that reminds you of it. In that case, you will reference your past stacked up negative associations and filter your perception of this current situation through your bias and possibly label the current event as negative.

However, when you are living in alignment with or very  congruently with your highest values, you’re more likely to operate from the executive centre of your forebrain and be more objective, neutral and / or balanced in your orientation as a result.

As such, you will be more likely to neutralize than polarize your interpretation and say, “Okay, here’s an event. How do I use it to my greatest advantage for myself and others?”

Suppose you’re temporarily  not living by your highest values and attempting to live by others' values and you are operating more from your amygdala and your hindbrain than your executive centre in your forebrain. In that case, you will tend to be in survival mode and have more of a subjective bias and become more polarized in your perception.

As a result, you will be far more likely to distort your reality and generalize events into “good” or “bad/evil” categories.

In these cases, you may tend to have more absolute and polarized than relative and neutralized perspectives where an event or person is ALL good with NO bad, or ALL bad with NO good.

When you have these absolute perspectives, you are likely to fear the LOSS of something you perceive as all “good” and fear the GAIN of something you perceive to be all “bad”. In that way, you add fear and anxiety into your life due to your more subjectively biased and polarized perceptions.

However, in actuality, the event is completely neutral until you have interpreted it based on your incomplete perceptions and subconsciously stored emotions.

It is you that is fully accountable for your own interpretations. As William James, the father of modern psychology, once said:  the greatest discovery of his generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their perceptions and attitudes of mind.

So, suppose you change your perception and attitude about an event and whether or not you perceive it to be “good” or “bad”. In that case, the response in your physiology is going to be respectively different. Your perceptions can transform at an event into something that:

  • Activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for a rest and digest response; or
  • Activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for a fight or flight response.

In other words, your physiological response is based on your PERCEPTION of the event and not on the event itself.

For this reason, I teach the  Demartini Method in my signature 2-day program,  The Breakthrough Experience: which is a series of questions to help you balance your perceptions and turn things you have labeled as “good” or “bad” back into neutral events, which results in you being more resilient and adaptable.

Many people attempt and tend to subordinate to the values of their mothers, father, teachers, preachers, politics, morality or religion, instead of living life congruently with their own values.

Many people also believe that there are some form of “universal values,” or a collection of god given moral rules that some anthropomorphic deity has provided that will be rewarded or punished if lived or not lived by. But there are no universal accepted values discovered worldwide, only sets of rules conceived by human beings, which when imposed by authority often results in complementary opposite outcomes or results.

In the USA, having many wives or polygamy could lead to criminal jail time. But the former president of South Africa had nine wives.

Marijuana was once illegal and has now been legalized, smoking has been banned in some countries and is perfectly systems acceptable in others.

Values and rules continue to morph, and very few if any are relatively universal.

It’s why no sustainable and universal value system has ever been found because it’s a human invention and something human beings have made up and no two individuals have the exact same set of values.

Every values system serves someone and without villains there are no heroes, without inners there are not saints.

Surviving vs Thriving

Somebody who’s truly THRIVING is more likely to see their life events in more neutral perspectives – ones they can use to their resilient advantage.

Somebody who’s merely SURVIVING in life will most likely label things as either “good” or “bad”.

You can often see this demonstrated in layers of religious instruction. The more fundamental and extremist a person is, the less broadly aware and experienced they will tend to be.

Those who are more universally aware tend to be more unconditionally loving, appreciative, and adapt to situations more easily.

You can also see this demonstrated in people who are functioning a little bit more in their amygdala; it often takes a cataclysmic event to get them to change.

However, when people perceive they are living congruently with their highest values, they tend to be more inspired and self-actualized while adapting more smoothly to change.

As I said earlier, when you’re more reasonable and objective, you tend not to fear the loss or gain of things. Instead, you tend to be more balanced, neutral, and able to see both sides. As such, you are likely to be more poised and present as a result because you don’t fear the loss of something you perceive to be “good”, not the gain of something you perceive to be “bad”.

Instead, you will tend to see both sides and be poised and present and can easily adapt to external change.

Religious writings are still written by human beings.

It is, therefore, wise to be aware of that human element and not be vulnerable to any irrationality in that regard.

That’s not to say those religious writings don’t have valuable insights or that the rules don’t have an application, but rather that it is wise to be grounded in your thinking around their origin, and underlying motive.

When you stop and look at how small the planet Earth is in the solar system; the solar system in the Milky Way; the Milky Way in the Virgo Cluster; and the Virgo Cluster in the Laniakea Supercluster; you may realize that a particular monoglotic idea of some forms of theology is quite insignificant when you look at the bigger or universal picture.

So, it is wise to broaden your awareness about this so-called morality and give yourself permission to step outside the box or lines and look at it more broadly and objectively.

When you look at things more broadly and objectively, you can make a heaven out of a hell or a hell out of a heaven at will.


I’m sure you can recall a situation you initially perceived as terrible, only to look back a few years later and be grateful that it happened. You may also know someone who bought the “perfect” house, only to be steeped in maintenance and bills and wish they had never bought it.

The initial assumptions you make and the labels you place on people, places and events are not likely to be the whole and final story or complete truth.

Your built-in homeostat – your intuition with its negative feedback capacities - will try to bring you back to balance.

When you are infatuated with something, your intuition will attempt to point out potential downsides to bring you back to balance where you are neutral and objective.

When you resent something, your intuition will try to point out the upsides to balance your perceived downsides.

There is no such thing as a one-sided individual or one-sided event. It takes a more narrowed mind to assume such a label.


I prefer to look at an event from both sides to balance out my PERCEPTIONS. This, in turn, affects my DECISIONS and resulting ACTIONS. As I said earlier, these are the only three things you have control over in your life.

The broader your mind, the more objectively you will tend to see both sides of people, places, things, ideas and events and the more you will tend to love and appreciate life.

If you ask quality questions that enable you to see both sides of your events, you’ll be far more likely to liberate yourself from the many emotional biases that you may tend to get trapped in.

When you know that there are two sides to life, and intuitively look for the two sides simultaneously so you can bring your perceptions back into balance, you’ll likely be:

  • Poised instead of poisoned; and
  • Present instead of living emotionally in the past or future.

Morality is sometimes sold to the masses as coming from some form of anthropomorphic deity or deities, but it appears more reasonable to be the result of the human beings functioning from their amygdala and projecting their survival mentality onto themselves and other people to protect themselves from what they’ve been previously frightened or wounded by.

The fear of death and the yearning for physical survival seems to give rise to many localized forms of moral injunctions and polarized perspectives.

For this reason, I would love to inspire people to live a more self-actualized life with the ability to ask questions to neutralize events and see them as being ON the way and not IN the way.

In other words, to see BOTH sides of an event and not get caught by a one-sided mentality and often unsustainable or even hypocritical morality.

In Conclusion

Whatever is happening in your life, it is wise to:

  • Look for both sides to balance it out;
  • Not let it run you, by transcending your one-sided, subjectively biased view.
  • Ask yourself how you can use this ultimately neutral event to do the greatest service for others and fulfil the greatest rewards in your life.

If you do that, you’ll tend to be resilient, adaptable, and amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.

As I often say:

  • Anything you can’t say thank you for is baggage; anything you can say thank you for is fuel.
  • Anything you infatuate with or resent tends to occupy space and time in your mind and run you. Anything you can see from both sides,  you run.

Feel free to visit my website and look into my 2-day signature seminar The Breakthrough Experience where I take you step by step through The Demartini Method – a process that will help you neutralize emotional charges, and add to your resilience and poise.

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Good And Evil

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