Good And Bad, Right And Wrong Are Dangerous Illusions – Insights from the Wilderness #203


“That’s just not right!” she said shaking her head in disapproval.Good And Bad, Right And Wrong

“What are you talking about? Of course it’s right.” he responded with annoyance dripping from his words.

I didn’t want to tell them they were both wrong! So I quietly walked away from the conversation.

When I shared the experience with a friend later that day, he looked at me with amazement and said “ I think your wrong. She’s right. It was just not right”.

I find it interesting that most of the conversations we have with one another tend to be about whose belief is right and whose belief is wrong. The amount of human energy expended in conversations about right and wrong is staggering

Without right and wrong, this article would be meaningless. Without right and wrong, our news broadcasts would be incredibly boring. Our divorce rate would probably plummet. And the number of attorneys in the world that would have to search for other work would increase dramatically.

But what is most interesting about good and bad, right and wrong, is the reality that those categories are illusions found only in the human mind. No other life forms that we know of are capable of understanding the dualistic concepts of right and wrong, or good and bad. Nowhere in nature, or in all of creation, are there any examples of something being right or wrong. Things just “are”. Reality is simply “what it is”.

Good and bad, right and wrong are nothing more than subjective beliefs created by our dualistic human ego so-as-to create and support our unique self-identity. I subjectively think something is right. You subjectively think something is wrong. I subjectively label it good. You subjectively label it as bad. This is proof to our ego that we are separate, different, unique persons.

Because my dualistic ego needs to be right, I will expend an enormous amount of emotional energy trying to convince you that I’m right and you’re wrong. And of course, your dualistic ego will do the same.

If we could both acknowledge and embrace the middlepath spiritual concept of non-dual thinking we could have an intelligent conversation exploring the truths contained on both sides of the subject in question. We could see the “whole” of reality rather than just the right and wrong, good and bad, pieces and parts of reality.

The Dilemma

So let me pose a question. If most of the violence and conflict we see around the world is created by judgmental black-and-white, good vs. bad, right vs. wrong thinking, what would we expend all that wasted emotional energy on if we eliminated good and bad, right and wrong, and simply let others believe whatever they wanted to believe?

Wouldn’t the world be a better place?

I would have more time to practice my mandolin. But then what would I write about? What would the world look like without the subjective categories of good and bad, right and wrong? What would we talk about?

Seriously, think about it. What would we talk about? How would we maintain our sense of self-identity? Our entire human culture is based on categories of right and wrong and the conflict they create. Religions would disappear. Nations would cease to exist. Wars would no longer be needed.

The utopia we could create with non-dual thinking is a great spiritual goal. It would create the peaceful world we all would like to live in. But could we survive without right and wrong thinking? What would motivate us to get out of bed in the morning? We would be born, spend our lives meditating on the great oneness of reality, and then we would die. Right?


I believe the only path out of this dilemma; the only viable path available to humans and human culture, is continuing to embrace our dualistic categories of right and wrong, “and” our spiritual growth toward non duality and middlepath non-dual thinking.

The tension present in those two contradictions is not unique. Contradictory tension exists in all paradoxical categories of human thought. In fact, philosopher’s say all “truths” contain paradoxical contradictions.

When we have learned how to embrace the nonduality of a middlepath consciousness, “and” hold the tension in the contradictions we find there—without the need to choose one side over the other—- humanity could keep its dualistic categories of right and wrong, and still be capable of evolving human culture into the peaceful future we all would like to see.

Really! You think I’m wrong?

Why? What am I missing in that contradiction?

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