It is a given for anyone who has used a map program online or their phone that in order to get directions, you need to input a starting point. If you enter the wrong starting point, the directions are less valuable unless you already know how to make the corrections. It is interesting this basic concept is ignored in personal life in many ways. Many people tend to forget who they were and then portray an idealistic to escapist view of who they are today and somehow expect to build a better tomorrow. Not knowing who we are will never get us to who we want to be.
There seems to be almost an innate desire within some to look past their faults and only see their good qualities. Whether guided by fear, arrogance, or pollyannish bravado, refusing to look at the dark side of the soul only gives us part of the picture. Taoist philosophy refers to the yin-yang as a natural dualism. It is the balance of opposite forces in the natural world. It is morally neutral such as light and dark, fire and water, past and future, and life and death. In the well known Taoist symbol, each side balances and incorporates the other side to create the whole. They not only exist in each other’s space, they support each other. The concept loses something when it is applied to moral choice saying where there is moral choice, there is also amoral choice. Good and bad do not support each other. They are enemies at best and seek to destroy each other. When that battle is within the human soul, it can only lead to carnage or peace. Carnage comes through rationalizing the bad and accepting it as normal. Peace comes through accepting who you are and changing the focus from self to God.
The past is not interpretable, it is factual. Decisions are not explainable, they occurred. No one can look at the choices another person had and evaluate them in a vacuum. They can only see the choices made. They either benefited the person and their character or they only benefited the person in the moment. If we are to truly accept ourselves and change our focus, we need to recognize the fact that each person has within themselves the ability to perform great evil. This is not theoretical. It is verifiable simply by honestly evaluating our past. If we have committed wrong on any level we have within us the ability to commit wrong on all levels. We just need the right motivating factors to do it.
All major religions recognize that mankind has fallen far short of where he would like to be. They do not all provide a way to correct that. Some offer meditation or penitence. Some advocate restorative justice and others punishment by fire. Christianity has an answer for this through grace. The model of grace explained by the Apostle Paul provides the ability to stop the battle and change the focus. But if we are not willing to walk through and address our past, we will never understand that.
Choosing to drive in a direction we think will make us arrive where we want is a good way to get lost. If we are unwilling to use a guide, we are responsible for where we end up.