Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Who is evil?

Evil is overall unnecessary pain. To sin is to add evil. To sin, at first, can look enticing. To go do the opposite can look hard. If the majority of your deeds is evil, you’re considered evil. Yet, no one is all-evil.

Judaism teaches us not to consider ourselves evil. That makes sense. When one considers oneself evil, one permits oneself to do all evil in the world. Not the way to go.

The Sages say that no one sins unless captured by a sense of folly. If you’d think a little, you wouldn’t do it.

Moses tells us to choose life, not to choose good. That is because everyone always chooses [what they assume is] good.

There is a core in a Jew that cannot be touched by evil, that will always stay pure and innocent. The art is to connect to that place.

Reb Shlomo Carlebach says: ‘You never know,’ implying that everyone can surprise you and be the total saint where you assumed they were a committed sinner.

Judaism teaches that it’s more commendable and virtuous to be wicked and make a tiny bit of moral progress than to be extremely pious and not getting any better ethically.

The competition for ethical improvement is not a run against others but against our own old selves. This way, everyone can be a winner.

The rabbis teach that when someone was always a good person until they were 60, they’re out of the danger zone of ever doing evil.

Most people are decent and never make it to the front page of the paper.

In some things (rain), G^d is equally generous to the saintly and the wicked.

When we hurt people, generally, they’re going to stiffen and toughen up. Paradoxically, when we love them for who they are (please, never change), we enable them to improve.

There are only two kinds of people: people who divide people into two types and people who don’t.

Denying morality is not making it go away. Ethics is important to guide us in using our free will. Our (in)action determines our moral quality.

However, …

We say every morning in our prayers how insignificant we all are, but we still have a holy assignment to implement.

The Sages say that the [proper] reward for a good deed is that you did the good deed. I add: If, as a grownup, you do good deeds to gain, you easily can end up doing bad deeds to gain.

It is not true that when you do good you will receive good. Some (but not all) saintly people get a bad deal in life, and some (but not all) wicked people get a good deal in life. Live with it.

The Sages show that when one is good to villains, one may easily end up committing evil to saintly people.

Extremely rarely (if ever) people will be either wicked or saintly. Good deeds don’t prove that someone is totally innocent and only did good, nor do wicked deeds show that the actor should forever be rejected.

The Sages teach not to believe in oneself until one’s last day meaning, always be alert to the chance of betraying the true ideals.

Someone’s good intentions can be someone else’s painful evil. A white lie and the truth may hurt. The tongue is the biggest killer in the world.

If you love everyone, some rare individuals are going to take advantage. We collectively need to plot with the majority to stop such people.

Almost all people are so innocent (especially empathetic people, therapists) that they cannot (be they should) fathom how evil and destructive some people can be or they themselves could become. Trust should be earned, not come from people being tired of being tough.

If you listen enough with enough empathy, you can see the good in everyone. Which doesn’t mean that you should allow everyone all power.

Democratic society should restrict its privileges only to those who underwrite equality for all. Bigots should not get any freedom of speech, gathering, demonstration, press, being elected, or electing others. Politics is still run permissively because it’s executed by the naïve middle class.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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