Jesus was just so fucking smart.
I like thinking about his teachings in unconventional ways — because conventional ones (like the one spoofed in the meme above) were concocted by religious authoritarians who didn’t (and still don’t) give two hoots about our welfare as long as they have secure access to flocks of sheeple and all the goodies they afford.
Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person” — but not because he wanted to let them freely do evil. He wanted them to stop. “Do not resist” is not “do nothing”. There are lots of ways to overcome evil. Resistance is just a terribly and deceptively ineffective one.
Resistance is wastage. Opposing forces cancel each other out. Not only does resistance frustrate progress in either direction, it creates pressure, friction and heat which, past a certain point, ignite explosions. Pressure hardens *dead* things. Heat combusts. Life refuses to be contained and incinerated; and if it fails to break out, it dies.
So resistance is a way of death. If life is our goal, then we need to operate by its methods: love, creativity, fluidity, and single-minded confidence. In the old days, sages called this “faith”. But faith isn’t enough.
Without understanding what makes evil people tick, faith stays blind. By smothering evil people with cozy marshmallow love, we just amuse them and make fools of ourselves.
The key to understanding evil people is both the reason it’s easy to do and the reason we avoid it like plague: We are like them. We share far more with them than we want to admit, and we have the same potential. We share the same basic physiology and the same basic psychology.
The reasons people do horrific things would be our reasons for doing the same if we’d experienced what they did. Our certainty that we’re different and would never become like them isn’t just blind faith, bereft of evidence or fact, it’s actually denial, not faith.
You’ll see this when, instead of avoiding them, you get familiar with evil people and get comfortable with your similarities to them. That is, when you start seeing them as human instead of something inhuman. Both deifying authorities and demonizing criminals are flip sides of the very same coin of dehumanization. God-likeness and devilishness are both chips off the same block of inexplicable peerlessness.
We’ve gotta quit that shit.
When you see so-called evil people as people instead of inhumans — as peers — you’ll see oodles of ways to handle them, because you’ll “get” them. They are not much different than you. Then you’ll see it’s easy, because you know how the dang things work. Understanding them makes it hard to label them “evil”, too, because alienating and dehumanizing them, setting them up psychologically and socially to justify doing violence to them, is the whole point of the label. It’s why they think in terms of good and evil, too — except they probably think evil is the reality and goodness is the fantasy, much like cynics do.
Labeling them makes you one of them.
Violence is the goal of vilification. Resistance is its method. To overcome evil people — those our damaged psyches want to believe are evil, that is — we need genuine love, not a general attitude of love, which means intimate, specific, charitable familiarity that yields real understanding of people we want to help, not destroy.
You will not overcome an evil person any other way.