The goal of our existence is not to become “a good person” but to understand and know love. But to know love, one must participate in a paradox. Preston Harold opines:
Once man had partaken of the fruit of knowing, consciousness stood naked, until clothed in the flesh of God, in the “skins” of the animal world, and in this flesh the pain of knowing good and evil, the pain of knowing love, is borne. To know love, man must know pain. Love incorporates a degree of agonia. Pain, patheia, tends to be pathological. But pain agonia, or the word agony incorporates in its meaning: contest, celebration, violent striving, sudden delight – it involves a “wrestling” that blesses, an intensification of meaningful being that allows it to be joyfully accepted.
In terms of violent striving, one is reminded of Jesus’ words, “The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” In terms of a wrestling that blesses, one is reminded of Jacob’s wrestling with the angel and refusing to let go until he is blessed.
Harold continues by opening a door into the secret of good and evil…
The fruit of the tree of life…could not be partaken of, after knowledge of good and evil had been incorporated in his consciousness and being, until life had taught him the secret of these opposing forces and had attenuated through many generations the virulence of both. For the secret of good and evil, insofar as human experience can determine it, appears to be that good turns into evil in the maximum expression of good, and evil turns into good in the minimum expression of its force. For example, utter surfeit that gives rise to loss of appetite or desire is little if any better than hunger or extreme want. Want (evil) must be attenuated so that it cannot express beyond periodic and diversified desire; surcease from want (good) must be attenuated so that it cannot express beyond periodic and diversified satisfaction. Both good and evil must be recast in life to make everlasting life endurable and to be desired.
And so let us be thankful that love is beyond good and evil:
Up through the strange, twisted tree of knowledge that turns good to evil and evil to good, man must grow, led by the spirit of attraction first to the one idea and then to the other, to become neither good nor evil, but divinely human – as love is. Although love and life may be corrupted as lust expresses itself, though one’s “sins be as scarlet,” love’s returning washes them “white as snow.”
Until next time, peace.