In certain cases, you may need to protect yourself or someone else from being harmed by another but beware of making it your mission to "eradicate evil," as you are likely to turn into the very thing you are fighting against. Fighting unconsciousness will draw you into unconsciousness yourself. Unconsciousness, dysfunctional egoic behavior can never be defeated by attacking it. Even if you defeat your opponent, the unconsciousness will have simply moved into you or the opponent reappears in a new disguise. Whatever you fight, you strengthen and whatever you resist, persists.
These day you frequently hear the expression "the war against" this or that and whenever I hear it, I know that it is condemned to failure. There is the war against drugs, the war against crime, the war against terrorism, the war against cancer, the war against poverty and so on. For example, despite the war against crime and drugs, there has been a dramatic increase in crime and drug-related offences in the past twenty-five years. The prison population of the United States has gone up from just under 300,000 in 1980 to a staggering 2.1 million in 2004. The war against disease has given us, amongst other things, antibiotics. At first, they were spectacularly successful, seemingly enabling us to win the war against infectious diseases. Now, many experts agree that the widespread and indiscriminate use of antibiotics has created a time bomb and that antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, so-called super bugs, will in all likelihood bring about a reemergence of those diseases and possibly epidemics. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical treatment is the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer in the United States. Homeopathy and Chinese medicine are two examples of possible approaches to disease that do not treat the illness as an enemy and therefore do not create new disease.
War is a mind-set, and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy, the perceived evil or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to and often worse than the one that was defeated. There is a deep interrelatedness between your state of consciousness and external reality. When you are in the grip of a mind-set such as "war", your perceptions become extremely selective as well as distorted. In other words,you will see only what you want to see and then misinterpret it. You can imagine what kind of action comes out of such a delusional system. Or instead of imagining it, watch the news on TV tonight.
Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. When you recognize it for what it is, you no longer misperceive it as somebody's identity. Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes much easier to remain nonreactive toward it. You don't take it personally anymore. There is no complaining, blaming, accusing, or making wrong. Nobody is wrong. It is the ego in someone, that's all. Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others. You do not fuel the drama anymore that is part of all egoic relationships. What is its fuel? Reactivity. The ego thrives on it.
Eckhart Tolle 2005
The above essay is from Eckhart Tolle's book,"A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose". Since it was written, and published in 2005, we can realize that what he said is certainly so. We are in the midst of epidemics today. There is more cancer, disease, drug abuse, crime and wars and all are escalating. This tells us that what we fight against only becomes stronger. It doesn't take a genius to understand that what we put out reflects back to us, just as with a mirror. It has taken me much time and study to understand the power of the ego, what tragedy it can create.
My question is: when will we learn that fighting/warring isn't a solution for anything, that it doesn't work? It solves nothing; it only worsens matters. There has been a knot of fear for us all since we were born into this world. Fear because there is always a war going on somewhere for some reason. If one happens to not know this fear, then I believe the ego is playing too big a part in one's life. When fear subsides, life can be viewed in an amazingly different way.
The prison statistics Tolle speaks of is far higher today than in 2004. As for those who are released from prison: who are they when they return to society? Does a prison term mean they will return as shining examples of exemplary human beings? I personally don't think so. They are either broken, cowered humans or else angry humans. Neither is good for the released individual nor for the whole. When society learns to practice compassion, understanding, love and not be so quick to judge and punish, then and only then will we see a change for the better.
As far as I can see, our leaders are not accomplishing much good, if any; so it is up to each of us individually to get rid of our damnable egoic nature and turn the tide on all these wars; the wars against crime, poverty, disease, drugs or other peoples.
When and only when we all come to understand that the billions of us who live together on this planet are created equally, that we each have the right to live peaceful lives, will things straighten out for the good of all. Let us each do our utmost to make it happen. I certainly have my work cut out to further this along; this ego of mine keeps persistently popping its head back up too much and I don't like the self I then become.