No matter who you are, you have experienced evil. Even if you are the most privileged human to have wandered the earth, suffering has introduced herself to you. Whether she came as a passing pang of hunger or the death of a loved one, she has come before and she will ceaselessly return. The philosopher has tried and tried to provide you with a solution to this problem and the best she has been able to do is either tell you to suck it up or slap on the numbing armor of stoicism.
It’s all well and good to be a stoic. Perhaps you can get so good at it that you’ll cease to suffer all together. But while stoicism may numb us to the pain of that which is outside of our control, it does not provide us with the power to defeat evil, it only provides us with the power to not feel its shockwaves.
What we need then is not merely an attitude adjustment, but a power augmentation. We need to be able to control the very nature of our reality. To do this, we need two things: time and a moral revolution. With time comes scientific progress. So long as we can keep ourselves alive and there is not a global catastrophe, science will advance as it always has. Any limitation we place on our scientific capacity is nonsensical. We could not fly, and then we flew. There will be nothing left we cannot do.
The moral revolution must bring all of us together in a unified effort to promote conscious well-being for all. If we have achieved this, and enough time passes, we will know enough about neurology, consciousness itself and ways to influence the environment that we will be able to end suffering, be immortal and live in a constant state of ecstasy. We can become the omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent Gods we have dreamed of since the dawn of our existence. We can be better than the Gods.
You might be saying to yourself “even if I can accept all of these possibilities, I will be long dead before any of it can be manifest.” Perhaps, but we might move a bit quicker than you think. Even if you do die before we have built heaven, is it not delicious to dream about the heaven our children might taste? It is also quite possible we will have discovered the means of resurrecting any and all conscious systems. You could be brought back, and think of being able to provide your loved ones lost long ago with eternal happiness.
So what’s the move? Survival and moral progress my friends. I have no doubt that if we survive long enough, we will be capable of everything I have discussed. The problem is, science can be used for evil, and the more we advance, the less necessary human interdependence will be for human survival. In fact, should power fall into the hands of a truly sadistic elite, she could create hell on earth, or she could just kill most of us. I think one thing is for certain, given the possibility of this kind of power, a bad outcome is more likely than a good one.
While this is a scary prospect, there’s something exciting about it. Everything is on the line. The future may hold heaven, hell or death. It’s up to all of us to choose what we want. I do not know if or how we will defeat evil, but it is a possibility. What a purpose we can share in trying make that dream a reality.
Iain Carlos ’20 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Chicago, Ill. He majors in music and religion.