Chapter 34: Only a Question of Awareness
You are good when you are fully awake in your speech.
Yet you are not evil when you sleep while your tongue staggers without purpose.
And even stumbling speech may strengthen a weak tongue.
You are good when you walk to your goal firmly with bold steps.
Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping.
Even those who limp go not backward.
But you who are strong and swift, see that you do not limp before the lame, deeming it kindness.
You are good in countless ways, and you are not evil when you are not good,
You are only loitering and sluggard.
Pity that the stags cannot teach swiftness to the turtles.
In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness: and that longing is in all of you.
But in some of you that longing is a torrent rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and the songs of the forest.
And in others it is a flat stream that loses itself in angles and bends and lingers before it reaches the shore.
But let not him who longs much say to him who longs little, “Wherefore are you slow and halting?”
For the truly good ask not the naked, “Where is your garment?” nor the houseless, “What has befallen your house?”
The very fundamental effort of Kahlil Gibran is to demolish the very idea of evil. And he is absolutely right about it.
The idea of evil is the invention of the priesthood of all the religions. It is a great device to exploit humanity, because once your mind becomes contaminated with the idea of evil you can never live in peace, you can never live in togetherness, you cannot stand erect in human dignity. On the contrary, the idea of evil creates wounds in you - which you have known as guilt.
Anything that is natural is bound to assert itself; whether you call it good or evil does not matter. The sun will rise from the East; it does not depend on your opinion.
Inside your being you are not a simple phenomenon; you are a complexity. Something can be condemned, and the condemnation can be justified by all kinds of rationality and logic if taken out of context; and the same thing can be praised. If you are not divided into good and bad, into higher and lower, if you are one organic unity, that which looked like evil out of context becomes, in its right place, immensely valuable to the whole. The whole question is how to arrange your inner being?
All the religions are criminals in the sense that they have not allowed man to be arranged as an orchestra. They have divided man: a part they have called good, and another part they have condemned as evil. But both exist together, and can exist only together.