Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Darkness of Life

The darkness of life is a reality, not a myth, and that everyone has a dark side to his or her being. The dark side does not necessarily mean it is something evil. Any connotation of evil may lead to denial, instead of acceptance.

The alleged sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky and the pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff and the scams and rip-offs by some of Wall Street executives are just some of the many examples of the extreme darkness of our society and culture.

But, in spite of the human inclination to be good, we all show our own dark side every now and then—such as not expressing as much compassion and loving-kindness as we should to our fellow human beings, or telling a white lie—because we are imperfect, and, as such, all human behavior is imperfect.

The Dark Side of Life

The Bible calls the dark side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite. To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at self-deception. Either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish novelist, calls this dark side of human nature the duality of man. In his famous story of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he presents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde both having a dark side within them, where evil is lurking to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.

If the darkness of life is deemed as something “evil” as depicted by Robert Louis Stevenson, it may immediately lead to self-denial and downright rejection. The dark side is ideally described as a “not-so-good” quality, or just human flaws and weaknesses that we see in others as well as in ourselves. Whatever the definition may be, the darkness of life, ironically enough, makes life wholesome, without which life is incomplete and unreal—at best, a self-delusion. Human darkness is part and parcel of human existence. Denying its existence only leads to more pain, regret, and resignation. But understanding the dualistic human nature offers a way to return to wholeness, which brings about wellness of the mind and the soul, essential to the art of living well. 


To live well, you need to have profound human wisdom to understand human nature --the imperfections of life and living, not to mention the imperfections of ourselves.


The Book of Life and Living (2nd edition) is a 200-page book that explains what true wisdom is: it is a process of asking meaningful questions and getting relevant answers from them to empower your mind to think differently. After all, life has to do with thinking -- how you think, how you react to your life experiences, and how you process and internalize them to become your memories. The brain is a complex organ. The book explains in simple layman language how the mind works, and how you may weave the fabrics of your realities acquired from your life experiences encountered.


To get the Amazon Kindle version of The Book of Life and Living, click here; to get the paperback edition, click here

Also, visit my website: 
Wisdom in Living

Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

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