“Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good”

Why should I have to subject myself to death and hell? I’m innocent!
I was listening to a podcast recently with Lex Friedman and Jordan Peterson recently and there was a moment that hit me that I’m still unpacking. “Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good.” That’s a powerful phrase. It’s stuck in my mind ever since I heard it yesterday evening. It is BY FAR the best answer to the problem of evil that I’ve ever heard…. so I had to write it down.

Here’s the original 50s Clip on YouTube – https://youtu.be/sY8aFSY2zv4? Peterson says…
“Sometimes your gaze can be forcefully directed towards the abyss… and then you’re traumatised. If it’s involuntary and accidental, it can kill you. The more it’s voluntary, the more transformative it is. And that’s part of that idea about facing death and hell. Can you tolerate death and hell? And the answer is… the terrible answer is… yes… to the degree the degree that you’re willing to do it voluntarily. And then you might ask well… Why should I have to subject myself to death and hell? I’m innocent! And then, the answer to that is… Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good…”

[Note this post was transcribed by speech-to-text so spelling/grammar may be poor]

BACKGROUND: Why is the ‘problem’ of evil a problem?
The problem is that it doesn’t feel right why do them innocent have to suffer? This presupposes there should be some kind of cosmic justice where good is rewarded and evil is punished. First why should that be? Second if evil is punished that does not alleviate suffering. Evil causes suffering. For the evil doer to then be made to suffer as punishment only adds to the total amount of suffering. The innocent person to whom the evil has been done still suffers just as much. Therefore if we are able to choose between good & evil and some people some of the time Tuesday evil choose to make others suffer then this perfectly explains why the innocent suffer. It’s a natural consequence of having the choice between good & evil.

But this is only half the story. It’s possible to suffer even if no one has done you wrong. The natural world is full of unpleasantness. Too hot. Too cold. Pain and physical injury. Sickness and death. Or left hand bull things like boredom or depression or hard worker frustration loss of opportunity grief and nostalgia four times gone by.

Can you in visage a world where no one ever gets bored or loses their job? A world where relationships never end or change? Where childhood is never lost when new opportunities never close the door on old ways of living? We are losing time every second of every day. Accepting new things usually involves letting go of old ones. It’s no wonder suffering is a constant part of life even for the innocent even if no evil is perpetrated against them. That why? Why so much suffering? Why do even the innocent suffer this fate? And have to bear this burden?

“Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good”

Suffering and Meaning in Life:
It’s true that life is meaningless suffering unless it is for a greater purpose. Even the innocent must voluntarily give their life for a greater purpose or another words to the highest good. To give their life to offer up to sacrifice to something.

You can of course give you a life to anything you choose but it is by definition better to give your life to what is better what is more good and ultimately the highest good whatever that means.

You can also choose not to sacrifice your life not to give your life to anything or rather in practise to suffer involuntarily. For you will suffer regardless we all do.

However trying to avoid suffering typically involves pushing it onto others which is pretty close to the definition of evil. “Causing the innocent to suffer unnecessarily… In order to reduce your own suffering ever so slightly”. Suffering is not a zero sum game. To reduce our own suffering buy even a very smal amount create an enormous amount of additional suffering for others. And not only that but living in a hostile environment exponentially increases our own suffering. When we do not care for orlov the people around us we give them every reason to treat us with the same cruelty or indifference in return. 

The Way Out:
The way out is there for a two-step process

Number one stop avoiding responsibility by pushing suffering onto others. another words learn to love your neighbour by practising kindness and compassion.

A number two voluntarily except the necessary suffering associated with existence itself. Developing the compassion to suffer with your neighbour.

Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good.

Another words it is necessary for all of us innocent or otherwise to accept the suffering that comes with existence. Not in vein but 4 and 2 the highest good.

Ironically voluntarily acceptance minimises suffering to that which is necessary, and maximises the good we bring forth in the world as a result, which again minimises the suffering of those around us.

In fact you could say that the ultimate purpose of a human life is to become innocent for surely we are not already and then to sacrifice that innocent life to the highest good. 

And in a similar way the opposite the definition of evil is to try to avoid suffering to suffer involuntarily all the while trying to reduce it at any cost. Usually a cost to the innocent around us.

Even the innocent must be voluntarily sacrificed to the highest good.