"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one
who is striking at the root."(Thoreau)
Let us strike at the root!
We define 'evil' as self-perpetuating persistent illusion that results in deepening conflict with reality leading to worsening suffering and destruction. This creates a destructive feedback loop as discussed in detail in Simplified Anatomy of the Global Systemic Crisis and How to Heal Civilisation. The term 'evil' was corrupted and used by the Christian totalitarian regime to mean anything that the regime wished to suppress but the meaning that is used here is in accord with its general mystic meaning, which is also how Thoreau used it too.
First the term 'root' will be defined in the biological context before considering the full analogy of a “tree of evil”. When a seed germinates the root is the first part to grow, quickly followed by a first initial stem and leaf. This then creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop that draws nourishment and grows into a tree. The root penetrates the ground (source of nourishment) and bifurcates so that it comes to permeate the ground and grip it firmly, thus stabilising and nourishing the whole tree. As the leaves transpire water this creates an osmotic pressure that sucks water up through the many micro-tubules and thus the whole tree sucks nourishment from the ground.
The seed can be described as naïve realism, which germinates within the mind (ground). From the seed there arise numerous false beliefs (root) that permeate the mind and result in the ego (initial leaf). The ego reinforces the false beliefs and this resonance between ego and false beliefs is the initial self-reinforcing feedback loop that draws upon our life forces (nourishment) and grows into a tree of self-perpetuating delusion. The root system of false beliefs bifurcates so that it comes to permeate the mind (ground) and grip it firmly, thus stabilising and nourishing the whole tree of delusion, suffering and destruction that grows from this. This is discussed in detail in Simplified Anatomy of the Global Systemic Crisis and How to Heal Civilisation.
Our false beliefs and confusions within our minds permeate our language, common sense, science and so on. These confusions lead to dysfunctional interactions with ourselves, with others, with the environment and so on. These dysfunctions build on top of each other and result in a dysfunctional civilisation that is sucking the life out of us and destroying itself and its environment. This network of dysfunctional interactions, social institutions, propaganda discourses and oppressive regimes is a direct outgrowth of our false beliefs and confusions and is what is referred to as the “tree of evil”.
In the context of the tree of evil the phrase “branches of evil” refers to the ramifications of evil. If we only focus on resolving the problems in economics or government or social justice or ecology and so on, without addressing the false beliefs and confusions within ourselves then we are only pruning the tree of evil and it will keep growing back again and again – as it has done for thousands of years throughout all cultures – and it is becoming stronger and bushier.
Hence, in this context, the statement of Thoreau's implies that most people only perceive and address the symptoms but this cannot be effective in resolving the overall crisis. What is required is to identify, study and find a way to eliminate the root causes of the ongoing problems, not just patch up the symptoms one after the other in an ongoing futile process.
Thus people who only focus on problems “in the world” without addressing the fundamental false beliefs and confusions within themselves and others are just hacking at the branches of evil – which keep growing back again and again. Those who work to identify the fundamental false beliefs and confusions within themselves and others are striking at the root. This is the primary purpose of STAR!!!
It is not about discussing the symptoms and how to minimise them – it is about penetrating deep into the roots of delusion within ourselves in order to cut the root of the tree of evil within ourselves so that we can find a way to heal the confusion and agitation throughout the entire civilisation.