Mass Evil And You

Evil is born in the gap. The gap isn’t anyone’s private possession. The gap contains collective responses and collective themes. When an entire society accepts the theme of “the outsiders” who cause all the trouble, then evil has everyone for a father and mother.

Yet in every case of mass evil, there were thousands of people who didn’t identify with the collective impulse – they resisted, escaped, hid, and tried to save others. It’s individual choice that determines whether you latch on to the collective theme and agree to play it out.

The second question, “How could innocent people become the victims of atrocities?” is more difficult, because almost everyone’s mind is already closed. The questioner doesn’t want a new answer. There is too much righteous anger, too much certainty that God turned his back, that no one wanted to risk their own lives to stop the enormous evil being done to others.

As long as I am overcome by anguish or righteous anger or horror, my ability to choose has been shut down. What I should be free to choose is purification, a return to innocence made possible by the shock of what happens when innocence isn’t nurtured.

You and I are responsible for our participation in the elements of evil even though we don’t act out those elements on a mass scale. Believing in them keeps our participation going. So it’s our duty to stop believing in “harmless” anger, jealously, and judgment of others.

Is there some mystical reason why an innocent person becomes the target of evil? Of course not. People who talk about the karma of victims as if some hidden fate is bringing down a rain of destruction are speaking from ignorance.

When an entire society engages in mass evil, outer chaos reflects inner turmoil. The shadow has erupted on a mass scale. When this happens, innocent victims are caught in the storm, not because they have some hidden karma but because the storm is so overwhelming that it engulfs everyone.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).


Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson5 years ago

Wow!..That is some great insight and logic...I work for a family owned business..and I often describe it like .."living and working in a constant tsunami", because they are so chaotic and just what you have explained....Thankyou for sharing this with us!

Rosa mc
Lydia Mcintyre5 years ago

Group thinking and getting others to dislike people who don't have the same views is very distructive.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Inez Deborah Altar


Kerry Stuparitz
Kerry G7 years ago

thanks for this article

Eileen P.
Eileen P7 years ago

this is an incrediblly deep excerpt and must be reflected upon with all one's heart...

it is interesting that janet t. has picked out the example that she has....this just proves Deepak's whole discourse......
she has not understood this article at its depth at all and is totally participating in a way that Deepak is warning against......
also her facts are misguided.....

Janet T.
Janet T7 years ago

There is great evil going on today of which most Americans are unaware, yet paying for. Israel's occupation of Palestine, and their treatment of Palestinians as less than they, has been tolerated and funded for decades. How Jews survived the Nazi horror only to choose to perpetrate their own on another minority is beyond comprehension. No one is immune from evil.

Liz Thompson
Elisabeth T7 years ago

Very good article, thank you

Beth M.
Beth M7 years ago

..respectfully...thats why I study buddhism..become it in action in my see how it it feels...what it's implications it impacts on other belief systems...bring it into the lite and watch what it itself...Its the only honest credible way i have of finding things out..about myself and others..and may i add...that so far there seems to be nothing punitive about what
ive discovered in my little world re spiritual seems to be the same entity that exists regardless of belief system...and i think it's rather huge...huger than my limited capacity to discover how it operates..and why....once again..respect due...x

Nicole Andrea
Nicole Andrea7 years ago

Thank you so much Deepak! It has been difficult for me to understand why some people believe that "karma" is somehow punishing innocent people, because I have never believed that. It seems that in those cases they might as well be using the word "God" instead of "karma". Just because they call it something else doesn't mean their idea of a punitive spiritual entity exists.