[ trying to say something new after seemingly everything’s already been said ]
This was going to be a bore, I initially felt, after having gone on and on about Power for as long as I can remember. From quite a young age, I understood that pretty much everything here at ‘this place’ seemed to revolve around it. People, as soon as their original childlike innocence become wrapped-up in adult pretence and fake sincerity, were busying themselves with power games, no matter how trifle the matters of their condescending, patronising or outright coercion routines were being played-out. Was it not about who gets to sit next to the other in class or who’s fancied by whom, it was about whose mum was supposed to be prettier or hotter or whose father was richer or bigger. It was always the same, no matter where you were. Competition and Struggle. Guys against guys – who’s cooler, stronger, more capable? Girls against girls, who’s sexier, brighter, more gifted. And then, of course – on the highest and most secret and sublime level, it was a matter of Guys against Girls. Who eventually seduces whom and who really, ultimately needed the other? For what ultimate, unspeakable end(s)? To satisfy whatever unspoken-of petty desire?
Psychology helped me to solve most of those underlying emotional-mechanical puzzles and to see clearly the total arbitrariness and unnecessariness of them. Progressing through life with such a night-view vision, though, I not infrequently felt like an alien treading through turf that has been totally contaminated. A lot of grief and sadness was part of this experience, ranging from having to witness the lifetime embarrassment of someone not realising that I can see through every little indecent attempt of power game-play, all the way to how between men and woman, between almost entirely every meeting, glimpse and encounter, there was always an utterly strange ugliness intertwined with even the apparently sweetest, most romantic moments. Luckily, I wasn’t too much affected by the fools who’d dedicated their entire lives to the worldly struggle for status and power – the ones that read a lot of Macchiavelli but not enough Aristotle (of whom the former was actually the keenest follower, apparently). Despite the fact of living quasi under the rule of those people, it didn’t personally affect me. Not joining their ranks seemed to involve an all-important choice, arrived at through common sense. In the end I felt it meant crossing over to the other side – from being True to Lying. By joining the ranks of Power Trippers that have flaunted the glossy pages of mankind’s historical records as well as gold-inlaid burial mounds, the real question – ”Why Am I Here?” – was only postponed, if not altogether successfully avoided. More than ignorant, it seemed just plain retarded.
Anyway, it was the coincidence of bumping into Robert Greene’s 50th Law book in a charity shop recently, while at the same time the gods were giving me the pleasure of catching up with crazy tv-show Lost (and there in particular with Ben’s character, Benjamin Linus) that I felt, well – let’s give this piece here another angle, maybe an angle that once and for all can do away with all those ridiculous matters of Struggle and Power. Hence, here we are. Spending a few more words on the subject. Hope you enjoy.
THE MERELY MUNDANE
When Ben from Lost (whose kind of hobby it is to come up with all sorts of mind-games that help him improve his already formidable skill of attaining and maintaining power) confesses to Juliet how to achieve a certain objective, he reveals the following strategy:
“I find out what a person is emotionally invested in and then I’d use this intelligence to convince them that my ideas are their ideas.”
We feel this little statement is summing up the highest-level strategy in any mundane game of power, proven to work perfectly by secret services and invisible conspirators throughout thousands of years of human history. What people are invested in, emotionally, makes it fairly easy to manipulate their thoughts and consequent actions, pretty much like the behaviour of dogs that can be conditioned through simple stroke and punishment reflexes (more on this analogy see part III). What has been left unsaid, though, is that even Ben himself is following only a supposed ‘conscience’ by entirely dedicating his life to the particular war that he’s leading (preserving the integrity and mystery of the island from the exploitation of the outside world). Thus, his life, like every human beings’, is programmed to serve a so-called Purpose. This Purpose is what attaches everyone, also emotionally, to their entire Sense of Existence and it is the very same Purpose that will ultimately prepare us to even Die for. It is a fundamental and inevitable Paradigm of Human Life. Having a Purpose answers the big ‘Why’ and fuels our daily routines with Spirit and Meaning. So fundamental a linkage is it to our sensation of self and grip on reality that even when facing the imminent threat of starvation, we still maintain in our hearts the last trace of glimmering sparkle that would prevent us from giving-up any hope altogether. Losing it would imply that we’d just as well leave our souls on the meaningless-shelf provided, before exiting down the bleak, endless no-return corridor to death and destruction.
So that’s really where conspiracy on the merely mundane plane has its strongest handle. What’s more, making it even easier for whomever has put any particular Purpose in place, the utmost sensitivity that comes with either the ability to follow or the danger to lose such a vital lead means that not many dare to question, once they’ve spent their entire lives chasing it, where this Purpose truly comes from? Where do our either passed-down or instigated beliefs and world-views truly originate? How can we trust, put not only our lives but even our souls, into the claws of whoever or whatever is higher-up on the chain of knowledge and tradition – not to mention those who’re on the top of the pyramid, who imparted those granted ‘truths’ originally? In other words, losing one’s Purpose or having to admit that the Purpose is not a true purpose but an imposed one seems scarier than facing the prospect of imminent death.
Why is this so?
This question is big. Let’s say for the time being that that’s just the way it is. We mortals are chained to this realm of delusion through our Beliefs (from which we arrive at our Purpose) and our Experience of Intimacy (psychological, emotional and karmic Life Scripts). Whoever has set them in place is in the position to control us like puppets. And that’s really what has been happening all along. The issue of Free Will doesn’t normally arise and if it does, it only involves the decision, like Islam has put it, whether we submit to the Divine or whether we don’t. If we don’t, if we turn away from that which created us, that which created us will have no other choice than to turn away from us. If we ‘choose’ to embrace the Divine, we’ll do our best to observe the ‘Law’ and if our hearts remain righteous in the midst of ignorant madness and seductive filth, the gods will respect and protect us. If we’ve come to only follow a form (like many if not most religious followers), we’ve already deviated from the Core. We’ve lost track and will subsequently lose our bearing. We can then be led astray by anyone tapping into our widening flaws (or gaps) and are thus increasingly in ‘danger’.
Acknowledging that conspiracy should rather be called arrangements when looked at from a higher level and that the Divine has all along been calling the shots of everything that occurs in the created environment of the Three Realms, is not easy at this time and age where mutant science and apparent freedom-of-choice has given mankind the fake purpose of evolution and technological achievement. Interesting enough, admitting the intervention of powers beyond one’s own reach is even more difficult for those who’re in their heart truly righteous. Like Martin Probst, the virtuous architect in Jonathan Franzen’s The 27th City, the truly righteous is oftentimes “not enough of a loser to believe in conspiracy” – even though everyone around him, including his own wife and daughter, are being rigged-up and taken-advantage-of by sinister, dark forces in order to control the fate of an entire city. (The book from 1988 is by the way an excellent lesson for anyone interested in the normal, everyday workings of conspiracy and manipulation. Many things that transpired years later, like terrorising the public with bomb attacks to achieve increased funds for security and police forces, were laid out on this delightful plate of literary genius). The righteous hero in the book can not be swayed by any whatsoever cunning manipulative attempts to bring him to ‘their’ side and in the end, he’s inevitably the only one left standing. “One righteous thought subdues a hundred evil”, as it’s been said in cultivation circles.
What this also tells us is that although the virtuous hero’s perception of ‘reality (due to his ‘not being a loser enough’ to cast a glance at the snakes, bugs and weasels mincing about in dark alleys) appears quite shallow and narrow when held up against the outrageous wealth of manipulative tentacular devices surrounding him – they’re nonetheless true and genuine. Although his final achievements may be considered humble, they’re still ultimately the only thing left that’s of any importance. What’s more, even though he’s lost everything that he possessed and believed in (including his Purpose), he still had his uncontaminated true spirit to fall back on. And it is this true spirit, which Jammu, the chief of police and the woman who pulls all the strings in the novel, despite all her concerted efforts can neither penetrate via Deception nor undermine and contaminate through Seduction. Her only way out is to kill herself and so end it all. Shallow or not, the hero’s righteous thoughts prove strong enough to wipe the entire slate of his city clean again.
In other words – all mundane power games are invariably wearing the players out in the long run. Any brief spots of fake glory have to be amply paid for by the further deterioration of already warped notions and the spiralling deeper into dreary confusion which, ultimately, amounts to the further decent into an ever messier and messier framework of (at the very least psychological) Hell.
THE LOVE RITE
Julia Davis’ work I’m finding really extraordinary since there haven’t been many women who had the audacity and depth (and probably also the mission) to reveal so many of the secrets that women have kept to themselves, in order to stay on top of the game – probably for as long as mankind supposedly existed. Or let’s say, for as long as Lilith, the sister-wive of Adam, felt that submitting wouldn’t make sense anymore, for whatever secret or perhaps rather karmic reasons.
So yes, there are always two viewpoints for us people. There are women and there are men. Both their physical forms and their existential starting points are entirely different.
Obviously, this dynamic, both magical and erotic as well as mysterious and terrifying, over the course of history has proven to be the source of myriads of games, deceptions and struggles. Only those digging really deep are aware that one of the most recent, the so-called ‘women’s liberation’ has also been manipulated by higher forces. One could say that the ‘female comrades’ were used as pawns in the conspiracy to bolster the mess within an already difficult Yin / Yang reversal of the cosmos. The indisputable fact is (and you don’t necessarily need Robert Graves’ Gnostic expositions to remind you), that women have always had power, if only secretly. The ‘fairer’ sex, as Lao Tzu disclosed 2.500 years ago, is always the stronger in the long run since Yin, like water, the force that always yields, will never cease to erode and eventually extinguish the solidity of the stone while passing down its steady river of time.
A more profane case study is offered by the already mentioned scholar of power, Robert Greene, who’s re-written history with The Art of Seduction entirely from the viewpoint of apparent ‘yielding’ or ‘surrender’. Like the secret history of mankind that’s been passed down from Gods to their servants (the High-priests) and then to various Upper Echelon Brotherhoods, until it eventually reached the realms of chosen Kings and Conquerors – an angle of history seen through women seducing makes much more sense than the ‘official versions’ of any history written and catalogued into public library shelves and school textbooks.
But there’s obviously a lot more to it. Watching Robert Grave’s I Claudius, it really isn’t far-fetched to wonder why would a woman like Livia ‘submit’ to men who’re ultimately less capable than herself? Doesn’t make sense, does it? There also isn’t any real answer here that I can offer – or dare to, at that. Women are supposed to be cultivating the Law from their very own vantage. Men are cultivating an upright Law from theirs. What’s there to dispute? But perhaps cultivating the required Compassion for a less capable ‘brother’ rather than harbouring Spite for an authoritative, even coercive ‘father’ might help. And perhaps doing everything that you can to maintain your female side of Yin’s Gentleness against your chosen man’s Yang side of Strength throughout however many years of worldly cohabiting under a mutual roof of the bridal chamber …
Coming back to Power, women have obviously the power to choose, though. Who’d reject the marriage proposals of a healthy, pretty teenage girl coming-up on the street to approach you? Yet who‘d accept such a proposal from an equally fit boy except maybe women of questionable morals or women who’re getting on in their years? What’s more, a boy is only a boy and not a man yet. It’s really hard to become a man, maybe harder than ever, faced with lies and lying people everywhere and lies increasingly being the only means for survival. And it’s really hard for a girl to understand that she already is a girl, to completely relax into her being by giving-up trying to be somebody. It’s indeed even harder when you’re continuously being manipulated to believe that you’re ‘not good enough’, just in order to get in your pants by tapping into your insecurities (a successful strategy used by pick-up artists all over the world).
Thus, it is women who have the power to decide whether they’d like to be with somebody and they have this particular power to the same extent as they’re still young, healthy and pure. While men, in turn, would have the power to be chosen, thus having a wife who’s willing to lay down her life to his feet (more on this in my What Is Sex? essay). In other words, any room for game-play, looked at the situation rationally, is actually non-existing. A fair share and exchange on those open, aboveboard contractual terms. Wouldn’t you call everything else simply interfering bullshit?
The only possible arena left for any further (or higher) power struggles between the sexes would then be differences in Beliefs. This has already been nicely identified in scriptures as the danger of a husband beginning to erect temples for the god(s) of his wife. Hasn’t even king Solomon, for all his wisdom, not been able extricate from such an usurping of power (not only by one or two but by numerous of his wives), after starting to share a bed with them? (His mother Bathsheba perfectly well knew his weakness but there was nothing she could do – or would, in fact, as an avatar of the great goddess). If you’re less of a king you’d basically in exchange for sexual favours begin to listen to lady’s problems or erratic, unfounded opinions and if you’ve been chosen for your money you’ll have to pay for, say, her shoe issues or other symbolic temples of love’s worldly manifestations. Just a little bit of joking.
Anyway, in a world that’s been arranged to cease in a culture that cherishes the mutants and penalizes the righteous, the struggle between the sexes has reached such a ridiculous extent that young girls throw themselves head over heels into life under the false impression that they’re free to enjoy their ‘power’ – while only as they get older they’ll comprehend that they’ve been utterly deceived. Whereupon they settle for the cynical conclusion of regarding sexual conquest just as a harsh life’s lusty commodity (watching Todd Solondz’ movie Dark Horse is a must-see for any girl trying to get away from the poisonous bullshit). In this present world, it has become almost impossible to actually find a wife at all, for any man genuinely looking for one. While conversely, most women, otherwise ‘perfect matches’, would’ve meanwhile ‘freely’ tossed away all of their chances to ever find ‘the one’ they’d really want to ‘be with’.
Funny as it sounds now, cultivating through this painstaking sadness probably turned out to be the hardest part of my own cultivation history.
THE DIVINE VANTAGE
I’ve said above that from a spiritual perspective, in the eyes of gods, humans are, for most part, considered nothing more than dogs (if not worse, pigs or snakes). Without cultivating an upright Law in your heart, you really don’t know anything, no matter how much ‘rewarded’ or ‘happy’ you feel you may be. Crushed by life? Perhaps the devil’s just come back from another chance encounter with Yahweh (prancing about to and fro, “Heya, how’re you doing, old dragon?”) and you were to play a Job character in a 3-d rendered blockbuster remake of the old classic. Lost your job, your girlfriend ran off, maybe your mum and your dad died as well. What about a cancer diagnosis to pepper the stir-fry of hazardous life-script injunctions? “Here I am”, I could then easily say as Shaitan, “I can make you happy”. I’ll give you a crisis-safe job where you make shitloads of money and attain skyrocketing status(es). A lavish show-off apartment, top floor? A gorgeously beautiful wife who knows how to please a man – y’know what I mean? Downright and bright children. Even your health seems to emanate revived vigour and gloss. The result will of course be tail-wagging bliss and you’ll no doubt fall nothing short of hurling yourself to the ground to thank your master, licking the hairy claw with eager tongue-flicking thanks-givings. Good boy.
And if I take away all this again, you’ll be lying around in a corner, howling, depressed and useless. Look at you, poor bastard. Get a life or get the hell out here. Ya shoddy loser. Son-of-a-bitch.
In other words, in both situations, your heart will be severely tested and I guess it’s fair to say, that even among religious folks, nowadays, only very few would be able to pass this test. So much again, for freedom of belief and free will. The Book of Job ist the oldest one in the Book, apparently, predating Genesis.
As a side-note for fellow Gnostics: after studying astrological Chiron mechanics for most of my life [Chiron-Moon conjunction on the MC] I’m now prepared to say that this animalistic’ conditioning is the true extent of the predicament that we call the ‘Human Condition’. Even beyond those Early Childhood Programmes that psychology usually talks about, we’ve been utterly conditioned, and if you were to look at it cynically, also ‘used’, even ‘abused’. We’ve been all along only been ‘needed’ as Vessels, hitherto, by the Divine – unless we’re cultivating our True Self (or Main Primordial Spirit / Zhu Yuanshen in Chinese) as opposed to co-habiting spirits residing in different part of our bodies, or even the Assistant Spirit (Fu Yuanshen) which was the ‘officially’ cultivating part of us in most of history’s passed down cultivation disciplines. The best thing that could happen to us, our True Selves, was to maybe having accumulated enough blessings, should we’ve been a good vessel throughout our lives, so that our next incarnate entry will be arranged to be at least tail-waggingly happy then. Nice job, nice wife, good money. That is all. (This paragraph is just a sidenote for fellow cultivators. Thought about deleting it but then decided to leave it in. Either ignore or take it as a funny story if this sounds ‘surreal’, lol).
A couple of years back I’ve come to the psychological conclusion that the bottom line of all struggle, even the one that occurs slightly above our human realm, in a way culminates in a competition for Relevance (who’s right and who’s wrong? Who or what is truly relevant so that it is ‘chosen’ to ‘stay’?). Such a battle would imply a Battle for Headspace as well (see the essay in my book Systemics as a reference). A lot of people felt this to be quite a radical view. Scary, isn’t it? Today I know that such an extent of Struggle – called in German quite accurately (although with evolutionary slant) ‘Verdraengungskampf’ – occurs throughout a multitude of dimensions, and it goes even farther than only our heads, brains or Niwan palaces (Daoist term for the pineal gland) . It actually involves our entire bodies – that is, the so-called Benti in Chinese thought. This is our True Body, the body that’s spread across all the dimensions (time-spaces) that it ‘s come to dwell in over its numerous lifetimes.
Magnifying the gaps between particles (cells, molecules, neutrons, electrons, etc.), we can see that we consist mainly of empty spaces. Such unknown, hitherto invisible Dark Matter (the Big Question Mark of modern empirical science) lies way below those otherwise familiar DNA strings that are persistently photocopied into our minute-to-minute surface appearance. Much smaller things – Entities or Beings – are going ‘through’ us all the time. And that’s only to talk about the dimensional space-time of the same plane.
The Pineal Body, Niwan Palace or Celestial Eye would be regarded in the cultivation community as ‘locked’ unless you ‘enlighten’. Whether locked or unlocked, it is primarily harbouring our Souls. They dwell there, for the most part. In terms of our discussion on struggle for power, since Human Bodies, created by God(s) after their own image, carry within Human Essence and Buddha Nature and are the most precious – as only they, among all lives, can cultivate to True Fruition. Consequently lots and lots of beings want to get in there and take over. Why is our Third Eye usually clogged, ‘imprisoned’, and most often ‘contaminated’? Didn’t Jesus talk about a circumcized Eye? Don’t communists wear the mark of the beast’s red pentagram on their foreheads?
Generally speaking, cultivating oneself amounts to cleansing all of those beings out that are attached to our bodies. Whether they’re good or bad, who’s to say? They all have to go and leave. All attachments have to be taken lightly and then left behind altogether. There are to be no omissions. Traditionally, only Emptiness (Buddha school) or Nothingness (Dao school) can achieve Right Fruit or Righteous Attainment in cultivation. There can not be any Pursuit in true high-level cultivation, as even traces of it would already open-up gaps for outside interference to step in – and, however so slightly, ‘guide’ us. Bribe us. Subtle powers creeping or seeping under our skin slowly.
Which is bringing us to the great mystery of the Origin of Thoughts. Where do they come from? Why is it so difficult to achieve tranquility of your mind when you just sit down on the floor and try? Why is there always some thing ‘coming up’? Isn’t it Matter passing through us? Hasn’t it over us, at least at that moment, and in that particular dimensional space-time, what you’d call ‘Power’?
I’ve talked above about losing one’s Purpose in a way feels more frightening to most of us than losing one’s Life and I didn’t want to go into too much detail as to the why. Here I’d like to add that one of the reasons is certainly that deep down we’re all aware that physical death, as horrible as it may be, in fact only means that the layer of molecular cells is being sloughed-off and whatever constitutes Our Selves on a deeper microcosmic level, matter-of-factly vanishes back into the Unfathomable. The corpse on display in a morgue is just a heap of decaying meat, is it not? Where is you there? One moment, you wore this molecular ‘skin’, had a visible representation within this realm, the next moment you’re gone off someplace else. Deep down, most of us can sense this truth.
What is more frightening is the death of our Soul, or True Spirit. Our Beliefs and consequent Purposes can be said to be guiding or leading our souls. Beliefs or Faith are the vital linkage to the Divine. Doesn’t the word religion come from the Latin religare, ‘to bond’?
In this light, not even following Robert Greene’s 50th Law to presumably achieve ultimate power – overcoming the Fear of Death (as demonstrated through the example of crack dealer / rapper / entrepreneur ‘50 Cent’) – does people prevent from being ‘used’ or being ‘led astray’ to ‘serve’ some even higher (though not necessarily their own) Purposes. The ultimate stakes of death, therefore, in terms of power, are the death of one’s soul. The Buddha school talks about the realm of Avici Hell, the ‘annihilation of both Body and Soul’ after entering the ‘Gate of No-life’. Through the endless torment of downward dissection towards the lowest forms of matter in the cosmos, one’s Body and Soul Entity finally descends to the ‘ground’ of ‘no-matter’ where the life of any being truly ends.
THE POWER OF TRUTH
“Silently must the Tathagata descend, bringing with him the Power of Truth to do whatever he wants in this World”, goes a saying in the Buddha school.
‘Supernatural’ Power (a power that is actually lying dormant in every human being) will never be casually revealed or used to rashly interfere, much less to show-off or even less to get-off on. Imagine, if you were a God – or even if you were only Superman and not panelled-up in pubescent world-saving fantasies but instead endowed with wisdom and the acute awareness that there is a Law and that there are beings above beings and all matter follows a clear trajectory and you’re therefore only a particle within particles … even though you could shoot laser-beams from the Laogong points of your hands or bend skyscrapers with the sheer power of your mind …
What do you know? Who are you to say what’s right and wrong? If ordinary people, particularly in today’s world, are readily falling into the death trap of freedom-to-behave-like-the-elephant-in-the-porcelain-shop, though they don’t even have any abilities, how massive is the harm and damage they cause, already. How enormous would the casualties, karma or sin be then, if you indeed had tremendous abilities? How could you know what’s truly righteous without sincerely cultivating a Law from top to bottom and from bottom to top? Once you’d cultivate it, you’d understand that everything is simply following its predestined course. Makes sense? Every plane has its own unique manifestation of the Law. Higher powers must never interfere and would never be allowed to by the powers above them .
Who’s ever seen a righteous god showing off? Who could even imagine such a thing? No-one has ever been allowed to even see a god in full colours and glory at all. (Except Moses, according to scripture, though some say that Moses was a god himself. And so could’ve possibly been Elijah?).
Wouldn’t perhaps the extent of supernatural powers draw the line, indicate a certain level, between and among gods, prophets, cultivators, sages, priests, mortals?
Are all gods really immortal? Does Time really exist in the way it does for us, confined to Three Realm space-time perception?
How many cultivators in our present world’s mountains, caves and forests have ‘supernatural’ abilities and why don’t they ‘do anything’ to ‘make the world a better place’?
Wasn’t Simon Magus, the more ‘famous’ contemporary of alleged real-life character Yeshua of Nazareth, apparently able to fly-up in the sky like a bird? Do you seriously think that levitation is impossible bullshit? Would the maze still be a maze if we were allowed to see people ‘ascending in broad daylight’?
It could consequently be said that only the most pitiable abilities are allowed to be shown to the world’s people. Shaolin monks, whose skills baffle ordinary people tremendously, are only allowed by their masters to show the things that do not curb the delusion that is to govern this place. The higher the abilities, the greater the powers, the less likely they‘ll manifest here.
Divine Powers are also called ‘Powers of Transformation’. All particles within a God’s / Buddha’s / Dao’s domain follow the command of just one single thought. From Nothingness to Somethingness. Not even the swipe of a hand is required. A place like the Three Realms can be created in no time. Haven’t they found the Polonium 218 halo’s in granite to be the proof for a world’s creation within a matter of only three minutes? Higher Gods would be able to create entire Universes. Would they ever do it on a whim? Would they dare to interfere in any way with whatever Great Enlightened Beings of higher planes would have arranged? Wouldn’t even Zeus, the Great Primordial God, have had to adhere to whatever Goddess of Necessity had mapped out for everything below her? Where would she get her orders from? Isn’t everyone, no matter how high or low, small or little, positive or negative, just doing their job, cherishing simply to be Alive?
I close it here. There was a lot covered and I didn’t ever get bored. Whoever’s finding this going too far at some places, I recommend looking into some of those references I mentioned, as well as any earlier writings of mine. As I said, Power was always a kind of main topic for me as I found it amusing and confusing but also highly disconcerting and – well, simply ‘mean’, quite frankly. Yet I’ve found myself to have been given this particular mission. Analyse this.
I’d also like to add that throughout all of this dirt-digging, it was only in the most recent years that I came to understand what ‘evil’ actually means. Most of my life, despite thorough immersion in darkness, ‘evil’ was just too irrational to be having any chance of relevance. Now I know that it exists. Or, at least, that it used to exist in a tired, Old Cosmos.
[ tags: psychology, sun tzu, art of war, power struggle, power games, games people play, sex, seduction, supernatural abilities, cultivation matters, battle for headspace, battle for relevance, higher realms, belief systems, purpose, life scripts, futility, humility, righteousness, virtue, evil, … ]