Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People? It begins with power. To be powerful, is to be violent. All powerful nations are violent. All powerful people are also by implication, violent. Even the great prophets of the popular religions, in order that they could demonstrate their power over their Earthly subjects, unleashed violence. Jesus the Christ unleashed violence on those who turned his father’s sacred house into Wall Street. Jesus punished them by the whip. The Prophet Mohammed led Holy Wars against the “infidels.” Moses personally beheaded all those who had led a revolution against his God. Some of these religions even go as far as not only emphasize God’s power over our lives but over our dead bodies. That when we die God will put some of us in Hell to suffer eternally. That is powerful, that is violence.

To be powerful is to be violent. Even God, by nature, because he is omnipotent, is violent. This is difficult to accept. It is only made more difficult by the fact that some religions hide this fact behind a cloak of lies, behind misinformation, and behind disinformation. Power exists only to unleash violence at will. Or else, there’s no such thing as power. Power needs a target, and the target is often attacked indiscriminately. That attack sweeps up innocent lives. The nature of power is much like owning property that one claims is worth forty pounds of gold. No property is worth forty pounds of gold until someone actually buys it for forty pounds of gold. To say “my God is powerful,” is not enough until one can demonstrate that this God can unleash violence on those he hates. Sometimes that involves taking other people’s properties by force and bestowing them on you. And this unleashing, everywhere it can be observed, is often indiscriminate.

Men live and die in a Universe that is infinitely more powerful than they. The Universe is daily expanding by the second, matter is recycled and new matter is created. More chaos is created than order. The entropy, the total disorder, of the Universe continues to increase. The nature of a powerful Universe is also by implication the nature of a violent Universe. Bad things happen to good people because they live in a powerful Universe, and because in this Universe, powerful Gods exist, powerful men exist and often their focus on their unsuspecting targets are at best indiscriminate. Bad things happen to good people because we live in a world that is by nature power-full.

The only way to stop bad things from happening to a group of “good” people, is also through power. Only power stops power. In a sense the nature of power stems from its use: in one instant it can be used to protect the vulnerable and in another moment it can be used to annihilate the vulnerable. Both are violent expressions of power. Power is real. Some nations become more powerful because other nations are disillusioned about the nature of power. Some nations even refuse to accept the necessity of wielding power to protect themselves. Some of these nations think sovereignty is guaranteed by pieces of paper on which ink has been poured, and which has been filed away in a United Nations cabinet.

Some nations refuse a path to become powerful simply because they are led by cowards. Cowards are scared of unleashing violence, since they too must become its symmetric indiscriminate targets. Cowards are afraid to die. Cowards do not take risks because they are afraid of being exposed to the direct consequences of their actions. The Universe continues to create. The Universe is not cowardly, and it has no place for cowardice. The Universe does not reward cowardice, it quenches it. To create, to build anew, and to protect the precious, it requires bravery. The kind of bravery to accept that bad things happen to good people. The kind of bravery it takes to become powerful, to accept direct exposure to the consequences of one’s actions. Bad things happen to good people but in sum, more good happens to powerful people.

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Amenuti Narmer
Narmer Amenuti (Dances With Lions) was born by The River, deep within the heartlands of Ghana, in Ntoaboma. He is a Public Intellectual from the Sankoré School, a Temple of the African Prophetic Tradition. He remains the only surviving speaker of Vebantu, the Ancestral Tongue to most West African languages. As a Culture Critic from the Sankoré School (of Critical Theory) and a Guan Rhythmmaker, he is a dilettante, a dissident and a gadfly, and he eschews promotional intellectualism. He maintains strict anonymity and invites intellectuals and lay people alike to honest debate. He reads every comment. ~ Success is a horrible teacher. It seduces the ignorant into thinking that they can’t lose. It seduces smart people into thinking that they have to win. Success corrupts; Usefulness exalts. ~ Narmer.


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