Religion & Culture | Can we inherit evil?
It wasn't long ago that I watched the 1956 film noir, 'Bad Seed'. The plot centres on a precocious, seemingly amicable girl, Ronda, who turns out to be an unlikely cold-blooded killer. Her mother, an adoptee, whose biological father was a sociopathic murderer, realises that his seed has blossomed in her daughter. The narrative takes many twists and turns and became one of the most critically acclaimed movies of that year.
In 2013, Adam Lanza, a quiet young man, gunned down his mother before turning the gun on 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut school; it was one of the worst mass shootings in United States history.
The spate of gruesome acts perpetrated by children who are raised in protective, loving environment raises a key question: Does an evil gene exist?
DNA research has uncovered the MAO-A gene that is linked to anti-social or aggressive behaviour. In related studies, neuroscientist Kent A. Kiehl found that there is less density in the paralimbic system of a psychopath's brain - the area that processes emotions.
Other studies have shown that both genetic and adverse familial and social conditions contribute to criminal behaviour.
Despite advances in research, neuroscientists and psychopathologists are yet to advance reasons for 'dysfunctional' neural patterns in incorrigible, deviant individuals. In their materialist approach to understanding the complexity of human behaviour, they have omitted a key component in their research: the missing link to the puzzle.
Sacred literature supports the thesis that evil and calamity can be inherited.
In Kings 15:3, we read, "And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him..." In Ezekiel 18:2, we find, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge..." And earlier, in Exodus 20: 5 - 6 is the often cited verse: "...I, the Lord, your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation."
But how are sins transferred from our ancestors? Again, the answer is found in the Bible. We learn of the significance of blood in Leviticus 17: "The life of everything is in the blood...and the life of all flesh is in the blood..."
Blood is an energetic force that, along with our organs, holds imprints of a person's life. Blood integrates the functions of the organ. This explains why organ transplants and blood transfusion are rejected by some ethicists. Their stance lends credence to the biblical injunction - "Be sure you do not eat the blood..." (Deuteronomy 12:23)
The blood contains our spiritual essence - good and bad.
Blood is central to Christian redemption, as it is to every pagan and neo-pagan practice. Its significance in all things spiritual cannot be over emphasised.
It is our blood that connects our physical body to what many now believe is our spiritual body, sometimes called the aura. Blood is the bridge that transfers the positive or negative energies of the past to the present - from ancestors to progeny.
Thanks to Kirlian photography and the development of Poly Contrast Interference Photography, Digital Aura Scanning System and Resonant Field Imaging, we can view the spiritual body. Interestingly, many spiritual adepts are able to see the ether-like substance of the aura without the help of physical instruments.
In Goshinsho, a Japanese scripture, Okichi Okada (1882-1955), explains how bad thoughts, words, and deeds infect the spiritual body with what he calls, "dark clouds".
These clouds manifest in the body in the form of diseases - physical, emotional, and mental. We inherit pathologies from our ancestors through our blood connection. We also bring clouds from past incarnations to this life.
Spiritual body important
Sacred texts of every religion and philosophy have acknowledged the importance of the spiritual body. We cannot understand who we are, our behaviour, and our lot in life without knowing its condition.
In mystical circles we often hear: "Spirit leads and form follows". This means that the underlying fabric of the material world is the spiritual world. Spirit moves us, knowingly or unknowingly. If our spiritual body is corrupt or is clouded, our physical body is also infected.
Okada writes that, "when we carry out [our] various roles in life, impurities in the spiritual body are generated just as dirt is accumulated in the physical world." He also emphasised that "spiritual clouds are passed on to the next generation through the blood." Bad seeds or children that are notoriously violent and follow a predictable path of self-destruction are products of this exchange between the physical and spiritual bodies, and the blood.
Notably, Dr Jayant Balaji Athavale, the founder of the reputable Australian-based Spiritual Science Research Foundation, has written on many occasions that an entire family can be smothered with darkness where members are besieged by marital disharmony, addictions, miscarriages, financial problems, and feuds and violence.
Over time, we have devised psychological modalities to address neuroses, psychoses and clinical depression. We have devised self-development approaches to ease persistent personal burdens. We have also used prayer to combat damning experiences.
However, our success will remain marginal and ephemeral. Until we acknowledge that all pathologies are rooted in the spiritual body our ability to guarantee long term wellness will be severely limited.
• Dr Glenville Ashby is the author of 'Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity', now available as an audiobook. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@glenvilleashby