In a world of evil and strife, there is a silver lining. We can find good and love in the world if we look for it and develop it within ourselves. This was the message we learned from our good friend and acclaimed author, Pablo Zaragoza (PABLOZARAGOZABOOKS.COM), on Love University. In his latest blockbuster novel, The Reluctant Nazi, Pablo tells the story of a young Nazi SS officer, Hans, who turns against the evil of the Third Reich and helps bring healing to those who suffer and justice to those who oppress. In the process, Hans redeems himself and discovers a new way to live based on love and compassion. Here are some of the lessons of triumph over evil and redemption and that we learned from Pablo:
*We don’t have to follow evil leaders. In the famous Milgram shock experiment, nearly 2/3 of student volunteers followed the instructions of the experimenter and gave a maximum 450 volts of electric shock to a middle-aged man, which may have been enough to kill him (he said he had a heart condition). Although the middle-aged man didn’t exist (it was a tape recording), the results shocked the world. How could supposedly normal college students exhibit such cruelty? The answer is that we are conditioned in society to obey authority, no matter how wrong or evil. Although this concept has some truth, those who disobeyed and didn’t shock the man did so under certain conditions: 1.When two experimenters gave conflicting instructions to the students (“Shock” and “Don’t shock”), the student didn't shock as much 2. When the middle-aged man was seated next to the student, fewer students shocked all the way to the maximum (they saw him as a real human being), and 3. When other students in the room said, “Don’t shock,” only 10% of the students obeyed the experimenter's command to shock the man. These variations reveal a powerful truth: When we are faced with evil and hatred, we can resist these destructive forces by banding together with compassionate and conscientious individuals to do the right thing. In this way, we can bring love where there was hate, and compassion where there was cruelty.
*We can find meaning in tragedy and love in suffering. Esteemed psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. He witnessed frail-looking prisoners who were able to survive several years in the most dehumanizing circumstances, while some strong, sturdy-looking prisoners died very quickly. The difference was that the survivors had “a will to meaning”; they had an overriding purpose for their lives and faith that they would experience good things in the future. Perhaps, they wanted to write a book, be with their spouse again, or see their children/grandchildren graduate from the university. This overriding mission or purpose is what drove them to live, despite a horrible and hopeless environment. In the same way, you need to find a purpose or meaning for your life. Perhaps, it’s to be a good parent, to create something valuable for the world, or to be a caring and loving person who helps others. On a daily basis remind yourself of your mission and take the steps to accomplish it. By doing so, you will achieve your fullest potential and experience joy, love, and peace.
*We can redeem ourselves by doing good. As a medical doctor, Pablo worked in the Florida prisons with some of the most vicious and hardened prisoners, including murderers like serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, the twisted inspiration behind the Academy Award winning performance by Charlize Theron in the movie Monster. In his work with the prisoners, Pablo observed cases of redemption and transformation. In one case, he remembers a medical doctor who had been sentenced to prison for overprescribing certain drugs. He lost his liberty, reputation, and medical license, among other things. Yet, in his apparently hopeless situation, the doctor stopped thinking about his own plight and started helping other inmates who had medical issues. In one incident, he diagnosed an inmate with a serious venereal disease and helped save the patient’s eyesight. After helping many inmates with his medical knowledge, he eventually left prison, regained his medical license, and started working for a nonprofit clinic. Pablo reminds us that we, as human beings, have the capacity to change. Instead of getting down on yourself, and feeling bad and worthless about your past mistakes, realize that you can change given the right circumstances. You can redeem yourself from the bad things you have done by doing good. You can give to the homeless and needy, volunteer at charitable/humanitarian organizations, and provide emotional support to your loved ones and those who are suffering.
Pablo’s message is simple, but powerful. You can triumph over evil and bad circumstances by finding meaning in your life and believing in the power of redemption. As a creation of a Higher Nature, you have the capacity to find the love and compassion that exists within you. You can vanquish darkness and replace it with loving energy as you leave a lasting legacy of goodness and love for all to see.