There's a great tendency in our nature to not exist, to not stand out, to not be an individual. There is a great tendency in our nature to live not through our bodies, but through our ideology, doctrines, and dogmas. By living through our ideologies, we give life to our ideologies by sacrificing our own. Therefore, we never truly live, but rather the ideology lives instead. We never truly exist as an individual because ideology can not encompass individuality. The individual is constantly changing...growing from the present moment to present moment. He is alive. Yet, ideology doesn't change. It is fixed in time and place as if written in stone. These ideologies take on a life of their own, a life we consider of more value than human life to such an extent that we are willing to kill in defense of our ideology.
The great attraction of ideology is that it brings people together under a common doctrine or belief system to accomplish a set purpose. It is a unifying force. Yet, when we view ourselves in unity and oneness with all, what is there left to unify? Why is unity or oneness necessary if we understand our oneness with Tao, the Way, nature, life itself? It is only when we view ourselves as separate from Life that we cling to ideology in order to feel alive. Ideology gives the appearance of unity by confirming our perceived disunity and creating a unity of "believers" against the "unbelievers." It brings a dualistic order to an otherwise chaotic mess called life. Life is ever-changing. Rather than flowing with the change, however, we seek to resist by holding onto an ideology we perceive as "Truth" unchangeable.
Truth is unchangeable, but how can that which changes grasp or hold on to that which is unchangeable? The moment you perceive it, grasp it, it is gone. Truth is as fleeting as the present moment. It is always here, but we are not. Our minds go elsewhere, isn't that right? Trying to hold onto the present moment more than a few seconds is in itself a most challenging task. We don't want to be here now. We would rather be in our past, our future, our imagination. We would rather be in a reality we can perceive, a place where things are orderly and make sense. The "truth" is reality cannot be understood. Can we truly perceive the nature of the air we breath or a blade of grass? Yes, scientists can explain it on a molecular level, but is that the essence? Ideology makes sense of reality, but by making sense of reality, we kill reality and replace it with our own interpretation. It's safer that way.
In our own reality, we have status over the "unbelievers" or whatever we call those who oppose our ideology, be they Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Buddhists, Liberal, Conservative, etc. In our own reality, we are right and others are wrong. In our own reality, color is too much to perceive and process. We can only see things in dualistic opposites of black and white, right and wrong.
So, is ideology the great evil? No. We all have an ideology, do we not? Even this writing could be considered an ideology. Like all things in the hands of men, ideology can be used for good or for bad. Whatever our ideology, we must understand that reality is too big to be encapsulated in an ideology no matter how good that ideology may be. If it can be communicated through language, it will fall short of capturing reality. The most beautiful things in life are indescribable. We can try, but we fall short every time, but that's not the function of language or ideology. These just serve as tools for a greater purpose.
There were once two cooks who were hired to prepare a delicious meal for the emperor. Each cook could use his own utensils, pots, and pans. One of the cooks was very confident he could prepare the best meal because he had the very best stainless steel pots and pans. The other cook's pans were iron and very old. The confident cook diligently prepared a delicious stew. He threw in all manner of vegetables and spices. However, when it was done cooking, he did not want to take it out of the pan because he did not want to see his pan dirty and used. It would break his heart. So, he kept cooking it in his pan until both the food and his pan burnt up. The other cook however was used to dirty pots and pans as his own were already very old. Therefore, when it was time to take the food off the fire, he did so, washed his old pans, and served the king.
Like a pot or a pan, an ideology is simply a tool to refine yourself into someone greater. It is not who you are. It is not meant to contain you forever no matter how perfect you may believe it to be.