Evil (good and evil)

Evil has become a determinant reality.  It can no longer be dismissed from the world by a circumlocution.  We must learn how to handle it, since it is here to stay.  How we can live with it without terrible consequences cannot for the present be conceived. 

Cont’d…    In any case, we stand in need of a reorientation, a metanoia.  Touching evil brings with it the grave peril of succumbing to it.  We must, therefore, no longer succumb to anything at all, not even to good.   329    cont’d … A so-called good to which we succumb loses its ethical character. 

Cont’d… Not that there is anything bad in it on that score, but to have succumbed to it may breed trouble.  Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.  

Cont’d… We must beware of thinking of good and evil as absolute opposites.    MDR 329


Therefore the individual who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness.  He must know relentlessly how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion.  Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish – as he ought – to live without self-deception or self-delusion.  MDR 330

Such self-knowledge is of prime importance, because through it we approach that fundamental stratum or core of human nature where the instincts dwell.  Here are those pre-existent dynamic factors which ultimately govern the ethical decisions of our consciousness.  This core is the unconscious and its contents, concerning which we cannot pass any final judgment.  Our ideas about it are bound to be inadequate, for we are unable to comprehend its essence cognitively and set rational limits to it.

Cont’d … We achieve knowledge of nature only through science, which enlarges consciousness; hence deepened self-knowledge also requires science, that is, psychology.  No one builds a telescope or microscope with one turn of the wrist, out of good will alone, without a knowledge of optics.  MDR  331

With glorious naiveté a statesman comes out with the proud declaration that he has no “imagination for evil.”  Quite right: we have no imagination for evil, but evil has us in its grip.  MDR 331

Cont’d… Some do not want to know this, and otherw….