Friday, October 10, 2008

On the definition of evil:

Yaacov Ben Moshe (Breath of the Beast) offers a viable description of evil. Since this is a web log, which serves as a sort of journal in which I enter all sorts of useful information and arguments, I thought this rendition is important to keep in mind, for possible future use, somewhere:

As many of you already know, my second youngest son was born with Neurofibromatosis. NF is the perfect paradigm of evil. It is a tumor disorder in which the tumors grow along nerve fibers. Because nerve fibers are uniformly arrayed throughout the body, the tumors may appear anywhere and are usually so inextricably interwoven with the tissues of skin, organs and bone that removing them completely is impossible. That is how I see evil. It is inextricable in the fabric of humanity. What is truly important is how we try to deal with it.

Thoreau observed, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.” Ask anyone- they will tell you that they are opposed to evil but few understand that (as I pointed out in my post of 9/2) that evil is part of the universe and especially present in the human soul.

Paul Ricoeur defined evil from a different aspect:

“Evil is, in the literal sense of the word, perversion, that is, a reversal of the order that requires respect for law to be placed above inclination. It is a matter of a misuse of a free choice and not of the malfeasance of desire. The propensity for evil affects the use of freedom, the capacity to act out of duty – in short, the capacity for being autonomous.”


At 1:55 PM EDT, Blogger Malcolm said...

Theodore Dalrymple on Evil


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