Friday, 11 March 2016

To know evil, you must become evil - so don't do it!

We can 'know about' something in a detached and observational way; but full knowledge of a thing entails experience of that thing, and by experience I mean empathic identification with it - which entails the inner experience of thinking and of feeling emotions at the most primary level.

Therefore, we should not try to understand evil - because to understand it we must become it; and that might have a lasting, even permanent, effect.

We need to know about evil sufficiently to resist it - but that is all. And that is not much, because the Good man can recognise evil without requiring to know much about it - so we ought to strive to be Good much more assiduously than we try to understand evil.

Evil, of course, is always telling us we don't understand it, and therefore really ought to go into it more fully and deeply - ninety-something-percent of the modern mass media - including many of the more prestigious novels movies and TV shows - are indeed designed to lead us into a deep identification with evil... ask yourself, why would that be, if knowing evil really was helpful?

Are the people who make and promote and admire these media the kind of people who would really want to aid the battle for Good? - or are they instead the kind of people who would want to subvert the Good? To ask is to answer.

The Good man is always, therefore, accused of ignorance, of naiveté, of not really understanding evil as evidence by his failure to describe evil such that people are drawn into empathic identification - how often have you heard Tolkien accused of this, or Chesterton, or anyone whose character or work is morally exemplary?

And indeed there is not much to understand about evil because it has no positive qualities - deep down, at root, evil is merely against-Good; and the varieties of evil are merely due to opposing the various subtypes of Good - unity, virtue, beauty, truth and their subdivisions.

That is all we need to know, and all that we should strive to know,

Evil is something to be resisted, fought or shunned - but not to be understood.


  1. At first I thought you were going to argue for the beatific vision ��

  2. I'm sorry, I meant to seriously ask if it would be an argument for the beatific vision, to some extent, when applied to goodness.

  3. @George - I don't get it - what are you asking?

  4. This is why the forbidden tree was the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil".

  5. When I wrote the post I was partly also thinking of the Neoreactionary, Alt Right, Manosphere and global conspiracy theorists - in that they tend to focus obsessively and almost exclusively on understanding the evils of their enemies.

    The same could probably be said of my own ruminations on political correctness and the mass media - beyond a certain point (which I probably went beyond) the level of understanding which I was attempting probably did me some harm.

  6. The title of this post needs to tattooed on the brains of Neoreactionary/Manosphere/Boromirosphere types.

  7. I think "George" means Heaven as a knowing of God (or his goodness) perfectly in Heaven, and we ourselves must be good to exist therein with Him. That is, to be in Heaven, to be good and know God are one and the same - to see Him face to face.

  8. @Ingemar - Except that we are against tattoos on principle!...

  9. There's a verse somewhere in Revelation where someone his commended for not knowing "the deep things of Satan."

  10. @WmJas - this post was prompted by a passage in Meditations on the Tarot by Valentin Tomberg - which book is a mixture of valuable insight, tedium (or the numerology/ symbolism type) and some daftness. I am skimming it to try and locate the grain among the chaff.

    But it was a standard idealistic/ extreme rhetoric (back when I used to read a lot of literay/ cultural magazines) that whenever somebody did something especially bad (terrorism, paedophilia, drug addiction, mass killing or whatever) that we must first understand the perpetrators before we could do anything constructive about it.

    Unfortunately the supposedly vital understanding never actually happened, but instead just lots and lots of words - so in the meanwhile nothing was ever actually done about anything except to criticize those who had acted prematurely or inappropriately.

    Indeed, gross misunderstandings (such as that terrorists come from 'the poor and oppressed', or that problems are best solved by throwing money at the perpetrators - because they are really the victims) somehow manage to continue.