Monday, March 23, 2009

On the Nature of Good and Evil

Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out and sort asunder, were not more intermixed. It was from out the rind of one apple tasted that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil.

John Milton, Areopagitica

2 comments:

Samantha said...

The Yin and the Yang, all part of the whole. Positive and Negative, again all part of the whole. The universe abhors a vacuum, and attempts to find in all things balance. Many mistake entropy as choas and destruction, but it is simply not so, for the universe is trying to find equilibrium.

Humanity (warning generalization coming) isn't fond of things they cannot control, and topping that list of course is "entropy."

It's like environmental destruction called "Global Warming" and natures attempt to right it. It's not simply enough to stop doing harm to the environment, we need to repair things. Change is happening at a Quantum level, and it's balance Earth it trying to find.

Paul Wise said...

I don't entirely agree, but I do understand your point, and it is a good one.

My own understanding of good and evil is a little different. I tend to see evil as misdirected good - a good thing sought after in the wrong way, or to the wrong degree, or for the wrong purpose. And the greater the thing in itself, the worse it is when it's misused; it is not fallen mice which make devils, but fallen angels.

Philosophical differences aside, however, again, you do make a good point.