synthetic zero

June 27th, 2009

Simone Weil on Evil:

Monotony of evil: never anything new, everything about it is equivalent. Never anything real, everything about it is imaginary.

….The ‘I’ leaves its mark on the world as it destroys.

…. Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating.

….That which is the direct opposite of an evil never belongs to the order of higher good. It is often scarcely any higher than evil! Examples: theft and the bourgeois respect for property, adultery and the ‘respectable woman’; the savings bank and waste; lying and ’sincerity’.

….Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty.

….The innocent victim who suffers knows the truth about his executioner, the executioner does not know it.

….It is the innocent victim who can feel hell.

….The unreality which takes the goodness from good; this is what constitutes evil. Evil is always the destruction of tangible things in which there is the real presence of good. Evil is carried out by those who have no knowledge of this real presence. In that sense it is true that no one is wicked voluntarily. The relations between forces give to absence the power to destroy presence.

We cannot contemplate without terror the extent of the evil which man can do and endure.

….That which gives more reality to beings and things is good, that which takes it from them is evil.

….We are at the point where love is just possible. It is a great privilege, since the love which unites is in proportion to the distance.

Somehow the events in Iran make the above feel all the more poignant and directly present; she’s not talking about mere abstraction, but about something eminently present and deadly, now.

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  1. omnia et nihil » Blog Archive » Entering through suffering says:

    [...] Mitsu quotes Simone on evil, in relation to the current situation in Iran, a Flannery O’Connor fan-blog quotes Flannery [...]

    June 27th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

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