3 3

Some notable quotes on evil:
"Hell is other people."-J. P. Sartre
"Hell is yourself."- Tennessee Williams
"Evil does not have a stomach-turning stench, nor does it signal its presence with palpable cold and darkness. (Unless Stephen Miller enters the room-my inj.) We do not fall haplessly, not does it entrap (possess) us. Rather we often act willfully in complicit ways." -Nel Noddings

BookDeath 8 May 27

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


"Hell is other people" was meant by Sartre primarily to convey the notion that you can't truly know yourself without the uncomfortable judgments of others, because you are generally blind to your own bullshit. However, it works in the more straightforward way that people tend to understand it, too, sadly. There's a tension between the fact that we're hyper-social and therefore crave interaction with others, as well as their affection and validation; and the fact that, in general, people suck in various ways and so cannot be counted on. Depending on Other People is at least potentially giving up your power and self-determination to their whims. And if you pay too much attention too long to their judgments, fecklessness, cruelty and disloyalty, you start to doubt yourself -- the only person you really CAN count on.

I do not think Sartre was talking about evil either. Evil is first and foremost a theological concept and therefore means whatever anyone decides that it means.

I prefer to talk about things like harms, dysfunction, and sociopathy rather than "evil".

Despite everything I've just said about people, there is a flip side to the coin, which is that we do end up effectively negotiating a societal morality that tends, in the long run, to sustainably promote civility and fairness and empathy in our interactions -- to appeal as it were to the better angels of our nature.

That is why, as Noddings says, we are often complicit and willful in harming others, yet, there is a basis for transcending that, and having something besides self-loathing for being human.


The last one is the most accurate to me.


I think that all these quotes have something in common: the evil men do to others, and in many cases, the evil we do to ourselves.. We also have to deal with the harsh nature of being, from illness, traffic accidents to earthquakes. I think we need a 'Be Nice' day all over the world to the value of politeness, kindness, patience etc. in just one day. The apostle Paul asked Christians to adopt this way of life on a permanent basis in his letter to the Galatians. Christians can't do this and neither can we - it's just so very . But we could make an effort.

I endeavour, esp IRL, to practice kindness whenever I deal with people-whatever, whenever. Sometimes online I get snarky. But I'm much gentler in handling humans in person. I try to follow this dictum: Everyone I meet is doing the best they can with what they have at that given moment.

You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:92066
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.