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Here there's no possibility of doing evil. You live in evil. In the absence of remorse. How could you do evil?

JEAN GENET, The Balcony

A man that does nothing but watch evil, never will overcome it.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

The way to overcome evil is to love something that is good.

E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words

Of what use are good words to an evil heart?

LOUIS BECKE, "Solepa," By Rock and Pool on an Austral Shore and Other Stories

Between two evils, I always like to take the one I've never tried before.

MAE WEST, Klondike Annie

One may smile, and smile, and be a villain!


All human beings ... are commingled out of good and evil.

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Many human beings need no supernatural mentoring to commit acts of savagery; some people are devils in their own right, their telltale horns having grown inward to facilitate their disguise.


All I ask of Fate is that the people she hurls into my life, whether they are evil or good, or morally bipolar, should be amusing to one degree or another.... The problem is finding smile-inducing evil people, because the evil are the most humorless, though in the movies they frequently get some of the best lines.

DEAN KOONTZ, Brother Odd

By the fruit the tree is to be known. An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Williamson Durley, Oct. 3, 1845

Shall the hag Evil die with the child of Good,
Or propagate again her loathèd kind,
Thronging the cells of the diseased mind,
Hateful with hanging cheeks, a withered brood,
Though hourly pastured on the salient blood?


Very few people see their own actions as truly evil.... It is left to their victims to decide what is evil and what is not.


To ignore his capacity for evil is as obtuse as blinding oneself to the heights to which he can soar.

ARIANA FRANKLIN, Mistress of the Art of Death

God is omnipotent; God is wholly good; and yet evil exists. There seems to be some contradiction between these three propositions, so that if any two of them were true the third would be false. But at the same time all three are essential parts of most theological positions: the theologian it seems, at once must adhere and cannot consistently adhere to all three.

J. L. MACKIE, Evil and Omnipotence

I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His powers to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak. I defy Him without fear and care not a fig for his thunderbolts.

MARQUIS DE SADE, Justine or The Misfortunes of Virtue

All men begin as good men. What they are taught as children, what is expected of them as young men, is either the armor about that goodness or the flaw that allows evil in.

DAVID WEBER, Off Armageddon Reef

The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

PSALM 9:16

When there exists anywhere a state of suffering, a wrong, a condition of affairs that men of feeling deplore and that troubles the conscience of the upright, to become resigned to it is wicked. Although the evil flaunts itself before our eyes, and no remedy is in sight, we must go and seek a remedy. In the creation of the God of Justice, evil can be but a transitory state.


When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.


Evil endures a moment's flush, and then--leaves but a burnt out shell.


The world we live in is a world of mingled good and evil. Whether it is chiefly good or chiefly bad depends on how we take it. To look at the world in such a way as to emphasize the evil is the art of pessimism. To look at it in such a way as to bring out the good, and throw the evil into the background, is the art of optimism. The facts are the same in either case. It is simply a question of perspective and emphasis.

WILLIAM DEWITT HYDE, The Art of Optimism

There is no sort of wrong deed of which a man can bear the punishment alone: you can't isolate yourself, and say that the evil which is in you shall not spread. Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease.


Do not be dismayed to learn there is a bit of the devil in you. There is a bit of the devil in us all.

ARTHUR BYRON COVER, Night of the Living Rerun

In some way the secret vice exhales its poison; and the evil passion, however cunningly masked, stains through to the surface.

E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words

Wickedness goes to great lengths and depths where it is not checked and restrained by the free and continuous expression of the indignation of good men.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

All evil, in fact the very existence of evil, is inexplicable until we refer to the paternity of God. It hangs a huge blot in the universe until the orb of divine love rises behind it. In that apposition we detect its meaning. It appears to us but a finite shadow as it passes across the disc of infinite light.

E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words

The most hateful evil in the world is the evil that dresses itself in such a way that men cannot hate it. The men that make wickedness beautiful are the most utterly to be hated.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

To read of human depravity in the police reports is one thing, to see it fall like a black shadow across one's life is another.


For years I've been interested in a fundamental question concerning what I call the psychology of evil: Why is it that good people do evil deeds? I've been interested in that question since I was a little kid. Growing up in the ghetto in the South Bronx, I had lots of friends who I thought were good kids, but for one reason or another they ended up in serious trouble. They went to jail, they took drugs, or they did terrible things to other people. My whole upbringing was focused on trying to understand what could have made them go wrong.

PHILIP ZIMBARDO, "You Can't be a Sweet Cucumber in a Vinegar Barrel: A Talk with Philip Zimbardo", Jan. 19, 2005

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