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There are no self-proclaimed villains, only regiments of self-proclaimed saints. Victorious historians rule where good or evil lies.

GLEN COOK, The Black Company

God's M.O. ... is to transmute evil into good. If He is active here, He is doing that now, although our eyes can't perceive it; the process lies hidden beneath the surface of reality, and emerges only later. To, perhaps, our waiting heirs. Paltry people who will not know the dreadful war we've gone through, and the losses we took, unless in some footnote in a minor history book they catch a notion. Some brief mention. With no list of the fallen.

PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

Human beings mostly aren't [evil]. They just get carried away by new ideas, like dressing up in jackboots and shooting people, or dressing up in white sheets and lynching people, or dressing up in tie-dye jeans and playing guitars at people. Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow.


More evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way.

GLEN COOK, Dreams of Steel

I desire to go through life knowing as little of evil in it as possible. To this end, I sometimes avoid looking too closely into the nature of things, studying them only so far as they seem to be good, and abandoning interest in them as soon as their darker feature begin to appear. The good only deserves a hearty interest.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

Recognition of the reality of evil necessarily relativizes the good, and the evil likewise, converting both into halves of a paradoxical whole.

CARL JUNG, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Evils are to be traced to their sources, and struck at there. Like Barbary pirates, they are to be destroyed through the suppression of the state that sends them forth.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

We're alone in the darkness ... so we hold hands and tell stories of good and evil to comfort each other. It works, for a while, for a life, for a civilization, perhaps for as long as the species survives. But have no illusion: it makes no difference to the darkness. The darkness swallows us all--good and evil alike--with monolithic disinterst.

GLEN DUNCAN, Talulla Rising

Evil is relative.... You can’t hang a sign on it. You can’t touch it or taste it or cut it with a sword. Evil depends on where you are standing, pointing your indicting finger.

GLEN COOK, The Black Company

The more common method of getting rid of an evil, is to merge it in a greater. Thus, if one suffers a loss of half his fortune at play, he overcomes his mortification by--losing the other half. The most ingenious expedient of this kind, was that of the indigent gentleman of rank, who married his washerwoman to get rid of her bill against him.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

One that confounds good and evil is an enemy to the good.

EDMUND BURKE, On the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, Feb. 15, 1788

Some people misunderstand evil and believe it will relent, and because their misplaced hope inspires dark hearts to dream darker dreams, they are the fathers and mothers of all wars. Evil does not relent; it must be defeated. And even when defeated, uprooted, and purified by fire, evil leaves behind a seed that will one day germinate and, in blooming, again be misunderstood.

DEAN KOONTZ, Odd Apocalypse

For every great evil, apparently irremediable, there is reserved, it is probable, somewhere in the design of Providence, an effectual remedy.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

Evils draw men together.


The salvation of the world depends on the men who will not take evil good-humouredly, and whose laughter destroys the fool instead of encouraging him.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Quintessence of Ibsenism

God will punish the wicked. And before He does, we will.

JOHN GREEN, Looking for Alaska

Evil wishes, like chickens, come home to roost.

AESOP, "The Bee and Jupiter", Aesop's Fables

The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left.


In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.

AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

W. H. AUDEN, "September 1, 1939"

Evil comes up softly like a flower.


So much good, so much evil. Just add water.

MARKUS ZUSAK, The Book Thief

Don't be in a hurry to change one evil for another.

AESOP, "The Oxen and the Butchers", Aesop's Fables

We have been taught that there is a fixed, impermeable line between good and evil, with the comforting belief that We and our Kin are on the good side and They, Those Others are on the bad side. This good-bad, dark-light dichotomy creates concepts of the other, the enemy, and supports not only prejudicial thinking, the in-group sense of superiority over the out-group, but worse of all it encourages dehumanizing others, thinking of them as undeserving creatures who are less than human. It is not hardwired into us; it is learned from adults, from the media, from politicians, from slogans and propaganda all around us.

PHILIP ZIMBARDO, "The Lucifer Effect: An Interview with Dr. Philip Zimbardo", Neuron Narrative, Oct. 20, 2008

Those who return evil for good should not expect the kindness of others to last long.

AESOP, "The Countryman and the Snake", Aesop's Fables

Only as men succeed in seeing no evil in others will they become free from sin, and sorrow, and suffering.

JAMES ALLEN, Morning and Evening Thoughts

There is good in all. Yes! we all believe it: not a man in the depth of his vanity but will yield assent. But do you not all, in practice, daily, hourly deny it? A beggar passes you in the street: dirty, ragged, importunate. "Ah! he has a bad look," and your pocket is safe. He starves--and he steals. "I thought he was bad." You educated him in the State Prison. He does not improve even in this excellent school. "He is," says the gaoler, "thoroughly bad." He continues his course of crime. All that is bad in him having by this time been made apparent to himself, his friends, and the world, he has only to confirm the decision, and at length we hear when he has reached his last step. "Ah! no wonder--there was never any good in him. Hang him!"

T. S. ARTHUR, "Good In All", Friends and Neighbors

The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.

PHILIP ZIMBARDO, interview with Hans Sherrer, Aug. 27, 2003

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Enchridion

As the fishes that are taken in an evil net,
and as the birds that are caught in the snare;
so are the sons of men snared in evil time,
when it falleth suddenly upon them.

DORIS LESSING, Ecclesiastes or, The Preacher

The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good. Almost every thing, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is continually demanded.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, speech in the United States House of Representatives, June 20, 1848

Evil and good are God's right hand and left.


For hence I believed Evil also to be some such kind of substance, and to have its own foul and hideous bulk; whether gross, which they called earth, or thin and subtile (like the body of the air), which they imagine to be some malignant mind, creeping through that earth. And because a piety, such as it was, constrained me to believe that the good God never created any evil nature, I conceived two masses, contrary to one another, both unbounded, but the evil narrower, the good more expansive.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions

And the good delight to hear of the past evils of such as are now freed from them, not because they are evils, but because they have been and are not.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions

The idea ... that collective society should take hold of Evil and set it down hard in its chair and make it cry seems to many of us absolutely sound. Of course, we feel that it is not for us, those who love righteousness, to jump on the necks of the wicked. We prefer to have it attended to in a more dignified, impersonal way by Society as a whole.


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