Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quote of the Day (Jean-Paul Sartre, on Evil)

“We have been taught to take [evil] seriously. It is neither our fault nor our merit if we lived in a time when torture was a daily fact. Chateaubriant, Oradour, the Rue des Saussaies, Tulle, Dachau, and Auschwitz have all demonstrated to us that Evil is not an appearance, that knowing its causes does not dispel it, that it is not opposed to Good as a confused idea is to a clear one, that it is not the effect of passions which might be cured, of a fear which might be overcome, of a passing aberration which might be excused, of an ignorance which might be enlightened, that it can in no way be turned, brought back, reduced, and incorporated into idealistic humanism.... We heard whole blocks screaming and we understood that Evil, fruit of a free and sovereign will, is, like Good, absolute.... In spite of ourselves, we came to this conclusion, which will seem shocking to lofty souls: Evil cannot be redeemed.” —Jean-Paul Sartre, “Literature in Our Time,” section iv, Partisan Review, XV, No. 6 [June 1948]

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