You can be good for the mere sake of goodness; you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness. You can do a kind action when you are not feeling kind and when it gives you no pleasure, simply because kindness is right; but no one ever did a cruel action simply because cruelty is wrong - only because cruelty is pleasant or useful to him, In other words, badness cannot succeed even in being bad in the same way in which goodness is good. Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled.
People who couldn't imagine themselves capable of evil were at a major disadvantage in dealing with people who didn't need to imagine, because they already were. She'd said it was always a mistake, to believe those people were different, special, infected with something that was inhuman, subhuman, fundamentally other. Which reminded her of what her mother had said about Corbell Picket. That evil wasn't glamorous, but just the result of ordinary half-assed badness, high school badness, given enough room, however that might happen, to become its bigger self. Bigger, with more horrible results, but never more than the cumulative weight of ordinary human baseness.
Badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self.
Wouldn't it be incredible if everyone could be purged, somehow, of the projected not-them badness that they internalized and perhaps have acted out because their souls have been so damaged? Wouldn't it be incredible if everyone could find the joy that comes with committing to our own goodness? Perhaps we would stop dividing ourselves into malignancies of various forms.
Most companies aim to get bigger. But beyond a certain point, bigness becomes synonymous with badness. Think of Big Pharma, Big Auto, Big Oil. Worse, if you are regularly described as one of the Big Four, Five, or Six in any business sector, you are probably already in the sights of regulators and lawmakers.
It may be laid down as a general rule, that their confidence in and obedience to a government, will be commonly proportioned to the goodness or badness of its administration . . . . Various reasons have been suggested in the course of these papers, to induce a probability that the general government will be better administered than the particular governments.
Down there - he said - are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any inequity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don't say no.
Well - think about this. What if all your actions and choices, good or bad, make no difference to God? What if the pattern is pre-set? No no - hang on - this is a question worth struggling with. What if our badness and mistakes are the very thing that set our fate and bring us round to good? What if, for some of us, we can't get there any other way?
By developing a contaminated, stigmatized identity, the child victim takes the evil of the abuser into herself and thereby preserves her primary attachments to her parents. Because the inner sense of badness preserves a relationship, it is not readily given up even after the abuse has stopped; rather, it becomes a stable part of the child's personality structure.
Judith Lewis Herman
But the greatest cause of verbicide is the fact that most people are obviously far more anxious to express their approval and disapproval of things than to describe them. Hence the tendency of words to become less descriptive and more evaluative; then become evaluative, while still retaining some hint of the sort of goodness or badness implied; and to end up by being purely evaluative - useless synonyms for good or for bad.
A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.
Le Chiffre was serving a wonderful purpose, a really vital purpose, perhaps the best and highest purpose of all. By his evil existence, which I foolishly helped to destroy, he was creating a normal of badness by which, and by which alone, an oppostie norm of goodness could exist. We were privileged, in our short knowledge of him, to see and estimate his wickedness and we emerge from the acquaintanceship better and more virtuous men.
Error is multiform (for evil is a form of the unlimited, as in the old Pythagorean imagery, and good of the limited), whereas success is possible in one way only (which is why it is easy to fail and difficult to succeed - easy to miss the target and difficult to hit it); so this is another reason why excess and deficiency are a mark of vice, and observance of the mean a mark of virtue: Goodness is simple, badness is manifold.
I showed her how I'd been making tiny cuts in my skin to let the badness and the pain leak out. They were shallow at first, and short, like claw marks made by a desperate cat that wanted to hid under the front porch. Cutting pain was a different flavor of hurt. It made it easier not to think about having my body and my family and my life stolen, made it easier not to care....
Laurie Halse Anderson
Since [narcissists] deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world's fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil, on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others.
M. Scott Peck
The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with His rescue, our sin with His salvation, our guilt with His grace, our badness with His goodness. The overwhelming focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer. Which means that the Bible is not first a recipe for Christian living but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our un-Christian living.
That if a thing is defined in contrast that's what life is, the shadow of death. So the mystery of death couldn't be the bad thing, because without it there wouldn't be life. The badness was life, just happening, as essential a part of the good as the good. And what was there to do but to take it as it comes and to hope, to hope constantly and carnally and with no time to lose.
Slavery in America was perpetuated not merely by human badness but also by human blindness. ... Men convinced themselves that a system that was so economically profitable must be morally justifiable. ... Science was commandeered to prove the biological inferiority of the Negro. Even philosophical logic was manipulated [exemplified by] an Aristotlian syllogism:All men are made in the image of God;God, as everyone knows, is not a Negro;Therefore, the Negro is not a man.
Martin Luther King
Given that most movies are bad, and that there are whole categories and sub-categories of badness - the sequel, the Madonna Movie, the Friday 13th Series, or Movies Starring John Travolta Before Pulp Fiction - it is almost impossible to choose a single film for worst movie of all time. But strangely, I do have a nomination and I believe it is actually the worst movie ever made. It is Boxing Helena. The director is David Lynch's daughter, and the film comes with the almost insane-making faults that the family connection might imply.
The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I'm sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions. I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean's waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea. You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron from hell yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.
C. JoyBell C.
The truth is that there are no good men, or bad men,' he said. 'It is the deeds that have goodness or badness in them. There are good deeds, and bad deeds. Men are just men - it is what they do, or refuse to do, that links them to good and evil. The truth is that an instant of real love, in the heart of anyone - the noblest man alive or the most wicked - has the whole purpose and process and meaning of life within the lotus-folds of its passion. The truth is that we are all, every one of us, every atom, every galaxy, and every particle of matter in the universe, moving toward God.
Gregory David Roberts
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: / And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fatfleshed and well favoured; and they fed in a meadow: / And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill favoured and leanfleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: / And the lean and the ill favoured kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: / And when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill favoured, as at the beginning. So I awoke.
The first time he had taken the massa to one of these "high-falutin' to-dos, " as Bell called them, Kunta had been all but overwhelmed by conflicting emotions: awe, indignation, envy, contempt, fascination, revulsion-but most of all a deep loneliness and melancholy from which it took him almost a week to recover. He couldn't believe that such incredible wealth actually existed, that people really lived that way. It took him a long time, and a great many more parties, to realize that they didn't live that way, that it was all strangely unreal, a kind of beautiful dream the white folks were having, a lie they were telling themselves: that goodness can come from badness, that it's possible to be civilized with one another without treating as human beings those whose blood, sweat, and mother's milk made possible the life of privilege they led.
The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace-bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the Gospel-after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps-suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started... Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.
Robert Farrar Capon
Let your thoughts freely circulate inside, do not restrict them by any religion, morality or ideology all of which have only bad influence on it. Inside, there can be neither good nor bad thoughts, it can only exist or not. Goodness and badness with respect to anything are defined only by religion, morality and ideology but not brain, in other words, in artificial way rather than natural. Relax your brain and it will naturally restrict your thoughts when it finds what it truly needs without any illusion, mysticism and idealization. And you will begin to live your natural life that your own brain designates for you instead of illusory life determined by others under a mask of religion, morality and ideology.
Yet what moved Our Blessed Lord to invective was not badness but just such self-righteousness as this... He said that the harlots and the Quislings would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the self-righteous and the smug. Concerning all those who endowed hospitals and libraries and public works, in order to have their names graven in stone before their fellow men, He said, 'Amen I say to you, they have received their reward' (Matt. 6:2). They wanted no more than human glory, and they got it. Never once is Our Blessed Lord indignant against those who are already, in the eyes of society, below the level of law and respectability. He attacked only the sham indignation of those who dwelt more on the sin than the sinner and who felt pleasantly virtuous, because they had found someone more vicious than they. He would not condemn those whom society condemned; his severe words were for those who had sinned and had not been found out... He would not add His burden of accusation to those that had already been hurled against the winebibbers and the thieves, the cheap revolutionists, the streetwalkers, and the traitors. They were everybody's target, and everybody knew that they were wrong... And the people who chose to make war against Our Lord were never those whom society had labeled as sinners. Of those who sentenced Him to death, none had ever had a record in the police court, had ever been arrested, was ever commonly known to be fallen or weak. But among his friends, who sorrowed at His death, were coverts drawn from thieves and from prostitutes. Those who were aligned against Him were the nice people who stood high in the community-the worldly, prosperous people, the men of big business, the judges of law courts who governed by expediency, the 'civic-minded' individuals whose true selfishness was veneered over with public generosity. Such men as these opposed him and sent Him to His death.
Fulton J. Sheen
But that wasn't the chief thing that bothered me: I couldn't reconcile myself with that preoccupation with sin that, so far as I could tell, was never entirely absent from the monks' thoughts. I'd known a lot of fellows in the air corps. Of course they got drunk when they got a chance, and had a girl whenever they could and used foul language; we had one or two had hats: one fellow was arrested for passing rubber cheques and was sent to prison for six months; it wasn't altogether his fault; he'd never had any money before, and when he got more than he'd ever dreamt of having, it went to his head. I'd known had men in Paris and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose: I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation. Father Esheim was broad-minded; he thought that hell was the deprivation of God's presence, but if that is such an intolerable punishment that it can justly be called hell, can one conceive that a good God can inflict it? After all, he created men, if he so created them that ti was possible for them to sin, it was because he willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into by back yard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so. If an all-good and all-powerful God created the world, why did he create evil? The monks said, so that man by conquering the wickedness in him, by resisting temptation, by accepting pain and sorrow and misfortune as the trials sent by God to purify him, might at long last be made worthy to receive his grace. It seem to me like sending a fellow with a message to some place and just to make it harder for him you constructed a maze that he had to get through, then dug a moat that he had to swim and finally built a wall that he had to scale. I wasn't prepared to believe in an all-wise God who hadn't common sense. I didn't see why you shouldn't believe in a God who hadn't created the world, buyt had to make the best of the bad job he'd found, a being enormously better, wiser and greater than man, who strove with the evil he hadn't made and who might be hoped in the end to overcome it. But on the other hand I didn't see why you should.
W. Somerset Maugham
Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? With the badness of men? Recall to thy mind this conclusion, that rational animals exist for one another, and that to endure is a part of justice, and that men do wrong involuntarily; and consider how many already, after mutual enmity, suspicion, hatred, and fighting, have been stretched dead, reduced to ashes; and be quiet at last.- But perhaps thou art dissatisfied with that which is assigned to thee out of the universe.- Recall to thy recollection this alternative; either there is providence or atoms, fortuitous concurrence of things; or remember the arguments by which it has been proved that the world is a kind of political community, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps corporeal things will still fasten upon thee.- Consider then further that the mind mingles not with the breath, whether moving gently or violently, when it has once drawn itself apart and discovered its own power, and think also of all that thou hast heard and assented to about pain and pleasure, and be quiet at last.- But perhaps the desire of the thing called fame will torment thee.- See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present, and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of the space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last. For the whole earth is a point, and how small a nook in it is this thy dwelling, and how few are there in it, and what kind of people are they who will praise thee.