Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Unfinished sketches for real human beings

"[V]icious people are those who have never got the hang of human existence, as someone might never get the hang of playing poker. They are lacking, deficient, incapable of being truly alive. The evil are not really there. They are unfinished sketches for real human beings. [...]

"Pure evil detests the very fact of human existence and wants to wipe it from the face of the earth. It can see nothing in humanity but a pathetic sham. It is out to demonstrate that the whole of human life is as empty as itself. Hell is full of the sniggers and guffaws of those who believe they have seen through the pretentious façade of human existence."
Terry Eagleton has written a new book On Evil. You can get more of a taste of it here. Eagleton offers some great quotes and an engaging one page introduction to a broadly Augustinian take on evil as privation (with some Freud, Arendt and Milton thrown in, along with obligatory references to Simon Cowell and Gordon Brown).
H/T Stephen Cook.