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Freedom and the Role of Evil

By Robert Stewart

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers in the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Paul, Ephesians 6:12.

Freedom and the Role of Evil
Thu, May 28, 7:30-9pm
Casa de Europa
San Francisco 23
154 9799

There are those who would deny the reality of evil. But there is no escape. In one way or another, its dark wings touch all of us, both from within and without. As Mephistopheles said to Faust in Goethe’s great classic: “It’s when they deny me, that’s when I have them by the collar.”

The last century saw evil magnified to the powers of 10; it even spawned such phrases as “radical evil” and “the banality of evil.” The last is from Hanna Erendt. Lest you think that evil is someplace over there, not here in my comfortable bourgeois life (and we all aspire to such a life today), Google Stanley Milgram’s famous experiments at Yale University in the 1960s, later published as a book: Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.

Evil is protean. It is part and parcel of the quest for freedom—for freedom would mean nothing if we didn’t have the possibility of failing, and failing miserably.

There is a poem by Christopher Fry, “The Sleep of Prisoners” with the lines:

Thank God our time is now when [evil]

Comes up to face us everywhere,

Never to leave us till we take

The longest stride of soul we ever took

That stride of soul is in the direction of freedom, of awakened self-consciousness. There will be a lecture/presentation on the nature of evil on Thursday, May 28, 7:30-9pm at Casa de Europa en Mexico, San Francisco 23. The speaker in English is Robert Stewart, and there will be a (nearly) simultaneous translation into Spanish. It is free and open to all.


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