The Forces of Good and Evil

By Judith Dancoff

Today what I write is neither about science nor writing, but I have been thinking about it off and on all day, that ancient question of good and evil and why/how one or the other of them rises, unstoppable, a tidal wave.  Part of the reason is that today I worked on a section of my novel that takes place just before the outbreak of WW2 when Hitler rose to power, but it is also because of what is currently happening in the news. We are so protected here at Djerassi--blessedly removed from the day-to-day cycle, and yet a part seeps through anyway, stories of one crisis after another, as though the Devil himself has become incarnate.

Other times, the exact opposite has been true. Think of a man like Gandhi--to have had the vision of other-throwing the British Empire with his invention of non-violent protest. As a young man at Oxford studying to be a lawyer, he was in a reading group that discussed Tolstoy, Thoreau, Christ, and from that mix, the idea came to him. When he was much older, a few years before his assassination, the young Martin Luther King visited him, did you know that? I am brought to tears when I think of that meeting, how good can build upon good, and that Tolstoy, Thoreau and Christ’s ideas, through Gandhi and Martin Luther King, began the long healing process (still on-going) in this country.

It is a modern Western thought that the forces of good and evil exist within each person, but what if that is not their only cause, their embodiment waiting to be be discovered?