Friday, 29 April 2011

Evil is good perverted

"'The waking of the body is the sleep of the spirit and the spirit's sleep a waking for the body.' And later, like a thunderclap, 'Evil is good perverted.'" [Justine, I: 42] A thunderclap? Really? Durrell provides a footnote to this four-word slogan, attributing it to Paracelsus. Which is fair enough, although there's a kind of rhetorical mendacity in the phrase. It presents itself as a statement about the relationship between 'good' and 'evil'; it's not, though -- the weight is actually carried by the verb, 'perverted', which functions more or less as a synonym for evil. Accordingly you can replace 'good', in the sentence, with almost anything and it still functions: 'Evil is life perverted'; 'Evil is love perverted'; 'Evil is loss perverted'; 'Evil is chocolate perverted' ... anything you want, really.

No comments: