Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The corrupting effect of “‘knowing.’”


Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:

Evil is not simply a sum of certain drives and impulses.

It is the result of man’s inability to separate himself from the corrupting effect of “knowing.”

It is like the consequences of realizing that one can get away with a lie.

So long as—like in nature—it is inconceivable for a wrong action to succeed, there is no danger in multiplying knowledge.

But once man learns the power of untruth, that it is possible to satisfy his desire with a lie, this knowledge can be disastrous. 

Evil in itself is therefore not dangerous.

It is the knowledge, the interiorizing of evil, that makes for corruption.


From “The Inwardness of Evil in The Long Shorter Way by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

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