David Pierce | Matematik | M.S.G.S.Ü.


The Devil (1916)

Collingwood’s essay “The Devil” is the his earliest published work that I know of. His book Religion and Philosophy was published in the same year, but I assume later in the year. Collingwood refers to the book in Speculum Mentis (1924), but I am not aware that he ever refers to “The Devil.”

”The Devil” is chapter XIII of the fourteen chapters of Concerning Prayer: Its Nature, Its Difficulties and Its Value (London: Macmillan and Co., 1916). The title page lists eleven authors: Author of ‘Pro Christo et Ecclesia’, Harold Anson, Edwyn Bevan, R. G. Collingwood, Leonard Hodgson, Rufus M. Jones, W. F. Lofthouse, C. H. S. Matthews, N. Micklem, A. C. Turner, and B. H. Streeter.

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I see the central point of the essay as being expressed on page 467 of the volume in which it appears:

The essence of evil, then, is that it should set itself up not in opposition, open and proclaimed, to good as good; but that it should set itself up to be the good, standing where it ought not in the holy place and demanding that worship which is due to good alone. Evil is not the absence of good nor yet the opposite of good; it is the counterfeit of good.

The opposition of “static quality” and “dynamic quality” in Robert Pirsig’s novel Lila is reminiscent of the following, which (being found on page 466) precedes the previous passage of Collingwood:

It is a duty, indeed it is the spring of all moral advance, to criticise current standards of morality and to ask whether this may not be a case where the current rule fails to apply. But though this criticism is not necessarily wrong but is the very essence of right action, it is not necessarily right but is the very essence of evil. To set oneself against current beliefs and practices is the central characteristic of all heroes, and it is equally the central characteristic of all criminals; of Christ and of Lucifer. The difference is not psychological; it is not that the hero has noble and exalted sentiments while the criminal gives way to ignoble and debased passions. The essence of crime is the pride of Lucifer, the feeling of nobility and exaltation, of superiority to convention and vulgar prejudice.

Son değişiklik: Monday, 18 November 2019, 12:04:16 EET