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Cantina Quote o’ The Week: Steven Pinker

It is precisely because one act can balance ten thousand kind ones that we call it “evil”.

-Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

All these years I chased after a definition of evil, struggled to determine what true evil is, and here comes Steven Pinker with a simple and true definition, justlikethat.  That’s as good a working definition of evil as I’ve ever found.

He’s also a fascinating writer who can make language utterly entrancing.  I had no idea he existed before I bought a mis-shelved copy of The Language Instinct on a lark.  It turned out to be one of the best books I’ve ever read, and helped me appreciate Tolkien much more deeply.