So far as we are human, what we do must be either evil or good: so far as we do evil or good, we are human: and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least we exist.
(T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965), Anglo-American poet, critic. repr. In Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot, ed. Frank Kermode (1975). "Baudelaire," introduction, The Intimate Journals of Charles Baudelaire, trans. by Christopher Isherwood (1930).)
But what is the greatest evil? If you are going to epitomize evil, what is it? Is it the bomb? The greatest evil that one has to fight constantly, every minute of the day until one dies, is the worse part of oneself.
(Patrick McGoohan (b. 1928), Anglo-American actor. Quoted in Dave Rogers, "I Am Not a Number, I Am a Free Man," The Prisoner and Danger Man (1989).)
The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good.
(Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. president. Speech in the U.S. House of Representatives on internal improvements, June 20, 1848. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, p. 484, Rutgers University Press (1953, 1990).)
The mediation by the serpent was necessary: Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.
(Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, December 7, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).)