Mephistopheles and the Road to Heaven

The eternal spirit of negation.  (The image, drawn by Julius Nisle, is in the public domain.)

The eternal spirit of negation. (The image, drawn by Julius Nisle, is in the public domain.)

“I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.”

—Mephistopheles (In Faust I by Joann Wolfgang von Goethe)

We all know the cliche that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  For some reason, no one ever seems to consider the inverse proposition.  Perhaps people prefer to focus on positive results when such are presented instead of fishing for less-than-admirable motives.

Then again, no one ever exclaims “but I meant badly!” when praised.

Today, you are being challenged to consider a situation in which detestable motives lead to ethically admirable results.   However, your post should transcend mere description; you should also cast some sort of judgment on the person or actions.  Your exposition may also need to consider the nature of “good” and “bad” within the context of your example; conversely, you may choose to defend the concept of objectively correct ethical stances against relativist positions.

No matter how deeply philosophical you choose to become, be sure to select an example for which there is no obvious answer.  Also, don’t lapse into an emotionally charged sympathy for the devil.

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24 comments

  1. History is filled with these stories — horror that teaches us a lesson and leads to a better world. — I don’t know yet if I’ll have a chance to write this one. Company coming…

    1. I don’t actually do creative feedback, as a matter of personal policy. I don’t exactly see myself as an arbiter of artistic taste.

      However, I did want to mention one thing to you. A link to your blog appeared in the comment menu (where likes, follows, and comments are listed) under your name. When I clicked on that link, it said your blog no longer exists. Obviously, it does still exists because I could click on the link you posted here and was able to reach your work.

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