It was done in the name of evil. Evil made me do it. I am evil.

Have you ever heard that, read that, seen that? In Borges' short story, The Library of Babel, some (or even perhaps all) librarians spent some of their lives looking for something specific - their vindication. That vindication could have been to clear their names of wrongs they've committed, or reassurance that their pursuits were valid - not otherwise worthless and tiresome for no reason. We each could use reassurance that our works were worthwhile after all, or that the bad thing we did had some honest purpose other than us just being a jackass (or worse). The amount of blame an action receives because of Evil in history is an unnecessary excuse/justification even by the "good". Evil has been the excuse honeypot, convenient for trapping people within as fortifying political choice despite never having come into being.

The librarians of Borges' fictional library stared into books filled with relentless random letters and numbers and other characters for the answer to this question - how close or far from evil were they when they did that thing? The answer was that the random characters in each/any book told them precisely how close to Evil they were, requiring not even more than a moment of reflection to see. Evil prevents itself. Keep that in mind as an axiom.

Firstly, what is Evil?

The use and popular meaning of the words Evil and bad often seem interchangeable, terribly similar; they should not be. Good is not the opposite of Evil. Evil is an Absolute, perhaps a form(?), and as such must be strictly (more importantly particularly) defined (as all words need be if we intend to meet the minds). We will find that Evil is pure randomness, and if we accept that Evil is randomness exhibited, then Evil prevents itself. I will describe why momentarily. I mean to say that Evil-as-randomness is indefinable except by the strict interplay of the use of the words bound, random and exhibit.

Particularly, Evil is "randomness exhibited without bounds".

I might wonder how that definition fits the popular notion of Evil. Terrible things happen: mass murders, attempted genocide, rapes, personal and cultural atrocities - are they not evil/Evil? What lecture is this then? Pedantic? Didactic? Is this a lecture on the proper use of words or a lecture on the ethics and morality of the word meanings/chosen? This is instead a vindication and positive defense against accusations of Evil-doing. It is not a defense against having committed atrocities or even something as childish as pulling our friend's hair at the age of seven. It is an indictment against the use of the notion of Evil and its too oft use as an excuse.

How then does this proper definition of Evil work? To contemplate a set of random letters is to find that the true use and meaning (which ought to be the same - adaequatio intellectus et rei) of the word Evil means randomness. Evil as an Absolute embodies and exhibits every moment/point of that randomness, and contrasts to that which is bad. Bad (as a simplified word for this purpose obviously, sometimes inaccurately) is what happens, an event, something that we can point to as not being the preferred or logical correct thing (read correct: logical, uncomplicated thing). Most importantly, we understand that the event was a series of events leading to something bad, that it occurred along a recognizable frame of reference (even if not ours), and that we do not like it even a little. 

Evil in this working definition, on the other hand, is random. Every part is random. Look at it from any perspective and it is random from all perspectives. How Evil prevents itself is by way of the mystery: a single pattern always present in any utterly random pattern of any length. For example, let's look at a basic Universal Library Algorithm random extract:


The above 61-character extract is random. It has no context in itself or connection to anything an English reader can relate to as historical, religious, scientific or social except to agree that it is displayed as random letters. Yet a pattern exists, a single pattern (unrelated to that pedantic fact that they are all English letters). Do you see the pattern? The single natural pattern? That entirety of the extract from small x that starts this sequence to the very last capped Q is one finite pattern. If Evil is randomness exhibited without bounds, a strictly defined word defining an Absolute, then the existence of even a single natural pattern prevents it from being that word, from ever being at all. Evil prevents itself.

It would have been best for the librarians perusing those near infinite books (some) filled with random letters, desperate to find their vindication, to recognize that every random sequence was itself telling them that Evil prevented itself from being. They might have then logically understood that in no way could their actions be Evil. They could perhaps come to understand that they were but human, and that Evil was simply not in the nature of humans or indeed in anything at all. Evil is always prevented by Evil itself. Those librarians could then have spent that time to deliberate on their own (subjective and perhaps some objective) failings, a worthwhile ethical pastime. They could have been free of that egregious error in thought/logic. They might recognize then that they are humans who have done both good or bad deeds, or come to recognize the differences between them without hiding behind an improper notion of Evil.

Good is the proper opposite of bad. Their ethical deliberation is a moral imperative, and that deliberation is a pathway to vindication. Confusing Evil as something else has only imbued that deliberation with false reasoning, and worse, false testimony against a universe that could never have experienced Evil.

Evil's opposite is, after all, Nothing.

Quite Literally Yours,

The Librarian