Good and evil: summing up and taking stock
It is in this context that I speak of an asymmetry between good and evil. One has to turn away from what flourishes in the world of the worldly to move towards, to ‘ascend’ (as Simone Weil puts it) to, goodness. What makes for evil, on the other hand, belongs to the world of the worldly and thrives there. We are susceptible to its attraction, which pulls us ‘down’ in a secondary moral sense of this word. Simone Weil refers to this pull as ‘moral gravity’. One example would be the temptation to respond to an insult by returning it, i.e. with
another insult, to respond to an offence by vengeance – ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’. To forgive the offence, on the other hand, is to move in the opposite direction – to ‘ascend’. It takes humility to ‘rise above it’.