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The Principle Of Evil
by [?]

But for the thought of man as evil (or of any other form of evil), as reconcilable with their idea of a perfect God, a happy idea may, like the categories, proceed upon a necessity for a perfect inversion of the methodus conspiciendi. Let us retrace, but in such a form as to be apprehensible by all readers. Analytic and synthetic propositions at once throw light upon the notion of a category. Once it had been a mere abstraction; of no possible use except as a convenient cell for referring (as in a nest of boxes), which may perhaps as much degrade the idea as a relative of my own degraded the image of the crescent moon by saying, in his abhorrence of sentimentality, that it reminded him of the segment from his own thumb-nail when clean cut by an instrument called a nail-cutter. This was the Aristotelian notion. But Kant could not content himself with this idea. His own theory (1) as to time and space, (2) the refutation of Hume’s notion of cause, and (3) his own great discovery of synthetic and analytic propositions, all prepared the way for a totally new view. But, now, what is the origin of this necessity applied to the category as founded in the synthesis? How does a synthesis make itself or anything else necessary? Explain me that.

This was written perhaps a fortnight ago. Now, Monday, May 23 (day fixed for Dan Good’s execution), I do explain it by what this moment I seem to have discovered–the necessity of cause, of substance, etc., lies in the intervening synthesis. This you must pass through in the course tending to and finally reaching the idea; for the analytical presupposes this synthesis.

Not only must the energies of destruction be equal to those of creation, but, in fact, perhaps by the trespassing a little of the first upon the last, is the true advance sustained; for it must be an advance as well as a balance. But you say this will but in other words mean that forces devoted (and properly so) to production or creation are absorbed by destruction. True; but the opposing phenomena will be going on in a large ratio, and each must react on the other. The productive must meet and correspond to the destructive. The destructive must revise and stimulate the continued production.