What does this line from a book mean..? [from Sohpie's World] -- About Good & Evil.?

"Good and evil are like a white and a black thread that make up a single strand."

Does it mean that our world needs both good and evil to be sustained or balanced?

6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's a very Taoist/Eastern sentiment. Consider the yin and yang symbol.


    Both light and darkness (or in this case, good and evil) swirl around each other to create the perfect form of the circle. It is significant, though, that neither side is pure. Each has a touch of the other inside of it, implying that purity can only truly be obtained by balancing opposites/complements.

    Your quote means very much the same thing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I believe that evil is referred to as "black", and good as "white" because the author is insinuating that evil is not "bad" but just different than "good". There is no such thing as good and bad. An example is how you could relate good and bad to happy and sad. Some people think it is good to be happy and bad to be sad, however being sad is an integral part of our intelligent lives, and without it we would be boring and unappreciative. Like the saying, "Ignorance is bliss" suggests that not knowing things makes you happy because you can't comprehend very many things. Therefore I don't think the author was trying to say it is necessary to have "evil" in the world, but that it is necessary to have "black", a range, a balance. Cool question by the way!

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I think it means that good and evil are easy to tell apart: the one is white, the other black in this instance... but they are still both present in a single place, the "strand."

    It's like a sunny afternoon... there are also always shadows on such a day.

    I'm not at all sure that this line means that good and evil make our world "sustained or balanced," though. I think it simply means that both are there, or rather here, at the same time.

    The balance constantly changes in each of our lives, in each action we take, in each day, and on like that. Few people say they take 'sustenance' from evil. At least few that I know... but I don't know many people any more, either.


    Good question. I like it. It made me think.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know about the "need" part; To me, it's more the idea that such a paradox does, in fact, exist, and also that good and evil are often times not only indistinguishable (what's good in one context might be considered evil in another) but cannot exist one without the other. Good to see that you are reading Styron--continue to seek out great writers.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    What we call good and evil are intertwined, so that even the so called best of us are capable of committing the very worst acts."Good" we attribute to putting other people, places, or things first; "evil" can often be attributed to plain old selfishness.Despite some disclaimers we are both human and animal. As parents,physicians,law enforcement and the military are aware we're capable of responding to both the reptilian and civilized parts of our brains. Rage, fear, jealousy, lust, alcohol, drugs, mental illness and many other factors can tip our mental scales to our reptilian or survival mode.Of course the reverse is true. As much as Hitler was blindsided to anything outside of his inhuman quest,he is known to have loved dogs. Sadly, he is said to have tested poison on his personal favorite, Blondi. It appears that what Hitler allegedly "loved" was always tempered by expediency. In my opinion.the evil in the strand only occasionally ( if ever) links to a greater good. Nature at its most peaceful or turbulent is neither good nor bad. Religious explanations aside, I don't think there's some cosmic law calling for human destructiveness. As animals, it seems to be incorporated into our DNA.

    Source(s): Star! You made me reason, so thank you..
  • 1 decade ago

    That's what it means.

    (I personally believe that there is no need for evil at all.)

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