20.03 Observations: The Sliding Scale (pps.13-14)
hard cover page 13
It might very well be the case that if there were no cases of evil perpetrated by man against man (“moral evil”), we would focus on suffering caused by nature (“natural evil”); and if there were no suffering apparently caused by natural forces except for old-age mortality, we might focus on why some persons live longer than others; and if all people lived to exactly the current actuarily expected age, we might ask why man does not live longer or forever: and if man lived forever, we could then focus on the reverse side of the theodicy question; namely, why goodness is distributed unequally and inequitably.
Solzhenitsyn, in his Gulag Archipelago, posits that man always seeks the next higher level of freedom. The prisoner in solitary confinement seeks not liberation from prison or a free life of leisure; he seeks and yearns for removal from solitary to non- solitary confinement, the next higher level of freedom.
Psychiatrist and former concentration camp inmate Victor Frank!, in his book From Death Camp to Existentialism, notes that the human psyche manages to absorb itself with the greatest problem facing it, irrespective of the objective seriousness of the problem.
Therefore, while we may demand an explanation for gross atrocity as the salient problem in theodicy, the removal of the existence of gross atrocity, while mitigating the problem, would not in itself remove the general, wider problem of evil.
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