After Dinner Conversation - Philosophy | Ethics Short Story
Philosophy | Ethics Short Story Discussions
E57. "The Devil You Know" - Do you ALWAYS have an obligation to confront evil?
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E57. "The Devil You Know" - Do you ALWAYS have an obligation to confront evil?

Named “Top 20 Philosophy Podcast” for 2021!

STORY SUMMARY: The narrator is walking down a small-town street when he comes across the devil, relaxing on vacation for the holidays. The narrator knows it is the devil because of his horns and goat legs. He also has a few small demon children in tow. The narrator, surprised, stops the devil to talk to him. The devil is cordial and says he has outsourced most of the “hell work” and spends his time traveling around the world moving from place to place. He likes the small towns during the holidays and enjoys the peace and quiet. The narrator feels he should do something, perhaps confront the devil, rather than allowing him to exist in peace. Finally, the narrator has second thoughts, in part because he doesn’t have a suitable weapon. The devil and his children continue in peace on their way.

DISCUSSION: One of our shorter stories and more to the traditional form of what we tend to discuss; a single interesting question put into a short story framework. In this case, the question is just wonderful, that being, do you always have an obligation to fight evil when you see it, even when you are fighting alone and feel (or know) that your efforts are futile, and are likely to go unnoticed? This story serves as a wonderful allegory for fighting against political or corporate abuse and how small our single vote or purchasing choice feels. Feeling, as the story says, that we are equipped with nothing more than a set of knitting needles. And yet, someone like Greta Thunberg was just a single person and her lone voice did, and does, matter. Maybe the lesson is fight futile battles and lose them in a public way?

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