And one of the elders of the city said to the beloved master, speak to us of good and evil.
And he answered:
Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil. For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst? Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.
You are good when you are One with yourself. Yet when you are not One with yourself you are not evil. For a divided house is not a den of thieves; it is only a divided house. And a ship without rudder may wander aimlessly among perilous isles yet sink not to the bottom.
You are good when you strive to give of yourself. Yet you are not evil when you seek gain for yourself. For when you strive for gain you are but a root that clings to the earth and sucks at her breast. Surely the fruit cannot say to the root, “be like me, ripe and full and ever giving of your abundance.” For, to the fruit giving is a need, as receiving is a need to the root.
—Adapted from The Prophet, Khalil Gibran