What is evil?

What is evil? Nothing but an ill-timed good. To cite an example which has often been quoted by me, let us assume that we have to do with a virtuoso pianist and an excellent piano technician, both perfect in their sphere. First of all the technician has to build the piano and then hand it over to the pianist. If the latter is a good player he will use it appropriately and both are equally good. But should the technician go into the concert hall instead of the pianist and start hammering away he would then be in the wrong place. Something good would have become something bad. So we see that evil is nothing else than a misplaced good.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 93 -The Temple Legend / Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements – Lecture 6: MANICHEISM – Berlin, 11th November 1904

Translated by John M. Wood