People are good and evil at the same time. It is the same sense that the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Theory was used by Schrodinger to pose his paradox of the cat in the box, filled with or not filled with poison gas, possible alive or possibly dead; we cannot attribute life or death to the cat until we test and open the box.
Until that point, Herr Schrodinger's Cat is both alive and dead.
We do not merely possess the "capacity" for good and the "capacity" for evil at the one and same time. No, I think it's better to say we are both good and evil at the same time. A little reflection of the word "capacity" and what it might exactly mean leads us to putting it on the shelf.
We are good and evil.
We do not require a devil to turn us from the path of righteousness and make us do something bad. "The devil made me do it!" is not a good description of evil.
Depending upon our Environment - the world as we have interpreted it and it has opened itself to us - we shall be good... or evil, if the mood takes us.
I suppose love is a good example.
The madness of intense desire is an environment where we may find ourselves doing as number of things we regret. If we remain faithful to our commitments, we look back with wonderment and amusement. If we transgress our promises to those we have committed to, we unleash a whirlpool of pain.
Yet we have within us at all times the possible good, the possible evil.
This sort of dawned on me, as it were, while speaking to my friend Gil about Early German Cinema and Karl Freund.
Freund was cinematographer on the very early The Golem. The Golem ends up with a shot of the Mogen David - the Star of David - displayed over the dying Golem. Since the good Rabbi Loew brought the Golem to life using a species of magic, this use of the Star of David reveals a frame of mind - a type on environment - which associates Rabbis and Jews with magic.
And once you associate Jews with magic, the blood libel cannot be far behind in some minds.
Again, in Fritz Lang's Metropolis, we see the Star of David prominently displayed in the laboratory of the scientist Rotwang. It is on the wall behind the very humanoid robot that will become a duplicate of the human Maria in the story.
The science is so sketchy that it obviously borders on magic, and the big Star of David supplies that hint.
Here we have not only Magic, but we also have Science. And now we have Jews as Magicians and as Scientists.......
along with hundreds of years of other German beliefs about Jews.
And this then brings to mind Dr. Philipp Lenard, a Nobel laureate of the early 20th century, whose work on physics was the direct and acknowledged inspiration of Albert Einstein's 1905 Nobel-winning paper on the nature of light quanta.
This same Philipp Lenard would over time oppose Einstein's Relativity Theory because it was too theoretical and not enough experimental. His opposition also resided in the nature of certain races whose minds were obscurely obsessed with theory rather than clear, everyday facts of experiment.
He labelled Einstein's work "Jewish physics."
Lenard is remembered today as a strong German nationalist who despised "English physics", which he considered to have stolen its ideas from Germany. He joined the National Socialist Party before it became politically necessary or popular to do so. During the Nazi regime, he was the outspoken proponent of the idea that Germany should rely on "Deutsche Physik" and ignore what he considered the fallacious and deliberately misleading ideas of "Jewish physics", by which he meant chiefly the theories of Albert Einstein, including "the Jewish fraud" of relativity (see also criticism of the theory of relativity). An advisor to Adolf Hitler, Lenard became Chief of Aryan physics under the Nazis.Wikipedia, "Philipp Lenard"
All these influences of the past exist in the present, and we choose which to inject into the future: a touch of good, a taste of evil.
Which is why upbringing and education is so important: it provides the Environment in which we choose our fates.
When we have discussed the culpability for the Holocaust, we have wondered about the guilt of the German people. We look to their history. There was a history of Jewish magic - black magic against Christians. There were images of this in the German mind as well as that of other nations.
All the images from 1,500 years existed in the minds of those intelligent beings in Germany.
Then they began to make choices based on the environments of 1918 to 1940, and we know the rest.