Alex Burns, in yesterday’s Disinfo newsletter:

It’s been a week for Evil: the first avowed Satanist in the British Navy, Yasser Arafat is ill, Abu Bakir Bashir again on trial. And then there’s that pesky ‘Solioonensius’—a time of cataclysms and wars (caused by 8000-year-old sunspots?). In such harsh conditions it’s easy to forget, as Texan author once reminded me, that Evil has its purposes for self-growth. ‘Dr. No’-like figures unsettle the hero’s world and drives hir forward on a transformative quest. Playing an Evil role consciously—is hard work—requiring a deep knowledge of conflict, human psychology and social norms. On a more personal level, understanding how our ‘enemies’ have impacted on our lives, including changes, opens the way to new insights.