In Notes in Justification of Putting the Audience Through a Difficult Evening, Wallace Shawn writer of the play Aunt Dan And Lemon, raises questions on what is the process and reasons that we, the brightest the most enlightened creatures on earth, could possibly not see through evilness when it is right in front of us. Since we already know what evil looks like, acts like, talks like, we also know what righteous looks like and acts like, how could we ever not know what's good or evil when presented in front of us.
As Shawn writes, it's hard to say whether you like some of the people or you don't like them, and in which the things people say are a complex jumble of lies, truth, half-truth, rationality, and irrationality. Exactly this complexity of characteristics and behaviors that constitutes reality, then is it ever possible to characterize reality?
An excerpt from Bateson:
“We commonly speak as though a single 'thing' could 'have' some characteristic. A stone, we say, is 'hard,' 'small,' 'heavy,' 'yellow,' 'dense,' etc. That is how our language is made: 'The stone is hard.' And so on. And that way of talking is good enough for the marketplace: 'That is a new brand.' 'The potatoes are rotten.' 'The container is damaged.' ... And so on.
But this way of talking is not good enough in science or epistemology. To think straight, it is advisable to expect all qualities and attributes, adjectives, and so on to refer to at least -two- sets of interactions in time. ...
Language continually asserts by the syntax of subject and predicate that 'things' somehow 'have' qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the 'things' are produced, are seen as separate from other 'things,' and are made 'real' by their internal relations and by their behaviour in relationship with other things and with the speaker.
It is necessary to be quite clear about the universal truth that whatever 'things' may be in their pleromatic and thingish world, they can only enter the world of communication and meaning by their names, their qualities and their attributes (i.e., by reports of their internal and external relations and interactions).”