Theodore Dalrymple writes about good and evil in the New English Review
"One of the formative experiences in my life was working for a British surgeon in Africa who for me was all that a doctor should be. In those days, and in that place, there were very few aids to diagnosis; observation, logic, experience and instinct were all. The surgeon was such a brilliant diagnostician that his opinion was like a final court of appeal for all other doctors in the hospital (to say nothing of the patients). I never knew him to be wrong. . .
But his technical accomplishment was, if anything, less impressive than his moral character. He was a man of perfect temper: I never knew him to be other than calm, even when in the middle of an operative crisis, or be less than polite to anyone; called up from his bed in the middle of the night, he was as equable and self-contained as by day, and this despite the fact that he must have had at least two nights’ disturbed sleep a week for many years. His patients - mostly poor Africans - trusted him utterly, and were right to do so.
. . .Although highly respected in his hospital, he gained no wider renown through his work; the satisfaction for him was in doing good. I never knew a better man.
And yet I found his example intimidating to me: not, of course, because of anything he said or did, but because I knew, indubitably and at once, that I should never be as good a man as he. My problem was ego. . ."
Theodore Dalrymple, who has had considerable experience with evil, searches for goodness, its source, and whether it is real. He also looks at those who adopt the Nietzschean position that compassion is really disguised weakness, contempt or drive for power, because, unwilling or unable to be compassionate, they cannot bear to see goodness in others.