Wednesday, June 14, 2017

There are many days when I wish the trope of good versus evil was a real thing.

This is called "Chess Good vs Evil" and is by the artist WhySoSerious91 on DeviantART.
 Click HERE to see MORE.
I think that good versus evil makes for the best story lines because it gives meaning to everyone's existence. It's why video games work, it's why religions work, and it's why so many people in the world grapple with a lack of meaning in their lives. The real world doesn't provide clear cut villains. In reality, there's no cackling lich living inside a tomb of horrors ready to conquer the world, devoid of any redeeming virtues, and surrounded by magical minions. Human motivations are much more complex, nuanced, and speckled with all kinds of emotions.

It's tragic really that good versus evil is a construction of man. The tale is spun over and over again from Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader, from Superman to Lex Luthor, and from the Horde to the Alliance. In a world that has no evidence of any of these things, many of us (left to our own devices) start asking the question: why am I here? And for those that don't find a soothing thought in expressions like, "to love," or "to help others," or "to bear children," might soon become prone to depression and anxieties formulated over a hot greasy grill. The person might ask themselves, "What if this is as good as it gets?" Living without the hope of something better is a pretty awful thing, and most of us are better served not even contemplating that question.

Good versus evil doesn't actually exist, but we all want it to exist. Most of us want to think of having this greater purpose that allows us to become heroes in the face of atrocious villainy that is evil for evil's sake. We want to believe in situations where evil appears skull-faced and with tentacles dripping slime, where the horrific appearance of the monster exactly matches that of the hideous things the monster will do, and that it will be apparent to everyone that the one that is evil is in fact wearing black and has the moniker, "Dr. Evil." Life would be so much simpler if we had these things as a society to unite behind, and if it was clear cut to all what was right and what was wrong. Heroes (after all) would be strong with perfect physiques, and they would always get the girl. We want to live in a world where there are no Bill Cosby's...where no man has done many great things but has done equally bad things too. Bill Cosby isn't supposed to happen. We aren't supposed to laugh at the comedic genius of the rapist. What cruel joke is this?

If there are too many people who can't figure out a purpose in life, it's bad for society. People without purpose, who are unable to ascribe meaning to their day-to-day lives are lost. Some of them end up seeking out drugs to numb the emotional pain. This in turn fuels crime to get money for drugs, and you can see where this goes. People can end up hurting other people emotionally because they want to feel it is all better than feeling nothing. Or people can just "give up," and that's bad too for obvious reasons, the least of which might be an invitation for mental illness to set in.

I have few friends, but among the males I'm noticing growing despair, and I'm not quite sure what I can do about it. They are in their thirties and forties (no names will be given here), but I think my small slice of life may be indicative to something that's growing in this country. In other words, I'm saying that there are a lot of embittered, lonely, and poor (having failed to reach certain monetary goals at certain stages of life) men who are staring at a future that's looking bleaker every day. A lot of them drown themselves in video games, because they'd rather live in that alternate world where work equates instant accomplishment than face down the demons in this world (which are much harder to spot and slay). Others hang out on "Red Pill" reddit or post angry messages on Facebook.

If only good versus evil was real. Then maybe some of these men would snap out of it and start contributing to society. Maybe some of them would find value in themselves.

If only.


  1. So much I could say. But pure good and evil do exist. Those people in despair are searching for something. If only they knew what it was. I'm glad I found it.

  2. And then sometimes people vote for pure evil.

  3. I see good and evil existing quite clearly in today's society. The current stances of the Republican party are as close to evil as one can realistically get, and all those despairing people you mentioned--that isn't an accident. This loss of direction in life is caused directly by actions taken over the past forty years to destroy upward mobility, and in fact to make it regress. So many people are losing higher paying jobs and being forced to take lower paying ones. Wealth accumulation at the very top is destroying our lower classes. None of this is happening accidentally.

  4. I don't believe in "good" and "evil" in the Platonic sense. I think we make our own good and evil, our own heaven and hell, here on earth.

  5. Though I get what you're trying to say and can agree with the motivation, I don't think it's correct. Sure, most people operate between the extremes, but I think it's pretty clear that we do have people who operate much closer to the edges than most people, and most of those people are skirting the evil edge. I don't think you're going to find any amount of Trump that is not self-focused; there's no altruism in him or any focus on humanity at large; everything is about him and him alone, and that is an evil stance. At best, he's a parasitic entity. At BEST.
    And on the other side, you have someone like Pope Francis who seems to never think of himself before others.

  6. Ah, the old mid-life existential crisis. What does it all mean? Why are we here? Is this all there is? What is the purpose of my life?

    The answers (and there are answers) are as varied as the various lives that are lived. Some find it in having a family. Some find it in a fulfilling career. Others look to religion or spirituality. And others seek it through hobbies or artistic endeavors. There is no "right" answer.

    But as for good and evil, yes, I believe we have them in this world. It's just that "evil" doesn't know it's evil. Evil believes it is good. Evil is more concerned with power, thinking gaining power is the most important thing. Accumulating wealth. And it doesn't matter to them whether or not another person suffers while they are getting what they want. (At least, that's what I believe to be true.)

    I'll leave this there for now.

  7. Sorry, Mike, but I do believe that both true goodness and absolute evil exist and that people have the free will to choose between them. This is one reason why Nazis are always popping up in stories as the evil ones, and now Isis and others are doing the same--because they are unquestionably evil.

    I understand why your friends are going through a crisis. The older I get, the more I need meaning and purpose in my life, and I already know that the pursuit of the almighty dollar, so glorified in our American society, isn't a good reason to stay alive.