I was recently reading reviews of the latest movies out for our distraction. One of the directors, possibly the acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Faradi said that a great story is not good versus evil but good versus good. I thought this a very interesting concept and thought provoking.
Following this train of thought lead me to the question; at the end of the day are humans fundamentally good or are we good and evil? Can our evil or immoral acts be judged as mistakes from a fundamentally good being? Or can we say that we are so alienated from our instinctive and innate goodness that we can no longer be forgiven and let off the hook for our outrageously unethical actions.
The director who brought this question to the surface, I think suggests that good versus evil, or good versus good is a matter of perspective. Take an extreme example such as war. Here we like to think it is black and white, we judge one side as evil and the other (usually ourselves) as good. History takes a different perspective depending whose hands it is scribed with. Australian historians are inclined to talk of the atrocities committed by the Japanese, their barbaric practices in war, the prisoner of war camps and the many lives lost at their cruel inhumane hands. Japanese historians are probably more likely to concentrate on the atomic weaponry we used to stop the war and kill thousands of innocent civilians in a horrific burning frenzy of terror. Was this good versus good, or perhaps equally without discrimination, evil versus evil?
Once your mind sees this situation, it is everywhere. Is it good looking after good’s needs and wants. A girlfriend steals your partner. Is she evil? Not really, just selfish as we all are. She is probably as good at the end of the day as most people, she has just acted selfishly to fulfill a need or desire. This theme can be tested at the more extreme ends of horror. Psychology talks about psychopaths; these are probably people that ninety nine percent of us could easily judge as evil. However, reading a book recently (Life Before Birth) about the origins of our personalities and characters one is able to almost have compassion even for these people. The author Arthur Janov talks about the importance and weight of imprints we bear from very early traumas in life, often in the womb. At this stage of life we are unimaginably sensitive and alive while at the same time often being challenged with situations of life and death. This has a myriad of effects on our neurophysiology and anatomy. Parts of the brain involved in feeling and empathy can be retarded, hormones essential to feeling and giving love under produced. This can result in psychopaths, people who feel absolutely nothing. These people are those who have probably suffered the greatest, the greatest threat to their lives and the greatest neglect and abandonment, the result is a robot capable of anything as they are totally devoid of feelings.
A book I have been reading (A Species In Denial) explores such concepts as good versus evil and our moral instincts. It suggests that we are indeed innately good but the human condition has meant a heroic yet tragic exploration away from these instincts. The current diabolical paradoxical disarray of our society, the human condition is a result of this journey.
At the end of the day it has been an interesting thought journey but no doubt I will continue to judge good versus evil according to my personal biases.
Pregnant Woman – Microsoft Clip Art Collection
Guest Author Bio
Discussion of the real issues in life and insightful writing that really deals with true human experience is what interests me.
Currently looking at the ideas expressed on the World Transformation Movement website.