GOOD GUYS & BAD GUYS — IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?
What makes stories and shows often riveting is that they keep you guessing about who's the good guy and who's the bad guy (using guys to refer to all people). Where do you draw the line between good vs. evil?
HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?
HEROES & VILLAINS
I've been watching “Manifest,” a Netflix series about a plane that disappears for 5 years and returns 5 years later with passengers who were only "gone" for the time of the flight in their world. Their 5-year-prior life situations have changed with families forming new partners, possessions gone etc. It's a thriller.
So is there such a thing as a truly "good guy" or a truly "bad guy?" I wrote a poem about 10 years ago when I realized that most of us are "all things," meaning capable of many sides to a coin.
CAN YOU TELL A GOOD GUY FROM A BAD GUY?
Most people don't think they're a "bad guy." But does that therefore mean that all "good" and "bad" is subjective? I'm not talking about perfection here since there's literally no such thing in this world and imperfection is required for life. I'm talking about intrinsic character traits.
CAN CHARACTER TRAITS BE CHANGED?
Do you believe that actual character traits can be changed? These are questions, not answers, since I don't have all of them any more than Plato or Socrates did. But I do have questions.
In a good murder mystery, the villain — like in Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley — is often charming and seductive. Not to get too dark but like real killer Ted Bundy and other criminals.
I've had a dark 9 months and have encountered snakes (not to disparage snakes). Snakes can shed their skin. Can people? Do they have to want to? With snakes, it's a natural occurrence. With people, free will is involved. Not to mention those character traits that are often developed extremely young.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN, IF ANYTHING, FROM THE CHARMING SNAKES?
What role does fear play in all this? It's easy to say — and not wrong — that people who abuse and deceive, steal, rob and do worse to other people are living in fear. So where does that get you?
YOU GET TO CHOOSE. STILL.
Even when you've been manipulated or sold a false bill of goods, you get to choose what you'll do as a result.
It can be the hardest thing you've ever done to go on after being raped one way or another. After being lied to, stolen from, deceived, given false promises, physically, mentally or emotionally beaten.
As long as you're alive, you still get to choose.
The brilliant Victor Frankl, who survived the concentration camps, wrote about The Will to Meaning. People who were subjected to that kind of abuse, like him, found what trumps even that, which is having meaning in your life.
WHAT GIVES YOUR LIFE MEANING?
IS YOUR LIFE MEANING EVEN BIGGER THAN GOOD VS. EVIL?
What's your meaning? If your answer is "my family" or anyone outside yourself, that doesn't count for this purpose. It has to be something that only you bring.
It's okay not to know. It's not okay not to search (I feel) because otherwise, you're not getting all you deserve in this weird life that has much to offer on top of its often thin and tangled line between good and evil.