Blarney. Pure blarney… (Sort of like the idle thoughts following…)
…I mean the stuff that’s been passing for thinking in the various campaigns and in some of my social circles as folks unpack the baggage the campaigns and newscasts carry.
I think I’m beginning to understand why writers such as Stephen King have drawn my interest. “The Stand” made a huge impact on me when I read it long years ago. I still get the shivers thinking about it. I’m reading Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov” at present. He’s a lot more subtle, but the shivers are there, too.
I think we should be exposing ourselves to this side of things. We’re too busy running away from dealing with the complicated effects of evil in my neck of the woods.
Writers of King’s ilk bring evil to the fore, feed insomnia and anxiety by plunging us into horrific situations in their writing. Granted, that isn’t necessary for those who have been through (or died in) one of the latest series of slaughters on any one of the continents you care to name. For those of us, though, who are a bit removed from recent tragedies or simply turn off the nearest mass-media appliance to avoid the news, writers such as King may bring a balance (if we read their stuff).
Art can do that, although it doesn’t have to be as bald as a horror novel or a television series about the walking undead. Good art reminds us, even the most glorious stuff, of the other side of the coin. With beauty comes ugliness. With peace comes war. With good comes evil. With every landscape, there is a cliffside somewhere. With every bucolic view, a predator lurks. For every Pollyanna there is a Cassandra.
(Oh. To be fair, reverse the order in the last few sentences.)
And, good art reminds of the complexity of the problem. There are no shortcuts when someone opens fire and you’re in the crosshairs, accidentally or otherwise.
I don’t want to make too much of it, though. To tip too far to the negative gives positive tinkerers too much traction. And, far be it from me to make someone more anxious than they need to be.
Suffice it to say that ignorance is just a step away from anesthesia. Fortunately, at least if everything works correctly, anesthesia bends back to consciousness. The question of evil is the same way. It can be pushed away, but it will always bend back.
We can try to run away from dealing with the problem of evil. But the track is circular. We won’t succeed. It’s a part of what it means to be human.
So, running away won’t help, I guess. The faster you veer away from it, the quicker you’ll come round to the problem… again. And, when you get sleepy, lose interest, or pretend that things are hunky-dory, someone will throw in a spoiler for the latest gore fest your way.