J. Barrett

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reflections on "A scanner darkly"

Paranoia defines me in a certain way which I cannot describe. I have always felt there was a greater integrity to the evil which consists the world. There seemed to be a greater order behind all the ill doings, whether they be the machinations of presidents or street thugs. There had to be an explanation for it all, in a world which was defined by control. I suppose for that reason, it made sense to me the essential presupposition of comic books, that there were individuals, organizations which were committed entirely to evil, and devoted to destroying all that was good and true and pure in the world. The idea that there would be a brotherhood of evil mutants, or an injustice league was certainly logical, because there was so much evil and injustice in the world. Surely, then, people like me, people who were committed to justice and truth would not cause the evil and death of the world. They could not, must not. There must be others for whom that is their purpose. Like Iago in the Merchant of Venice, they were simply evil, and that was all there was to it.
A peculiarity of the comic book universe was the perspective derived from the trading cards distributed by the card companies: each individual within the universe could be described as a hero or a villain. Occasionally one would switch sides, but there were sides, certainly. Within this worldview, I was naturally one of the heroes, one of the good guys. I labored on the side of justice, and peace. I was willing to fight in order that there would come a time in which there would no longer be a need to fight, a need to struggle. Eventually, there would come a time of peace.
In school, I would often fantasize that there would be an attack on the school, on the students, and for whatever reason, my unique abilities or circumstances would enable me to save everyone from whichever menace threatened them. I would struggle and I would sacrifice in order to triumph over that evil, but I would prevail, and my classmates would join me in the celebration of their rescue, and acclaim me a hero, welcoming me into their embrace and their circles of friendship.
Eventually, this ideation faded, as I grew closer to people in my school and in my life, and as I came to admit my friends and family more deeply into my thoughts, allowing them to influence me and my decisions, I understood that I could simply enjoy the company of other people with the abilities I already had.
I also came to realize that the menaces which threatened the world derived not from those who were built of evil and ill will, but instead from people just like myself, who were trying to fix the world in one way or another, and their way of doing it conflicted with the purposes and designs of people who I thought of as right.
I still believe there is an objective morality. I still believe there are good and evil which can be defined differently form one another. I just know that human beings, being human, get it wrong most of the time.


Post a Comment

<< Home