‘The guardian angel who conquered your enemy in battle was perceived by your enemy as a demon’
Dan Brown wrote that in his book ‘The Lost Symbol’. I read it months ago (years, even) but for some reason that idea popped into my head recently. Of all the things I’ve read, that stood out for me. It’s kind of ingenious when you think about it. Angels and demons are the exact same thing, depending on your perspective. Now, I’m not saying I believe in angels and demons because, well I’m not sure I do. However, the metaphor is a really important one, even on a day-to-day basis. We all tend to think of ourselves as the ‘good’ person, always acting for the right reasons in all situations. When we get in arguments, the other person is wrong and going over-the-top, being angry and relentless. The sad truth is, sometimes we’re the dick in the situation.
I don’t believe in evil, is basically what I’m trying to say here. I think, in every situation, whether it be giving to charity or committing murder, the person doing so thinks they are acting for the right reasons. Like, as f**ked as it was, I don’t think Hitler thought himself evil, He probably thought he was acting for the right reasons and that what he believed was good. And from his perspective it was good. Now, from nearly everyone else’s perspective it was ‘evil’ but that’s simply because of societal and cultural norms. For the record, I’m not a Nazi sympathizer, I’m just giving an extreme example to prove a point. The idea of right and wrong is so subjective that it could just as easily be that killing others is morally right and being charitable is morally wrong, had evolution taken a different path.
The video below (If I can find it later) is kind of another example of how subjective and ‘up to chance’ who you are and what you identify with is. We all seem to have this definitive, concrete idea of who we are, what we believe in, what is right/wrong etc. Unfortunately, this ‘identity’ we have formed throughout life is basically a myth. The video below uses the example of religion to explain it. Say, you’re Irish, have a strong belief in a Christian God, in Jesus Christ and all the rest. You strongly believe that Jesus is the saviour and that you’re going to heaven and all that good stuff. Now, rewind to your birth, and instead of being born an Irish person, you were born in a Muslim country and grew up and lived there your whole life. All of a sudden you strongly disbelieve all Christian ideals and have new ones. By simply, changing the cultural significance of the place you were born and raised in, you completely change the idea of who you are and your ‘identity’. It’s really weird isn’t it? When you strip back all the ‘stuff’ the family, the culture, religion, society etc. is there anything at all that distinguishes you from anyone else, or are we all just blank canvass, changed due to the circumstances of our own lives?
Well, that got out of hand fast. Just some thoughts. To sum up, in every situation, everyone is always right while, paradoxically, all sides of the conflict are the villain (That worked out nicely). And, on a more uplifting note, you are just a product of the world you live in and there’s actually no such thing as ‘you’ at all.
Have a wonderful week!
(A novel I read recently ‘Dark Matter’ by Blake Crouch, deals with the whole identity thing pretty nicely, plus it’s a good story so, win-win there, am I right?)