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Evil Is Boring

SacredUproar on January 26, 2012 08:37

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    When an old tree in the rain forest dies and topples over, it takes a long time to decompose. As it does, it becomes host to new saplings that use the decaying log for nourishment.

    Picture yourself sitting in the forest gazing upon this scene. How would you describe it? Would you dwell on the putrefaction of the fallen tree while ignoring the fresh life sprouting out of it? If you did that, you’d be imitating the perspective of many modern storytellers, especially the journalists and novelists and filmmakers and producers of TV dramas. They devoutly believe that tales of affliction and mayhem and corruption and tragedy are inherently more interesting than tales of triumph and liberation and pleasure and ingenuity.

    The German actor Udo Kier summed up the general consensus in an interview he did a few years ago. "Evil has no limit," he sneered, blustering like a naughty genius. "Evil has no limit. Good has a limit. Good is not as interesting as evil."

    Two hundred years ago the poet John Keats said that if something is not beautiful, it is probably not true. But Udo Kier and his many compatriots disagree with Keats. With one voice, they imply that if something is not ugly, it is not true.

    Using the juggernaut of the media and entertainment industries, modern storytellers relentlessly propagate this dogma. It’s not sufficiently profound or well-thought-out to be called nihilism. So I call it pop nihilism. The mass audience is the victim of this inane ugliness, brainwashed by a multi-billion-dollar propaganda machine that makes the Nazis’ brainwashing efforts look like a child’s backyard puppet show. This is the engine of the phenomena I call the global genocide of the imagination.

    At my think tank, the Beauty and Truth Laboratory, we believe that stories about the rot are not inherently more entertaining than stories about the splendor. On the contrary, given how predictable and ubiquitous they are, stories about the rot are sedatives.


    Evil is boring. Rousing fear is a hackneyed shtick. Wallowing in despair is a bad habit. Indulging in cynicism is akin to committing a copycat crime.

    Most modern storytellers go even further in their devotion to the decay, implying that breakdown is not only more interesting but far more common than breakthrough, that painful twists outnumber sweet transformations by a wide margin.

    That's just absurd disinformation. I of course don't deny that there is a lot of suffering in the world, but the fact is that a majority of the people on this planet love to be alive, and the preponderance of their experience is a YES, not a NO.

    Still, we're willing to let the news media fill up half their pages and airwaves and bandwidths with poker-faced accounts of decline and degeneration, misery and destruction. We can tolerate a moderate proportion of movies and novels and TV dramas that revel in pathology.

    But we also demand EQUAL TIME for stories about integrity and joy and beauty and bliss and renewal and harmony and love. That’s all we ask: a mere 50 percent of the pages and airwaves and bandwidths.

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    excerpted from PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia

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