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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.

Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover - And The Nature Of Evil

My title for this particular blog post may suggest I am covering two separate ideas. I am not. So hang in there with me as I explain my particular reasoning and what the title actually means to me.

These thoughts came to me after hearing plenty of criticism from irreligious individuals regarding the film Noah. As I discussed elsewhere, it is not a particularly close translation of the story by any means, though it is a spectacle. The criticism I wish to discuss however, came from certain friends who chose to criticise the film well before it had even come out. One could suggest their comments verged on mocking.

The suggestion of such criticism was focused around one particular judgement. No matter how fictionalised/embellished a story was, if it was centred around a 'religious' narrative' it could not possibly make a decent film. To me, however, such judgements are of course disappointing, in that they show a closed mind to the possibility or potential of the movie having a strong story. It seems modern audiences have forgotten that most of the grand classic art of the Renaissance for instance was Catholic or Christian inspired. Or that a great many other works of art stem from other religions (and I use this term colloquially, not as in a previous post 'We Are All Religious').

What is even more bizarre is that one of my friends saw the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yet his comments on Facebook were greeted by 'surely this is a joke?' So I ask: why is it that one of the great contradictions of society be that we are so ready to 'judge books based on their covers'. Or in other words, why do we speak about learning to be 'accepting' or 'tolerant' and yet rush so quickly into judging any other aspect of someone's life or art that we do not like. Are we at the core merely judgemental?

My theory or argument, is that we as humans simply like having labels in order to bring a system of equilibrium to our world. I've been learning in my Education course about theories of how misconceptions exist because of particular schema that individuals create within their own minds and how disequilibrium occurs when a teacher (or other individual) tries to correct those misconceptions (also know as alternative conceptions).


The short version of this theoretical discourse is: I believe people like to balance out their world by having clear-cut labels. I think this is what is suggested by the above examples of how people categorically put Noah into a 'religious film' category and hence had something to laugh about or mock.

How this connects to the nature of evil is through the concept of categorisation. Last week in a tutorial we were asked to discuss what we believed 'evil' was. My small group of three worked out that we believed that evil was in its way subjective and something used as a category to distinguish types of people and their actions. That said I do believe in the existence of 'ultimate evil' I just believe that the way it is used in modern life is wrong. For instance I've heard people say 'that book is evil' or 'guns are evil'. No, I think that is wrong. I don't believe objects hold innate evil whatsoever. But do I believe or perceive that they can be used for evil? Yes I do.

I feel that the problem is that 'evil' has been used as a term to categorise particular actions of people or set groups of people. However, to me the concept of 'evil' is connected not to actions as much as being an innate part of people. I believe personally that Christianity goes beyond good and evil in what it discusses, but I also believe that good and evil are both intertwined in mankind. 

The point of my reflections is to think about how to stop merely judging and take time to consider, where possible, how labels rule your view of the world. I think I would rather learn how to understand the innate contradictions and complexities of life - flaws and all, knowledge of good and evil, together.