July 21, 2008

The will to act.

After seeing ‘The Dark Knight’ last night, I had a little discussion and exchange of ideas with Lisa about vigilantism and why, more often than not, people do not do the right thing, or do what needs to be done. She asked me why society does not stand up for itself. I thought about it for a moment and said ‘fear’ was the reason. After thinking about it further today, I realized I needed to reevaluate some things I believed.

I used to believe that if pushed hard enough, every man would have his breaking point, and that every act a person took had a catalyst, a motive that would set him in motion to fix what he had been wronged by. I do not think so anymore. It is just easier to accept than it is to change. Fear is much more powerful of a force than hope. People become too afraid and hope someone else has the courage, the determination, or the will to act.

For years I have revered one of the opening lines to ‘The Boondock Saints’ in which the priest says: “Now, we must all fear evil men, but there is another kind of evil which we must fear most of all, and that is the indifference of good men.” But this no longer makes sense to me. Good men have no indifference. Good men do not just believe in good, and thereby become good themselves. Good men do not accept; they change. They do not fear reprisal or condemnation. Inaction is an evil in itself. So, most men are not good.

We all want to prevent tragedy and sorrow, and to stop war, murder, rape, theft, poverty, disease, political corruption, drug trafficking, animal cruelty, eco-terrorism, and inflation, yet no one stands for it. Believing is not a battle with a resolution, and fear gets the best of everyone. That is, if there is a best of us at all. Words have never changed the world, but actions have.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

We want revolution. We want a change in the tide, and those responsible to be held accountable. Ignoring our own guilt, we hope that this dream will come soon. But I believe the more likely outcome will be that we will turn on each other first. Instead of standing up and taking responsibility, we will lose our morals and ardentness. Instead of demanding restitution and restoration, we will rob and steal from ourselves, and even while we do this, in our desperation and rage we will still blame everyone but ourselves. No one is going to save us. I hope I am wrong, but fear has the best of me.

“When the chips are down, this city will eat itself.” –The Joker

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