140121 Civil Rights

There we were: sitting in class listening to the professor speak about why civil rights campaigns may not be the most efficient way to get stuff done. I felt my blood boil listening to him say over and over again how people will continue to be jerks so we might as well not try. But– is life not full of examples of great people who were able to lead nations towards a specific goal? If Gandhi had not existed, would India have remained the same? If James Madison had not gone out and sympathized with the people after the burning of Washington in 1814, would our young nation have survived such a great hit?  Would the Titans be remembered if Denzel Washington had not united a segregated town through high school football?

There we were: all united by the concepts and ideas we had been learning all semester long. Still separated by things we couldn’t ignore: the color of our skin, our social class, our gender, our identity, whether we prefer Apple or Windows. All of these are part of our self-chosen environments; both in their nature and in how we value one over another. Among these choices, we struggle to find a common ground where everything can be pink and pretty. But can evil truly be destroyed?

There we were: saying the only way to stop violence was by retaliating with more violence. When was evil created? Who created it and for what purpose? I found myself gripping the chair to avoid bursting in the middle of lecture. I wanted to run and ask whoever first drew the Yin-Yang sign to figure out where he got the black part from.

There I was: the ticket lady giving me a strange look when I said I wanted 2 tickets to The Exorcist but there was no one with me. There I was: sitting in the theater all by myself at 2am when the priest in the movie gave me the answer: we cannot destroy what was never created. Evil has always existed, so it is impossible to kill off all the bad people because then there would be no good; in other words, the stars only shine because there is darkness.

There I was: staring at the ceiling unable to sleep thinking about this.

Can one have an accurate perception of what discrimination is or the effects of it if they have not experienced it first-hand? They may have the logic to unravel it but you don’t know how hot it is until you touch it, can you?

 

Comments (4)

  1. Tanner Swanson

    Reply

    Speaking to Joe Brinkman’s comment:

    I also love the piece for so directly evaluating the dependence of evil on good and vice versa. What I would find interesting however, is whether it is in fact the existence of evil what makes love and goodness so valuable? Perhaps is it the capacity to be evil that serves this purpose.

    As a white male in a middle class family with no deceased relatives or family members since my birth, I have very few hardships life. Yet I would contend that this does not make the love I feel towards another human being or the joy I feel walking down the beach on a sunny day.

    i would propose that the fact that I am aware that all the love I feel, all the joy that floods me exists DESPITE what it could be is equally capable of making love and joy valuable me. Suffering is not necessary to feel love deeper, nor to make joy more significant.

    Thus I would come to the conclusion that the amount of evil can be reduced without affecting the power of good. Both have an infinite capacity, and we are inescapably aware of them.

  2. Joe Brinkman

    Reply

    First off, I applaud the structure of the piece. The overall message is intriguing, I can’t help but agree that evil and good share a co-dependent relationship. This, I have thought about previously, but I have never asked myself when evil was created. I’m glad you answered that question logically in the piece, or else it would have bugged me too. The only thought that I find unresolved is the possible degree-dependent relationship of good and evil. That is, can the amount of evil be decreased without affecting the power of good? Is any amount of evil sufficient to create the contrast that good needs to survive, or must the quantities/degrees be similar? Given that the relationship as described is solely based on contrast, my initial argument would be that any degree of evil can maintain the existence of good.

  3. Saud Almutairi

    Reply

    What a wonderful phrasing. Every great nation has one or two individuals that stand up for others. Our actions determines out future and I believe people like Dr. King stood up the most vulnerable of the American society. As a human race, we come very fare and because of that I am hopeful about the future.

  4. Paulo Miro

    Reply

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post. I’ve pondered myself about the need for evil quite a bit, and the relationship and necessity of evil for there to be good. The idea seems very sad yet after discussing it with a lot of my friends who range from theology geeks to average bums, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that for ‘good’ or ‘love’ to have the same power as it does, there must be a contrasting ‘evil’.

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