Sunday, June 21, 2009


Evil is boring.

Picture yourself sitting in the forest gazing upon an old tree 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.

How do 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, 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.

Using the machinery of the media and entertainment industries, they relentlessly propagate this covert dogma. It's not sufficiently profound or well thought out to be called nihilism. Pop nihilism is a more accurate term. The mass audience is the victim of this inane ugliness, brainwashed by a multi billion-dollar propaganda machine that in comparison makes Himmler's vaunted soul-stealing apparatus look like child's backyard puppet show.


Here we believe that stories about the rot are not inherently more captivating than stories about the splendor. On the contrary, given how predictable and omnipresent the former have become, they are actually quite dull. Obsessing on evil is boring.

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 rot, implying that breakdown is not only more interesting but far more common than breakthrough.

Evil Is Boring

We reject this assumption as well. We don't believe that entropy dominates the human experience. Even factoring in the prevailing misery in the Middle East and Africa, we doubt that the Global Bad Nasty Ratio even exceeds 50 percent. And here in the West, where most of you reading this live, the proportion is lower.

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. We can tolerate a reasonable 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.

While perusing the front page of my local daily newspaper, I found a tiny oasis of redemptive news amidst the usual accounts of reeling turmoil.It reported that inner cities were undergoing a profound renaissance: the poorest sections of town were becoming markedly safer, new businesses were opening, capital was flowing in, neighbourhood clean-ups were proliferating, drug sales were decreasing, and people were more relaxing on their daily errant.

I was amazed that such an uplifting story had cracked the media's taboo against good news. And yet its anomalous presence as an exception to the rule proved that the rule is virtually ironclad.

Evil is Boring.

At this late date in the evolution of pop nihilism, the problem is not merely the media's relentless brainwashing. We of the mass audience have become thoroughly converted unknowingly to the sadomasochistic vision of the world: so much so that we've almost lost the power even to perceive
evidence that contradicts that vision. The good news is virtually invisible.

Even those of us whose passion it is to champion the cause of life beauty and real truth are in the early stages of fighting our blindness. We are retraining our eyes to see the emancipating truth about the nature of reality.

What would it be like to fight tenderly for life beauty and real truth and pure love without despising those who spread ugliness and lies and division?

It is a waste of time to spend much time on ho-hum data, "two thousand planes took off yesterday and all landed safely." We leave that to others with more patience. Our preferred evidence emphasizes the triumphs that have entertainment value equal to the bad nasty stuff.

We celebrate the family of the deceased Israeli girl who gave her heart to be transplanted into a sick Palestinian boy, but we also want a front-page story about physicist Paul Ginspang, who has revolutionized scientific communication by creating a free service for publishing and reading research reports on the Internet.

Respected reader, healthy or afflicted with health problems, I invite you to share with us here the interesting good news you come across in your travels. Not sentimental tales of generic hope; not "Chicken Soup for the Soul;" not life imitating the faux Hollywood/Bollywood art of contrived happy endings; but rather crafty, enigmatic, lyrical eruptions of the sublime; unpredictable outbreaks of soul that past Emily Dickinson's test for poetry : She said she always knew when she was reading the real thing because it made her feel like the top of her head was about to come of.

Evil Is Boring

Feel free, too, to take up the cause of zoom and boom as you resist the practitioners of doom and gloom in your own sphere. Demand equal time for news about integrity and joy and life beauty and pleasure and renewal and harmony and pure love. In your personal life, be alert for stories that tend to provide evidence for the fact that all of creation is conspiring to give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

We've been charged with the job of creating the good news that's coming, beside the task to hunt down and identify the interesting good news that's going on now.

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