Stories our how our brains interpret the universe. So it should come as no surprise when you get past unrealistic ideas (i.e. superstitions) you start to view stories very different.
Case in point: movies
Specifically a movie I watched on VHS last night: Ghost
Now, to be clear, I love this movie. It’s well written. It’s funny. It’s entertaining. And for the purposes of this post let’s forget that an afterlife falls into the category of, “Things we don’t know and probably won’t ever know until we’re dead in which case we probably won’t know.”
Watching this movie without the idea of good vs. evil embedded in your brain is a very different experience.
“Why is that?” you ask.
Let’s look at the film from this perspective.
A upper middle or lower upper class guy is married to the love of his life. To quote The Princess Bride: “True Love”. Everything is awesome sauce until he gets murdered. He can go to what’s probably heaven but decides to stick around. Then he finds the guy that murdered him. What does he do? He murders that guy. That guy goes to what is assumed to be hell. Then he murders the guy that stole money and had something to do with the original guy. He goes to hell too.
Let’s look at that a different way.
The fairly wealthy white guy with everything going for him goes to heaven, but the people who have made mistakes because of loneliness, poverty, or some other issues they’re facing, go to hell.
When you don’t watch the film with the idea of good vs. evil, these plot points stick out. Why can’t it be a redemption story? Why can’t the killer realize what he did was wrong, decide to do the “right” thing? Why doesn’t the guy that stole the money be provided the chance to return to it? Why are these crimes worthy of hell while the ghost that quite literally kills them both gets to go to heaven? Oh yeah, I get it, he’s suffering already because he’ll never be able to touch Demi Moore’s pussy again. Yeah, that’s not hell (I mean, I would love to touch it, but that’s for another day).
One could go on and on about this film simply by removing oneself from the idea of good and evil.
I watched another film today called “The Girl Next Door”. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s basically a soft porn coming of age story of an American high school student. Again, it’s a good film. Well written. Entertaining. And lots of tits. But what if you get rid of another idea: American Victorian notions of ethics. Well, basically, you’ll watch the film and half way through thing, well, that girl choose to be a porn worker, and even if that guy’s a complete asshole he didn’t force her. There’s more weight forced on this story my this notion that the “right” way to exist is not to make porn, but have a monogamous relationship with one person (in this particular example, a high school student). But the funny thing is, when you look at this film without these silly Victorian notions you might just come to the conclusion that it’s a film about a teenage boy with too much testosterone trying to steal a girl from her previous “owner” so he can be the new one. Frankly, she spends so much time pretending she’s ashamed of her occupation it’s fucking ridiculous. Why do I say that? I say that because I have a Dutch wife that comes from a culture where people don’t have those mental issues. I say that because twenty some years ago I had a girlfriend that wanted to be a porn star that went to the same Los Vegas convention that’s in that movie (but portrayed as something no one but “evil” people who don’t want to settle down go to). I say that because these ideas are simply ideas. They can shape our world but when it comes to reality, what’s literally in front of us, they’re pure poppycock.
Your assignment for the rest of your week is find one move. Maybe something you’ve watched before and loved. Take out something that doesn’t exist while you view it. Maybe that can be good and evil. Or something else. Give it a shot. Write down your observations. Try, try again. Rinse and repeat.