Don’t look behind you…
For some, it is the feeling that brings them joy. Some people like to be scared. They like to feel their skin crawl and their jaw clench and to hold back the instinct to jump out of their seat, or not. Some like it because it’s not real, because it would never happen that way, because anyone with half a brain would make a better decision than that. Some like it because they admire the artist, the craftsman, the person tasked with making you believe that this is real. Some want to believe it is real, or they seek out the examples that are.
For me… I like the idea of it. I like the idea that somewhere out there, people are making these decisions; people are faced with these challenges; people are tracking down killers and outsmarting psychopaths and surviving the un-survivable. But, I suppose I also like thinking that we all face evil in our lives – every single one of us. Sometimes we submit, but more importantly, sometimes we prevail.
Some folks don’t believe in good and evil. I suppose I felt that way for a while – that everything is subjective – that the world exists in shades of gray. Well, it does, doesn’t it? But we can all agree that murder is evil, right? Killing is wrong… right? At first glance, yes, absolutely, sure, but then you get into the nitty gritty.
“All killing is wrong!” Then, you begin to break it down. You start to hear the exceptions to the rule. For some of us, there are A LOT of exceptions to the rule:
“…except in the case of a soldier at war.”
“…except in the case of self defense.”
“…except in the case of capital punishment.”
“…except in the case of defense of another.”
“…except in the case of mercy.”
“…except in the case of abortion.”
“…except in the case of in-vitro fertilization.”
“…except in the case of livestock.”
“…except in the case of pests.”
“…except in the case of sport.”
“…except in the case of providing food for your family.”
“…except in the case of survival.”
“…except in the case of salad.”
and then there is the Jainist, who says, “there is no exception.”
So, I suppose, we either accept that there are exceptions – that there is gray area in what is morally right and wrong or that morality is subjective – or we agree that all of us contain both good and evil. Even the Jainist does not defend the right to life for the parasite that lives inside them, the life of the disease… Or perhaps they do…
I suppose I like the idea of horror and suspense because it’s all laid out there for you. That man is evil. Those people are good. The one that will catch him/her is conflicted. But, like the angel, or the righteous soldier, s/he commits evil acts to prevent greater evil from persisting. That is an idea I’d rather see in fiction. As I said, I like the idea of it. In the real world, there’s already plenty of evil to go around. Let’s do our best not to make any more.