For the longest time, there has been an argument about the moral responsibility of art. The responsibility of storytellers to glorify virtues and shun vices; versus the insistence on the need for art to exist outside the boundaries of morality for the preservation of its authenticity.
Stories have recognisable elements - goals, conflict, pursuit, lies, ghosts and truths. Characters that push the main characters towards their goals are favourably portrayed while the alternative is referred to as an antagonism. Often, these stories are simple, good triumphing over evil; other times, they're ambiguous.
The definition good and evil is dependent on how it affects other human beings. The perception of the favourability of said effect changes as society evolves.
Well rounded characters are morally ambiguous, because each of us is a self serving creature navigating our own story circle. We define someone as good person when their interaction with us is either non-disruptive or pushes us in towards our goal.
Morality is inherently, a selfish reward system. It's our way of manipulating society to ensure we thrive, even when we provide nothing of value to it. We encourage altruism driven by the need to see someone smile for amusement, and refer to the need to see someone cry for amusement sociopathic.
Positive traits, the ones that encourage harmony in society, when deconstructed to their basal influences, can be exploited and pivoted to cause harm or aid.
A Korean Miniseries, "it's okay, that's love", told the story of a psychiatrist and a successful writer. The writer No Hee-Kyung, created characters with visceral, defining distinctive traits. Each trait with a different degree of impact on their lives, and that of people around them. The harmless traits are personality quirks, the harmful ones, mental illnesses or criminal behaviour. Everyone who caused harm did so for a logical reason.
The male protagonist turned out to be an unconvicted criminal with childhood trauma, personality quirks and an undiagnosed mental illness; he was the worst of all, and the best of all.
Her aim wasn't an accurate portrayal of the struggle with mental illness. It was to remind the audience of the fragility of the normal-vs-not construct. And, to me, she succeeded.
Art has a responsibility, it's empathy. Empathy makes us aware of the spectrum of human behaviour; of the potential for harm and aid in all of us, if the price is right. We are neither demons nor angels, just human.
Well, this has to be the universe’s sense of humour.
For how long have we needed this - A collective motion?
Today, we are here. All 10 billion of us. Why now?
Have our lives lost the battle to the will of something else? The promises of health, wealth, eternal youth, happiness and love couldn’t have done this. For surely, a lot are immune to the ramblings of a silver-tongued confidence trickster.
Is there no fear of security threats? No one on the fence between life and death? No one otherwise occupied, voluntarily or not?
To the one who has done this. I know not how. But, know this: Your name will never be mentioned for the last time while our race persists.
You have done away with our demons. You have shone a great light on a pathway beyond our narrow path of struggle. Our narrow, frightful path beyond which our minds had not the stimulus to wander.
In time, when the baseline is what we can only take a glimpse of, our descendants will learn of the dark days before unity, before peace. They will promptly forget about it in time for leisure. Because, like the gripping fear of a staph infection, it’ll be relatively irrelevant.
Master K, Martin Luther King had a dream. We’re all the much closer for your genius.