The most amazing thing that evil does is convince us that there really is no such thing as evil in the first place. We certainly don’t need to be on guard for something that isn’t even real. And there are a few ways that evil accomplishes this. One is to portray evil as doing things that simply don’t happen in everyday life. Dramatic things. Terrifying things. But in the end, things that we mostly don’t experience so it’s easy to pass it all off as Hollywood storytelling. And for the most part, it is.
Yes, exorcisms happen. But not in my daily life. So I discard it, to a certain extent. It’s real enough to cause me to sleep with the light on for a night, but eventually it fades out of my memory because I don’t see this drama every day. But that’s not where the genius us. The genius is that we don’t just discard the Hollywood portrayal of evil. We tend to toss out the whole concept of evil along with it.
Perhaps one of the all time most intense movies about evil is The Exorcist. Heads spinning. Words carved into stomach. Levitating. Evil voices. This is a scary movie. But unless you’ve actually seen anything like this happen in your life, all it really registers as in your brain is that it’s a movie without any sort of daily context to back it up with. By showing you a massive example of evil, knowing that it has no place in your day to day life, the entire concept of evil gets misfiled into the folder in your head labeled “fantasy” or “entertainment” as opposed to “exaggerated version of something that really does exist.”
Again… genius. Don’t hide the concept of evil at all. Instead, exaggerate it. Make movies out of it. And make them so extreme that true evil, which works in far more subtle and boring ways, is pushed aside.
There is another genius effect here. If you talk about evil, and tell people that you think it is real, it is easy to discredit you. People, having see “The Devil’s Advocate” and “End of Days” and “Poltergeist” and “The Exorcist” will assume that this dramatized version of evil is what you believe in. And it’s no wonder they write you off as a nut. All the while not realizing that we’re talking about a much quieter, much smarter, much more clever, much more boring, but much more powerful version of evil.
Hiding right there in plain sight, and using an exaggerated version of itself as camouflage. It really is quite genius.
Do you agree with what I’ve written here, or am I off a little? I’m looking forward to your comments!
We were built to be heroes. It’s about time we started acting like heroes.