Friday, October 15, 2004

Inspired by "The Motorcycle Diaries"

Does one believe that people are inherently good or evil? It's a question that has caused religious schisms, persecution and strife over and over again in human history. We don't think much about it today, I can't remember ever discussing it even during drunken college philosophy bull sessions.

I haven't resolved my opinion on this. I don't believe that we're born with sin, no baptism needed here. I look around me and see people living their lives as best the can, causing as little harm as they can. Sure there are some pretty bad people out there, the one who cold-cocked me from behind in broad daylight because "He's bigger than me." springs to mind. So does my drunk father standing in the door of my bedroom, saying to my 8 year old self: "You don't love me." But for everyone one of those you meet there are thousands or hundreds of thousands who just walk past you in the street or shield their children from pain. So I guess I'm leaning toward the inherently good camp.

One of the reasons is because of music. Specifically making music with others. I don't claim any metaphysical connection with the people I play with, but there is a feeling of non-verbal communication.* It can also happen in a good conversation with likeminded people. The feeling that the ideas are bigger than any one of us but together we can hold them. A sharing of understanding that seems to be deeper than the spoken words.

I have to believe in the innate goodness of my bandmates. Even when they're pissing me off by not showing up to practice or whatever. If they are inherently bad then the feelings I get when the band is really clicking are false or at least inaccurate. I couldn't really live with that level of self deception.

And yet I also believe that everyone, myself included, is capable of enormous evil. To take away that capacity is to deny free will and I believe we are nothing if not self determining.

I guess this is another question about which I shrug my shoulders and say "I don't know."

I'll have to add it to the list that includes: "Is there a God?" "What happens after you die?" and "Why do I love Monster Garage so much?"

*For the record I'm a skeptic philosophically and an agnostic religiously.


Christi Lee said...

enormous evil is right up there with blogging

Coelecanth said...

I laughed when I read your comment Christi. My first thought was that you meant that blogging was evil. Because, as we all know, anything to do with computers must be evil.