Extra! Extra! Angel marathon leads to moral ambiguity mini-rant!!!

As a newly minted freelancer, I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to playing catch up with my old friend Netflix when life gets slow, the idea of yet another job search becomes too depressing for words, and I’m fresh out of spanking new ideas to blog about. Today Netflix surprised me with a story that struck me as very intriguing.

The players are a girl, a boy, and a man. The man is the villain. He tried to kill the girl. The girl is the victim. She has suffered at the hands of the villain. The boy is the hero. He wants to save the girl. The interesting thing to me is how the roles change based on the choices they make and the choices that are made for them. The girl wants to kill the man, but the boy wants to prevent her from doing so and save her from becoming a killer. This could be possible if the girl hadn’t already taken steps to ensure that the man’s death is inevitable. He is going to die no matter what. Even so, at the last moment, the boy steps in and performs the fatal blow. 

So then, who is the victim and who is the villain and are there even any heroes left in the story? The girl starts as victim, but in seeking retribution does she become villain or has she taken on the challenge of being her own hero? And in dying in a manner similar to how he killed others, does the man become the victim? Do the scales of justice re-balance in an eye for an eye way or is he always just the villain? As for the boy, is he still a hero because his motives were pure, or does he become the villain because he took a life? Or maybe he becomes a victim because chivalry spurred him to do the unthinkable to protect the girl and in doing so he became what he despised. The story line can’t resolve because the players no longer know what roles they are playing. And that is the part that is intriguing.

If we can’t define ourselves, if we don’t know what role we are playing, it’s hard to resolve our own story. And yet time keeps moving and whether we actively participate or not, we’re pretty much all marching onward to our inevitable resolution.

In addition to ruminating a bit on how we are defined by choices, I have been reflecting a bit on moral ambiguity and on how we determine right and wrong. Do we know something is wrong because we have always been taught that it is wrong, or is there some intrinsic knowledge of the universe we are born with that helps us to avoid moral uncertainty? Maybe it’s some combination of both. The big questions come up and they’re not always easy to answer. So how do we eventually settle on our own moral compass? And how do we allow that compass to evolve as we evolve? There are a lot of reasons I was reflecting on this, personally, but an example that occurred to me as a way of illustrating the broader question was one I’m more familiar with. I’ve always defined myself as a Christian. I have also defined myself as not heterosexual for the entirety of my adult life. But many that subscribe to the teachings of Christianity say that if it’s not hetero, it’s a big no no in the eyes of the big guy. So, how is that apparent conflict resolved? Tough question. And one that doesn’t have an easy answer. Lots of soul searching and tears and angst happened before I found some peace with that aspect of myself, but I still can’t easily explain the hows or the whys. Lately, though, my reflections have taken me down a bit of a different path in terms of moral ambiguity. I can’t say I’m questioning my faith, because I still feel a very deep certainty as far as that goes. I think what I am questioning is the limitations imposed upon us by those professing to have a direct line to heaven. I find myself very uncertain about some of the rules and regulations. I get the big ones. Totally. Don’t kill people and all that jazz. It’s the little ones that I find myself taking issue with. I feel like if we could have a direct translation of the big book, the story we’d hear might be a lot different than the one we’ve been told.