Finding Direction:  The Importance of Choice 2.2.0

Could moral Decay be useful?  Could moral Growth be a problem?

It is not wise to be too simplistic about a question this complex and intensely human.  Throughout history humans have observed and responded to the characteristics of Growth and Decay.  Choosing the dark and the light, the low road and the high road, the powers of evil and good, death or life have been archetypes for as long as human stories have been told.  In our age-old stories we have tried to explain ourselves to ourselves.

In the Genesis stories the possibility of Growth or Decay is built into the Garden.  The choice is there before any action.  The division within is with us from the beginning of our imagination of what it means to be human.  Further and importantly, the temptation is to “be like God” knowing good from evil, and thus being capable of choosing good or evil and knowing it.

Sometimes we rationalize that the characteristics of moral Decay are just a necessary means toward what we hope and expect will be a good result.  We have a good reason to choose Decay!  We believe that we will not be harmed by our choices (whether we would be King David or Faust or Darth Vader), but accepting Decay as if it were a temporary necessity or a minor detour is the stuff of tragedy.  Strangely, in our stories the villain is often more interesting, more exciting than the so-called hero.  Even though we know whom we are supposed to cheer for, Milton’s Satan is somehow so much more detailed and complex than Milton’s God in Paradise Lost.  The tragedy makes such a good story – but such a painful life – for so many.

Phyllis Ballata

Without Words We Cannot Think

“He not busy being born is busy dying.”  Bob Dylan (b. 1941), “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” (1965)




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