The world can be an ugly place.
I’m not going to go into detail, because all you have to do is look around to find it. Terrible things can and do happen, all over. This is a broken and fallen world, populated by broken and fallen people.
But, the world can also be beautiful. It is meant to be so much more than the turmoil that obscures it.
I believe that there is good to be done. There is truth to be spoken. There is honor to be upheld. There is beauty to be found.
These are the things we try to find in our entertainment. We use our escapism to catch a glimpse of a better place and a better way to be. We can exercise our emotions in a fictional space and return to the real world recalibrated. We close our books and leave the theater with our hope refreshed, released by the catharsis of fictional conflicts resolved to satisfying conclusions. Relentlessly unhappy stories gain no traction with the popular imagination – no matter how much their creators desire to make us “think” rather than be entertained. We already know the depressing reality of reality – what we need is more of what could and should be.
I think our desire for entertainment is a good thing, and that we are already drawn to creative expressions that are good for humanity as a whole. We don’t have to be browbeaten into learning to like what’s good for social causes. Good stories will succeed on their own merit, because they are good and they uphold and rely upon healthy norms that any human being can appreciate. Even horror only works because there is a defined sense of normalcy that is violated.
We need a variety of stories and media available to us so that we can all experience an escape from the worst of this world, as well as a vision of a world with order on a scale we can comprehend.
Perhaps if we train our minds to seek order, truth, and beauty, we will enact these things in our real lives, and each of us can make our corner of the world better.
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