Doing Bad to Do Good
I love movies. Truly, I do. Movies are uplifting, comforting, instructive, thought-provoking, affirming and sometimes challenging. Movies teach me and encourage me, scare me and fill me with gratitude. Watching other people – real or not so real – live their lives onscreen makes my own life feel more vibrant and alive as well.
Did I mention I love movies?
But I am often not too good about seeing them when they first come out. Truthfully, often I am the one “discovering” last year’s Oscar winners while in line at the Redbox (or online at Netflix).
Speaking of which – recently I saw a movie called “Looper.” Judging from how confusing I found the plot initially, either my IQ is on a steady decline or perhaps it wasn’t in last year’s Oscar running. But as the film progressed, it got better. And by the end it got very good – and very simple – indeed.
I don’t want to spoil the storyline for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. But if I were pitching the plot to a big money bags producer and I had to sum it up in one line, it would be: “The bad things people do are to try to protect the good things in their lives.”
From this perspective, I found the film so interesting and also strangely reassuring. I say this because, when taken out of context, many people’s choices and actions can seem so evil, so bad, so grave. But then as the greater story emerges, so often there is some underlying motive stemming from love, loyalty, connection.
This seems like a very important point to make, especially in the world we live in today when so much of what we read about, see on the news and hear from others just makes no sense at all. Why do people do the things they do? Who are these others – these awful people out maiming, killing, stealing, lying, cheating, deceiving, taking from others what never has and never will belong to them?
I don’t know. But I do know that there is more to each of those stories than the individual awful actions I might hear about – isolated and separated as they are from the thread of those people’s greater lives.
I also know that at times I too have done bad to do good – setting out with a very good intention and ending up with a very bad outcome. Perhaps every person has had this experience at one time or another.
My mentor often reminds me that life can change at any moment and we never know what may happen. We can’t always control what life hands us. But we can always control the way we respond, which stems from how we choose to see it.
Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever “done bad to do good?” How do you cope with the nonstop flood of ‘bad news’ coming at you every day – from the television, the radio, the papers, others you know? What helps you to you keep your heart soft and open towards others (and yourself!) in the face of so much suffering and pain?
Cutts, S. (2013). Doing Bad to Do Good. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 8, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2013/05/doing-bad-to-do-good/