Selfish People Need Selfish Stories
Kimberly Dark
13313

I often think that a lot of the things you described has to do with how obsessed we’ve become with labels which group people on two clean ends instead of scattered in a spectrum. People have been misusing labels for a long time. We have been turning labels into bookends instead of treating them as the title of a book (by which we shouldn’t even be judging it in the first place). Labels are useful, yes, but not when they take the place of true understanding, when they become the lazy shortcut to dialogue. In this case, we have the Tizon as the villainous slave-owner, never mind that there are so many nuances to his experiences that explan (albeit never excuse) what he did, or didn’t do for that matter. You hit the nail right on the head when you reminded us that people who do bad things are exactly that — people.

This is the irony of this maddeningly relativistic world. We emphasize the subjective experience (“but *this* is how *I* feel”), often even to the detriment of the search for objective truths, yet we always have this tendency to shut down voices that tell a story that we don’t agree with. A friend once told me that we study literature to show us safely what evil is so that we may know evil without having to live it. And if we censor their stories, how else could we understand the human experiences and conditions that led to their terrible choices? And if we don’t understand, how can we even hope to correct?

I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but great article. :)

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