Personal Essay 2 – Moral Compass


Personal Essay Button The essays I’ll be writing and posting on the last Tuesday of every month will not be for the lighthearted. They will be honest, sometimes vivid explorations of my life.

I’m writing them for two reasons: to help put my experience in perspective and to purge myself of any residual compost. I’ll understand if you don’t read them, but keep in mind, you may never get a better chance to see the inner workings of another person–not this raw, or candid.

If you like, you are invited to join me this week, or next month, and write your own personal essay. Post the link in comments and I’ll be sure to drop by.

Let it begin:

I’d like to believe all of us know the difference between right and wrong. I’m a pretty good judge of my behavior and I think I tow the line. Decent people do decent acts, and I’m always in excited when I catch them, because these wonderful, thoughtful, kind people really do exist in the strangest places. What scares me is when I see something that I think is so wrong being accepted by someone else as being the right thing to do. I’m tired of being entertained by visionaries without a moral compass;too many stories spend too much time getting us to identify with the hero and then the hero does something very, very wrong and because we understand why–it’s okay, but it’s not OK.

Since I was young, it was pounded into me, and I don’t mean literally, the difference between right and wrong. I heard it at church, from my parents, and at school. If I stepped out of line I knew it. I never lied to myself, and when I look back I can see that part of it was growing up, understanding consequences, and discovering I wasn’t all good or all bad–just a bit of both. Yin and yang lives on in all of us, even today.

My internet persona is based on the fact I can pretty much imagine anything, so you might think I’m friggin nuts after reading the this paragraph–but I’m not imagining this. I know there are decent people in the world. They work hard and try to make a life for themselves, and with the way things are it’s very tough. Am I over reacting when I watch amoral events and wonder how that is influencing us as a whole? Is it too much to ask that heroes stay valiant and strong, because I need heroes in books, movies, etc. and mostly, I need heroes in my day-to-day life.

Some stories are just sad; not sad as in not done well, but sad because they swap good and evil like a toggle switch. I don’t care what color your hat is, if killing is wrong then it is wrong for all of us. I recently watched a movie where the protag was struggling to save another’s life (very moving and profoundly enriching), she does succeed after great personal sacrifice and then (for twists sake) turns around and kills the an unarmed, totally vulnerable antag in cold blood. The producer of this work, must figure the audience would be won over by all the protag’s previous good works, but I was repulsed. Isn’t it bad enough that some of the things we write about could/might happen; now we have to toxify them.

I’m tired of entertainment without a moral compass. Not because I don’t see through it–I do. But I ask myself if anyone else thinks these things through, or are they all too busy trying to survive in our trying times? Today I pose a question–are you thinking about how you are influenced by the world around you? In desperate times like this it’s easy to feel weakened, but decency is still here and so is goodness; there may be less true heroes on the big screen, but they do exist and I suspect you’re one of them. πŸ™‚


18 responses to “Personal Essay 2 – Moral Compass

  1. I believe there are more good than bad people, otherwise, what would the world be like? I think we are too quick to call people heroes, though. Doing the right thing, does not make a person a hero. In books and movies, I can be a bit more lenient because, after all, it’s not real. But It makes for better reading and watching if they at least try. Interesting post, thanks Anna.

  2. I agree with you on a whole lot of counts. Good people are out there and I see them every single day doing good deeds or small acts of kindness.

    I hate getting into a book and falling in love with the characters only to see them do something really stupid along the way (like cheat) and have it be glossed over. it isn’t right and it isn’t spending a very good message either. Yes we all make mistakes and no one is perfect and yes we should forgive but as with most things, we have to pay for those mistakes as well. They shouldn’t be glossed over because real mistakes have real consequences.

    • Ah, I’m starting to see why it bothers me so. If they do this at the end of the story, I don’t get to read/watch what protag has to face later.

      I think you’ve helped me have a break through.

      Thanks. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh so true, from mean girls to senseless unprovoked killing it is scary. It sends a mixed message when these are made to be attractive qualities or the characters are labeled heroes.

    • I love heroes. I did the comics as a kid and watch them on the big screen. All protags are heroes to me and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for moral mistakes.

      Is my pedestal too high? :shoulder shrug::

  4. I agree, as we need good heroes who do the right thing no matter the cost. I don’t really enjoy it when the “good guy” does something evil and we’re supposed to accept it because, well, he’s the good guy. Um, no! Good guys are supposed to be good and I want them to stick to the straight and narrow!

  5. When it comes to books I am okay with good and bad being a little mixed up, because I think that is real. It is hard to be a 100% good person or even a 100% bad person. No one is perfect and it sucks but I accept it.

  6. Em, for some reason this isn’t letting me reply. I just wanted to say your not alone.

    Sent from my iPod

  7. Great reflections… πŸ™‚
    I’m an optimist – so I believe there are more good than bad people in this world. But I’m also a realist – I realize that the world is not always a wonderful place… and people do have hidden agendas and evil intentions… but not everybody… and now I’m thinking how all this would translate onto the written page…??
    If my MC does wrong, I don’t think I’d be inclined to let him/her off too lightly… I WOULD be harsh, because in any “normal” society, there SHOULD be accountability for ones actions… but it does depend on the context… mmm, food for thought…

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment Anna!
    Writer In Transit

  8. Perhaps in your reading, you miss label who is the good guy lol. I once thought that I was doing good but realized that innocent people was being hurt and left depressed. one persons hero is another’s enemy. I had to sit down and think what side of right are we one. Like Enders’ Game

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