The appeal of evil.

I have an unusual subject for you all today. (At least I hope it’s unusual.) What is the alluring power of evil?

Believe it or not, this was sparked by a chapter title in The Ever After High book “The Storybook of Legends.”

In this particular chapter, Shannon Hale takes a rather startling turn from the rest of the book, which has dealt with our protagonist, Raven Queen, feeling unfit for evil. WE all feel bad for Raven, but in this chapter Hale shocks us with a rather long inner battle in Raven’s mind about whether evil might actually be an intoxicating thing. There was a lot of power at Raven’s fingertips. (Literally.) A whole army of evil servants willing to do whatever she wanted. And she could even take revenge on everyone who “had ever made her feel like dirt.” While shes’ thinking this, Dexter, one of her few friends, comes up to her and says he almost didn’t recognize her because she looked so angry.

Personally, this chapter made sense to me. Right from the start of the day Raven feels the pressure to sign the book and seal her fate. She dresses up in her mom’s cape, puts on striking make up, and looks the part. She even feels the part, mistaking the inner turmoil shes’ feeling as evil, when in reality, it’s her uncertainty mixed with her fears of both signing and not signing.

But is the power of evil really so appealing?

Many sources recognize that evil appeals to our desire to control, to have absolute power, to manipulate others and ourselves. Pretty much any book with magic in it will deal with that part of evil and power at some point. (And if it doesn’t; frankly, I question how relevant it is.) Take the ring in the Lord of The Rings. It isolates the person wearing it, and tempts them to keep using it, to keep having control. Another example is The Green Goblin, whom I mentioned in my post about Spider-Man. The Goblin offers Osborne more and more control, but the price is to do evil. We all know which he chooses.

But though it’s easy to identify what desires in us prompt us to give in to this kind of evil, I rarely hear it discussed whether the desire itself is not evil to begin with.

A lot of kids, sad to say, are rooting for Raven to be evil. Why? Because it’s so darn cool. (I don’t speak for myself, here, of course.) Because she’s so much more intimidating when she’s evil. Even people in the story are rooting for her to be evil. Which is infuriating both to her and to the fans.

Girl Meets World pointed out the fact that just when we think we’ve seen the worst of it, someone finds a new way to do evil. Why? “Because it’s evil that fascinates us.”

Girl Meets World main character Riley’s dad said something else, that evil changes our idea of what fun is.

The fact that evil is a kind of thrill is a sad fact of life; but it does not give us a pass.

Let’s go back to Raven. She has always felt like evil is not a good fit for her. But she knows other kids at school who are destined to be villains who like it. They have no pressure on them to be nice, in fact, they are applauded for being nasty. And Raven could have gone that way. It was tempting.

And what is it that makes it tempting? Is it not our desire to control things? And is that desire good?

Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about motive. Evil would not be appealing to someone who had no evil desires, and every human being has evil desires. As James 1 tells us, and as any honest person will have to admit. I’ll admit it right now, I sometimes have desires that I know are bad. I get angry, and I don’t always want to let it go, though I know I must. I feel like hiding the truth. And I give into fear.

I don’t do any of this as much as I used to, but I still feel like doing it sometimes. Something is wrong with some part of me.

This doesn’t make you a bad person, in as much as any human being can be a good person. But it does present a problem. It means none of us are perfectly good.

And if so, aren’t we all evil?

I don’t need to protest, you’ll all probably do it for me. Because nowadays our immediate response is “Don’t judge me.” Or “Nobody is without flaws.”

And yes, I am not one to judge. But I can at least go so far as to say, it is not good to have evil desires.

But does that mean Raven has already lost? And does that mean we all have?

Yes and no.

We are none of us good by nature. But neither are we completely bad. The mistake the Ever After High books are highlighting for us is that is it wrong to think anyone is automatically all good just because they are supposed to be, and it is wrong to think anyone is all evil just because they were taught to be.

Raven Queen has the purest heart of just about any modern character I’ve encountered, but even she was able to see why evil can be tempting. So why did she decide not to choose it?

Why did she give up control?

Well, Raven is smart. She figured our that by giving up control, she was really taking control for the first time. But not of her destiny, per sec; but of herself.

Raven saw more clearly than most of us that signing away your life to evil will never be a happy fate, no matter what perks it seems to have at first. One big part of it was she didn’t want to become full of hatred. Which she would have been, because she’d always blame her destiny for her unhappiness. (And not unjustly either.)

Unlike the foolish Apple White, who put aside all misgivings in order to do what she thought she was born to do.

In conclusion, it is the desire to give in to evil that we all need to guard against. It is what prompts us to do wrong, and it needs to die. Every time it comes back. I know of only one way to accomplish this, and that is through Christ.

But even so, any of us can choose to resist it. We should.

Hope you enjoyed, until next time–Natasha.

Legacy

Ever wonder what your impact will be on the world? When you’re gone what will be different because of you? There’s a name for what you leave behind you; it’s called Legacy.

Good old Girl Meets World has an episode devoted to this that I recommend checking out if you can. I don’t want to spend too much time explaining it but I might use the show itself as an example here.

Girl Meets World made its share of mistakes, but it was always clear that their intention was good. You could tell they really wanted to make you think, and they wanted to help you.

It’s a connection that the creator of a movie, show, or book makes with their audience. It’s a way that we know they care, and if we watch or read it, they in turn know we care. Some of us are moved to tears just by realizing that someone out there wants to do right by us, others of us less emotional people just give it respect.

We actually feel betrayed when a show like this gets cancelled, and a book series suddenly takes a different turn and stops being about promoting the good things we liked it for.

Then, bitter or disappointed or just sad, we talk about what that thing meant to us. Other people think we’re nutty for caring so much. We try to explain.

This is why: Someone cared. Someone tried. Someone actually succeeded.

It didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to be good.

I felt understood, or I felt respected. Like the writers actually cared what they were introducing to my mind.

There are those of us who like dirty movies, or horror, but let’s be honest, even if we do, do we truly like the people who put that stuff out there. We let them screw us, figuratively speaking, but do we give them an ounce of respect for it? We may not regard out own minds, but do we really appreciate that they don’t regard us either?

In my limited experience, the people who like horror and sexually charged material are also the ones with low self respect. You expose yourself to garbage when you feel like garbage, it’s just true. (Not that you have to, but that’s why.)

The people who loved Girl Meets World loved it because it respected them. They respected themselves enough to accept it. The kids who got helped by it’s messages about bullying, being yourself, choosing rightly, they all got helped because they had it in them to be helped.

Half the time, the show just reminded us of what we already knew.

But that was okay, goodness knows we need that.

Girl Meets World wanted to make people’s lives better, makes their relationships better, and thereby make the world better. Hence the title Girl (you, boy can be substituted as we all know) Meets (relationships) World (it says itself.)

At the end of both Girl Meets World and its predecessor Boy Meets World, Riley and Cory both realize the meaning of meeting the world. and while I still hope for something more, because of my faith, I won’t deny it’s a good message. Meet the world. Know you aren’t alone in it. Then change it.

That’s a legacy worth leaving. That’s what legacy is. Who you are, who you meet, what you impact. That’s what you leave behind you. Material legacy just represents the unseen legacy.

Those are my thoughts, and this is also my thank you to this show and to every book and movie I’ve ever liked and learned from. Until next time–Natasha.

I feel all right like I could take on the world. Light up the stars I got some pages to turn. I’m singing o-o-oh, o-o-oh. I’ve got a  ticket to the top of the sky. I’m coming up I’m on the ride of my life. O-o-oh, o-o-oh. Take on the world. Take on the world. Take on the world.

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Reach higher.

Good Obsession

I have a confession to make, before Girl Meets World was cancelled, I was already losing enthusiasm for it. I liked some episodes, but others just annoyed me. On the whole I considered it a good show and I recommended it, but personally I was losing interest.

This is not abnormal for me, I have what is known (by some people) as an obsessive–compulsive personality. I’m not so compulsive, but I do get obsessed over things, it lasts a few weeks to a few months, but once my interest wanes, I start to have feelings of disgust for the object of my obsession, like you get sick of eating the same food after awhile. If I have just described you, keep reading because chances are you need to hear this as much as I do.

I’ve wondered: if I can lose interest in these things after such a short time, are they really good at all?

I’m not one to just say my brain works that way and leave it there, I only feel this way because of the standards I have that a book or a show eventually fails to meet.

I get this with people too, I like them for a while, and then I see some of their faults and I feel like I misjudged them.

But before I alarm anybody, let me reassure you, I don’t dump my friends every time this happens. I’ve actually never dumped a friend in my life. (In my memory.)

Which is because, obsessive personality or no, one has to realize what is really important in life, and that some things remain important even when they are boring.

My short-lived obsessions are good for me. They keep me finding new enjoyments, and they die out before they really become unhealthy; but the trouble is when the excitement wears off, I have to considered if the thing was worth it.

I’ve never considered if it’s worth it to be interested in a real life person because I value people too much. I think everyone is worth interest and if someone were to say they were not, I would have a problem with that. (I do however, think some people are not worth romantic interest because they are unfit for it, that is a different matter.)

But things are another story, which brings me back to the show. I actually had been watching t for less than a year when it got cancelled, I’m a relatively new fan, and yes, was questioning whether I even still lied t r not. The episodes were okay the firs time you saw them. I’ve used them quite a few times on this blog to help my point. They work well for that. The trouble was, they didn’t go as deep as I wanted. Each episode was only a half hour so that may just be expected.

When it comes to evaluating the merit of a show or movie, I do have to think of the flaws. Though my favorite movie, Frozen, doesn’t have any. Just kidding, it does. I won’t point them out, but they are there. Another of my favorite shows, Ever After High, had major flaws. The shows I currently like, though I would not recommend them to everyone, have plenty.

There is no such thing as a perfect movie or show. There is no perfect book (except the Bible. No punchline here.) There is no perfect person (except Jesus.)

That’s another thing. Some of you may have the 2–week Christian, or 2–week healthy lifestyle, or whatever. They try it, lose enthusiasm, and go back to their ordinary lives. We all have relapses, but in this case it’s clear there never was a real change.

I still can’t fully explain this phenomenon. I only can tell you that it is very hard for human beings to change ourselves,. The common ingredient of these failures is the person wants to get themselves back together, they will get closer to God; they will get on an exercise program or a diet; they will do better.

I’m young, people, but I already know, I will not do any of those things or do them well, if I am doing it just for me. Very few love themselves that much, and if they do they have a whole other problem to deal with.

I have tried to break myself of the obsessive habit, but I realized that God has used it to teach me things. I still have to control it, but it’s actually easier to do that once I stop hating it. As for what I obsess over, this is what I’ve worked out.

  1. I like stuff for a reason; find that reason; learn from it; digest it; and move on.
  2. It’s okay if it’s flawed, just be aware of the flaws, and either stop watching or reading or doing, or do it but eat the meat, spit out the bones.
  3. Only God has ever held my interest and trust at all times, and I am not alwasys feeling it even then.
  4. Let God be God, and let man be man. People fail, God doesn’t.

That last one applies to the writers of books and movies too, by the way. They fail, we need to look for their successes. Good and bad, that is their legacy.

That’s all for now–Natasha.20160628_201011

 

The Green Glasses Question.

If you’ve ever read the book “The Wizard of Oz.” You might remember that there’s a small but important bit that they cut out of the movie.

It takes place when the foursome first comes to the Emerald city and the gatekeeper gives them all green glasses, telling them it I just the custom or something along that line. They all oblige since what’s the harm in wearing glasses? They go inside and find that everything in the city is emerald-green, it is lovely; even the people are green. They go to Oz, and leave again, much like in the movie, but they are surprised when after they leave, their clothes that they got in the city are no longer green. When, at last, they return to Oz and discover the Wizard is a fraud, he tells Dorothy that the city is (gasp) not really emerald, but he solved this dilemma with the green glasses. “If people wear green glasses,” he says, “everything will seem green to them.” It is left at that, but the reader is thinking “That was so obvious. I could have told them the city wasn’t really green from the beginning.” (I know I am not the only one who reads books this way.)

Something I never asked myself when I read these books as a kid was why on earth the people wore the glasses? Surely they could have realized the truth, they could have seen out of the corner of their eye that the city was really colorful. Why stay deluded?

I guess there is a novelty in a city all one color, I think it would be boring, but maybe there are some who would put up with it. After all, all of Oz is already color themed (fun fact not in the movie) so they must be used to it, but it still wasn’t true. Did no one ever question it? Dorothy didn’t even, and she was from Kansas.

But then, Kansas was all grey. There is a  persistent theme in the book that every place is its own color because of how interesting it is. Or the trades of the people in it. I do not think this was intended to be a race or class stereotype, but a mindset. To Dorothy, everything after Kansas would be a relief from the greyness. Yet she wants to go back and tells the scarecrow, (when he asks why, when it is so grey and drab,) that it’s home.

The thing is, I read most of the books in the series (it was a kick) and I notice that every adventure centers on leaving your home and seeing new places. All the people in Oz are born in one section with one color, they have to leave it, Dorothy has to leave Kansas, or else nothing happens ever, except that things steadily get worse.

I am aware that some people will still think these books are racist because of the color themes, but trust me, that’s not it. I read them okay? I’m telling you, it’s the way of thinking that is the color.

To prove my point, let’s go back to the glasses question. I finally concluded that the obvious answer was that the people wanted to believe in the Emerald city. That’s all there is to it.

I could leave it here and let you figure out the rest, but my point may not be totally clear yet.

My sister asked me if there actually was the horse of another color in the book, (it’s in the movie,) I told her no, there never was. I think the reason is, the horse that changes color would be of no use in the Emerald city, everyone there would see green. And in the other countries, the horse wouldn’t fit. And it wouldn’t fit because the whole phrase “a horse of another color” means “a different matter”, and it means you have to change your answer, and thus your perspective. Which is exactly what nobody in Oz wants to do.

I loved the series, but it was to my disappointment that not one of the characters really changes or grows through the course of a dozen books. There are a few surface changes, but none of real substance. The movie shows Dorothy change, but in the book she really doesn’t, she only finds out that there’s a better place than Kansas, eventually she returns to Oz, and brings her family with her. (Sorry for the spoilers. But that actually was my only incentive for reading the rest of the series and I was put off for one book as it was.)

They go to many different places, in the series, and find many different points of view; but it lacks the fundamental element of change. In Girl Meets World, the code of the show is “People change people.” I agree with that in part, and it is closer to the truth than saying “People never change.”

This may be only me, but I find series and shows in which the characters never change to be both boring and unrealistic, we are meant to change. Our ideas are meant to broaden and expand.

You could pull any amount of lessons from the metaphor of the green glasses; but I ‘m pulling this one: Take the blinders off, change your perspective, it’s okay.

There is the argument that if the city looks green, then it is green to whoever sees it that way. The Wizard seems to hold this belief. But may I remind everyone that the Wizard’s whole career was spent deceiving people. Surely, his perception of truth has to be flawed.

There city really is colorful. That is the truth. Whether you see it that way or not, that part is your choice.

That’s my thought on the subject. Until next time–Natasha.Welcome Scan

The lost Virtue

I got busy over the weekend and didn’t find time to post, but today I have.

SO, I’ll be working on a lot of writing projects over the next few months and I figure the subject matter is bound to overlap. One thing I’ll be thinking of this month is Virtue.

That word is very rarely used anymore, and I think I ought to know what it actually means. Let’s see what the dictionary says.

  1. Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
  2. Conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles.
  3. Chastity; virginity.
  4.  A particular moral excellence
  5. A good or admirable quality or property
  6. Effective force; power or potency  (all this from dictionary.com, love that website)

As you can see virtue is a noun and kind of a verb and adjective as well. It is a characteristic. No #6 may be a bit confusing, but it means virtue as the strength of something. It is used that way because virtue was once seen as the strength of one’s character.

Now that we’ve defined it, let’s look at it. Why should I care about virtue? How does this things affect me? Is it present in our culture. Here’s a big one: how can I possibly make virtue seem relevant to people who don’t even use the word often. If at all. Seriously, when was the last time you thought about it? All obstacles I must overcome to write anything worth reading on this subject.

It’s unusual to write a blog post this way, but that’s the point. Do you ever read blogs and think about how the author tries to catch your interest? Many bloggers don’t they just write whatever and don’t seem connected with their audience at all. That’s the virtue of their writing. (See what I did there.) Now this is not an attempt to get more readers on my own blog, but I do want them to know I think of them when I’m working on this material.

Of course Virtue has a huge place in my life, though I typically call it morality. My posts are geared to encourage people to virtue. I think about it a lot. I believe in the importance of it. And I almost daily feel the sting of a country that has thrown virtue out with excellence. It has embraced mediocrity, and it has shamed the wise and intelligent.

Case in point, I recently watched part of a movie that was based off “Pride and Prejudice.” No this was not the zombie version, don’t get me started on that. This was about a modern woman going back in time into the actual story. The movie quickly took the story, tore it to shreds, and said “screw you Austen fans.” It was the most blatant disrespect of an author I’ve seen. And of a story. They stopped at nothing, they sexualized, demoralized, vulgarized, and then changed the ending altogether.

The worst of it was the main character claimed to know and love the story, but she didn’t know a blooming thing about refinement. Or manners.

Virtue may be said to be the heart of something, and this movie missed the heart of the book so entirely I could hardly believe they read it. I think they just watched the BBC version and decided to learn absolutely nothing about good writing from it.

Jane Austen stands as a threat to cheap and sexualized romance stories, and those writers seem to have formed a committee to destroy her. And she is not the only one, what about the other good stories that are being changed? What about the historical figures whoa re being mocked? What about the books that are being censored from schools because the supposedly are racist? When is someone going to stand up and say “Enough!”

Well, even if you complain about it, people will quickly tell you you are just too picky. You are left wondering what happened to standards.

I’ll tell  you, it’s the loss of virtue. Less than a hundred years ago people began to reject age old morality, and to embrace a new kind that was in fact as old as the hills. Mainly this subsisted of sexual freedom (read: addiction.) And dispensing with things like manners and respect and tradition. To this day tradition is demonized by many sources. We’ve seen ups and downs since the roaring twenties, but we have yet to see a real restoration in our modern time.

There are people trying to restore standards. That’s one of the reasons for homeschooling. But we are still far outnumbered by the mediocre educators. Sorry if you happen to be in one of those schools. But I’m just telling it how it is, and believe me, I do know.

Virtue is something that must be cultivated, and that is why it was supposed to be incorporated into schooling. C. S. Lewis thought the purpose of education was to teach a student what he (or her) ought to feel about things. Not by brainwashing, but by teaching him to perceive value. But people began to say value didn’t exist, but being hypocrites (for they said that it was better to think that way, thereby ascribing value to their own philosophy,) all they really taught the children was to scorn everything that was not cold hard fact. Lewis called this “men without chests” and showed how such thinking would abolish mankind. It also abolishes virtue.

Without valuing things we cannot see, we cannot value virtue. This point was made in that show Girl Meets World, when Mr. Matthews pointed out that until you feel things, powerful things, you are not a full human being.

Until you feel, you cannot understand virtue. And that is why Apathy is plaguing our young people and our old people. There is a lack of virtue in the influences that surround us. Sadly, we have taught each other not to care. A vicious cycle.

But it is not too late. The first step is to realize the problem.

This is too long to elaborate further, so until next post–Natasha.

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Doves: Also a symbol of purity.

A sad farewell

This is a post in commemoration of something that may only matter to me personally.

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Light up the stars

 Girl Meets World has been cancelled.

If you never watched it you probably don’t care, and I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t either.

Now, unlike a lot of fans, I’m not broken up about it. I have to confess that a lot of the more recent episodes had begun to turn me off because they were so repetitive. But I believed the writers could climb out of their rut. Now they may not get the chance.

Plus the final episodes were really good, and I almost was moved to tears by them. I could relate plenty to the idea of leaving places and people you love to go separate ways. All the fans feel like they didn’t get their fair share  of the show, since it only ran three seasons instead of the expected four.

Well it’s Disney channel’s right to cancel whatever they want. But I will say without bias (since I used to watch Disney Channel before Girl Meets World existed and I didn’t like most of the shows. I barely liked any,) the it is the best show I’ve ever seen on the channel, and one of the best shows for kids I’ve seen period.

I think Girl Meets World is worth remembering for one reason. though it had it’s flaws, it was clear to all of us watching that the writers (and actors) cared about their audience. Whether we agreed with them or not, we knew they had the guts to challenge us. And to talk to us about mature subjects that even adults struggle with, and yet in a way high schoolers could relate to, whether you’re homeschooled, private schooled, or public schooled.

Without being inappropriate, this show managed to be serious and also funny. It didn’t do it perfectly, but it didn’t have to. We could tell they were trying, and that made up for the errors most of the time. Even when it didn’t, we still gave the next episode a shot because we knew they could outperform themselves.

Frankly, the young actors on that show could be proud of being on it. And I can’t say that about a lot of kids’ shows.

The fact that this show was cancelled at all demonstrates to me and every other fan, that the producers actually couldn’t care less about what we learn and if they are improving out lives. The total crud they are endorsing season after season because it gets better ratings….? Why?!!

I’ll tell you why. Money. And the fact that our culture does not hold anyone in the industry up to any kind of standards for making good quality material. As long as it’s not sex, drugs, or alcohol, and no one’s getting murdered, it’s a kid show.

Read that last sentence again. What are we coming to? Girl Meets World, silly as it sounds, was a beacon of hope to a lot of us that maybe some people out there cared.

You see, we’re realistic, we know that despite whatever we think is healthy, millions of kids will watch TV. Whether they should or not. So the best thing we can hope for is that the shows on there will actually be promoting good morals. Good experiences.

Instead we see a lot of humor that involves behaving like an animal or an emotionally unstable human being. A lot of kids are imitating that. I have. (I know better now, I hope.)

TV may never make you smarter, but it could still be a good influence on you if we wanted it bad enough. But why should entertainment have a point? Or why should it have a good point?

The point of a lot of shows is to make fun of us. The viewers. And to mock us. And to desecrate the most important things in life. And we let them. Because it’s a joke.

I’m being a  bit hard on us because this bugs me a lot. I’ve seen and dealt with TV addiction firsthand, and I know what it did to me. It won’t physically show, but you mind is more important than your body. (Hear me Millenials? Don’t believe the magazine covers.)

I’m running long so I’m going to conclude. But I’m challenging whoever reads this to consider what our standards should be. I know that big flashing screen is hypnotizing, I dal with it every day. But I also know you can walk out of the room. You can quit. And you can make decisions now about what your kids will be allowed to take into their minds. and whether or not you even need a TV in your house.

I just want you to think about it. Over ant out–Natasha.

I’ve been waiting for a day like this to come, struck like lightning, my heart’s beating like a drum, on the edge of something wonderful.

Face to face with changes, what’s it all about? Life is crazy, but I know I can work it out, ’cause I’ve got you to live it with me.

I feel all right like I could take on the world! Light up the stars I got some pages to turn. Singing whoa-o-o. I got a ticket to the top of the sky, I’m coming up I’m on the ride of my life! Whoa-o-o.

Take on the world. Take on the world. Take on the world!