Ugly presumption is awful. Behind every beauty, youth, innocence, charm, care, compassion, or generosity lies deceit? Are we really so inured to “original sin”? Do we automatically subscribe to the “selfish gene”? Must there be a soiled identity lurking behind the civil and the noble? Is there always an evil eye waiting behind the many masks we see? And just because there is so much in our 24/7 pop culture that perpetuates a sense of distrust, so many examples of honourable men gone wrong, lovely women turned horrid, do we needs become a society of mistrust and misanthropy? Or can we, Rogerian like, still wag with puppy-delight at each new soul we encounter? Can we see the beauty behind the mask?
I would the image above were painted the other way round. Surely there is beauty so profound in every being it just takes some delving sometimes to see it? Do we not like the lion, and the tiger, and the crocodile? No? Ah yes, crocodiles are not quite so photogenic as to appeal. But have you ever seen a mother croc with her babies aboard? The great “Intentionality” in life is the real divider behind what we understand as truly ugly, and what is just natural. How would you like to be the pretty little lady-bug being unwittingly masticated by a bovine? What a bad ox!
But each time we purposefully hurt and betray and harm we forget our essential beauty. And our pop culture, our televisions and newspapers and images and art and words and films and stories and fears create for us an ongoing sense of the monsters behind our perceptions of innocence. The post-apocalyptic world is presented as essentially self-serving, so invariably dystopian. Is the beast in us all?
Thoughts of Original Sin ought carefully to be examined. As a cardinal concept it is a fulcrum around which fear for the future continues to profit. We purchase our relics; we pay for our sins; we procure ourselves a spot in heaven. We are thereby leavened, purified, made again innocent. And all the while we live we perpetuate our sense of shame at being alive with this ugliness within. How dreadful. How very painful. “The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons.” How seemingly inescapable! And how very debilitating to feel, no matter what, that I wear only a mask. How very difficult it is then for one to see oneself as but a molecule of the whole that has form and identity given it by the very life in which one grows up, that one leads, that one conceives of as true and real and viable.