Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hero or Villain?

What determines a "hero" or a "villain" is nothing more than random chance. Let's say a friend tells you he's going to jump off a cliff because his wife just left him, he has terminal cancer, and the bank has begun foreclosure procedures on his house. The two of you are standing at the edge of the abyss, and he starts to jump, but because you love him, you reach out and prevent him from jumping.

Now, let's say that after you pull him back from the abyss, his wife has a change of heart and decides to stay with him. He falls in love with her all over again, and that sends the cancer into spontaneous remission. Because he's now able to work again, the bank gives him an extension, and he is able to get his life back in order. You're a hero - because if you hadn't pulled him back from the cliff, he'd be deader'n a doornail.

Or... Let's say you pull him back from the cliff, but his wife DOESN'T change her mind. She leaves him, and his disease gets worse instead of better. He lapses into a long-term coma, the house is repossessed by the bank, and so there's not only no inheritance for ANYBODY, but his remaining family are left with his medical bills, and must atke out liens on their own property in an attempt to do what's "right", and as a result of all of this, even MORE lives are ruined. You're a schmuck! You shouldda let him jump!

And yet... the action you took was precisely the same, and can only be judged in hindsight by the outcome. The. Action. Was. Precisely. The. Same.

You did what you truly believed was right, and if things had gone another way, you would be the hero, instead of beating yourself up with guilt. But... ultimately, of course, there's no difference in what you did, so obviously there can be no "fault". It's just what is, and as with everything else in life, it can only be judged and evaluated in hindsight. We're all experts on the past, but most are blind as bats where the future is concerned.

From a post to the Carlos Castaneda discussion group on Facebook

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