Good is rewarded. Evil is punished.
That’s the way things should go. There’s a sense of relief when good triumphs. A sense of justice when evil falls. It’s inherent to our nature as human beings. Herein lies the foundation of most our folklore, religions, movies, and novels.
Why do we fixate on the same patterns?
Pretty much every literary piece that humans create reflects an urge to “do good.” An acknowledgement of right and wrong. A simplification of characters into heroes and villains. And the happy ending where love, courage, and kindness prevail.
It’s comforting to fantasize about how life should be. A predictable world filled with beauty and goodness, with just a sprinkle of concentrated bad for flavor.
This notion of “good should triumph evil” governs our entire lives. It’s reflected in our feelings of unjust when good people die and bad people thrive. The just desserts of a cheating spouse humiliated, or a murderer shot in the street.
We cling so tightly to this narrative because it feels right. But it doesn’t seem to reflect reality. Life often makes no sense. It’s harsh and unpredictable. It feels unfair and unjust. Random and chaotic. A sharp contrast to the linear stories we’ve created for centuries and centuries.
But sometimes it feels just like one of those stories. Simple, beautiful, and coherent. Filled with moments of joy, bliss, harmony, and love.
Is the notion of “good and evil” folly, or is our understanding of it flawed? Should we abandon the idea, or seek to mature it? To find meaning in things that don’t scream meaning. To find truth in a world that doesn’t make sense.