Friday, January 18, 2008


I'm watching the 2nd season of "24" on DVD. I watched the first season recently, my wife having given me the two boxed sets for Christmas. For any of you who don't know, it's basically TV-crack.  If you watch the first two episodes of either season and think, "Enh. This isn't for me." You'll be fine. If you watch through three or more... it becomes very difficult to stop. It's not that they're fantastically great TV -- they're good, yes... quite good at times -- but that the show does a genius job at pacing, keeping the action going in nice rolling waves that almost peak at the end of each episode.

In an episode in the 2nd season (I won't spoil, don't worry), a character blames herself for things another character did, saying to Jack Bower [paraphrase], "It's all my fault. I should have seen that something was wrong. I should have stopped it."

Jack's response is beautiful and true. He says [exact quote], "There are things in this world that are just out of our control. Sometimes we like to blame ourselves for them so that we can try to make sense out of it."

Beautiful, true... and scary. We would rather believe that we have some effect on circumstances -- even a negative, harmful effect -- than that we are powerless. If we are responsible, there is, at least, some order. I know from having a shrink for a dad that this happens an awful lot.

I am a big fan of creating Meaning out of UnMeaning. Poetry, nonsense, humor... all these things are ways in which art and fun and knowledge can come from the creation of meaning where before there was none. But, in this case, I can't see a positive result. Yes, we should take responsibility for our actions. But assigning responsibility where there is none is less than helpful.

Making me glad, once again, that my alignment is "chaotic/good." My guess is that those in the "lawful" column are the ones that want to find connections where none existed in order to prove that justice and consequence flow in sensible streams.

Poetry is chaotic. Mercy and grace are chaotic. Just because you can't make sense of something doesn't mean it isn't true.

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