About the only good thing I can recall from the latest episode of Criminal Minds (“Lucky Strikes”) is the following endquote:
“People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies.” Don Miguel Ruiz
Which, of course, reminded me of this old classic:
When I think about it, I can’t recall a single person from my life, no matter how terrible their actions, that I can truly think of as evil. And, if I’m honest, even those I have held in the highest regard have had their failings as well. The same seems true as well for both the famous and infamous people of history, for there are none that I can think of that don’t have people today who think of them in terms contrary to popular opinion.
In yesterday’s “breaking news,” MSNBC announced that political analyst Mark Halperin is out at the network following allegations of sexual harassment. This, of course, comes amidst the continuous “breaking news” headlines covering similar allegations aimed at famed Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. And who could forget the long, drawn-out, and, for me at least, heart wrenching scandal involving Bill Cosby – one of my personal heroes. WTF Man?!?!
Of course, upon reflection, I have to wonder why, exactly, is everyone behaving as if they’re so “shocked” about all this. After all, we just elected a new president even after he was caught on tape bragging about using his fame to “try and “fuck” women and groping them without waiting for their consent.” And what about the infamous exploits of former president Bill Clinton, whose behavior was not only in the news before he was elected, but led to an embarrassing impeachment fiasco that will forever be a stain on our nation’s reputation. And then, of course, there was JFK. Really, the list just goes on and on… The thing is though, how many people will claim that any of those men were actually evil?
The truth is, we men are pigs, and no amount of feigned “shock” can hide the fact that we all know it, both men and women, and have known it all our lives. So the real question is: why are men like that, and why is that not the big question being asked in the news? Why aren’t we questioning the fact that our culture raises men to measure their success in life in terms of their sexual conquests? And why aren’t we asking the same questions about teaching young girls that the only real power they’ll ever have derives from their capacity to manipulate men through their sexual desires? Just think about the women little girls are trying to emulate today. You’d have to be an idiot not to recognize that those women are so “famous” – the very fame that brought them to those girl’s attentions in the first place – at least in part because of how “sexy” they look.
I can’t speak for other men, but the lies I’ve told and the actions I’ve taken in the pursuit of sexual gratification rank pretty high on the list of things I’m ashamed of. And, weirdly enough, after a lifetime of witnessing the horrible behavior of other men towards women, I think it’s been my own fear of being viewed as just another “man on the prowl” that has prevented me from becoming an even worse predator myself. All of us I think, both men and women, need to be a lot more thoughtful about what it is that drives our behavior towards the opposite sex. Really, as “powerful” as being seen as a “sexual conqueror” or an “irresistible vixen” may seem, is that truly how we want to be seen by the people we want to trust us? Are those really the role models we want to present to our kids?
The title of this post is the first half of an old saying we’ve all heard a thousand times, which, in the context of this discussion, leads me to another interesting quote from Don Miguel Ruiz:
I change my story by changing what I believe about myself. When I clean up the lies I believe about myself, the lies I believe about other people change. Every time I change myself, my whole story changes to adapt to the new main character.
In the pursuit of happiness, adopting the roles presented to us may seem to be just the on-ramp we’re looking for to the success we both want and need. But, deep down, I think we all know that we can never get off the “road to hell” we’re actually on that way. I may have never heard of Don Miguel Ruiz before that disappointing Criminal minds episode the other night, but I’m thankful for the introduction nevertheless. Because his words have really given me a lot to think about while viewing my path ahead.
“Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes…”
I want ice water.
More from the Random Ravings volume