One of the questions that I constantly mull over in my head is something I call The Savior Enigma. It can be taken in two forms; villainous justification or …..being a savior – I feel like I should have put something witty there, but I’m tired.
Follow along with me as I open my skull and let you see the cacophony of screams and monsters noises that is my thought process. Careful, there is a monkey in a nightie throwing diamond crusted dinosaur eggs filled with goat piss to the left, and a knee-high version of he-man running around, mounted on top of a blob of Marlon Brando’s liposuction fat shaped like a giraffe to the right. Don’t mind the video being played overhead of me doing the ‘fork in the garbage disposal’ dance in a pirate costume. Needless to say, my mind is a bit fucked up, bear that in mind.
Essentially what I call The Savior Enigma is this; If it were in a person’s hands to unite mankind, have humanity put aside it’s differences and join together as one body to further the human condition, is there a point in action where the deed is evil but becomes good or is good but becomes evil? If that is too complicated to follow or if I didn’t articulate myself gooder (see what I did there?), think of the Watchmen graphic novel.
*******DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER********
What I’m about to write has spoilers about the Watchmen novel. Read on at your own peril.
At the end of the novel, Ozymandias sent a giant alien squid, it wasn’t really an alien, to the middle of time square. By doing this he scared the living shit out of humanity and made them think there was an impending attack on Earth. All the nations of the world, which in the novel were on the verge of war/nuclear assault, put aside their differences and started to band together to fight off the certain invasion, except Ozymandias made the thing up. Yes, people died with him doing this, that means he killed people, which is bad. But he united mankind against a common enemy so war would end and peace would prosper. What Ozy achieved was something that has never really ever happened in human history, but he did it through the death of innocents. If there is a heaven or a hell, which would he go to? He single-handedly saved lives and turned humanity on a course of unity and peace unlike anything we have ever dreamed, but his hands are bloody.
By definition Ozy was a villain. He did the one thing that good-hearted people just don’t do. But the outcome of his actions were amazing to say the least. But the end results also put him in a savior category.
Don’t like that example? How about this one. Please bare in mind that this is a hypothetical, it isn’t true.
Let’s say I take up the hobby of killing all the thieves, murders, rapists, child molesters, etc, in the world. I take their lives to protect society and human kind from their transgressions and ugliness. I purge the world of evil and wrong, see where I’m going yet?, by doing wrong. Lets say by my actions I begin to eliminate all the wrongness of the world. Regardless of whatever religion you prescribe to, I’m a doomed soul for having killed. But by stopping all these bad people, even at the sacrifice of my salvation, I made the world a better place. Would I earn golden stars for saving the would be victims of a serial killer by killing the serial killer? Am I a savior or am I a murderer? If the outcome of my actions sprinkle such happiness and warm fuzzy feelings all over the world, at what point would the taint and evil that stained my soul be overlooked? Surely somebody who prevented genocide by killing a dictator wouldn’t fry in hell, or would they?
Is it the act or the outcome the defines someone as a savior? Do we ignore one or the other, or do both get taken into consideration?
Anyway, this is just something that has plagued me for a while. I thought I would share it. Through this concept or question I have created several antagonists, people just trying to make the world better but are doing really heinous things to accomplish it. When I apply this to the real world, sometimes the answer becomes confusing to me. Feel free to throw your two cents in.