Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To The Lies

Promises of Hope = Lies and Fiction

Remember in "It's a Wonderful Life," how when Mr. Smalltowny Stewart is about to chuck himself over a bridge because Mr. Nasty Wheelchair has finally beat him, but then Mr. Incompetent Angel stops him (well, kind of)?
He is then shown how much different things would be without him (mostly everyone would by whores or librarians, apparently).  Then, he goes home to find that all his troubles have magically gone away and he's richer than rich and Nasty McWheelchair will die alone and unfulfilled after all!!  Hooray!

The point is, the movie promises that when things are at their lowest, wait a moment before hurling yourself into the river: things are sure to get better any moment.
This. Is. A. Lie.

Things might be about to get very much worse.  In fact, things could never get better again.  There is no promise in reality that all bad things will get better that is not a lie.

So to all the inspiring stories out there, the promises that it's darkest just before dawn, that things have to get better: go fuck yourselves, you damned pack of lies.


  1. Wow, rough morning, eh? I can feel the heat from across the continent.

    I can't defend Hollywood, and I agree that promises and guarantees of improvement are silly. They are silly in general, and they are particularly silly when attached to specific solutions(just pray harder, take this pill, etc.). I love the Chekhov line from the Cherry Orchard, "If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure."

    However, I think true statements can be made about the POSSIBILITY or even PROBABILITY of improvement. Things CAN get better, and data suggest that things do in fact get better for many. The majority of those with depression not only survive, they live meaningful, satisfying lives. They contribute. They find a way through, and some become more complex, wise and strong BECAUSE of it. Physical trauma is not identical to depression, but post-traumatic GROWTH is actually the norm; post traumatic stress disorder is the exception. For me, possibility - rather than promise - has had to suffice as grounds for hope.

    If possibility is enough, I think there's also truth in the idea that our choices affect the probability of improvement. Some actions and habits are more likely to make Mr Smalltowny feel happier with his life and make Mr Nasty Wheelchair die alone and unfulfilled. Whoot.

    Nobody really thinks Hollywood's promises are reality, so I suspect you were just blowing off steam. Here I am stating the obvious, when you were probably just venting. Oh well, no tinkling bells for this feeble response!

    (As a side note on things getting better, I'm reading a cool book called Design in Nature about the "Constructal Law." All flow systems, organic or not, tend to structure themselves in increasingly complex ways (predominantly fractals) to foster optimal movement and improved access to flow (of liquid, mass, electricity, etc.). The author puts it in the same category of First Principles as the 2nd law of thermodynamics. If prolonged, efficient, and enhanced flow is improvement, perhaps even nature itself tends towards things getting better rather than worse. Your scientific knowledge far exceeds mine and you may dismiss this idea or my related inference out of hand - but I'd be interested in discussing some time.)

  2. I agree with Snorkle's comment. :) I hope you feel better very quickly. :)

  3. Downer. Potter didn't exactly lose in the movie anyway, he just didn't win.