Watching new X Files made me stay up all night. Why? Because of nostalgia? No. Because it has woken up my brain cells. There were many conspiracy series and movies since X Files and I watched many of them. So starting new episode I thought they can’t really bring something new to the picture. Of course they did in their anxious uncompromising way, without sugar-coating. But that’s not the point.
The point is that “the truth is out there”, and “I want to believe” made me think about my recent musings of perspective. It’s true that perspectives vary between people but truth is completely different topic than perspective.
The question became clear to me while watching on and of Ben Ten with my daughter (yeah I know but cartoons are big part of my daily life now and you’d be surprised how many insights I get when they repeat over and over). He was transmogrifying (oh look at that new post) and fighting everyday people because they’ve been turned into monsters. That made me see two realities. One that is like that was shown on screen and other that is in our realm where Ben would surely be a schizophrenic boy on a murdering spree. Frightening change of perspective that depends on what is true, what really happened.
The question is essentially philosophical question “is there a reality or is everything just the matter of perspective”. If there is a “truth out there” what is it and who can endorse it.
For Mulder that would be of crucial importance to find out. Did he wasted his life on misinterpretation or was he manipulated the whole time? For the sake of perspective I must declare that his opponents have perspective of their own that justifies their actions. The question of truth is which perspective is skewed one? Which bends the reality too much getting out of sync with surrounding realm (like it seemed Ben Ten did, or his general elders are blind to the point of stupidity). The answer in the end depends more on the outcome than the cause of the behavior.
For Ben Ten I think there would be a white room without windows or, if its all truth, recruiting by larger organization that fights aliens (lack of which supports multiple personality disorder theory, he has constant group of supporters for his view never engaging into broader picture remaining in one on one fights where he controls his surroundings, in opposite to Marvels universe of Shield and Avengers where their broader surrounding reacts on their actions, I tend to do A Beautiful Mind reality check, connections often give us that, reassurance on the position of the truth).
For the writing purposes I suggest you to consider the reasoning behind your antagonists’ behavior. Even if you’re inclined to write clear black and white perspective, that is featured in most of popular culture, understanding the reality that your antagonist sees may make more frightening setting than leaving her/him/it cardboard empty.
Difference between Star Wars and X Files (to use most recent examples) can illustrate that. On one side you have any Sith ever standing there like an epitome of evil devoid from any sign of humanity by its mask. And on other human, father, doctor who cares for future so much that will sacrifice anything to make it safe. His perspective is skewed enough for him to he able to imprison children and experiment on them but he does that things out of care and fear. For me that is most frightening of all, how “good” emotions can lead to bad things (that will be another set of posts of emotions) and how monsters are dormant in all of us. Or maybe even worse that we’re not in charge of being the monsters or not. The ones surrounding us have the final word of whether our actions were monstrous ones or not.
Inventors have it the worse. They are led by curiosity and in the end they aren’t psychic to see what will become of their actions. Like nuclear power most inventions are neutral until they are used. For if there are aliens skulking in corners, mad scientists seeking for ways of protection aren’t crazy, if there are terrorists that are naturally evil, war at all costs is justified, but if there is injustice that drives them mad enough to die fighting, without adjusting injustice only makes them angrier. If there’s a God interested in seeing sex but repelled by gay sex then all crusaders are right saying that we have to be careful about what we’re transmitting on divine porn channel (diversity, I need to write about that and justify myself).
In the end I’m grateful for the closet scene (how often that kind of misunderstanding is just ignored as a plot point), for the re-examining past and reminding that even worn out premises can be made exciting and new. And fueling me to get on with my forthcoming novel Zoe between Worlds in Croatian that is seemingly up to date with conspiracy and special powers (things that I feared will come out of style in the time I’ve been writing it).
What is your take on reality? Is it a skewed one and how do you know you’re straying from the flow?