Once, there was a young boy, who was barraging his father with many bizarre questions.
"Dad, who is the boss of this house?"
The father was caught off guard. "Well, son...I am the boss of this household."
The boy nodded. "But, when you are at work? Who is the boss of this house then?"
"When I am at work, your mother is of course the boss of this house," explained the father.
"What about when mother is not home? Who is the boss of the house?"
The father was trying his best to patiently answer the endless stream of questions. "In that case, your older sister is the boss of the house."
The boy let that information sink in for a few moments. "But...how about when my sister goes to college? Who will be the boss then?"
"Son, then you will be the boss of the household." By this point, the father was genuinely curious (and a bit concerned) as to why his son was asking such strange questions. "Why does it matter who the boss of the household is?"
The son's eyes lit up with excitement, as he revealed a devilish smirk. "Because, when I am the boss of the household, that means I can be bad."
How could a small boy find the idea of being bad so thrilling? And furthermore, why does he seem to believe that having power is associated with the freedom of being bad? Most people would probably feel disgusted. Yet, perhaps we should consider thanking this boy for his honesty and insight. He has not yet developed the mastery of concealing such thoughts, like the rest of humanity.
We live in a complex society, where hiding thoughts, feelings, and emotions seems to represent being "civilized." I'm not saying this is wrong - this is simply how we have defined ourselves in today's culture. If a child starts swearing or acting impolite in front of guests, most parents would yell at the child to not "use vulgar words or act so rude in front of the guests." What does this indirectly mean? It means that behind the backs of the guests, swearing or acting rude may be alright.
Ultimately, our modern civilization embraces a sense of hypocrisy. We publicly praise goodness, kindness, and humility while secretly admiring badness, power, and violence. I recently asked a group of random people whether they supported violence. As expected, 100% of the respondents believed that violence was bad. This view can likely be extrapolated to what most of the population on earth believes.
However, this leads to the most obvious follow-up question: if 100% of humans believe that violence is bad, why is there still so much violence in the world? In short, it's because we love it. Recent studies have shown that humans crave violence, just like food. We crave power. We crave badness. Why else would our TV shows and films be chalk-full of these things? Why else would there be so many wars in the world?
At the most basic level, we should try our best to move away from these double-edged ideologies. If we want to promote greatness, we must act that way in all facets of our lives, whether public or private. If we want to pass on good qualities to the upcoming generations, we must teach how much weight our words and actions have, regardless of whether they are hidden or not. What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment and share!