Wednesday, October 7

The Illusion of Choice

Today's Penny Arcade led me to the Wikipedia article on Sophie's Choice, where I refreshed my memory of this powerful movie.

I had seen it many years ago, back when I was a robot. The plot had confused my wiring, but had not elicited anything unusually emotive. Now, reading the twists and turns of the movie, I can see Kevin Kline's madness, and Meryl Streep's torment as if I watched the movie yesterday. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, these images have been stored, perhaps for the day when I might have needed them.

Now, I am nauseous. I look at my kids and I want to vomit. The revulsion leads to anger, a righteous fury where I would rip apart reality if anything remotely like what happened in the movie occurred to my kids. The image of the girl flailing for life as they drag her to the oven makes me want to shred this universe, my rage is ablaze that these stories can and have transpired. Something primal is loose, and I can barely contain the frenzy. I look on as my son takes a nap, and I want to cry for a fiction that exemplifies the worst in humanity.

If there is a God I am pissed at him because he allows these things to pass. An omnipotent being by definition is the emanation of everything, including evil. Indirect or not, he is ultimately responsible, and so I lay the blame at his feet.

Luckily for him, regardless of whether there is a God or not, it's also our own damn fault, mine included, which is why I cage the animal, divert it into nonviolent channels, so that I am not a part of the problem. It's not ideal, because I am imperfect. Unlike the so-called perfection of deities, that set us up with choices of limited resources between our brothers and cousins and parents, friends and enemies and strangers, so that we must choose between people, who lives and who dies through our own indirect actions and inactions.

We are all Sophie, and we must all choose.

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