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Painted Brain | Am I Going Crazy? An Editorial
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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  • October 31, 2015

Am I Going Crazy? an editorial

One has to wonder, if human nature is basically good, why is the world such a cruel place?

Many people will say, human nature is basically good, and it’s a few rotten apples in the barrel that account for all the misery in the world. If I were to play devil’s advocate, I would be tempted to say, “If that is true, why is it that the majority of nations are run by cruel regimes? For example, torture is practiced by 80% of nations around the world. We would like to think we’ve made progress beyond our primitive and barbaric past, yet torture persists. Why?

It appears as if civilized, humane societies are the exception rather than the rule. The same could be said of evil regimes that delight in human suffering as they accumulate power. If a nation’s government is nothing more than a reflection of its people, then the possibility that the human race might redeem itself as a species or turn away from its present course of cruelty and self-destruction would indeed be dim.

People toss around phrases such as, “corruption in government,” “corporate greed,” “human short-sightedness,” and “the ecocide of global warming” casually, as if the label makes good conversation, or fodder for righteous indignation, and nothing more. The tragic thing is, as it fuels conversation and inspires movie scripts, the world is no better off for any of it because our indignation ends with discussion, not action.

It’s worse when questions regarding social injustice are paired with appealing and exciting stories that mix truth and speculation, in other words, conspiracy theories. Conspiracy authors have made this a popular and profitable genre, and part of its appeal stems from our very human need to explain the inexplicable, to fathom the deepest layers of mystery surrounding why things are the way they are, in order to take comfort in the simple act of knowing, even when that knowledge is misguided and misinformed.

The burning need to explain the existence of evil, while stoked by ideology and religious dogma, fails to satisfy curiosity, acquire understanding, or put knowledge to good use by advancing the cause of social justice. What begins as the pursuit of a noble ideal is rendered pointless.

The ultimate irony is that books that promote conspiracy theories are consistently among the world’s best-selling works of nonfiction.

Am I going crazy?

Kevin Naruse is an independent consultant and web developer and he manages social media for Painted Brain’s IT team. He is also a frequent contributor to Painted Brain News

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