There is no good or evil, there is only cause and effect.

This is the sentence that keeps rolling around in my head the last 24 hours or so.

Evil did not cause whatever happened, some previous action did. We can, in many instances, look back and see what caused what to happen, and possibly avoid doing it again, but we don’t seem to do it often enough. There are also events of which we cannot find the cause, either because we don’t have the tools yet or the connections are simply too complex, but they are there. It was not magic, fate, or some other supernatural cause.

I’m still reading Disneyanity and I had a thought…I know…weird.

Must we let fantasy movies, and all movies are generally fantasy, replace religious belief? Must humans constantly create fantastical reasons to make sense of what has happened, or utopian visions of the future, where if only we do this or that, the whole world would be perfect?

There are times when I want so badly to embrace fantasy and hope. I watch movies, listen to music, and read books that entice me to embrace these ideas. How awesome would it be if the love songs were true? What if we could enact some policy or law that changed the world and made everyone happy, healthy, and whole? What if there was a benevolent being that was watching over things, guiding them this way and that with the intention of leading humanity to a bright and wonderful future?

good and evil
The sun rises, further north and then back to the south again.
Natural cycles remind me that things change.

But at heart, I’m a realist. These ideas fail me. When my mind goes there, when I turn the old country music romance songs on for too long, when I throw myself into joyful fantasy movies, obsessively turn the pages of a utopian novel, I find my heart broken when I follow them to their natural conclusions.

Romances end and reality sets in, life costs money, children need to be raised, and you don’t always feel that hot and sexy love for the person you made them with.

The hero doesn’t always win against all odds. The villain has reasons he his hurting others and causing harm and you may have had something to do with it. I can’t just wish my way to a better world.

And each law you create helps one person and hurts another, each policy your government enacts solves one need and creates another.

I know, I probably sound negative and hopeless, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. Having my feet firmly grounded, accepting that good and bad things happen to everyone and we can’t know which is which in the long run, keeping it right in front of me that we all will die no matter what we do, and embracing the fact that humans are simply another (yet extremely creative) animal, another piece of an amazingly intricate puzzle, is what makes me feel like I can take on the world.

These are the tenants that bring me peace…sometimes.

It reminds me of Mark Manson’s book, Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope. Yikes-a-roni, I looked back and found that I read that book three years ago this week! Thumbing through the book to see if I could find a quick bite to share here…yeah…no. That book pissed me off and made me think. It’s simple and complex, and filled with some incredibly helpful ideas. My advice, give it a chance. You won’t regret it.

Realism is complicated. Can we even know what real is? Is there a “real” that is the reality for everyone at all times? I don’t think so.

I don’t have the answers. Every day on this planet only brings me more questions. But like Cinderella says, “They can’t order me to stop dreaming. And perhaps, someday, the dreams that I wish will come true.” In the meantime, I’ll keep a smile, accept what comes to me, move gently toward what I believe I want, let others do the same, assume positive intentions of others, and live as kindly as I can until the day I eventually die.

And when I do die, just like the attitude a try to keep today, I won’t be looking back wishing I had done something different and created a different outcome. I’ll be looking forward and wondering what comes next.