Friday, March 16, 2012

Thoughts about good & evil on March 16, 2012

A month ago today, Pieter Bruegel the Elder or, possibly, one of his students, put in an appearance on this page via a painting featuring the flight of Icarus. He -- Bruegel, that is, not Icarus -- returns today with a piece entitled "Dulle Griet" or "Mad Meg." She is a character from Flemish folklore. Bruegel depicts her here leading an army of women to pillage Hell. Mad Meg does not appear to be a particularly attractive woman, but she seems to me to be the type of woman I would like to meet -- one who dares to look Lucifer in the eye. This painting was completed in 1562, and today "resides" in Antwerp, should you care to view it personally.

We all shine on

Have you ever known a man who ripped an infant in half? Literally, I mean. I have known such a man.

Have you ever known a woman who hired a man to kill her husband? I have. More than one.

Have you ever known a woman who left her baby in a house and then set the house on fire? I have known two of them.

Have you ever known a man who had a literal gunfight at a waterhole with two other men about which of them owned the water rights? Yes, I have. The wild, wild West still exists for some.

How many murderers, rapists, arsonists, bank robbers, hired killers and death row inmates, including a serial killer, have you ever sat down with, drank coffee with, shared a cigarette with, shook hands with, maybe stood face-to-face with and talked down when they were in an absolute rage, chatted about girlfriends with, childhood, dreams, hopes, what made them do their crime, religion, gotten to know pretty well, had come to work for you five days a week and, even, grown to like in many respects and, sort of, considered to be friends?

Well, I have known these people and have had long conversations with many of them. And, I still have no clue. I still do not know why people believe what they believe, do what they do, think what they think. Once, I thought I might write a book about these people and a few others, but the more I learned, the less I understood.

Before I go any further, I suppose I should mention these people were among inmates I saw every day when I worked in a state penitentiary system. One of the women who left her infant child to die in a burning house was my clerk, my "secretary," for several months.
Back to the point: It had been that way before and, probably, will be again. The more I learn, the less I understand; the more I study, the more I question, the deeper I dig -- the less I understand.

Actually, I more-or-less believe that the majority of people around us each and every day either are completely stupid about the society in which they reside or are themselves mentally unbalanced.

(Yes, I might be talking about you.)

(Well, maybe, not you, but the person standing next to you.)

(Well, maybe, none of you. Maybe, me ....)

It seems to me that too much time is devoted in trying to find ways in which people are alike when it should be spent understanding people's differences. We cling to each other while we live, but we all know we are alone from the moment we are born until the moment we die, no matter how many others happen to be next to us during our trek through life. What happens after life is anyone's guess.

There is good and there is evil in all of us, of that there is no doubt. And, there also is no doubt it exists in matters of degree. To study the commonality of mankind might reveal useful information, but it is the disparity of mankind in which the real mysteries of our existence are hidden, and through which study might reveal pragmatic and revolutionary knowledge. Intelligence is measured on a numerical scale; mental abnormalities and psychological aberrations usually are viewed in legal as well as medical terms.

But, how are good and evil measured? If you know, tell me.


Anonymous said...


what a nice post!
and that painting is increadible facinating!!f you look deeper into it you can see many many different things..even beter then salvador dali.

yes who cam tell whats good or is in us all..
i say.think about yourself before you speak of others..and in the end..all not a matter of who,and how you love..what you is a question, a discussion beteween you and god..and for the not beliver..between you and your alter ego..i think!

well so is life..learning learning learning

thanx for great post fram!

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Anita, Pieter Bruegel the Elder's paintings are fascinating. They often are complex and contain much symbolism and enigmatic detail. A person could spend a great deal of time studying them and, probably, never unravel all he put into them.

As for you, I doubt you have a single ounce of evil within you.

Thank you, for your presence and your kind words, Anita.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi there :)
I wanted to stop by to wish you a Happy Birthday!!!
May all your days this year be just as you wish.
I like your post here very much. Your thoughts and words have a magical way of capturing me.
Love, Birthday Kisses and a Big Hug :)

Bitch said...

Hi dear Fram!
It is never easy to understand people all around us.. Even for a shrink, for a psychologist..
I mean a psychologist who cares to cure people and is not only there for his paycheck!

But nevertheless this is a very interesting post!!
Wish you a great week!

Anonymous said...

happy happy birthday Frammy!!

Anonymous said...

hiii monica!!you look good!!wowoo!!

Fram Actual said...

Well, there goes Kelly. Running in one door and out another in the blink of an eye.

Thank you. It is nice to see you here again, and it is touching that you remember my birthday.

Thank you, too, for the nice words about my post. As you can tell, I am in a serious mood these days (probably as usual), and trying to decide if there is any rhyme or reason involved with life or if it actually is some manner of comedy designed only for entertainment purposes.

Anyway, I appreciate your love, kisses and hugs, and hope you do not wait until my next birthday before dashing through here again.

Fram Actual said...

I had access to a great deal of information about these people, Monika, including psychological profiles, extensive personal histories, trial transcripts and all manner of data collected as part of pre-sentencing investigations. I could not help myself but to study them. Many of them were fascinating, intelligent people.

One of the more interesting elements was that no matter what the crime, I do not recall any who did not have at least a friend or two.

Thank you, for your visit and for taking time to write a comment. I appreciate it.

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, for the birthday wish, Anita. Be seeing you.

Wind said...

'How are good and evil measured?'
If I were insane...there would be no border/limit
between , all would be mixed, incomprehensible, unintelligible...
and what is good and beautiful for you it would be meaningless for me.
If I were ordinary, I would have milestones imposed by others...and the good and evil would be there everyday and downs everyday... a daily fight with principles imposed by the education, parents, state etc....
If I were a warrior...
...but I don't know who I am or if what is outside it is inside me, too...
Well, I have to think Fram. What is good to know for you is that I did not kill anybody or anything ...yet. He he....Maybe time...

Happy birthday, my friend!
I wish you all I wish for me: happiness and health!

Wind said...

Yes, Lennon is right :
'... we all shine on /
Like the moon and the stars and the sun'
Have a good day, Fram!
I still celebrate your birthday!
March is your month.
A glass of red wine?

Fram Actual said...

I almost did not see you here, Daliana. You were hiding in the shadows, it seems.

Good and evil. I think you have a good grasp on them, and understand the concepts better than most.

When I was a policy and management analyst for a department of corrections, I had to write the policy about when deadly force could and should be used regarding prison inmates. I read the state and federal laws regarding deadly force both inside a prison and in the general population. I will not go into the details of what I decided and what I wrote, but my policy and my general procedures for this were accepted and made official. (I always had a feeling that higher powers never really discussed or even thought about what I had written. They either were afraid to think about it or too lazy to think about it.)

Sometime later, one of my closest friends was guarding a perimeter area when some inmates made a run for it. Under the guidelines, he was permitted to shoot to kill. He fired a shotgun at them. He missed. The inmates escaped into darkness of night.

I later asked him if he had missed intentionally. He replied that he did not know. His memory of the event was clouded and confused.

The episode raised other issues, about truth and honesty and sworn duty, among them, but these things are too long to discuss in a comment now. We will (maybe) talk about them another day.

I am glad you wrote your thoughts here, Daliana. I am looking for answers, and no responses mean no progress for me.

And, thank you, Daliana, for your birthday wishes, and, yes, a glass of red wine is very appropriate. I think I will have one myself. There are the twelve days of Christmas, so I see no reason not to observe the twelve days of Fram.

Something special ....