“I’m the good guy. The hero.
Everyone else in my way is a monster.”
from the forthcoming graphic novel, Alexander & the Battle He Could Not Win
How do we transcend the mindset of good guys vs bad guys?
Of heroes vs monsters? Of us vs them?
When we talk of being heroes or even finding our tribes, we must respect the dark side of gathering only with those who see things the way we do.
We too easily assume: “If I’m the hero, then I’m the good guy. Those who oppose me must be the bad guys. And all bad guys need to be taught a lesson—with any force at my disposal.”
It’s that last part that concerns me the most.
The problem is, nobody ever sees themselves as the bad guy. That’s why we have petty arguments, polarized conflict, and wars.
When our sense of what is right feels threatened, we demonize the offenders and justify our inhumane ways of shutting them down. Most of the time, we don’t question or reflect on our behavior (“They were wrong, I was right. I was just proving my point. End of story!”).
Even everyday conflicts between neighbors or colleagues or family members are the same as international ones—all it takes is two or more people with different ways of seeing who aren’t willing to give up their vantage point. What follows is typically some kind of violence—such as emotional, social, financial, or physical—as a way to exert power and dominance over another.
A: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
B: “Of course I do—you’re just too much of a moron to understand!”
Why is that? We do we play judge, jury and executioner without hesitation—and then complain when it happens to us?
I’m exploring these questions in multiple ways:
• In my daily life, as I find myself demonizing others, or being demonized
• In my daily life, as I challenge myself to really listen to others when I’m attached to being right
• Studying this slippery pattern of violence as part of a larger transformation we’re going through as a human race
• And expressing it all in self-reflective illustrations and words in my next book…
My forthcoming graphic novel, Alexander & the Battle He Could Not Win, looks at the dark side of being a visionary that wants to change the world. Specifically, how I’ve related to my unhealthy righteousness and begun the practice of putting down the metaphorical dagger in favor of an ongoing quest for what is true.