I learned a bit about the role of the villain in a story this past week. Now that sounds either obvious or dull, right? But what the professor said, paraphrasing, was “Knowing what the villain wants, drives the story.” If the villain sees humanity as a virus (I’m thinking about the Matrix movies), then the villain wants to destroy the virus. Perfectly logical. Just….wrong. Since “our” role, the “hero’s role”, is to defeat the villain and save lives/the world/something. Yes? So, the professor went on, the more complex your villain, the more complex the story.
This is just amazing. It is sort of like that saying “Everyone is the hero in their own story” only more complex. I don’t think that I think that everyone does think they are a hero. I think the people who take a bunch of guns and ammo are not thinking they are the hero. I think hate/evil is a real force. Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I’ve been too simplistic?
The real thing about thinking about the villain that I felt at first was: anger. How dare the hero’s life be driven by what someone else wants? How unfair is that? And then the second thing I realized was that “this is why some kids/teens get so rebellious to their perfectly wonderful parents.” They are perceiving the good stuff parents want them to do — pick up the towel, brush your teeth, get enough sleep, don’t leave this house wearing THAT — to the demands of a person who wants world domination, and they want freedom.
Or it could make looking at an enemy something a tiny bit more than just “holding a space for hope.” It could be listening to figure out what that person perceives as the problem to solve. You might think the “problem to solve” is some countries are so broken and violent that some people living there find the only rational thing to do is to flee and try to start over. You might want to help. Someone else could see the problem as “people not staying and fixing their own country but just running away”. They might not see the vulnerability but see something completely different. And then either way, within whichever viewpoint, there could be a whole range of difference. But by taking some tiny step to share the different views of “the problem”, then arguing about the solutions could be more productive. It is a new thought, however shallow that makes me!
Jesus fought to save us — I think, I’ll be learning more — from… our own innate tendency to the temptations of evil; Jesus fought to save us from hate and greed and so on; Jesus fought to save us from brokenness, from illness, from death, from a violent world, from rulers who do not care for the vulnerable, from injustice; from a lack of love. Jesus — what he means depends on what you see. He’s the healer of a broken world or an unjust world or disease-filled world or all of the above and more. And he did this in a context where he was not perceived as being the savior, the good guy. He was seen, outside of a few, as rocking the boat. Huh?! It makes more sense now, the whole story, yes? Maybe?
I think my brain is still trying to wrap around all this. I have so much to learn! I’m just thinking that Jesus was a hero, so to speak, not acting merely in reaction to a villain, but trying to sort out the whole mess.
For the Glory of God!