Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pacifism and Watching

If you feel the value and desire of peace deeply and daily, you start to watch things differently.

Tonight I watched an episode of Rome which featured a large battle scene (rare for the show). I'm not sure what I was supposed to be thinking while the battle was going on; my reaction may indeed be what the makers wished. My continuing thought was, "What is this for?" Could the soldiers slaughtering each other really care whether Brutus and Cassius won, or whether Antony and Octavius won? How could it matter? Death, suffering, and waste, for nothing.

It goes beyond the major battles. So much of our entertainment features people seeking violent solutions to problems. Often the characters are sympathetic; often their principles are admirable. But we are supposed to accept that they are brave for violently fighting for their principles. It doesn't make for good entertainment to see people seeking their ends in non-violent ways. So I see characters fighting, and killing, and talking about honor and bravery, and it all seems foolish and wrong. I see honor in avoiding violence. I see dignity in choosing self-sacrifice over violent defense. I see bravery in standing against an enemy without attempting to fight him.

And yet as much as any show I've seen, Rome handles the deaths of major characters well. You sense the tragedy and the pathos of people recognizing the moments of their deaths. It is moving.


  1. 'Chelle12:06 AM

    I know what you mean. I watched The Godfather for the first time today and was *ahem* blown away by the amount of violence.

    "Whats wrong with flowers? Flowers are better than guns." -Allison Krause, victim of the May 4th, 1970 Kent State University shootings.

  2. Watch 300, you'll scream.