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The Thing about Heroes and Villains.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 , Posted by Bradd McBrearty at 9:14 PM

Occasionally something strikes you in such a way that it leaves a lasting impression on you. It leaves trace marks upon your personality that project outwards and reach into the minds and perception of every person that meets you. For good or bad, these are the sparkling tendrils of knowledge that people pick up on the very moment they meet you. This, my friends, is why a first impression is so critically important. Religion itself, not the weekly meetings or social phenomenon, but the pursuit of the higher and more enlightened unknown has this precise effect upon those who seek it. This is the very reason that in the company of sacred men- a priest of one sect, a Guru from another, a Cardinal or a Rabbi from further divergent beliefs- the fraternity of spirituality is still apparent.

While serving in the humble role of Elder for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints I gained infinite respect and reverence for the pursuit of truth and righteousness. Having grown up within the confines of a specific and highly developed theological ideology, the thought that other beliefs could hold merit seems ridiculous to me. Somewhere in my childhood I assigned villainy to all beliefs outside my own. Xenophobia, while not expressly encouraged, was the byproduct of my secret pride. Two years of humbling and chastisement were the solution. I wouldn't trade a single one of those days spent trudging through sleet and ice during the Winter, and pacing city streets in Summer's suffocating humidity in pursuit of the next slammed door, for anything in the world.

If there is anything of value or honor written on my face, I earned those stripes in the service of others.

Sadly, it was all to easy to take all that perspective gained, and to bury it away. Prioritized behind paying this months rent, and studying for the weeks next test. Pushed just after this next date, or this night out with the guys. Buried under the latest action movie, and the newest video game. Where is my honor now?

I sat down simply to write that Indiana Jones is the greatest Hero of all time, and Darth Vader the greatest Villain of all time. In piecing out why that is, I seem to have taken something of an introspective detour. Simply put, they are great because of who they are here and now. We don't know how Dr. Henry Jones Jr. became a world class archeologist and selfless hero, we just know that he is. George Lucas had the right idea when he started Star Wars on episode IV, at the height of Darth Vader's reign of Atrocity. The reason Episodes I-III will always have a bitter aftertaste is because the story never needed an explanation for its antihero. In fact, in explaining it, it takes away all the majesty and wonder inherent therein.

My brother and I enjoy both scary movies and thrillers, and have noted that the very best of these all have one thing in common, which we call the 'Jaws' effect. The metaphor is thus: The original Jaws movie was so terrifying because you never really saw the actual shark. You only saw his wake of destruction.

Where this rambling cacophony of lucid thought reaches clarity is the illumination of the current, not final, product. All my life I told myself that one day I'd be the Dr. Jones in the story of my life. I'd take life by the reigns and shake it into submission, then ride it to the man I wanted to be.  Recently a spiritual leader in my life asked me if I could truly look at myself through unbiased eyes, and see who I actually was. Could I ask myself if the deeds I committed that day brought me closer to who I imagined myself to be? Or, was I simply imagining harder and harder everyday that I hadn't diverged from the path. It's hard to admit when your life needs a course correction. But pride cast aside, it's surprisingly easier to take action, once realized and decided upon.

'The future is waiting to be seized, and if we do not grasp it firmly, then other hands, more determined and bloody than our own, will wrench it from us and follow a different course.'  -Jeffery R. Holland

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Bradd-
    I have enjoyed the posts. I actually read everything you wrote several months ago and meant to write to you, but never did. I was pleased to see that you picked it up again. You have made me unproductive the first hour here at work. Blogs are hard to keep on; for evidence of that, just look at my own.
    Anyway, good luck with the job search. I finally, after 18 months searching monster.com and careerbuilder.com every day and sending out countless resumes, got a job that I wanted. I still don't know how it happened, but I thank my lucky stars everyday. We will have to chat sometime.
    Later,
    Dave
    PS-The way you and Desiree talk to each other (I saw all the facebook photo comments, etc.) reminds me of the things my wife and I used to say to each other. Then you are married for a year and it all stops.

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