Monday, May 03, 2010

The Power of the Fairytale ending

On adjacent channels on TV, two Hindi movies on honest cop vs corrupt world were showing – Dayanayak (based on a real life story) and Yashwant (Nana Patekar starrer). The honest cop strikes you with his fierce fight for the cause of justice, sacrificing his own safety and that of his family and putting this interest above all others. The funny thing about such movies is that it takes an idea – that of altruism at the cost great sacrifices and brings it to the masses in the form of a movie.

The irony is that while many psychology and sociology experts, philosophers, celebrities come out with theories based on human self gratification, pursuit of happiness in this world, there are movies for the common public that subscribe to this altruistic morality that stretches beyond doing good for your own family and known circle. This indicates a loss of touch with reality by the experts. You'd find many a common Joe or a plain Jane in the crowd that subscribes to the altruistic morality. During youth, many believe we can do all things, fight injustice and work for the right. With age seems a resignation to the forces of evil and a withering away of the optimism of youth. But even many of those who do not actively fight evil believe in it and appreciate heroism when they see it.

Another point is the presence of good and evil. The honest cop is faced with human innocence and human selfishness and malice at the same time. He has to confront human malice to protect innocent humans. So he cannot possibly lose faith in the goodness of humanity nor lost track of the existence of evil. In both movies, the honest cops confrontations with those on the wrong side of the law bring wrath and start a sequence of events leading to their suspension from duty. So the bad guys win their round, but the honest cop rises again – proves himself innocent and gets reinstated – fairytale ending – final triumph of truth.

Many “experts” miss out the point in the Lord of the Rings and are confounded by its success on being voted the favourite book of the millennium. The “experts” miss out the appeal of the fairytale ending. The underlying thread both grounded in reality and seemingly the stuff of fairytales – the forces of truth seem weak while the forces of evil overwhelmingly powerful. The innocent honest upright fighter for the right cause (Frodo in the Lord of the Rings) main weapon is readiness to sacrifice for the cause of the whole world.

Stupendously, ultimate sacrifice is the very power that the evil mind fails to comprehend. As Galdalf says of Sauron the Dark Lord “Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.”

How did the honest cop find his way to hit back? It was the folly of his position – without his job or status, he seems to have nothing to threaten the opponents with. However, strength does not fail him and he finds the evidence to prove his innocence. The very nature of this battle is such that it repeats in many lives and in the very depths of our being, we know it is true. We have a conflict in us, especially the more ordinary among us, of a superlative sense of justice missed out by many “experts”. We seem minnows and weaklings in the face of those who take security in their power and status, but if we have sufficient faith and hope, we can turn our defeats into victories, especially for the right causes.

But then, it's not always black and white with human beings. We are drawn to truth and justice, yet we are also pulled to power and status. The human mind is the battleground of the greatest conflict between good and evil. This is where the acceptance of sin and human weakness comes in. This is where the need for a Saviour comes in. This is where the power of the Cross is realized and the meaning of our own lives is realized.

The Cross is where suffering gets its meaning. It is where contradiction and folly become weapons of power. It is where tables are turned and fairytale endings are made possible. And the inner insight of the reality of the fairytale ending overcomes doubt and despair. The rays of the new dawn fill the heart with courage that the innocent Lamb, apparently powerless over the overwhelming dark forces, can trumph, will triumph and has triumphed.

This is the meaning of Easter which is the season celebrated by the Church at this time. It is the power of the final victory. It is the strength to remain steadfast to the end, to fight the good fight, to walk the narrow road. To take on the odds and bet your life that the victory of truth will come no matter how things turn out today. As the song “Rainy Day” from Big Dismal goes:

It keeps us hanging on,
Even when all hope is gone,
I believe that Your love rains down on me.
It carries us away,
It takes us to a place,
Far above this world.
And I can see you in the clouds,
On a rainy day...

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