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October 18, 2007

The murky aspects of life ...

Last night I caught an episode of House and then half of Life on Channel 10. I love House because most of the time it deals with those murky areas of life where what is good and pure and right is not so evident, and the characters have to probe their self-awareness and question what makes them who they are and why they do what they do. The characters who are unlikeable for in many ways but who nonetheless redeem themselves through their limited virtues. Life is shaping up the same. I'm not so keen on shows where everything is nice and neat and the good guy always does the right thing and wins. That's not how life works ...

Anyway, I particularly liked last night's episode because it took Dr House to a point where he did something radical to test his own beliefs (electrocuted himself), while simultaneously the show's puritan good guy, Foreman, found in his new environment that there's a down side to following your beliefs when you're mixed up with bureaucracy, which forced him to question his. Best line of the night came from the Hospital administrator right before she sacked Foreman after he had defied her and saved a patient's life: "You confused doing what's right with saving a life ... " or something like that.

Too much of Western society is bound up in rules that exist solely for the purpose of preventing people from having experiences that may or may not result in them being extremely uncomfortable - professionally, financially or personally - but it's those experiences that make life worth living. The pain reminds us that we're alive, and avoiding it at all cost means reducing life to mere existence. Only by experiencing the pain do we become aware of who we are, why we're here and what being here means.

And yes, sometimes we get that wrong and the pain becomes unendurable or the clouded judgment is incorrect. That inevitably leads to tragedy but the other aspect to that is that none of this happens purely to individuals - there's a lesson in everything for all of us. That's what the butterfly effect is all about and that's what separates great art from window dressing - great art and great entertainment take us to other places and bring us back with a better understanding of who we are.

That's why I love House so much - when they get it right ...

Posted by Hughie at October 18, 2007 9:18 AM

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