Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Evil in a Deck of Cards II

Scott Bradley


Someone believes a deck of cards mocks his God. "The king is God, the queen is Mary, the joker is Jesus!" For the non-believing observer, this is quite remarkable. All that seems real is that he is morally offended and greatly upset. The outrage is palpable, yet it seems spun of nothing. We might research the origins of our current version of the standard deck of cards to see if this view has merit, but since he has not, it would not lead us to the origins of his outrage. From whence, then, did it arise?

If he is outraged because he believes it, does he believe it that he might be outraged? But what value is there in outrage? There must be some perceived value, otherwise why would he cultivate it?

Is it not the case that outrage feels good? In matters moral, it feels good because it makes us feel righteous. When directed toward others, it makes us feel right. Who does not want to feel righteous and right? I feel it now.

Yet the motivations of the moral sense somehow seem too cerebral. We are speaking of angry outrage, something rooted more deeply than intention and thought. It feels good to be mad. The reptilian brain roars and hisses with delight. We are stirred and alive; visceral and real. We have found our true nature!

No, strike that. We have found something of our true nature. We might be part reptile, but we have evolved into something more (though not necessarily better, except in that it is as we are). And thus we inquire into the causes of rage.

Have I clarified things here? Hopefully not.

I have offered this example of outrage at a story about a deck of cards because for most of us it is clearly ridiculous and easily laughed at. But the real work is to find the same in ourselves and to laugh at that.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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