“Despite everything, I believe people are good at heart.”
I’m so glad Anne Frank could believe this. It’s a testament to her own goodness. It is not a testament to human nature itself, though. It tells us more about Anne than it does about ourselves.
I don’t believe it. I don’t attribute my disbelief to my own goodness, but to what I have seen of humanity, including what was going on around Anne, after the fact, and would like to say, You know what? People are still very eager to do away with other people who are not like them.
Anne, you are a beautiful star.
But people? In general? They are not.
When we are exceptional, when we see those unlike us as ourselves, despite our differences, THEN we are as beautiful as Anne.
When we are unable to do that? We are ugly, inhumane, and disturbing.
I speak about this in relationship to the writing of fiction. Is it worthwhile to speak of that which is good about us?
But there is a stronger push against, a resistance, to writers who speak about our ugliness, that which is disgusting in human nature. And the more we resist it, the more I wish to represent our ugliness.
It should not be forgotten.
It should be the thing about which we are most uncomfortable.
It should be the thing we talk about more than anything.
Until we have done away with it.
Then, let us speak of our goodness, as Anne would. But when our goodness has been won, an earned virtue.
Okay, we can speak of our goodness, which we would not want to lose.
But not at the expense of acknowledging that which comprises our darkness.
Otherwise, we are living within an ideal, what we would like to think about ourselves, not about reality.
And even when we write fantasy, we should be speaking to reality. The reality of the story.
Otherwise, we are making ourselves feel good about ourselves without reason.