I’ve recently gone on a major binge in order to catch up with the rest of the world by watching all six seasons of Game of Thrones over a very short period of time. Notwithstanding the highly graphic dreams I had each night of dragons and zombie-like killers, it’s got me thinking about the nature of humans.
Author George RR Martin certainly has human nature taped – his ability to infuse both good and evil into characters is astounding. While the whole series is steeped in fantasy, the motives and emotions of the characters are eerily real. What he does is open up the truth of the human condition.
We’ve all got those sides and thoughts and I guess the old adage about which wolf you feed holds a weight of truth – we’ve all got good and evil, but how we are and how we present to the world depends on which side we concentrate on and fuel. Martin does offer up excuses for some of his characters, a back-story that explains their choices. And then there’s the true psychopath, Ramsay Bolton. There’s no break at all from his relentless evil behavior and he’s the only character I didn’t vacillate about – I hated him completely. He had no redeeming features at all. Brilliant!
But here and now in South Africa, we’re experiencing our own Game of Thrones. While there are no dragons and horses, the games are being played (as in the rest of the world – America is next as their voting season reaches a climax, end of Season X).
Already Malema is being called the ‘king maker’. Instead of ravens, we have tweets – and the flurry of opinion is almost jamming the airwaves. There’s judgement all around – for those who didn’t vote, for leaders who shouldn’t be, for leaders who change to suit the prevailing need, for people who are ambivalent, and so on.
But it’s an ancient thing, this fight for power and righteous belief in self. Which side is right and which is wrong? We humans tend to try to choose the lesser evil, but in the end we aren’t ever sure which is truly right. We choose what we think will make our lives better and more comfortable. We seldom take the stance of ‘greater good’, however much we say we do. There are very few true altruists among us.
So, all in all, human nature stands as it always will. We do what we want really, in any way we can. We believe strongly in things that put us in a better light and back those who will take us to where we want to go.
But can we admit that? Can we live in true authenticity, embracing both our good and evil thoughts and actions? Probably not. In fact, if we did; if we acted on whatever we were feeling at any moment, benevolent or revengeful, the world would be somewhat chaotic.
Maybe hiding behind an ideal is the only way to keep the world from falling into total anarchy? As long as that ideal pretends to pander to the greater good.
King Solomon puts it best in Ecclesiastes – he proclaims that all is vanity [a load of rubbish in today’s language] and yet he’s also attributed with the words ‘this too shall pass’ – probably the wisest statement ever made. Concentrate on that and you’ll understand that nothing is forever. But be warned that human nature will out and we’ll be playing the Game of Thrones until the end of time, even if the dystopian societies depicted in so many movies these days does portray the world’s future. For sure the opposite, utopian, will never happen.
Nothing truly changes because man[woman]kind never truly changes.