There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.

It takes shadows for us to appreciate the light. As a cloud passes in front of the sun, we are evermore able to appreciate the beauty of the sunshine.

Contrast creates understanding.

How does anything understand itself? It does so through comparison. If you were the only thing in a void and you had never been exposed to anything else in your entire life, how would you fully understand yourself? In the comparative process, we are so much more able to learn who and what we are. Once there is another thing to compare ourselves to, we understand thousands of details. Are we larger or smaller? Living or innate? And so on.

For those who prefer to look at the world through rose-colored glasses, the world would be so much better if everything were utopian. Imagine a world without hatred, negativity, pain, disappointment, illness, war, hunger, etc. Would that actually be utopian? All of our indications say that it would be. Yet, I would be willing to paint a picture in which a utopian society has considerable downfalls as well. Part of what makes life joyous is the understanding of the word, joyous. In a world where everything is perfect, would that not, in the end, just be vanilla? Simple, definable and bland. (Apologies if vanilla is your favorite ice cream flavor!)

When we read about someone like Mother Teresa, and study her selfless existence, we are impressed by her ability to compartmentalize her own needs in favor of being someone of value to society. Yet, if everyone were Mother Teresa, she would be vanilla as well. One may argue, that in her loss of distinction for being more unique, society is overall much better because everyone is having their needs tended to. And that may well be a correct assessment. But it does not negate the fact that it is always going to be the comparative process that creates distinction.

If everyone were an amazing basketball player, there would be no Hall of Fame players like Magic, Kobe, Michael, Lebron and others. What appears now as stellar, would become ordinary if every player on the court played like Michael Jordan. He would have been just another basketball player. Would the game be more exciting if everyone were that great? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Is it not the distinction of greatness that makes the sport exciting? Is it not the superpower these athletes possessed that made them so desirable to watch?

It would be nice to remove all evil from life. In my utopian society, that would be the first sacrifice I would be willing to concede. If evil nature were eliminated, it feels as if a large cloud would lift from planet Earth. One that shadows over all that we might be. But what is evil, and who gets to decide? To the wildebeest, the lion is evil. To the lion, the wildebeest is food. 

On a final note, where would Hollywood be without evil? (No, that’s not what I meant!) I mean the storytelling. Evil drives drama, thriller, mystery, horror and most of science fiction. Since the dawn of man and his mythology, evil has been cast as the central character. This is no coincidence. It is because our world revolves around watching good overcome evil. It is a story as old as time and I do not ever see it going away.

The subject isn’t black and white. It is many shades of gray.

Happy Wednesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!