I look forward to the day when someone storms into a midnight screening of a sweet romantic comedy and kisses everyone full on the mouth.
I look forward to the day when a quiet, reclusive loner finally snaps, leaves his tiny apartment and marches onto an elementary school playground in broad daylight and hands every child a bar of dark chocolate, an awesome pop-up version of Leaves of Grass and a $25 gift card for Kiva.org.
Can you imagine the headline when a distraught gunman storms into the government office where his ex-wife works, marches straight up to her desk and dumps his wretched gun collection on the floor, tells her he's sorry for everything and wishes her a blissful and happy life, just before heading off to Tibet to study transcendental meditation for a year and become a poet?
Yeah, me neither. But I bet it's happened.
Is this even worth asking? Is it a ponderable we can possibly entertain? Have there been any serious behavioral studies to back it up, any hard data from the CDC or the Journal of Psychiatric Research? Let's try it anyway:
Why is it some someone "snaps," when someone suffers a savage "break from reality," it's always toward the negative, toward violence and destruction of life? Why is it when we give in to our most intense impulses and extreme fantasies, we're always told it's toward something vile -- murder or rape, suicide or homemade bombs in the street?
Is this not the conventional mythology, reinforced a million ways from Fox News to violent video games to, for some, the Catholic church? When we snap, we snap ugly. When we break, we break bad. Sin is everywhere, the devil is crushingly seductive, your rapacious dark side is ever just millimeters from the surface and it's only the thinnest membrane of social mores and fortuitous brain chemicals that keeps it all in check.
And no wonder! Hey, it's a cruel world out there, right? We are told as much in movie after movie, song after song, headline after conspiracy theory after talk radio hate-fest: Society can only push us so far. Liberals really want Sharia law, Republicans are pathetic pawns of Wall Street, bitches got me down and The Man laid me off. I've been pushed into a corner for too long; something's gotta give. Revenge, you know? Murder. Rape. Blood. Hey, it's survival of the fittest, right?
Wrong. Allow me to correct the above paragraphs as quickly as possible: It's total BS. None of it is really true. We are not at all so inclined to murderous rage, the dark side, evil tendencies in the night, despite what you read in the anonymous comments or the extremist blogs, or hear from the right-wing fundamentalist pulpit. Our truest nature is not toward theft, or pedophilia or bloodshed. Just the opposite, really.
Here's the reality: The breaking we as a species do is, by and large and for millions of humans every day, toward the good. People have astonishing, heart-full shifts and awakenings, from incremental to momentous, private to life-upheaving, every week, every hour, 50 more in the time it takes you to read this paragraph.
Do not misunderstand. Well do I know we as a culture are fed a steady, gruesome diet of ultra-violence, religious ignorance, marketing chyme, warped sexual messages, hate and corruption and the bottom-feeding vibration that is reality TV. Well do I see the nefarious forces at play, and how many people respond to them by creating even more. I get it.
But that doesn't mean that's our nature. That's just capitalism mating with sensationalism getting bitch-slapped by egomania, minus shrewd education, superlative whisky and the deep tongue kiss that comes from true spiritual investigation. I mean, obvs.
Devotees of deep mystical practices, of yoga, philosophical study, the arts or meditation will frequently stumble into epiphany, into new awareness; perspectives shift, minds open, hearts explode wide open all the time, never to shrivel again.
Members of community churches, of wildly dynamic love relationships, of inquisitive social collectives come out of their gatherings every day and feel like singing, or building, or starting a new business, and they will treat their kids better and kiss their husbands more messily, and the halo effect will take over as lives all around them will get that much more luminous and hopeful and strong. Just the way it works.
This sort of "snap" toward the positive, toward changing life for the better, this happens far more than Aurora, or Columbine, or Virginia Tech, or the Iraq war, or any horror you can name, and that includes Penn State and the Catholic church's coverups and just about anything Pat Robertson has ever said in his entire life.
It happens, actually millions of times per year. Perhaps billions. It is happening right this moment. You rarely read about it. There is no Facebook page or Twitter feed. There is just no way to keep track...
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Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate. He recently learned how to properly spank a nun, requested that you please join his Tantric yoga sex cult and begged you oh my God please do not eat this. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention...