By Tom Ehrich
I wrote a brief script for my colleague Yana Biryukova. She made it even briefer. Then she created a video on "evil."
I trusted her judgment on how to weave together images, sound and text. I wanted to see what the "problem of evil" looked like through her eyes.
The result is both brilliant and troubling. The text says evil isn't a "label" or a "face." But then faces appear -- a young woman, a face wreathed in red smoke, a scraggly-bearded man, a dimly viewed break dancer, pedestrians on a busy sidewalk.
It's all so ambiguous. Does one of these represent evil? Or none of them? Is it "Eve" or the "smoky devil" or the ugly man?
None of the above -- as a stereotype -- or maybe each of the above in the specific possibility of someone claimed by the darkness. How do you know? Not by a quick glance, that's for sure.
If we try to discern evil from afar, what do we have to go on except stereotypes, prejudice or past hurts? Getting close to evil might be the only way to discern evil. So we look and look, listen and listen, and maybe we get too close and get burned. Better that than staying safe and judging someone harshly without cause.
For in that false labeling, we become as evil ourselves.
See what you think of Yana's video. I'd love to hear from you.