The Norman Transcript

December 22, 2012

What is the future of humanity?

By Cindy Merrick
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — This week I went to see the film “Lincoln.”

It was a fabulous depiction of President Lincoln’s unique leadership style and passion to abolish slavery.

Before the movie, there were over 15 trailers that promoted future productions. As I sat in the theater, I was emotionally disturbed by the violence of every one of these movies except one. I frequently looked away and covered my eyes because of the horror, cruelty, murder and abuse in these promotional clips.

I was disgusted that I was subjected to these disturbing media pieces.

I am truly saddened and concerned about the increasing promotion of violence in movies, television, music and books. Even the comic books and children’s literature heroes are portrayed as superfigures who control others, create pain and cause suffering. They represent dominance and power over others. They are a reflection of opposition not resolution.

They are characterized by fear not love.

What is the future of humanity. Our exposure to violence in public entertainment desensitizes us and promotes tolerance and acceptance of such negative behaviors. Violence shifts the values of our children, our society and our future. It robs our children of their innocence, plants seeds of disruption and corrupts the core of our moral standards. It weakens our unity and creates portals for despair. New computerized film technology now illustrates imaginative portrayals of violence and destruction.

Why is this the trend for public entertainment? Is this a true reflection of a shift in our values as to what is acceptable? If so, this acceptance and approval of violence scares the core of my being. I believe our increasing exposure to violence promotes crime and encourages fighting and rage.

I personally can’t support public venues of violence unless they are of historical value that will help us move forward in our efforts to unify our world ... and even this is a stretch for me.

While watching “Lincoln,” it was difficult to briefly witness the brutality of the hand to hand combat of the Civil War. This was our history but it doesn’t have to be our future.

I encourage you not to pay money to see violent movies, buy such books and music or watch television shows that portray violence. I encourage you to preview all forms of media which you expose your children or grandchildren to.

Lastly I ask you to pray with unwavering faith that we will find solutions to decrease the violence, replace fighting with mediation, despair with hope, darkness with light and fear with love.

Martin Luther King summarizes this topic by saying, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

Cindy Merrick, a physical therapist, lives in Norman.

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