Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Turning to the Grey Side

Despite the many many similarities between the Star Wars galaxy and our own world, there is one obvious difference.

There is no fine line between good and evil in the real world.

In fact, it could be argued that everything, every action, every person, is both good and bad -- or at least, neutral.

Even a seemingly good action can be bad, despite intentions. Is giving money to poor people a good thing, or does it merely justify their inaction? It can be said that it even inspires others to evil, like other poor people to rob him of his recently acquired wealth.

At first, what might seem good, bad or even neutral, has the potential for many things. A rock, a neutral thing, can be used for the good act of building a house, or can be used for the bad act of hitting a person on the head. And more often than not, the same action has both good and bad consequences.

Good is a point of view, just like evil.

More importantly, though -- it's far more easier to switch from good to bad (and back) than it appears in Star Wars. Once a person commits an evil action (which I claim happens daily) it is not hard to "turn back to the light". The next action usually suffices.

Only a Sith deals in absolutes -- but do they really? Their evil ways become good through the progress they achieve for themselves. And the Jedi likewise do good, only to have their actions be evil against the Sith. Two wrongs do not make a right.

I daresay we live in a grey world. No black and no white. Which is not to say that our lives are boring -- the different shades of grey are far more interesting than the black or the white.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


It never ceases to amaze me how people think about drugs.

Last night, I watched the movie Grizzly Man; perhaps you have heard of it or seen it. I recommend it. Timothy, the central person in the film, admits to having been addicted to alcohol. But what struck me was how his parents seemed to ignore most of that, but instead talked about how he once tried to smoke marihuana in their house. His father "naturally" put a stop to that.

As if cannabis is far worse than drinking too much.

Do not misunderstand; marihuana is harmful in many ways. In the Netherlands, its dangers ares often underestimated and it is frequently seen as not addictive. That is, sadly, wrong.

However, the fear of cannabis in the United States seems to be far too great. One or two joints do not scar you for life. Obviously, much depends on your age, since cannabis does prevent normal mental development, but a (nearly) fullgrown person will not be harmed much.

It is odd, then, how all drugs are considered to be evil in a society where alcohol, a notoriously dangerous drug, is perfectly acceptable. This is not just America (although the USA are arguably most black-and-white in their views of drugs), but most of the Western countries, and many non-Western countries as well.

In my view, the Dutch approach to softdrugs is therefore more suitable. Not completely legal (as is often thought), the use and possesion of small doses of marihuana is tolerated; the well-known "gedoogbeleid" (a policy of not prosecuting this minor offense). Cannabis is sold in so-called coffeeshops.

This policy is now under discussion. To be honest, it has always been under discussion, but now more widely. One of the government parties believes it is best to erase the whole thing, and another party believes in a larger policy, where the government itself grows and sells the marihuana. A clash in the Parliament is inevitable.

The "gedoogbeleid" is under attack, more than before. On the one hand, this is sad, for it appears to be a very effective policy (the number of people addicted to marihuana is lower than in most other Western countries and there is a smaller black market in cannabis). On the other hand, it is always good to review a policy after a while.

I'm interested to see what will happen to our world-famous policy regarding to drugs. And if alcohol on the other hand will be given its rightful place in government policy.