I can remember watching Transformers the cartoon for the first time. Eighty-nine-ish, if I recall correctly. The first thing that caught my attention was the brutal leadership style of the story’s villain, Megatron. Through the years writers have tried to refine the character’s back-story. No matter how hard they tried the villainous sentiment remained, no matter how good the writers were; In all the rewrites Megatron was once a valiant general leading a revolution to save his planet. The underlying character doesn’t change with the rewrites, and the original still remains in each iteration; A powerful leader who hid a lust for power that made him willing to sacrifice even his most loyal soldier to attain. The rewrites did introduce me to the desperate language the wicked have always used to justify their evil acts and blood guilt.

When I recall the works of fiction I’ve seen and read over my life, none come closer to following the lines of human history than this simple cartoon, with its transforming robots, pinned ever so neatly to the human psyche. Evil does its best to draw those fighting its tyranny to its side by spinning the truth. Almost every time the villain would call the protagonists naive. Watching Transformers, gave me the vibe that the writers understands humanity’s darkest minds.

Naive. People who follow good moral codes are typically called naive by others who want them to conform to an ideal, other than the morals they live by. Mostly the naive, when called out in fiction, stridently become the rebellious, two-timing, bronco riding, fast car driving, pirate mouth bleeping, gun-slinging, murderous, punch you in the mouth for nothing desperado who just about eeks out some form hero… or so. A trail of broken vows, hearts, bodies, and blood stains hide in their orbit of guilt later on, if they come back to their senses; all in the name of saving one damsel, for better effect add one adorable kid. Those who come back to their senses, often do so with a revisionist wisdom; “don’t do what I’ve done.” AKA keep your naivete.

One of the bright spots of Transformers, the original cartoon, is Optimus Prime – the leader of the good guys did not adjust his moral compass to gain leverage. The writer kept his character true to form and worked diligently to ensure a good outcome based on good morals and the right decisions. The world we live in today didn’t follow this part of the writing. People in the highest and lowest positions in life sacrifice whatever good they have in their hearts for leverage, be it for monetary, political, food, medicine, science, or religion; they beast out when they do away with their naiveté to get a leg up.

Frighteningly, no one stops to consider. No one pays attention to the suffering our decisions cause till the high catches up. Then maybe, we are willing to spend countless hours and resources covering what was done; to the extent we add blood deemed necessary collateral to make the ugly go-away. Deathbed confessions usually have some variation of the same thing, years after being forced to watch the atrocities unleashed by salacious actions. “If I’d only known (add whatever BS line fits the description of what one generation leaves for the next generation/s).

In this it seems being “naive” is a form of wisdom that evil seems to fear. What evil fears, it attacks, by name-shaming wisdom to convince good people to turn off their moral compass so they can join the herd in blindly stomping out everything that doesn’t conform. Evil celebrates when the wise are willing to give up their naivety, turn, and do the dirty work; hanging back and watching, taking inventory of any body count. Sadly, life doesn’t follow fiction when good people put aside their wisdom – The villain often loses and dies in fiction. In life innocent people die while evil is protected; ironically, by laws and pivots designed to shield them, as is necessary.

Like the cartoon’s climax when Megatron wakes up in space drifting, evil takes on a new form and is given a new name by whichever wealthy citizen is willing to dish out cash to incentivize the new form of evil, “to the people”. They make presentations and sales pitches and crush dissenters, culling forests and entire cities, and, for good measure, create distinct value for hunting treasure in those forgone places, long after generations have forgotten about it. Before the next generation comes, there is always that one person saying, “If I had only known that this would happen.”

Sketches of wise people becoming fools and giving up their wisdom etch their way into consciousness for each generation. They present in various forms for various causes, all seeming different, all for the same mission; convince the masses this is good for them. No one sees. No one pays attention. The reward always looks sweeter this time around. But with evil involved there always is a hidden dagger, waiting for its signal to betray. No man knows when. And no one pays attention till the deed is done. Always rolls to the same side of history.

The naive, are called to have a certain character because of who they are. Their light shines so others can see. When the naive refuses to shine and goes dark, joining evil in its missives, the cities are ruled by evil, and all cities are judged by their leaders. The naive is a necessary part of any society, required to shine so that others can see and have hope. When that hope fades by any means, the light diminishes. People stumble, even good ones who are on the brink.

The naive, of the times must hold onto their wisdom and not flutter with the breeze, no matter how sweetly they are entreated or how dirty their names are sullied. The curtain is too close to coming down, so the spotlight must continue shining on the stage for people to see that the hero is still fighting. Don’t fold. Don’t sway too far from the truth. Hold steady until the final scene when the credits are rolled back with the stars. The wise ought to remember that wisdom stays in the streets calling on every corner and foolery is always on the opposing corner yelling down wisdom, doling out sweets and tickets to distractions and brilliant flicks. One look, one taste, and even the wisest may get hooked.

Yet. The rumblings in the dirt and the flickering of dazzling lights teach us that it is better to keep being naive and shining. Not to be ashamed of being naive, because there is a greater reward in keeping wisdom than many entertaining distractions and sweets from the entreaty of evil. It is not only for the naive that wisdom should shine but for those whose lights inspire them to keep their thoughts on things higher and higher. And though the harshness of life appears to be unending, rest assured your days of holding onto your naive hope of a better life will be rewarded soon.

Naive! Me? I’d be ever so delighted. That would mean wisdom touched me and evil is not happy about it.

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