I can remember watching Transformers the cartoon for the first time around eighty-nine-ish. The brutal leadership style of the story villain, Megatron immediately captured my thoughts. Through the years writers have tried to refine the character’s back-story. The villainous sentiment remained the same no matter how good the writer had been; a once valiant general leading a revolution to save his planet. The underlying character didn’t change with the rewrites, and the original still remains in each iteration of the show. An evil, which had a lust for power and a willingness to sacrifice even its most loyal soldier. The rewrites though, introduced me to the desperate ploy the wicked have always used to justify their evil acts and blood-guilt.
Closely recalling the works of fiction I’ve seen and read during my life, none come closer to following the lines of human history than this seemingly simple cartoon with its tranforming robots, pinned ever so neatly to the human psyche. Watching it, hearing the villain call the protagonist naive, makes me believe the writer had an affinity for understanding humanity’s darkest minds.
Naive. People with good moral compasses are typically called naive by others who want them to conform to an ideal – 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 that just 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 do come back to their senses, often come with a revisionist wisdom; “don’t do what I’ve done.” AKA keep your naiveté.
One of the better parts of transformers, the original cartoon, is Optimus Prime, the leader of the good guys would not adjust his moral compass to gain leverage. The writers kept his character true to form and worked diligently to ensure a good outcome based on the right decision. The world 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, whether it be monetary, political, food, medicine, science, religious; they beast out when they do away with their naiveté in order to get a leg up.
Frighteningly, no one stops to consider. No one pays attention to the suffering their decisions cause till the high catches up. They will then be willing to spend countless hours and resources covering over what was done, to the extent of adding blood they deem necessary to make it go away. They usually say some variation of the same thing on their death beds, years after they are forced to watch the atrocities of their actions. “If I’d only known (add in whatever BS line they use to try to make themselves feel better as they fade from life, leaving the mess of their decisions to the next generation/s).
Being “naive” is a form of wisdom, I’ve become aware, that evil fears. What evil fears, it attacks, by name-shaming wisdom in order 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 who are willing to give up their naivety, turns and does 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 being necessary.
Like the cartoon 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 pony up their 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, creates distinct value for hunting treasure in those 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 etches its way into consciousness in each generation. They present in various forms for various causes, all seeming different, all for the same cause. 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.
The naive, are called to have a certain character because of who they are. Their light shining so others can see. When the naive refuse to shine and goes dark, joining evil in its missive, the cities are ruled by evil, and all cities are judged by their leaders. The naive are 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 lights diminishes. People stumble, even good ones 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 of the show is too close to come down so the spotlight must shine on the stage. Don’t fold, don’t sway, hold steady until the final scene when the credits are scrolled back from the stars. Remember, wisdom stays in the streets calling on every corner, foolery is always on the opposing corner yelling down wisdom, doling out sweets and tickets for trips 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 say that it is better to keep being naive and keep shining. Not to be ashamed of being naive, because there is greater reward in keeping wisdom than many entertaining distractions and sweets from the entreaties of evil. It is not only for the naive that wisdom should shine, but for those their lights inspire to keep their thoughts on things higher and higher. And though the harshness of life seems like it is 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.
Featured image made on Canva