“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…” “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you. -C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Good does not equal safe. Dangerous does not equal bad.
There’s nothing more reckless and irresponsible than advocating a concept of virtue that reduces “goodness” to the attributes of harmlessness and passivity.
A goodness that is threatening to no one is a goodness that is useless to everyone.
Goodness is no less concerned with progress than with platitudes; it is no less preoccupied with freedom than with friendliness.
And how can we promote progress, how can we fight for freedom if we have no willingness to offend, to produce discomfort, to stir up the tension that necessarily accompanies the disruption of the status quo?
Wherever there is creativity, there is always some form of destruction.
Wherever there is evolution, there is always some form of extinction.
Nothing good comes into being without the prior states of inertia being destroyed.
We think we’re avoiding risks, but we’re really avoiding ourselves. We’re avoiding our capacity to do work that matters, to lead lives that make a difference, to touch people’s heart’s with something that stings, burns, resonates, shakes them up, and arouses them out of their intellectual and spiritual slumber. Yes, we avoid all of this in the name of following some trope we’ve mistaken for that which is truly good. In our efforts to be good, we have become boring, unnoticeable, and unmoving. In a word, “safe.”
Maybe we need to be more like Aslan. Maybe we need to do more dangerous things like say what we really mean and pursue what we really want. Maybe we need to allow ourselves to be mesmerized and intoxicated by what truly thrills us, what truly turns us on, what truly tunes us up.
Maybe we should pray that our brands be damned and our fires be stoked.