Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Antagonists Add Spice To Our Lives

Harry Potter and Voldemort.
Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.
Snoopy and The Red Baron.
Jean Val-Jean and Javert.
The Redskins and the Cowboys.
Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The Red Sox and the Yankees.

These are just a few prominent examples of arch-enemies and antagonistic relationships without which life would be, well, boring. I mean, imagine Harry Potter without He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Or the white-robed Luke Skywalker without the Master of the Dark Side. Or the Red Sox without the Yankees.

Without the one, the other simply is not as exciting or compelling. Without the one, there is no real story, no conflict that keeps us us interested, that commands our attention, that forces us to choose sides.

Which is why, now that the Yankees have been unceremoniously dropped from their annual pursuit of a World Series crown, I feel somehow that the excitement has gone out of the baseball playoffs.

Without the Yankees, I don't have a true antagonist at which I can direct my ire. Of course I'm still pulling for the Sox, but a defeat over the Indians just won't bring the same joy, the same sense of triumph, that would a victory over the Yankees.

I believe humans need antagonists to experience our full range of emotions. We need antagonists to grapple with and try to solve vexing challenges. We need antagonists to grow, emotionally and psychologically. Antagonists not only add spice to our lives, they also help us to reach our full potential as individuals.

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