Villain, Hero, or somewhere in between?
Boba Fett, the bounty hunter. "What a cool looking villain!" was what I thought when I first saw him in one of the Star Wars movies due to his awesome gadget and armour. However, he wasn't my favourite as he was, well, a villain. To the younger me, any villain is a bad guy and we should not like them.
Things were simpler when we are younger, or at least from my perspective when I was growing up. There seem to be only two categories in life, which is good and bad, a dichotomy. The adults in my life have been teaching us that study is good, playing is bad, lazy is bad, diligence is good, success is good and failure is bad. I have often struggled with accepting myself because I often fail to be perfect and successful in failing a lot…! Yea, it might be selling myself short, but the point is, most of us if not all of us would fail and by the traditional definition, we are the bad guy. But at the same time, we do have good qualities in us. So, it can be confusing and maybe that is why we often try so hard to prove that we are good people.
In the original Star Wars trilogy, I see Boba Fett as a villain from the lens of the Jedi. However, from the Book of Boba Fett, some of his actions do not seem bad at all - he tries not to kill unnecessarily which to me, it suggest that he treasure life. And how he helped the Tusken Raiders also suggest that he is not all evil. From the Tusken Raiders perspective, he could be a hero! Similar to real life, we as humans are multidimensional and multilayered. Often time we are not either dark or light but somewhere in between. However, it can be exhausting because as humans, we often rely on labels or schemas to process our day to day tasks. Imagine if you always have to engage in the cognitive definition of objects in life! I don't know about you, but I will be exhausted after 2 hours of waking up and interacting with my environment in that way! It takes effort, energy and time to actually see the greys in people, but if you do have the chance to do it, try it. You will find empathy and compassion towards others and yourself too.
If we operate in a respectful way regardless of our schemas or perspective of others and if you don't generally feel like having the additional mental space or time to look at the grey, that's okay. However, if you want to, here are some simple tips you can try.
1. Take a step back - breathe! Think about what you observe within yourself and of the other person.
2. Think about the situation and the context, does it make sense for anyone to respond in those situations or contexts? For example - it is normal for someone to feel angry and does the intensity of the response/ reaction matches the context?
3. Talk to the person: get to know that person! It is more likely for us to see different shades of grey if we get to know others.
4. If you don't agree with their action, that is okay. We don't have to always agree on everything because we all have different values, upbringing, cultural beliefs etc, and our actions often align with our own values. Someone who has a different value than us doesn't mean that they are right or wrong, it simply is just different. (on the condition that the action is not harmful to any other beings) We are moving, if not already in a world that doesn't only see absolute black or white, but a whole range of greys which we can celebrate because it allows more of us to express who we really are! Have you experienced a shift of perspective for a certain character(s) in your fictional stories? If yes, who?
Check out psychologyforgeeks.com for more resources and articles around mental health and geek culture too!