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"As I sit here considering the theme – Dark Fairytales
– it occurs to me; for one to discover the true meaning of these words, one need only look at oneself. Go on, just take a few minutes, right now. This story, narrative, stream-of consciousness, can wait. It will still be here when you are done. So do it.
There, you see, no? You don’t? Well then, allow me to explain a little more fully.
Since a young age we have been bombarded with stories of morality, and assailed with instruction and imperatives to “Do to no one what you yourself dislike”*. This means simply that we should not treat others in a way that we would find undesirable if done unto ourselves. A very.., simplistic idea, in theory. This is the basic ethic of reciprocity.
For philosophers subscribed to the Situation Ethics way of thinking, this idea would arguably work extremely well. However we all know better. The entire concept of the ethic of reciprocity is flawed. Now I do not intend in the slightest to elaborate on this; like many writers I will leave you to research and ponder on that yourself. Instead I shall simply go on to explain how each and every one of us secretly (or openly) harbour a ‘dark fairytale’ within us.
To begin with, we must get one thing straight; hurting someone else for your own pleasure, gain or anything similar, is morally ‘wrong’, yes?
Now I shall begin a small, fictional, tale of woe and devastation, horror and repulsion, happiness and sadness. Okay, so that was a little dramatic; here is my humble story.
You remember well the tale of Caleb and Matthew, don’t you? Just for fair warning, this is absolutely, one hundred percent, nothing
The greying, bearded fellow at the desk glanced over the top of the page he was reading, looking sceptically at the class of students in front of him. The small group spread thinly across the lecture-hall, all looking uncomfortably away from the man, their eyes, for the most part, trained intently on their notebooks or their hands. The particular student the Professor was searching for, however, was nowhere to be seen.
“Mr. Lerwick?” His voice is soft, quiet – greying and aged like his physical appearance. “Mr. Lerwick?” he repeats, an exasperated intonation encroaching on his light tenor.
Placing down the standard A4-size sheets of ‘work’ the twenty-two year old creative writing student had presented, the Professor sighed. “Were Mr. Lerwick present through the entire of the last two weeks, he would have known that the piece I was looking for was an entirely fictional, detached narrative in novel form. Evidently he did not read the prompts given. I would hope that none of you made the same mistake,” he gave them all a meaningful look, before abruptly standing up, straightening his tie and collecting his briefcase.
“Class for today is over, be sure to have your presentations ready for Friday; you will receive your grades back for this work then,” And with that, the slightly hunched, bespectacled man left the room.
Heaving loud sighs of relief at having been let off early, the remainder of the people occupying the room began to shuffle their way out - except one.
~ Reciprocation: A mutual giving and receiving.
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