I figured I would make a blog post for this topic since I do want to post it but I don't want everyone to comment/debate/derail the thread... My posts tend to have that happen to them. *I guess I can't help but need to know what others think... I suppose getting to know others, is a pretty good way to reach a third option... So, recently, I started thinking about conflict resolution between multiple parties and points of view from a storytelling perspective. In lots of interactive and visual media, it simply is kill or be killed. In video games, it is so natural and normal to kill enemies, and sometimes harmless NPCs, without a second thought for experience points (so you get stronger) and loot (so you look cooler and are stronger) In the popular-movie world, its natural to have buildings topple over, gun fights, gore porn, highway accidents, without ever thinking of all the innocent bystanders or whether the conflict had to come to this in the first place. We're a culture that believes in the idiom: "Violence is never the answer" or any variation of such yet our popular media is filled with the exact opposite. Now, I'm an amoralist, I do not believe in a set of holy ways to be or think certain guidelines are borne naturally in humans. So, I cannot accept the idiom and therefore I am not trying to make a case against it or call our society hypocritical or cruel. There are times where an opposing force, whether it be another human, a group, or ideology, cannot be reasoned with or a middle ground cannot be found. I wouldn't ask anyone to turn the other cheek or allow something so dangerous to another to exist. It would be counter-survival. In past media, it was natural to see in black and white as the "bad guys" could be aliens, evil forces from the beyond, or whatever else which its existence solely depended on hurting humans. You can't find middle ground against something that does nothing but hunt and eat humans for survival or some amalgam of dark forces that only wishes to destroy the world. They don't have a better nature to appeal to, they have no desire for peace, but only to rend, consume, and destroy. That is the black of black and white. However, more and more, we're seeing media that showcases intelligent creatures and humans who are capable of communication and often end up fighting for 'victory' rather than settling differences or finding a third option. Why? The third option is hard and, arguably, less cool than an all-out fight. Could it also be that we are simply accustomed to resorting to violence or that our views are superior and therefore we have no choice to put an absolute stop to another set? Now, violence does have its place, and I am not saying it's lesser or even wrong to have violent media or to beat up orcs in video games. However, is it a bit too habitual to kill or be killed? Now, in the Marvel universe, we have heroes that do no kill. They incapacitate, jail, and reform villains. We have villains with humanizing motives that stop their ways when ultimately confronted or realize their folly. Friends, family, and even foes help them let go of their grudges, their sadness, and they move on before imploding the world with their high-tech rockets. In anime, we have the same thing and many of those scenes are often considered the best and most emotional in a series where people can overcome their differences and choose a happier alternative. All the giant mech robots and absurd weapons won't make you forget the brutal murder of your parents, but dang it does a good cry help. And isn't that why we believe the characters we root for are the strongest even if they can't hold themselves in a fight, even if they let others push them around, even if they themselves can't come to grip with their own feelings? Because they help others to let go of their pain that causes them to go "evil". As writers and futures authors who may be read by a few handful people, millions, and even generations, perhaps we should start thinking whether our antagonists are all that bad and whether there is a way to create less violence in our stories. No, sometimes killing is the answer, but sometimes there is a third option. It's harder to get to, and it certainly is the long way around, but perhaps that'll be the reason why someone chooses to try harder to overcome difficulties rather than have a "me vs. them" mentality and perhaps it will bring forth less violence where none is needed. It's silly to think such a butterfly could exist but when almost all our media is violent perhaps it's not so silly to try and create less of it.