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Character Makes a Face

Ep 72: Our Faces Tell the Story of Our Lives

The world has been witness to the diabolical events unfolding in Ukraine over the past few weeks. The internal horror we each feel to the atrocities committed is testament to the fact that human beings have an innate sense of what is right and wrong. Goodness and morality closely tie to beauty. There is a universal perception of evil as ugliness of the soul. If beauty is an emotion, ugliness is too. Furthermore, experiencing hardship is often considered a form of character building. It is probably the best test of resilience. What we should be conscious of, is that the story of our past continues to be told in our aging faces. Our emotional memories imprint on our faces, the way we are created to be. The face as a dynamic representation of our thoughts, emotions, and our personalities.

It is difficult to process suffering. Especially in the case of an unprecedented war in our times. As a doctor, I found it very hard to watch the catastrophic destruction of Ukraine. In particular, it is difficult to process the scenes involving pregnant mothers, children, and the elderly, as with what we are seeing unfolding in Ukraine.

Our conscious decisions shape our personalities

I take a conscious decision to process everything I encounter. Because I have a habit of deliberately shaping my thoughts and emotions in a way that I feel is productive. For example, everything is a learning experience, especially failures, disappointments and grief. Yet, I struggled with these terrible images. To illustrate, as a doctor, I am trained to heal and treat physical conditions.Yet, the barbaric acts I witness are literally tearing people apart indiscriminately.

I cannot begin to fathom the difficulties the people in Ukraine are experiencing. Yet, we hear stories of such resilience. The small triumphs in such hardship, where we see bullying take place – resonate deeply with the human spirit. This is an example of how displays of might backfire, reminding us of ancient biblical tales like the story of David & Goliath which have inspired generations after. In addition, the human capacity to find a sense of beauty in the face of the deepest, darkest & ugliest of sins, is a special gift that unites us. It has nothing to do with the material. In fact, it has everything to do with rooting for the underdogs, humanity taking special care not to forget the displaced & the forgotten. Consequently, these are the very values that make us human. 

Choose good over evil

In the midst of witnessing the cruel acts of war in Ukraine, I find myself consumed with indignation, disgust, pity and grief all at the same time.

It’s easy to wonder where God is in all of this. Will the unrighteous go unpunished? Then I realised that our very sense of morality, apologists have argued, evidently points towards the spiritual. As Jesus told his disciples in the gospel of Matthew, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Then I became much less anguished, knowing that evil will have its just deserts. 

For now, the world watches on as the experiment of evil which had begun right in front of eyes. Transforming the visage of one with a nondescript appearance, one self-styled godman with his army behind the walls of a gaudy palace, into the epitome of machiavellianism and evil. When we all start to see with our hearts. We choose our actions carefully, for our actions make us who we are. That has nothing to do with how we look. 

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