Just because we think of something one way, that doesn’t mean it is that way!
Think about our perception of Nazi Germany from World War II. We see Hitler and the Nazis as being horrible people who did horrible things. But, as Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” Thanks to the Allied victory, history has been written one very specific way. But how would we look back on the Nazis had the Axis won the war? Would they be the villains of the piece, or would our perception of the entire situation be totally different?
I find that looking at things from a different angle gives me a whole new perspective on the situation. That’s not to say that I’m pro-Nazi or Holocaust, but it does set you to thinking. What REALLY happened? What were things REALLY like in situations throughout history?
Here are some things to ponder:
- Had Christianity not become so popular and widespread, would Jesus have simply been viewed as just another nuisance in the Roman Empire’s rule?
- Had the Hebrews never left Egypt, would Moses have been just one more “upstart” that the Pharaoh put down?
We hear stories from history about great men and women, but how great were they really? Was Florence Nightingale a caring woman who was concerned about the sick soldiers in the Crimean War? Was Gandhi really an inspiring teacher, or was he just one more cult leader with a huge following? Was Albert Einstein really that smart, or, if he lived today, would he just be seen as “one more genius among hundreds”?
I’m not saying that history is wrong, but I have to question if our perception or version of history is actually correct. I love to ask myself these questions and look at them from a different angle. Instead of taking what I am told at face value, I find that it helps me to expand my thought process when I question everything.
So, when you are writing, ask yourself, “What really happened here?” Just because someone LOOKS like the bad guy, is he/she really the villain? Are the heroes really heroic? It makes for an interesting mental exercise, and it can make for much deeper stories!