Apr 9, 2017

Do We Really Need To Know Evil To Recognize Good?

I recently finished a painting of a Friesian horse trotting through the snow. The Friesian horse is an easily recognizable, though not well-recognized, breed. By that I mean, if you are familiar with horse breeds, it is very easy to distinguish from other breeds. If you are not familiar with horses, however, you've probably never seen or heard of one (except in movies).


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Friesians are easily distinguished from other breeds because they have many characteristics of a draft but are leaner and more graceful. The Friesian always comes in black (except for one very rare exception, a chestnut stallion called Fire Magic) with no white markings such as socks or blaze. It has a long wavy mane and tail and feathery feet.

But, the Friesian is uncommon in the United States and if you live here you are unlikely to ever have seen one. In all my years of owning and working with horses I don't think I ever saw one in real life. This is why I say it is not likely to be recognized by most people, at least most people in the U.S.

The Friesian gets its name from the place of its origin, a region in the Netherlands known as Friesland. It's a light draft horse breed originally bred to pull carriages and is popular for this purpose because of its elegant, high-stepping gait.

So, what does the title of this blog post have to do with any of this? Well, when I first uploaded this image I shared it to my Facebook page and I realized a lot of people would not recognize this horse breed. So I added a little bit of info about the breed and included a YouTube video so people could see this amazing horse in action.


The Friesian horse's movement is so amazing to watch that, while previewing YouTube videos, I got a little emotional when I watched these beautiful creatures in action. They are stunning. It made me ponder all the wonder and beauty this world has to offer. But then I wonder, how can we have such beauty and yet have so much ugliness and evil too? Why can't we just have the beauty of this world? Well, I've wondered this before, as I'm sure everyone has at one time or another. If you wonder out loud, the response from others is usually something like, we can't recognize beauty without ugliness, we can't appreciate pleasure without knowing pain, we can't know good without knowing evil.

That's the standard and widely accepted notion about good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, etc. The idea is that if we lived in a world where everything was wonderful, everything was beautiful, that we would not be able to appreciate it, or even recognize it. I disagree. I think this is nonsense.

Why? Because I was a child once. Yes, we all were. Think back to when you were two years old. When I was 2 I already knew horses were wonderful, beautiful creatures. No one had to teach me that, or compare it to something ugly before I understood. I was already delighted by kittens, puppies, and baby chicks. I marveled at pollywogs, hummingbirds, and butterflies. I'm pretty sure that, at 2 years old, I knew nothing of famine, war, hurricanes, and the Ebola virus. Yet I still managed to thoroughly enjoy my goldfish and fluffy teddy bear. I really don't think we need to know ugliness to know what's beautiful, to know misery in order to recognize what brings us pleasure. The ability to recognize beauty is already within us from birth.

So, for those of you who would like to experience some beauty without thinking of ugliness for a few moments, I present to you the magnificent Friesian horse in action in this YouTube video below. Enjoy!

The KFPS Royal Friesian Horse




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