Symmetry is very important. We recognize each other’s faces by the tiny differences in symmetry, which is why the slightest changes along the midline of the face are immediately noticeable. Most autos, looked at from the front, are symmetrical as are airplanes, boats, forks, pots, bottles and the bulk of the animal, vegetable and mineral products in our lives.
We even look at behavior as symmetrical: the carrot and the stick; firing and promotion, reward and punishment.
Yet, somehow, we get asymmetrical.....
Yet, somehow, we get asymmetrical when ideology enters the discussion. Ideology tells us that magazines and movies with explicit sex can lead to rape; billboards, magazines and movies depicting smoking can lead to smoking; and violent scenes in electronic games and film can lead to violent behavior. (It is futile to argue that countries that have far more explicit sex and violence in films and magazines, such as Japan, have virtually no rape or violent crimes.)
To me, the logical argument deals with the asymmetry of the ideology involved. If depicting explicit bad behavior can lead to bad behavior, why is it also clear to reasonable people that depicting explicit good behavior doesn’t lead to good behavior?
We know it doesn’t lead to good behavior because nobody ever suggests forcing prison inmates to watch films or read magazines that explicitly depict exemplary behavior, much less good behavior. (“Sit down and watch these movies of the lives of the saints.”) We don’t even suggest that such teaching methods be applied to children.
The coup de grace of the argument that we don’t believe depicting explicit good behavior is beneficial can be found in the circumstances where professionals (ad producers) are paid to induce good behavior. Anti-smoking advertising, for which ad producers are paid tens of millions of dollars, has not now and has never presented an anti-smoking ad campaign that shows how healthy, happy and prosperous a person would be for not smoking.
End of argument. Go back to your good or bad behavior, with or without media encouraging your behavior.
P.S. I write this as a big fury is building over the movie Munich. It must be hard to remember that Mel Gibson's Passion was an unbelievably successful film, much loved by religious Christians, yet no one ever connected the movie to anti-Semitic acts or influxes of new Christian converts.