The Unfundamental Conversion

The World is “Dark, Selfish, and Cruel.”

March 16th, 2014 | Posted by Lana Hope in Uncategorized

I watch Tangled on TV at McDonalds this afternoon. I was supposed to be reading Paul Ricoeur (I had it on the table), but this is the time in the semester when I already have term papers semi-planned out, when our grad seminars are almost finished (they finish April 2nd), and when one more book is just not important enough to study with detail. (In case any professors see this, I am reading the book; but my brain is on overload, and I’m not going through and making 50 pages of notes on it like I normally do.)

I love the movie because each time I discover something new, but this time in particular I saw it differently because the movie was without sound. I had to read it.

The witch mother says the world is “dark, selfish and cruel” and Rapunzel says she is free at last. This tension between the dark and freedom is nicely played out.

And we can’t say that the cruel, dark, and selfish aspect is imaginary. The witch mom is not the only problem. Flynn and Rapunzel almost die at the bottom of the water. The thieves try to turn them in. Rapunzel deals with agony within her own soul, and she gets hurt.

But there’s freedom too. There’s joys. There’s the lanturns. There’s new friendships, and thieves turning their lives around. At the end, there’s a celebration with the whole community.

It’s been pointed out many times, and I’ve written about this out as well, that Rapunzel represents the homeshooler who was hid from the outside world. But I think Rapunzel also represents us all because we wrestle between greater freedom and between staying hidden.

We run from pain, we change our circumstances, we move, we slowly learn to back away from toxic relationship and parents, but there’s always that struggle with the demons inside that make freedom less free than it could be. But it’s that very struggle that makes the lanturns all the more beautiful when we keep on the path anyway. Rapunzel did it. She stepped out of the tower. She did it!


Last year I realized that I can’t imagine a world without any evil. And I’m glad for it.

I hiked down the grand canyon. I’ve done 10+ mile mountain hikes before, but this was the harder on me because I was not used to the dry heat (I’ve always lived in humid climates). But every step I took even when darkness was catching upon us, I said, “I’m glad this is hard.”

The struggle, mentally, physically, spiritually is what gets me up in the morning. If grad school was not challenging, I’d stay in bed. If I had no internal battle, I would not appreciate how far I’ve come.

But there’s a problem. In order for God to let me hurt myself, other people have freedom too. And that means that we hurt each other.

I think one reason theodicies get a bad reputation is that people falsely assume that a theodicy explains all evils. It doesn’t. It explains some evils. But it explains enough evils that mostly I’m glad that this world was designed with free will.

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  • Dan McDonald

    Interesting perspective. I’ll have to think more about this. I am inclined to agree. In the final form of sanctification our freedom will agree with the good – but I wonder if that means no challenges or simply a proper desire in conjunction with challenges. You have me wondering and that is good. Also I’ve been lethargic lately, and I know desiring challenges has to be better.

    • Lana Hope

      Right, I agree with you. We will never have genuine freedom until we choose the good, but that freedom will be appreciated in a deeper way because we went through the struggle and chose the good. Or something along those lines. This does not mean that every choice was for our good, though, but that this world type – aka, free will, limited by the senses, finite amount of time, can’t fly like a bird, must eat, must sleep, etc, – was ultimately for the good.

      • Dan McDonald


  • On my bucket list is a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike. Preferably with my kids when they get old enough to do it. Good for you!

    • Lana Hope

      I have not done rim-to-rim. I’m going back for sure and want to stay two nights, so I can hike to the waterfall down there.

  • When my kids were younger, we did not boycott Disney as many did for reasons of dress, sexism, etc. They were fairy tales cleaned up from the original grusome ones and embellished. What a great tool for us to discuss the evil vs good battles, friendship and virtues. The stories were simple and visual. They helping me in developingcritical thinking and talking about our values and God’s as a Christian. We also did reviewing on quality, story value as they got older. Soon, they were picking movie for themselves and knowing which ones to avoid (for them).

  • Anonymous

    You are a very naive and new/young soul!
    I lived in a theocratic country and you have no clue what darkness means.
    You are mistaking evil which means pain and suffering that damages life and soul with “hard” challenges.

    please grow up!

    • Lana Hope

      On the contrary, I h ave posts here about all the war victims I worked with overseas. I knew one boy who was forced to watch the enemy stab out his father’s eyes, rape his mother, and kill several family members. I do no, and it hurts. If you’ve experienced evil, I’m so sorry. But nothing in this post changes because of the existence of hurrendous evils. This post is about the internal battles that Rapunzel faced.


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