How Joan of Arcadia Models Creating Trust in the System
The moral case for building trust within the system and how it affects the individual.
How much can the world ask of someone living within it?
For some people, the answer is obvious, there isn't anything they can't be asked which they wouldn't do. In others, there's nothing you can ask of them which they'd be willing to do. With the vast majority of people however, they come down somewhere in the middle. It's not entirely clear what they would be willing to do. It would depend on the circumstances and the people involved. Some would only help if it benefited them. Others if it benefited themselves and someone they cared about. Whether it's a family member by blood or marriage, or even just a friend that means a lot to them.
Still others would do whatever they can to help anyone regardless of whether it benefits them or people they love. Entire organizations have been created to help those who can't help themselves. This question is the cornerstone of a functioning society. If no one helps anyone, it ultimately ends badly for pretty much everyone involved. If you help too many people however, you might end up sacrificing your own happiness and stability to help others.
It's a question of being able to trust that what you give to others will be returned to you in some way and they can do the same. Without that trust, there's nothing you can do. Over the past 18 months, the question of what it's reasonable for people to expect from others has been front and centre. Some people refused to trust the system, others were willing to trust the system up until a point, while most people were willing to do whatever was asked of them regardless of what the end result was. It has strained the relationship between people and in the system.
Joan of Arcadia is very much about being able to trust the system. The main character Joan Gerardi as played brilliantly by Amber Tamblyn, has a fundamental trust in the system. However that trust is not absolute. It has its limits. Even though the person she's putting her trust in literally created the universe. She trusts the fact that they are who they claim to be, and that they have her best interests at heart. What makes it of such concern for Joan is that she has to live with the consequences of what's asked of her. The person asking it of her doesn't have to worry about them.
Which is where the conflict comes up between them. If she sees a bad outcome for herself, she will try to avoid it however she can. Her attempt to avoid it often has even worse consequences. So she suffers the consequences of her actions either way. It's just a question of whether or not she's willing to accept those consequences of what's asked of her by the creator of the universe, or those of her own free will. Either way it's a question of trust.
Over time, she learns to trust the system that's in place, whether it's herself or the creator of the universe. Because she sees the consequences of both and is willing to believe that she's doing the right thing.
Learn how to build trust in the system by checking out Joan of Arcadia.
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