The Tao of Eastwood

Chapter 27

Passing Judgement

Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Jesus Christ and I don’t care about justice in this world, or the next. I don’t even care what’s right or wrong. I never have.

Steve Everett | True Crime

If you close your mind in judgments
and traffic in desires,
your heart will be troubled.
If you keep your mind from judging
and aren’t led by the senses,
your heart will find peace.

Tao Te Ching | from verse 52

There are things you should do and things you shouldn’t do, as you go along, that create a peaceful life. Calling this one good and that one bad is unnecessary.

Babies never do this. They just want what they want and they either get it or they don’t. Not knowing concepts such as right or wrong, good and bad, they are perfectly free. They see what they see and hear what they hear. And even though they can do these things, as anyone can, their minds do not allow them, yet, to assign any qualification. In this way, they are like the Tao.

At what point do we learn to pass judgment?

True Crime is an Eastwood film about man on death row after being falsely convicted of a murder. Eastwood’s character, Steve Everett, is a morally ambiguous newspaper reporter with a knack for trouble and an incredibly intuitive sense of truth.

Assigned by his hateful boss to interview Frank Beachum, the death row inmate, as a fluffy human interest story, Everett discovers the condemned man is innocent and races to prove it before Beachum is executed.

In this scene, Everett sits across from Beachum and asks if there is anything he wants to say. Beachum, trying to remain calm and conventional, provides a pat answer about finding peace and giving his soul to Jesus. But Everett, as dysfunctional and imperfect as he is, won’t accept this answer. Being in no place to judge this man, he simply wants the truth.