Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project quoted Coppola’s book on sound and film editing today.
Coppola’s notes for the script of The Conversation include this line:
There is always the idea that the sins a man performs are not the same as the ones he thinks he has performed…
I was raised Catholic and have had to re-confess a number of times (“My apologies, Father; last week I didn’t tell the full story”).
Is virtue, like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder? I detest the idea of moral relativism, but here I am, far from black and white, exploring the idea of virtue as with an unknown.
Of this I am certain: The purpose of virtue is to hone some strong sentient core that can go and do good. If we never find an opportunity to learn, we will never have an opportunity to teach, and we will all fade to automatons or worse, to spineless seekers of living morality that bends and sways with the tide.
Perhaps the entire point of that quote is to suggest that virtue requires more probative thinking. Or perhaps it suggests that we reconsider the idea that sins are no more than indulgences, forgivable with appropriate penance.
You’ll forgive me; it’s difficult for someone as perfect as I to think too deeply into the nature of sins. But what I have learned is that acting on choices we know are wrong does not represent a series of harmful actions as much as it represents a sort of rot. It changes the way we approach life, ourselves.
For what it’s worth, I’d conclude that this quote just asks us to look into why we’re doing what we do. To ask more than merely whether the end justifies the means. We’ve come very far from black and white, but this does not permit disregard of hard edges.
Then the key, per Coppola, is in finding and tending those hard edges.