Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.

“What’s in the box? You lie! Shut up! No! No!”

I edited out some of Brad Pitt’s cussing, because this is a family-friendly environment… even if I’m talking about the decapitated head of a police officer’s wife, delivered to the middle of nowhere in a nondescript box by some random courier company. Because that’s still family-friendly and PG-13, right? Right. Oh, and spoiler alert.

Directed by the incomparable David Fincher, Seven (officially stylized as SE7EN) is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. The powerful crime thriller is presented in a neo-noir film style as the young David Mills (Brad Pitt) and the almost-retiring William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) aim to catch a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who themes his murders after the seven deadly sins.

If you haven’t watched SE7EN, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

The quote above, uttered by Detective William Somerset, comes toward the end of the film and it is particularly poignant on two levels. First, the detective doesn’t agree with the first part of the Ernest Hemingway line. He doesn’t agree that the world is a fine place. Instead, it really is a place filled with scum and villainy and bad people doing bad things.

Even if we were to posit that most people are basically good, there are enough bad apples out there to ruin the bunch. We have to understand that there is evil in this world, but that doesn’t mean we should turn an apathetic, helpless eye. Quite the opposite, actually.

And it is in the second part that William Somerset reminds us that the world is worth fighting for, despite the fact that the world may not be a “fine place” at all. This kind of perspective pulls us away from a “what’s in it for me?” line of thinking. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us. It’s about them.

It’s about fighting to “save” the world for everyone else.

It’s about bringing something into the world that wasn’t there before. We cannot choose to retreat from the world simply because it can be a scary place filled with horrible atrocities. Instead, we should choose to engage it and fight for it, because it’s worth it. And if you can make just one small positive change, then all the effort will have paid off.

How are you fighting for a better world? How are you defending justice, fairness and empathy?