Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Beast Inside

'Who knows what evil lurks inside the hearts of men?'
Had an interesting Monday night.  A conversation with a friend led me to thinking about the darker side of the mind, and how we all handle that particular side of ourselves.

What do I mean about the darker side of the mind?  I guess it's all those thoughts and impulses that we somehow know we shouldn't have. Whether we have an inner moral code which is in opposition to these thoughts, or because society dictates that 'those thoughts' are 'bad', depends on the person. At root, it's those darker, more sinister thoughts that the majority of us will (almost) never act upon. Doesn't stop us having them, of course.

History is full of people who give in to these urges. Serial killers could be seen to be such folk, along with, perhaps, such 'evil' men as Hitler, or Robert Mugabe, or even Walt Disney.
The Marquis de Sade, Gilles de Rais, Jeffrey Dahmer... All 'ordinary' folk who have succumbed or embraced the darker side of the human experience, and in some cases been addicted to it.

These are extremes, granted. I think we all embrace this darker side of ourselves at some point/s in our lives.
Some of us go deeper than others.  Some of us can go very deep, at least theoretically, or within the safe confines of our own imagination. Arguably some of the greatest works of art and literature have no doubt been inspired by exploratory forays into the darkness of the human mind.

In the end though, I believe its healthy to acknowledge this darkness, this 'beast inside'.  Even to act on it's impulses, from time to time.  It's still a part of our nature, a part of our intrinsic human-ness. If nothing else, it offers up a choice, a devil-on-the-shoulder confidante, foil to the moral code that most of us live our lives by.

After all, light without shadow is just... a big, bright nothing. It's the shadows that delineate and define.

1 comment:

  1. On the same thread of darkness... thought you might be interested in this author from NSW. Check out his blog at http://www.publetariat.com/users/alan-baxter - he writes dark fantasy using a lot of religious mythology etc but is known for being quite brutal and honest with his writing... just thought this might interest you.