Monday, November 20, 2006

Postcard from the Umbra

There is a little bit of darkness in us all, I assume. At least that’s what I gather from a lifetime of observation. I’m sure there have been some exceptions, but rather expect such instances to be rare, few, and far between. On the Buddha/Jesus level. Gandhi, probably. Not so much the popes. I think there has always been a bit of darkness in each pope, because they quite often seem to be involved more in the business of filling coffers and selling fish, and not so much into the salvation side of things.

I think everyone carries their own inner degree of darkness. Before I go too far I would like to clarify precisely what I mean by the word “darkness”. For me, the dark side of an individual is not necessarily the evil side. Our dark side is that which recognizes evil without condoning it. For example, when you discover that grown men will, in fact, sexually molest children, your inner darkness grows.

Darkness is not a good thing, but it is not a bad thing either. It is a necessary defense; a kind of psychic couch-cushion fort built to protect against an overwhelming, and all-too un-imaginary, monstrous assault. Some people seem to think that darkness is synonymous with evil. I suppose it is, in the same way that a scar is synonymous with a deep cut.

Each of us carries their own darkness; it’s where we keep our pain. People handle darkness in different ways. Some people like to shine light on the darkness. They want to expose the things that crawl in the night, the evils that prefer to be left in the blackness. These people often times become police officers, or lawyers, or detectives. Sometimes they are priests, or teachers, or construction workers. They believe in something.

Some people prefer to turn their backs on the darkness. Build walls, lock doors, turn away, deny, and hide. After all, bad things don’t happen unless you talk about them. If you can pretend loud enough, it sometimes even helps to drown out sound of their dreams.

Some people embrace their darkness; they recognize sympathetic vibrations within their own darkness and those of others. Like minds enjoy meeting; it gives you someone you can talk to, someone who understands. Someone who gets it. Angelo Buono and Kenneth Bianchi met that way.

Others explore their darkness. They don’t like what it contains, but they realize its part of their mental geography, and as such, must be understood, not left to fester. It has to be investigated in order that we are able to learn to protect ourselves against it. The problem is, no one really wants to learn about what lives in the darkness, because it’s a nasty piece of work. So the explorers learn to laugh.

By shining a somewhat filtered light on the darkness, these explorers conspire to reveal the absurdity of evil. The explorers, armed only with somewhat faulty intellect and an equally somewhat sarcastic wit, try also to expose the evil that lurks in the shadows; only this time, with it’s pants around it’s ankles and a goofy look on it’s face.

2 comments:

Don Q. said...

That man is truly good who knows his own dark places. -Beowulf

The most terrifying evil is that which lives within our own heart. It you can cinquer your fear of the beast within, the rest don't seem so bad.

Completely changing gears, how's the quest of Sir Lee PadThaiserver goin?

Asher Hunter said...

Doing well, Don, thanks for asking. Down 56 pounds so far. Moving slowly but surely.