Pic of the day: Strangers in Paradise, latest issue. Last summer this was my favorite comic book. But now things have gotten hairy, as I predicted on June 2 1999. Dont underestimate the male intuition!
The beast within
It was as I feared. As I said then, some nice guys are nice not because it is their nature, but because they fear their own capacity for evil. I know that feeling myself. Obviously I am not the only one. (David being a fictional character, it's safe to assume that it's Terry Moore who shares my view on this matter.) Now in all honesty, I've never killed anyone. Nor have I been a gang leader or some such. Only a couple times have I actually attempted to seriously damage someone, and miraculously it was averted each time. God, guardian angels, something. It really scared me though, to see how far I was willing to go.
Like the fictional character David, I guess I became a serious christian (depending on how you measure that) not because of my sweet disposition, but because I found myself too close to Hell. The whole brimstone thing may be a bit theoretical; but the fire that cannot be quenched, and the worm that will not die, those are quite real already in this life. True hate is like that. It is a power of such magnitude that you cannot truly disbelieve. You have already sensed something larger than life.
I don't think even my parents know how I felt. They knew me as a worried and helpless child. I doubt they ever saw the slowly growing beast within. Which may be just as well, now.
You don't get much more beastly than remorseless hate. But it is not the only way that our lower nature manifests itself. Again for illustration I'll go to the world of comics, though in this case an online comic, "Clan of the Cats". In the story line Heat, our heroine is driven to the brink of sanity by the mating urge. Now in all honesty, she is a were-panther or some such. But not all people need that excuse to be carried off by the beast within.
Not that I'm saying human sexuality is a bad thing or at least inferior in nature to other parts of life. But it sure can be. People can become very careless about who they hurt, when they pursue those lusts. I'm not going to give examples from my life on this one! :) The story I linked to above is a bit exaggerated perhaps, but should be familiar enough; except that in humans, males are more likely to be over-eager in their sexuality. Go figure.
Now in our society, I guess most other needs are easily met. So you don't meet people who are desperate from hunger or thirst. But if you have tentatively tried to stay off food for a while, you probably have a good idea just how much power the body has over the soul. It can be really thought provoking. Not that I recommend it as anything more than an experience.
In short, we should not underestimate the beast within.
Some people, like the friendly New Age writer James Redfield, think that modern cosmology proves us to be Beings of Light. That's sweet. But that's not exactly how I see it.
It may not be necessary to actually invoke Evolution here, for us to agree that we do have an animal nature. Our bodies are essentially animals, with the same needs as other mammals. We must necessarily have food, water, shelter and company from time to time. It is also a safe bet that all of our ancestors had sex at one time or another. Our most basic needs, then, are those of our fellow animals. Until these are met, it can be hard to move on to the more unique human sides of life.
I often feel that my spirit (I do believe that such a thing exists) is riding a beast that would be able to live in a way even without its higher functions. You may truly say: "But what a life!" But my point is the old proverb: It is easier to ride the way the horse is already going. In this context, to compromise. But is it a good thing or a bad thing?
I'm pretty close to evoking religious imagery here (Babylon the Great riding on the Beast, anyone?) and so you probably already guess that I'm not feeling too well today. You are so right. This afternoon, I got a headache. And scarily enough, it developed very like the sinus infection that I'm now treating with penicillin. It would seem that already (after 3 days) the infection has become immune. Now that would be a disturbing turn of events.
This whole thing also accentuates how I relate to my body. I really really like to have a body, and am very worried about losing it. But at the same time, I do not quite identify with it. I don't really trust it. I feel like I'm sort of possessing my own body, you know, like a spirit. Riding the beast. And again, I'm not even sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
And finally, I worry that unless I live in constant fear of death, I will make compromises with the Beast Within ... and God knows where that might end.
Mostly sunny day, and mild.
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.