Thursday, June 30

The phrase, as I remember it, is "the primitive duality of human nature". (?!)

Here I was, minding my own business (or rather not minding it, as I have a lot of emails that need to be written), and then these thoughts keep dropping on me. Impertinent imagination! Sometimes I wish that it would know when to quit.

In the anyway, I was thinking about Scottish literature and human potential for good and evil and connecting that all with the Evanescence song "Where Will You Go" and a few memories of long ago in a dim auditorium with turquoise seats. People seem to think that human nature is split into two parts--the potential for good and the potential for evil. Please don't argue the point; I haven't clearly thought it out, you know.

The popular image of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde grew up out of this even though Robert Louis Stevenson clearly explained in the actual novella that this was not the case. Even Harry Potter seems to have caught on--has anybody seen the new trailer? "Difficult times lie ahead, Harry. Soon you will face the choice between what is right, and what is easy." Or somesuch line. It is important, because it shows that what is right is often the hard road (unfortunately, I tend to be the one to think that if it is hard then it must be good for me; even though I don't like brussel sprouts or cooked bell peppers).

Then the Evanescence song talks about a person who lives a role they want to be, but the speaker of the song knows the secret, that they're "the one who cries when [they're] alone". Interesting, of course, and there is always that feeling of intimacy with a person who shares the knowledge of vulnerability. Fascinating, no? It is the choice of what you do with the knowledge of somebody else's vulnerability that "shows your quality" as Samwise the Brave might have said. Dorothy Sayers mentions this idea briefly in passing though with some interesting thoughts as Peter Wimsey falls asleep in the middle of a picnic/investigation, leaving Harriet to search through his pockets for a match to light her cigarette. A companion's sleep produces one of two reactions in the wakeful, she says; one is an instinct of protection and the other is that of bullying or mocking.

I read a story once, that talked about a fairy tale--a fairy tale in which there was a man who wore a mask. The man's face was ugly as your most shameful moment and he wore a mask of such craftsmanship that no one could tell it was a mask. In the dim light of his tower room, he took off the mask--the first time in so long!--and found he must light a candle. Click, swwwsht, flish. A little flame danced twice, once in the mirror and once in the air. The man's ugly face had changed to mold and fit the mask he had to carefully worn for so long. That's practically the same moral as our catchphrase, "fake it till ya make it". And there is a time and a place for that false confidence, but where exactly is the line between false confidence and hypocrisy? That's what most people think of when they think of duality in human nature, isn't it? I don't know, you see, I'm not most people.

So it all comes down to choices and the inexorable reminder of free will while still being aware of the nagging feeling that one might have done well on the Other Side. It is like the time I realised goths had a point in dwelling on death and despair. The only thing that they are missing is the other half of the story, the bit about rebirth and resurrection. So lame, to miss that bit.

Anyway, all of these silly thoughts have gone through my head and sooner or later I will come back to them and giggle my way through a second reading. They will sound a bit silly, but perhaps I will want to reference all of these delightful sources in another time or place. How odd.

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