Sunday, May 13, 2012

There be monsters

But increasingly, our society will fail to recognize them, as reprogramming continues apace:
Pick most fiction or television surrounding [vampires] today.  Vampires are as human as human can be; they're just 'humans with benefits'.  Their drawbacks are nothing more than physical, if they have any.  They no longer prey on others -- or if they do, they are cast out and destroyed by their colleagues who are more sympathetic to humans.  A vampire who falls in love with a human is frequently encouraged by both sides, the struggles to the creature internal.
It's not just vampires who get this sort of treatment.  Dragons, other creatures, more and more they are presented as friendly and sympathetic.  There is no longer any danger.  Go ahead!  Hug that vampire!  Make the dragon your best friend!  It's okay!
I know it seems like a minor point, but I sense we lose something when we no longer declare a monster to be monstrous.  I think we lose something when we create romance with monsters, with things that would prey upon us.  It seems to me it reflects our present attitude where we reject the idea that evil exists in the world.  We seek to flirt with it, try to tame it, try to make it our friend or even lover.  And perhaps in doing so, we open ourselves to a danger greater than the wary imagined.
Like all aspects of the 'long march' through our civilization and its underlying foundations, this flirtation has been going on for some time:
The American Psychological Association and many others are well on their way to legitimizing behavior which I think can be comfortably called evil. Social cleansers study evil until it becomes quotation-marked “evil” and then “so-called evil” and then “you know just a generation ago society would call that ‘evil’” and then finally “who are you to judge?” If you countenance evil you become its abettor. My college professor loved Nietzsche, so let’s use his words: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”
Or, to quote a wiser and more reliable assessor than Nietzsche:
"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight."   (Isaiah 5:20-21)

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