Monsters came up in a conversation a while ago (on Mother’s Day), and I guess it caught me a little off guard… see, I don’t know that I did the outlook justice as I’ve come to understand it, and my mind was kind of blown just from the experience of that evening. If I had to guess, I’d say for each of us it was more about wanting to know, take each other in, and take it as it came; at least for me, it was about wanting to connect and see what it was like, rather than expecting it to be like anything… I just wasn’t expecting anything in particular, including that. The ‘mind blowing’ part of it, was more than just that, but suffice to say I’d like to talk about that particular subject (monsters) again, maybe more clearly.
Especially since having read something on Khaos’s blog – his mention of monsters, and of serial killers (among other things in relation to it) is very much in line with the way I look at it (e.g. some rough notes). In fact, it’s not at all unlike things I’ve already said between notes and an essay or two under this name, and most of the things I wrote (fictional and otherwise) during my term-ending “break” from the FA.
When I say I’m a monster, this is what it boils down to: I’m an animal. Maybe a clever one, but still just that. Despite me not being an expert in any of these… murder, violence, and serial murderers are among the more noteworthy things that had a lot of influence on the development or, to use what might be a better word, coalescence of this for me.
From some rough notes here…
“If you want to look at some of the more extreme/repulsive/blatant and obvious/easily discernible monsters, take some time to study serial killers, especially some of the ones to be found in fiction, like Hannibal Lecter or Dexter. A lot of them are vicious, sadistic, and depraved. But they also don’t pretend to be something they’re not. They hide it from others, keep it to themselves as much as they can, but they don’t pretend like a lot of more “normal” people do. There’s no wondering “why”, no suffering over the pointlessness of it all. They simply are. I admit, I’m no serial killer. But if I was, I wouldn’t lie to myself about it.
It’s like the differences between the fool (the average man), the wise man (the smart/perceptive/wise man), and the leader (the elite, the best, the ones that sit atop the pyramid and look for ways to make the whole thing/pyramid/structure move). Though the attitude varies, the fool buys into the theatrics, the wise man sees through them, and the leader puts them to use. The average man buys in to the lies he tells himself, a wise man will know, acknowledge, and perhaps even accept what he is, and a deified man will embrace it. In doing so, he will become more sophisticated.”
I mean this is why someone like Mortose isn’t someone I mind for being who or what she is. I don’t hold it against her, in fact, damaged though she may be from certain perspectives (even my own, actually), she knows what she’s doing. It’s not something I’m inclined to make a moral call on. My thing is instead of “you’re not like me, so fuck you” or “fuck you, you’re evil”, I tend to see it more along the lines of “I can see that in myself, and that…”. I mean honestly, one of the biggest differences between me and people like that is I’m probably not a danger to you, I can identify with and empathize, and I’m just generally more likable (or so my mounting years of social experience would lead me to believe).
Or same point, but with another example, this one from a fictional story: Brian Moser; I like him. Unrestrained, simply acting on his nature, no guilt, no shame, no needless dwelling or over-complicating things in his head asking ultimately pointless, disheartening, or otherwise daunting, wearing, ‘drag me down’ questions. Not a whole lot of doubt going on there. And of the few people I’ve met that are sociopathic, arguably dangerous, the most danger they tend to pose to me is the perception people have… there’s a sort of ‘guilt by association thing’ that comes into play; but the people themselves, I just don’t usually mind; they can be very fascinating to learn about and spend time with.
I never forget that line from the litany against fear that I (fittingly) mis-remembered for years. The original is “fear is the mindkiller”. As I’ve tried to flesh out this idea of what a “monster” even is, it’s all been collapsing to a very basic thing, and I can’t help but associate my variation with that thing: doubt is the mind killer. Because what it all boils down to: we’re animals. Animals can be scary, even sophisticated, intelligent; being a beast doesn’t preclude that. Hell, some are mostly benign, even pretty kind-natured in most contexts. But the point of that essential piece, is that there is a core, true nature from which every ‘complexity’ springs, and it I think it awakens when reason starts to sleep. And when you’re just being what you are… how is there even any room for remorse or shame or… well, you get the point.
The funny thing is, I’m not a very malicious person by nature. I’m certainly no serial killer… hell, I’m not even a sadist or psychopath. That’s not really the kind of monster I am. And I don’t know how much shame, self-doubt, or insecurity is at play with real people who make a habit of murdering other people, but I don’t think Ted Bundy had much of that going on. So I am not quite the same as people like that, and admittedly can’t be sure of what’s going on underneath the surface with them. In any case though, there’s something in all of that I identify and resonate with on some level… I prefer fictional examples for one main reason: you get a more in-depth look at them, into their psyches. Maybe as deep, at least for the creators of such characters, as one can go without actually being one of them. Like something Khaos mentioned not to long ago…
“I’m reminded of The Silence of the Lambs novel (much better than the movie) in where Clarice Starling, upon first meeting Hannibal Lecter, tries to appeal to his Vanity in making him take a test to which he asks why he should. She replies that he might be interested to know what happened to make him what he is. To which he replied…
‘Nothing happened to me. I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences.’
Which I thought showed more self understanding than any other answer would have.”
~Khaos, No Answers
I feel at bottom we’re all quite simple, much more so than folks generally like to pretend. And no matter how complex a person might seem… it’s been my experience that there’s an essence there, a base, a ‘true nature (as I like to call it) that all of it springs from. That doesn’t mean it’s all working smoothly, or that some of us aren’t a complete mess (hence this idea that we’re so complicated, when in fact we’re just simple creatures with a divine drive to expand, connect, attach, lose, suffer, contract, and round again to expanding…). What seems like complexity is only really conflicting extensions off of the same foundation or basis. Like a tree with branches growing across and into each other, growing downwards… kind of like that.
(I wrote this out in June, and apparently never got around to posting it… I noticed it was still in the drafts section today though and thought, what the hell, I might as well post it now.)