Friday, May 16, 2014

The Naked Truth About the Dark Side

I have a daily ritual, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and clever 21st century business people. Called streaming, it allows the viewer to instantly watch a movie or some such thing on a big television (providing the right gizmos are installed to allow this miracle).

Every day around 5PM, instead of having the proverbial scotch-on-the-rocks to celebrate the transition from day to night, I lay myself down on the couch and peruse the "instant play" documentary options available within the flatscreen universe. Although my habit started with random selections, my targets became specific in the past month; "picks of the day" have centered around serial killers, genocidal leaders with their wars, and Adolph Hitler plus his main Nazi henchmen.

This choice of movie fare has puzzled my family members and friends, who know me as the queen of avoidance when it comes to watching violence in the field of visual arts. But tonight, as I watched a documentary on the only known female serial killer (an interesting fact without even watching the film), my descent into the dark side of human nature has come to a close.

After comparing many varied life situations of horror, the truth is hidden in plain sight...but with one caveat. My foray refers to the psyche of the individual, and not organizations such as armies and prison systems, where the institutional mindset arises for more complex reasons.

The reason why individual people kill, maim, and hurt others in a multitude of ways is because they have been denied kindness in their own lives. Although those of us who have always known a good parent, kind relative, or attentive mentor find it hard to grasp, there are people in this world for whom even a grain of kindness has been denied. Tormented from early childhood by parents, siblings, teachers, peers and other low lifes, they conclude that humanity is evil.

The anger and anguish experienced by these wounded souls rises to such a degree that it blots out normal perception and the world is seen through a distorted lens...but based in their very real experiences. Blind, unfocussed revenge becomes the fiery conflagration that destroys everything in its path.

And yet even these monsters of humanity have a tiny spark left in their hearts, a light that has been buried but cannot be extinguished. Later in life, the kindness of one person ignites this little spark, albeit it temporarily, and the most unfeeling rageful person smiles and reflects how their lives could have been different if shown basic human caring and respect.

The naked truth is so simple. Love begets love. Hate begets hate. Ignorance begets ignorance. There is nothing mysterious about this basic fact of human existence.

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