Exposing and Accepting Human's Inner Beast
Desire, fear, retribution... it's all inside us. Deep behind our civil façade, lies an ancient creature who needs more. Do we accept our violent ancestor, or deny it everything?
A new mother hears a baby’s cry and her breasts spontaneously lactate. A man sees a sexy woman, and he senses his tadpoles stirring. Like it or not, we’re at the mercy of animal instinct. It knows more about us than we do and, try as we might, we’re powerless to stop what we’re naturally meant to do.
The Beast also kicks into life whenever we have to protect the lives of our offspring. It senses dangers before danger occurs. Without these natural instincts, humanity itself would vanish into the dust and be lost to time. We need the mysterious creature to save us.
It has a dark side too.
The darker element scares us very much. We repress that inner monster because it can do things we wouldn't normally accept doing. Highly structured social rules and man-made laws keep us and our monsters suppressed and contained. We culture good restraint inside our minds and then practice it with our actions each and every day. Psychological restraint is a great thing but isn't a guarantee that the creature will stay put. The lie we tell ourselves is that if we don’t think about the monster, it won’t actually exist. But it doesn’t work that way. Forgetting a thing never makes it disappear. It’s there. The Beast will rise and take over our actions whether we want it to or not.
Only evil people think and do evil things. Good ones are innocent. Good people are always good all the time.
That's not true. Good people have evil moments. Their creature reacts too. It breaks free of its chains for a brief time, does damage, and then it returns to confinement as though nothing ever happened. No one is wiser, not even its owner. This brief detachment from reality is where my writing took me.
History proves that humanity hasn't changed. There are animal actions at the root of every evil atrocity. It’s fed by the same things that feed it today. Greed, jealousy, retribution, hatred and ignorance. All that changes is the way we justify our actions. We still want what others have, take what’s not ours to own, and destroy anyone who threatens to cross a line or challenges our authority. We feed our hungry animal. That’s all there is to know. Period.
Handing our actions over to a non-existent omnipotent being is very clever. If I wanted to excuse something I did or didn’t do, that’s what I’d reach for too. Everything becomes God’s Will, not mine. Who can doubt or question an imaginary higher authority?
When God’s authority is challenged by outsiders, it comes down to whose god has more of the right authority to make the just decisions. The answer is often not with the god that’s right but which culture has the best weaponry to win a war. God doesn’t come into it. War is man-made, and The Beast still needs to be fed in spite of authority and weapons.
My wife is a highly religious person. She prays to God every day and has done that ever since she was able to do so. That doesn’t stop her feeling a twinge of jealousy if one of her colleagues gets something that she feels they didn’t deserve, like a promotion or a pay rise. I remind her that she has a good job of her own and shouldn’t feel like that at all. She’ll agree with me and, before bed, she’ll ask God to repress the horrible feelings, forgive her for thinking those thoughts, and then ask Him to repress them, so she can be a better person tomorrow. Nice. It usually requires a few nightly sittings to get it right though.
You might call her concerns just. So could I. Just is the base-word for justice. If there was any justice in this world, those who don’t deserve promotions wouldn’t be offered them in the first place. Justice and injustice is all that’s required to start a war. My wife hasn’t the weaponry to wage one, much less win it, but she has the seeds of a war just the same. She also has God to stop it from them flourishing and taking root inside her mind. The dark side fades and then everything turns calm again. Samantha is happy.
On writing SEETHINGS and its follow-up novel, I ventured into that psychological darkness in search of the darker self. I discovered a much larger issue while I was doing it. The Beast's restraints fray easy and, the longer it’s restrained, the greater the sense of injustice it feels.
“I never meant to cause hurt. That wasn't my intention. I hope the creature stays locked down this time because I don't ever want that to happen again. Accidental or not, one death is enough. -A”
‘Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.’ -Linda J Bettenay.