The Past Is Not Only The Past
History has produced some of the finest evils mankind can dream – and then perform.
Noir is not new. As a literary genre, it’s birthplace is centred around the 1950’s but the evil within mankind goes back forever. Whenever there’s an intent to take from another, noir’s special kind of evil lurks beside every narrative.
Some say that crossing into the darkness happens long before the thieving of a thing takes place. The desire to acquire it without consent is more than enough to expose the true origin of evil.
But we can’t know intent beforehand. We’re unable to read minds, especially the evil ones. Intent requires more than open speech to prove a dark one exists ahead of it. We need action to show us. Once that’s occurred, intent has moved on.
In modern times, weapons such as guns have been evil’s sign. A gun’s appearance indicates that noir has broken the surface, revealing the exact moment when intent converted to action.
Weapons have been used by evil to manipulate victims for millenias – forcing them to give up their possessions to others who have no right to take them. Lands, wealth, goods, children, women, men, borders, beliefs, morals, love and lives have been handed over at the end of evil’s barrel.
Yesterday it was a gun. The day before, it was the tip of a blade. The day before that, it was a pointed stick and a rock.
So why does a weapon, action and evil intent exist in mankind at all?
In the animal kingdom, evolutionary stimuluses decide their actions. It’s basic instinct. Killing and thievery aren’t recreational actions. Food, shelter, water, mating rights and offspring are strong motivators towards all and any action. Intent has little time to gestate inside an animal. Physical confrontation decides losers and victors before evil takes a hold.
Homo sapien is an animal too but instantaneous outbursts to satisfy instinct is discouraged. This pushes instinct down and gives it time to distil into something else. Sometimes that distillation evaporates… but not all the time.
There’s one other significant thing that separates us from other creatures: Identity.
We will attack to protect it.
It matters to us what we mean to this world. It matters how we’re perceived. Awareness of others, self-awareness and recognition within our social matrix is, for some, as important as the food, water, shelter, mating and offspring components of basic survival.
A man (or woman) will attack, steal or kill believing that what they do is their right, and then use a haphazard collection of words to suggest that their actions were part of some kind of survival instinct.
It’s a flawed way of thinking but it’s also a flawed action to repress emotion and then hope that it will go away. Who knows what it may turn into later.
A growing bank of twisted hostilities could raize a state of situational dissociation whereby the moral lines of right and wrong shift between mind-states, allowing each to be in acceptable and in perfect order in their respective dissociations, despite a clear opposition in one well-intended, fixed reality!
The peace to keep growing hostilities contained in hope that they’ll vanish AND maintain a perfect appearance for everyone else to enjoy is an uneasy one. Sometimes this truce doesn’t hold. Sometimes there’s an outburst to release pent-up pressure.
This is where my writing took me.
Looking into modern life to find the right path into the psychology of spontaneous evil took me all the way back to the beginnings of humanity’s existence. Pick a point in any piece of literature and then read on. Choose a period of time, or, if you like or pick a culture.
Religion is a good one to delve into because often it’s a culmination of histories and cultures, polished by politics and romanced by the passages of time.
No matter which path you choose, it doesn’t take too long to see evil emerge from a text. Quite often, the existence of such a text is a direct result of a series of evils that allowed it survive history. The older it is, the more likely it is to be incorrect. Societies assimilated or destroyed long ago don’t tell their stories. Victors of war make certain of this. They re-write old texts and make new ones to reflect their own beliefs.
The truth is out there AND nowhere simultaneously.
What I’ve gleaned from all I’ve experienced and read about the human organism is that it’s had turbulent times but, in general, we’ve thrived and endured in all of them.
Our gods have changed significantly. Our morals and laws have changed immensely. As a society, we’re nothing like we once were. (If our predecessors (or ancestors) saw how we live today, they’d die!)
Humanity seems to be able to thrive in any law, moral or religious context… and survive it just the same. The problems aren’t with those who live inside it but with certain type of individual who sees themselves as outsiders and sense that there’s a threat to their identity when venturing closer to it.
All confrontations are based on this human flaw: Protecting identity, or rather, the fear of losing it, takes precedence – no matter in what law, moral or religious context it resides.
Stealing treasures to make wealth and grow powerful is only part of the story. The fear of losing one’s identity is the other, the greater motivator of the two. By aquiring power, identity is guaranteed – at the expense of another’s.
Fear makes sense. Fear is less complicated than using words like greed, jealousy, wealth or power. Those four aren’t part of any basic instinctual need. They are several layers behind it – FEAR is nature’s direct route into the animal psyche, after all, we’re perfect creatures beneath a perfect flaw.
On writing SEETHINGS and it’s follow-up novels, I ventured into that darkness to look for the evil self to find out how large the problem is in the community. I’ve discovered a much larger problem – a sleeping giant which is cloaked in deep, repressed emotion – and a way to let the malevolent creature out in a controlled and safe manner.
It doesn’t need an all out war to resolve the issue, just a human life… on varying occasions.
I never meant to cause hurt. That wasn’t my intention. It was just a matter of protecting a threatened identity whilst navigating this strangely dissociative dystopia we call modern life. –A
The following images reflect this article. Credits go to their authors