Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dark Poetry: Man Defends Home with a Sword

The more comfortable we get, the more we tend to think. We're a pretty comfortable society, with plenty of time to think. When we think, these days, we tend to idealize ourselves. When we idealize ourselves, we deny reality -- profound reality.

We're having a hard time remembering that we are animals, I think. And I say "we are animals" with no derision; with no condescension. We are animals in the animal kingdom and we have many instincts and many natural tendencies that are part of the dark poetry of our minds and souls. These darker and less sophisticated instincts are just as profound as our capacity for love and for kindness. If Keats was right that "beauty is truth, truth beauty" then even the dark and more "animalistic" parts of us should be appreciated and respected...not denied or dismissed as sub-human. Sometimes I think we really are going to force ourselves into evolving into the Eloi.

For instance, this story. In summary, three guys broke into another guy's house and the guy defended his home by grabbing a decorative samurai sword and he went at them with it, slicing them up and forcing them out of his house. All of the men lived. The writer says:

"Police have ordered a psychiatric evaluation for the katana-wielding maniac..."

First of all, whatever happened to unbiased journalism? Second -- "katana-wielding maniac"?

Here's reality; the profound, if disturbing, reality of human nature: you mess with Papa Bear's cave, you're getting "the business," all claws and teeth. And if Papa Bear is protecting Mama Bear and the cubs, they're going to need dental records to identify you. 

But now, since we are so sophisticated and evolved and intellectual, we're "order[ing] a psychiatric evaluation" for Papa Bear, who grabbed what he had at hand and defended his cave and family.

I have news for you: what Papa Bear did had nothing to do with his mind. Something in his gut said: "grab object and fight" and he obeyed. That's nature. That is our animal instinct. To deny it is just foolish and to question it is to deny the depth of true human evolution. What is right, remains. What is unnecessary falls away. We still need to protect the cave, and we do it with savage energy and sheer violence when we have to. I won't call it beautiful, but I will call it wondrous and powerful and natural.

Can we please stop waking around in ballet slippers, on our toes? Violence is not always wrong and it is not always a sign of failure or of the lack the will to be civilized. There's a reason for adrenaline. There's is a reason why we physically react to threats, blood rushing to the muscles, the upper brain giving way to the reptilian stem.

This guy is not a maniac and he is not a hero. He is a human animal who did what millions of years of evolution have programmed him to do: defend and protect, by whatever means available. It's okay if it offends your sensibilities; it's not okay to pretend it isn't the way it was supposed to be or to imply this guy needs to be "fixed" or "evaluated."

As Stephen King once said, everyone has gators in the subterranean river deep inside. Maybe that's because we sometimes need to let them out to take care of business.

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