By Richard Bleil
Yesterday I wrote a short story for my blog called “A Typical Day“. It wouldn’t be much of a story if it was a typical day in my life, but the interesting thing about fiction is when it surprises me as I write it. The first comment on it was, “Holy macaroni. That got dark.”
Yes, yes it did.
We all have a darkness within us. Lao Tzu would probably have called it the “Yang”, or “dark element”. Bono actually acknowledged this in the U2 song “I Believe in Love” in the line, “Don’t believe in forced entry, don’t believe in rape, but every time she passes by wild thoughts escape.”
Wild thoughts escape.
Who among us don’t have that periodic wild thought. Maybe I should just plow into those cars in front of me. How I wish I could just shoot these people holding me up in this line. Maybe I could hide my ex-wife’s body well enough.
In middle school, during a sex education health class where they separated the boys and the girls, I still distinctly recall the conversation our male teacher had with us regarding masturbation. He assured us that it is normal to have fantasies about the girls around us, they won’t find out, they won’t get pregnant, and it’s very normal. I actually went to therapy for several years because my sexual fantasies tend to get very dark indeed. My therapist worked hard to get me to see that there is a difference between my fantasies, and my behavior.
And there’s the key point of this blog. The difference between fantasy and behavior. If you’ve been reading my blogs, I hope that you have noticed that I work hard to be open, supportive, and protective of others as people, their rights and their opinions. This is what it all boils down to; how we treat others.
Some will disagree. There are philosophies and opinions that one should control one’s thoughts as well as their actions, and that it is just as important as controlling actions. I understand and respect this opinion, but without this dark side, we would have never had the works of Edgar Allen Poe, or Ray Bradbury.
I had developed a forensic science program many years ago for an institution where I taught, and developed a summer forensic science “workshop”. Working with young enthusiastic students is always fun, but the reality is that it was also a great joy coming up with ideas for the “crimes” to be investigated. My colleagues and I would sit around and brainstorm nasty and gruesome crimes, and the little details for which we can leave clues.
Whether the reader can believe it or not, I was actually married at one time. My wife had a massive jealousy streak, and would get angry not only if I ever glanced at another woman, but even if she believed that I might find another woman attractive. She was extremely jealous of one celebrity in particular, one that, frankly, I’ve never even found particularly interesting. On the other hand, she seemed to have no problem feeling attraction for others, and certainly didn’t mind me knowing it.
This will be an unpopular opinion for many people, but I’ve never had a problem when she found other men attractive, which apparently was fair for her if not for me. Nor was I concerned when she flirted. This is human nature; we find others attractive. Flirting is how we keep our sexual prowess sharp, and feed that part of our psyche that needs to feel attractive to others. I have written of infidelity in the past, which I personally find unforgivable. bring this up because it is along the lines of today’s blog topic. Flirting while in a relationship with another is a brief walk on the dark side, but, as I’ve already stated, there is a responsibility to keep this evil contained. I trusted my wife, and she betrayed that trust. Being in a relationship is a trust, a promise of remaining faithful, but to deny attraction to others is to try to hide the dark side that exists in each of us. To act on that attraction is to let the evil win.
Tapping the evil within is a great tool for sparking creativity, but unfortunately, it seem as though of late too many people have been letting these wild thoughts turn into action. School shootings, driving into crowds of protesters, even burning down churches are not the actions of an evolved species or a civilized society. The key is not to deny the evil within, but rather to control it so it doesn’t surface.