At the Bar:
… And now we are going live at crime scene where a cop has been…
– “… Excuse me? Could you please turn the volume up?”
– “Look! What a Monster! Despicable…”
Yep. Happens all the time…
– “I could never do something like that!”
Sure. Terrible things happen everyday and yet you’re always surprised.
Yes, we keep hurting each other and we’ve been doing it for a long time. Wars, murders, shootouts, thefts, and crimes of all sorts are constantly broadcasted. They fill our newspapers, upset our neighborhoods, and appear all over history books. Despite that, every single time the same question…
– “What the hell is wrong with those people?”
There it is.
– “Only an Animal can behave like that…”
Tecnically not. Unfortunately there isn’t any statemen more wrong then that one. No animal is capable of doing such thing. A lion might want to eat you because he’s hungry, or because he thinks you rappresent some kind of threat, but he doesn’t hate you.
He’s not malevolent.
– “Neither am I…”
Fine! But let’s say you’re trying to track the origins of Evil itself. The question becomes: how did it came into the world? If it has origins, it must have come out of somewhere. So then – logically – yes. What better place to start than;
That Who Wants to Devour you.
Long before we were able to raise skyscrapers, build walls, or even conceptualize such an abstract idea as “home”, trees were most likely our habitats.
We were way much smaller than now, much smaller the chimpanzee, and most importantly, not nearly as big enough to stand a chance against other animals. Constantly on the edge of survival and in the grip of nature, our ancestors often died at the hands of predatory species. Coming from the sky, the ground, or right behind our backs, creatures of all kind have waited the right time to make a nice snack out of us.
Eagles, cats, snakes, and God knows how many others have haunted us since the beginning of our existance. It is by no means obvious – and probably against many odds – how we made it so far off in the evolutionary chart.
It is – once you think about it – some kind of miracle.
Movies, legends, plays, paintings, and some of the most ancient archeological discoveries have captured for thousands of years what is most common across all stories, giving us ways to understand where true danger might come from.
If life is Being and someone wants to destroy it, then who’s the adversary of Being itself? What’s his name?
– “Well I guess it must have a name yes…”
The enemy of the Hero is often rappresented in Mythology as a huge monster.
The King of Predators has being pictured – not by chance – as a four paws serpent with wings, since way before we were even’t able to give it a name. Dragon, is what we call it today. Winged like a bird, quaduped like a cat, and with the body of a snake.
But. Are predators therefore the source of all evils? Are humans simply pray animals, innocent beings looking out for the destructive force of Chaos? Or does threat come from somewhere else too? If yes, from where? Maybe somewhere closer to us. Maybe the Dragon isn’t the source after all…
– “Well if the Dragon isn’t the source than what is?”
There is one small story written a couple of thousands years ago that might answer that question. And you’ve certainly heard of it…
The first Human Beings who wandered naively into the world.
The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is considered today…
– “Yes! The one with the snake right?”
… The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is still considered today one the greatest allegories in world literature.
The infamous snake that gave our ancestors the knowledge of Good and Evil is being subject of endless discussions among generations…
– “Yes yes I know but listen, how can one eat an apple, wake up , and know good and evil just like that? And what does being naked has anything to do with it? And by the way… Didn’t we came from Monkeys??”
Scientists, and evolutionary biologists in particular, have successfully demonstrated that Adam and Eve never existed. They didn’t gave birth to Humanity.
Some may add that the whole collection of writings in Genesis are therefore pure fiction. Probably true…
But does that mean that an event needs to literally take place in time to be considered true…? Or can fiction be just as real as history?
As it turns out, sometimes fiction can be just as true as history. Just not the kind of truth most people think of…
– “Yeah I know but I’m more like science you know. If I don’t see something with my own eyes I normally don’t believe it…”
Can you show me 2 + 2, Einstein?
Right. Didn’t think so…
We cannot prove the existance of numbers, yet our technologies works.
The simple act of sending a text proves that mathematicians haven’t been playing with imaginary friends. We accept all kind of truths constantly in our daily life withouth needing to prove their material existance.
So, what happens when you take what is most true among stories and ideas and try to represent it?
– “You becoooome…”
You get an abstracted truth. An arcehtype.
Anyway, back to that who wants to devour you…
– “Holy shit!”
About that. You know when your computer suddenly stops working? Or when a car nearly hits you?
Well-mannered or not, swearing is simply inevitable when something unexpected happens to you. Something that you just couldn’t predict.
Interestingly enough neurologists have proved that the act of swearing activates the same neurological circuit that chimpanze activate once a snake is detected…
– “… So what?”
So is the same circuit that our ancestors developed to spot danger. You know… ‘Cause we came from monkeys…
It is true though – despite our ancient rivalry with snakes still persists in certain areas – that most of us don’t have to worry about them anymore. They cannot be found crawling in the streets at night, under the shower, or right next to your bed.
But snakes are predators, and predators wants to eat you. But before they hit you…? They need to aim.
Now. Most of us don’t genereally plan to swallow other fellow humans – thank God for that – nor do we crawl, fly, or walk on all fours like animals. But we can aim. We can focus on our enemy before we attack.
We yell at each other, throw fists, and use deadly weapons to weaken, and too often, to kill. Just a matter of survival and self-defense? Not necessarily. Often, it’s just a matter of will.
What makes us so special…?
Apparently, we are the only ones capable of doing it.
Why does a gazelle eats unaware next to a sleeping lion?
– “Because, she is hungry…?”
Jesus… Because the lion isn’t a predator yet! The sleeping lion, it’s just a sleeping lion.
For the longest period of time – just like a gazelle – we weren’t able to conceptualize the future. We slept without thinking about tomorrow nor the next second. Predators as such were only those who manifested in the moment, like a pair of eyes suddenly staring right into yours.
Not before, not later.
Today we don’t need to see a car’s headlights coming our way to figure that maybe the highway isn’t the best place for a picnic. The discovery of the future isn’t a big deal anymore.
Today we can predict tomorrow dangers. And so we avoid them. We avoid dangers of all sort… Shady bars, dark streets at midnight, woods in the middle of nowhere, none of that is on our list of places to visit. Yet we know that dangers lie ahead. We perfectly know that the threat of tomorrow is always present.
We know that out there somewhere, there are snakes…
– “What do you mean? What’ you mean by, today we can predict tomorrow’s dangers? Are you saying that they didn’t know that predators came also the day after??”
More or less. Genius…
God only knows how long it took us to brilliantly figure that out. How many of us didn’t live long enough to have the chance to follow them right into their lair, and do what had to be done.
But at some point in history, someone coregeous had the chance. Someone went into the unknown, day after day, killed the enemy, and came back as a Hero.
– “Right. So now they must have been safe! They killed all the snakes and…”
Not even close. Soon we realized that threat was all but gone. The next danger didn’t wait too long to show up. The next danger, looked a lot like us.
Other tribes weren’t to happy to see us. Other humans showed up to take what was ours and didn’t care about leaving some corpses behind.
And that’s how we learned the next lesson. Snakes, can come in many forms. And so, bring up those walls man! The spirit of civilization is born…
– “Walls… That’s what Trump wants to do right?”
Oh just shut the f*** up. Really…
Now, do you think you’re safe? Maybe for a while. But soon or later snakes pop their heads up no matter what you do. Doesn’t matter how many walls you build, you can’t keep all the predators away.
And so thiefs and criminals started to manifest inside the city too. Because there isn’t a garden in the world without a snake in it…
What did we do with them? Locked them all up!
Walls inside walls to prevent tomorrow’s crimes, and punish those of yesterday.
– “Yeaah… Where could danger possibly come from now that…”
Maybe from where you least expect it. Maybe there’s another predator in town. And maybe is much closer than you think.
We forgot him. The one that nobody wants to recognize, because it’s always them, and never us…
There’s one more danger and it’s the snake inside You. The snake inside all of Us. Each individual capacity for Evil…
The one that most people often don’t discover, until is too late.
Are you a good citizen or haven’t you had the chance to be a criminal? Do you respect the rules because you’re a good person or because you’re afraid of being caught? You’d never do such a despicable thing uh…?
Maybe. Or maybe you haven’t found yourself in a situation where you had to choose…
It’s very hard to accept the fact that every crime, act of revenge, deception, and single act of pure malevolance ever commited in the world, has had the signature of Humanity. And that – whether you like it or not – you are one of them. A Human Being and therefore capable of being a Monster.
Thinking the opposite makes us dangerous. Thinking of being good and not capable of evil under no circumstances whatsoever makes us naive. Naive like a man and a woman wandering in a garden unawares of the danger the surrounds them. And that, that’s a Truth that can not be denied. Not if you have any sense at all…
Only an Idiot can deny its own nature.
– “Well I’m not like that…”
God. Why am I not surpised…
But! It still leaves us with one mystery to unpack.
How did we find out? How did we know we could hurt each other?
– “Yes and how can a single snake make all this mess too!”
By waking you up.
Danger wakes you up, it better does. The last thing you want is to sleep next to a snake. You might wanna wake up before is too late…
– “Ok fine but I still don’t see how…”
DANGER! Predators are dangerous. And danger wakes you up. And if that’s the case, then maybe, they are the ones responsible for our eyes being open. Maybe they are the ones who gave us Consciousness.
Maybe the snake did.
– “Big deal… What on earth is wrong with that anyway??”
Only one thing. You idiot…
Now that your eyes are open, you can see something you never noticed before. Something that you never thought as relevant. Now, you can see that you’re naked.
And you’re ashamed of it.
Can you imagine how you’d feel like to suddenly realize that you’re standing completely naked in front of a whole crowd?
Yep. Not exactly the most pleasant of meditative exercises…
Realizing that you are standing naked on a stage is probably everyone’s nightmare. Nobody is perfect – clearly – but nobody wants to show it either. Having every single insufficiency exposed makes you an easy target. In other words, it can hurt.
– “Soo? What’s the difference now that I know?”
Simple, but tricky. Now that you know, you’re vulnerable. Now you know your weak spots. Now you know you can be hurt…
And when you know how you can be hurt?
That’s when the snake inside you can talk. He who has many names, can now whisper:
Whatever hurts me, I bet it can hurts someone elses…
Guess what. Now you have the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now you are free to choose which one to act upon.
– “Nah… That’s Bullshit… I’m just gonna have a drink… Excuse me?”
– “Can I get an Apple martini please?”