Inside the Mind of the Betrayed – A Journey into the Underworld

“In every journey comes a moment… One like no other. And in that moment, you must decide between who you are… And who you want to be”

 

What’s the worst thing you can do to a Human Being?
Many over the years have explored the darkest corners of their mind to come up with an answer. One of them was born in Florence in 1265. Dante’s Inferno is still nowadays considered one of the greatest psychological investigation of Evil. The allegorical poem narrates Dante’s journey through the nine circles that constitutes the world of the damned. Limbo. Lust. Gluttony. Greed. Anger. Heresy. Violence. Fraud, and at last: Treachery.
We know that finding out we’ve been cheated on, isn’t a picnic. I’m sure that one way or another you’re all familiar with the feeling. But if you were to conceptualize the worst possible act, you wouldn’t probably think of betrayal. Would you?

One has an affair… The other finds out… Two gunshots put an end to the story.

– “Mad love”
Says the newspaper. Right, every opportunity to smuggle the word Love is a good one these days.
– “Something must have snapped inside” says most people.
Now that’s probably a bit more accurate.
– “Come on! Why not just forget and move on?”
Good question. Not one nor the other was clearly a saint, but yes it does seems like an overreaction at first.

There are many ways to hurt someone – and wether you like to admit it or not – you can easily think of a few. But if you were to ask two people what the worst of them is, you’d hardly get the same response.
So if the list of reprehensible behaviour is long, and one can be worse than the other, then; what’s at the bottom of the Underworld?

Apart from a few – who suffer from some form of anxiety or paranoia – most people don’t have a problem walking in the middle of a crowded place. Frustrating? Can be, but not scary. You don’t worry about what each person that pass might do. All that noise? Not surprising. Now some people might describe it as too chaotic for their taste, but nobody expects a city square to be quiet. People talking, kids screaming, traffic going nuts, none of that is relevant. And so…
– “Excuse me? Could you please take a picture of us?”
No problem. The square is exactly how it supposed to be. Everything in normal, and you trust people to keep it that way. The environment is Order.

But. What if someone fires two bullets in the air? Wait, that’s not supposed to happen!
Anomaly. You, your partner and everyone else know it. The anomaly calls for your attention, your attention detects danger, danger makes you react, faster than a bullet.
So you freeze, get down on the ground, or start running for your life like never before. But that’s just instinct. What happens in your head at the same time? Now that can really shook you up…
Panic in the blink of an eye.

…What was that!
Gunshots.
…From where?
Close.
…What can I do?
Better think fast.
…Where can I go?
Anywhere but here.
…What’s gonna happen?
God only knows…

Chaos.
Something has emerged… Like an alligator eyes suddenly appearing on the river side you’re fishing in, and stare right into yours. Everything around you is suddenly relevant, enough to make you question if you’re going to live to fight another day.
But you know well the sound of two gunshots are not the end of the world, all you need is to go back to where you were before. In the bar next door, in the parking lot where you left the car, or behind one of the buildings, somewhere out there is still safe. One way or another, Oder can be restored.
How do you know? You still trust people. You didn’t change. You’re the exact same person and so is your partner. Your lives still matter, just like everyone elses. And so…

…Who can I trust?
Whoever is not holding a gun.

It was in 1995 that a guy named Mark Fraser purchased a broken laser pointer online. The owner of the site – astonished – contacted him to ask if he knew the laser was broken. The answer?
– “I’m a collector of broken laser pens…”
That was the beginning of eBay. From then on it became the world biggest bidding platform.
What made it work against the odds? Trust between the buyer and the seller. Their word allowed the transiction to be honest.

Long term peaceful cooperation is enabled by Trust. We trust a colleague enough to lend cash, shopkeepers to sell us honest products, and strangers not to shoot in the streets. But we still keep an eye on people. We trust colleagues and strangers up to a certain point. We wouldn’t leave our keys to the shopkeeper just because their microwave happens to work, we never leave our wallet unattended in the staff room, nor we leave our kids to some stranger just because he hasn’t shot anyone.
So, who are the people with trust the most? If you’re lucky to have any, you probably call them Friends and Family.

– “Who are you?”
A Husband and a Father.
– “What about you?”
A Wife and a Sister.
– “Aaand?”
Yo. I’m your best Friend bro!
– “Sure. For how long?”
Forever… I promise.

An identity is built around relationships. Relationships that we often use them to describe the present and the past. We perceive ourselves as a node in a network, and we promise each other to never leave. And as long as everyone keeps their promises, reality matches our perceptions.
Now. It can be sad when a friend ditch us on friday night for a new date. It can be even more sad to realize your dad has turned your bedroom into a cigar room. But you know… Fair enough! We don’t blame them because there are things they can do that don’t interfere with our identity.
Of course, we are still friends after friday night, we are still family after we move out, we are still married after a fight.

Until…

– “… To have and to hold… From this day forward… For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health… Until death do us part.”

Any Family began with a promise. A promise that family members, friends ,and acquaintances are invited to attend. A ceremony that every culture in the the world considers sacred.
We put Gold on our fingers to make it special, we stare each other in the eyes to make it official. What does that mean? It means…
– “Hey listen… I know you’re trouble, me too!  But I won’t leave. No matter what. You can be sure of that…”
Friendship, Loyalty, Love, all in one ring. The forging of Life, the celebration of Being.

From that day on our lives become a story. One that we can tell anyone who listen.
True, sometimes we forget how it began. So we look at an album to remind us. We keep our memories alive… But it isn’t the sqaure that makes the memory, it’s the reality of the moment the flash hits you that makes it worth remember.
And so we raise walls around our story. But it isn’t the paint on the walls that matter, it’s the day we fought over the color that makes them special.
A house is made of objects, a Home is made of memories.

Every story has a great beginning. Every plot needs mistakes, painful lessons and sacrifices to be memorable. A life full of hardship always makes a story special.
There is no progress without mistakes… There are no rewards without sacrifices… There is no meaning without responsability… There is no life without suffering. The sad part?
Not all stories have a happy ending…

The eternal struggle between Good & Evil is at the core of each story. There isn’t a movie worth watching without a bad guy in it.
We watch Order turn into Chaos, and Chaos turn into Order, over and over again. We want to see that in motion, because we all know it’s possible to destroy the enemy. We all know Chaos can be defeated.
How do we know it’s possible? Because regardless of it’s name, shape, size or motivation, the enemy resources are often limited.
Yes… He can shoot you, kidnapp your children, kill your family, light your house on fire, and destroy everything you care about, but there’s one thing he cannot do. No matter how evil he is, he can’t make you forget Who You Are.

– “Why not?”
Because if you have any sense, you don’t trust the bad guy to begin with! You do everything you can to keep it outside the walls. Doesn’t matter if you see it coming or not, you know perfectly well there’s something wrong with a shape in the dark.
– “Whoever you are! Get out of my home…”
No snakes allowed. And so: where there isn’t Trust, there cannot be Betrayal.

But. Using a bit of imagination, let’s say you did trusted the enemy. Let’s say you did trust the wrong person. It might not have been the wrong one to begin with…
But – for the sake of argument –  what if the bad guy is what you always called Family?
Now yes, the world can fall into pieces…

…What!
I can’t believe it.
…Really?
Yes.
…Where am I?
Not home.
…Who are those people?
Strangers.
…Was any of it real?
No.
…What was it?
A lie.
…What’s real?
Nothing.
…What now?
Who knows.
…Where do I go?
No idea.
…What’s gonna happen?
Everything.
…Who am I?
Nobody.
…What am I?
A fool.
…But why?

Do you really want to know?

There aren’t many things in life that can put your whole existence in doubt. Tragedy can be hard to stand, but deception? Now that can really make you loose faith in Being.
We dont’ just trust other people, we also trust our judgment. As long as there is someone we can count on, there is Hope. But the past, present, and future, are not always as solid as we think. Certainty can sometimes easily dissolve back to the Chaos it emerged from. Sometimes the world as you know it, can collapse in the blink of an eye.
Whose fault? It doesn’t matter, not now. The question is…

What happens when the world collapse on you? What happens when you start to question your whole existence? If you can’t even trust yourself, then…

…Who can I trust?
No one.

And that’s when you can… Hold on!
Or let two gunshots put an end to the story.

“There’s this idea that hell is a bottomless pit, and that’s because no matter how bad it is, some stupid son of a bitch, like you, can figure out a way to make it a lot worse…” Jordan B. Peterson

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Mark

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