Monday, June 28, 2010
Loss of Reason
Greetings readers, listeners, and children of the night.
A recent episode of the pod cast has got me thinking. How often does fear take hold, and then replace rational thought? We consider ourselves to be smarter, healthier, and more sane than the previous generation. We are taught from an early age that monsters don’t exit. A bump in the night is merely the house settling, or the nocturnal ramblings of a cat. There are still a great number of people who believe in ghosts, but how rational is such a belief? Belief by its vary nature undermines rational thought. It exists outside the sphere of things that can be measured and quantified (the realm of science). We know, perhaps on a sensory level, that there is nothing lurking in the dark. However, on an emotional level, our five senses abandon us in favor of what is felt, not seen or heard.
We have to ask ourselves, “If the monster under my bed isn’t real, then why does the belief persist?” It seems that every child goes through a scaredy-cat phase. I used to cover my head with my sheets, out of fear that something was in the bedroom closet. I didn’t know what that something was, but it must have been pretty damned awful. It must also have been very gullible, since covering my head with a blanket kept it at bay. Again, we have fear of the unknown working overtime.
We can translate this easily into adulthood. If we take a single adult, and then place them in an unfamiliar setting, what will they make of it? Perhaps they are in a strange city they have never been to before. Even in daylight they will become disoriented, and will have to rely on their sense of reason to find their way out. One could say that the person in that situation has become a lab rat in a maze. If we put that person in the same environment, but then drop the sun below the horizon, they experience fear, rather than mere confusion. We could even place them in a familiar environment, but remove the sunshine as well, and their comfort level is significantly altered. It’s that invasion of personal comfort that makes for real-life modern horror (such as the urban legend).
To quote Paul of Chinstroker Vs. Punter, “A bloke in a hockey mask isn’t scary.” He’s right--a stunt man covered in karo syrup and food coloring is almost comical. A guy in a suit, with a smile that masks his true intent, that is scary (paging Patrick Bateman). A child that looks sweet and innocent, but harbors feelings of anger and resentment for its own existence, that too is disturbing. The mundane can be the most frightening thing in the world…when it conceals claws, fangs, and no conscience. Perhaps the real fear lies in the mask of normality that it wears, rather than its true intent? We don’t know who to fear, and who to trust, until we’ve taken that chance on the unknown.
Johnny Zombie. 2010. (Creative Commons, Attribution)