There’s this verse in the Bible that says to be “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove”. It’s funny though- we get the harmless part (probably because that’s the easy part), but we don’t always catch the “wise” part. Not only that- we’re talking specifically about the wisdom of a serpent- or perhaps “the” serpent. This might make the you think of a girl in a garden with a snake. Maybe not, but whatev.
But how do you study the wisdom of a serpent? I suppose you study all the snakey things that you can. For instance, I’ve studied plenty of things that one would think a “lady” would’t peruse. All them Robert Greene books…seduction, pick up artistry, and my favorite trick to behold- telling a girl that you are/have been obsessed with them to make them, in turn, become obsessed with you. Oh yeah, all this and more. It’s really quite a spectacle when you just sit back and watch…and all rather grotesque and monstrous.
My beloved Jordan Peterson often discusses becoming a monster. It’s a necessary task to undertake when you seem to be dealing with monsters on the regular. He talks about becoming the monster so that you have the strength you need to combat other monsters. He says that one thing a monster won’t mess with is another monster (truth!!) But a wise-minded soul doesn’t become a monster with the actual intention of being the monster (unless monstrous action is called for). One becomes a monster not only to fend off other monsters, but to understand the monsters as well. In understanding, you unlock the ability to the art some of their beastly doings.
So what motivates the monster…power? Lust? Money? Status?
Maybe those things, yes. Interestingly, sometimes love is a motivator for the monster- or the lack of it, rather. That is all. A monster with this vacuous chasm of need for love. And maybe, just maybe…that’s how all the monsters start. With just that simple, unmet need. And when the monster finds that there is no one who appears to have even a slight mist of love for him, he (or she, or it) decides the other vices will have to color his (her/it’s) life in. And then of course, there are never enough colors to satisfy because there is nothing on the planet that can substitute for that thing called love.
I think when you aren’t loved appropriately as a child, there’s a compounding effect where the void just gets bigger and bigger on this massive trajectory of emptiness. And I think that finding our way back to love (or TO it in the first place) is the ultimate challenge in life. And that shit is fucking hard (or completely impossible) when you’ve never had a roadmap for it in the first place.
But here is the problem with the whole “love/monster” idea…and it is the question “How could a good God allow such suffering to begin with?” Indeed, how could a good God allow a totally powerless and vulnerable child to suffer such an egregious lack?
And the truth is, I don’t know. A man will wander through his life with much love offered to him, but he can’t seem to accept it because the operating system for it is missing. It “does not compute”. And perhaps also because it’s the perfect revenge against a God who missed the mark. Like spitting in the face of THE God who IS love, it’s this big fat “fuck you” to the father who could have provided, but didn’t.
I get it. But I also believe that some of us are tasked with bigger mountains to climb, and only the keenest of men will care (or dare- or even bother) to climb it. Because who wants that love bullshit anyway…(even if we aren’t programmed to accept love, we sure as hell are programmed to need it just to survive this oft cruel earth).
We all have monsters. We need them. They defend us. Our shadow, our ego…whatever. They are our survival mechanisms in action, and to these monsters, we owe a debt of gratitude. Interestingly, that same absent father gave us those monsters that keep us safe. Maybe he knew that some of us would need that strength, not only for ourselves, but for the betterment and welfare of others. Maybe some of us were destined to be among the loveless for some greater task (and honestly, there isn’t a loveless one among us here- just those who can’t receive yet).
If you are aware of your monster, do you have it trained to be somewhat judicious? Does the monster lie in wait for an appropriate opportunity, or does it senselessly slay all who dare to approach?
If our monsters are wielded inappropriately, it might just be because they are fueled by a pain to vast and pulsating to contain. This kind of pain makes me think of a man I know who was abused by his asshole father (who was probably also abused by his asshole father, and so on, and so on…) When I think of this man, and so many like him, what I see is a screaming infant of pain. Blind, raging, lost and alone. In the blaze of this rage, any tender attempts to dampen the flames are countered with a fury that torches any kindness into oblivion. These are the monsters that self destruct their hosts. Most of the time, all the rest of us can do is wait for their pain to end in that self destruction.
So monsters do exist. They aren’t under they bed, they’re in your head.
They’re in everybody’s head. Some are obvious while others are underdeveloped, insidious and unobtrusive. And some are actually sleeping giants that we need to win our wars. We do ourselves a service to understand this and educate ourselves not only in the successful management, implementation and integration of our own monsters, but in the observation and management (or the avoidance) of the monsters in others.