It amazes me why so many movies and novels are produced that portray demons, vampires, aliens, and monsters of all kinds when people who watch or read them can be positively frightened by these inventions. What is the fascination for us humans in scaring ourselves? Isn’t life problematic enough that we have to add more scary elements to it? We create these monsters and then allow them to scare us and in some cases have power over us as well. Is this something that we allow to spill over into our normal, everyday lives; that we not only allow demons to have power over us, but also various humans whom we give power to by our flattery. Is it not a fact that what we give our thought to we also give power to? This can range from movie stars, pop stars, politicians, churchmen, supervisors and bosses. And of course monsters, enemies and demons! The fabric of our nightmares!
Our nightmares and fears can range in state from the simplistic, for example fear of a spider, to fear of people in our daily lives such as teachers, police officers, to greater fears of the unknown, of the enemy we cannot see and even to the wild animals we know. I have never found! The fear of our own failure is something that we have probably all faced at some point in our lives. And many of us as children have been threatened by authority figures to scare us into behavior. We have been threatened by our parents at times with the police or the dreaded “bogeyman”, to scare us into behaving. Or were our parents afraid that their authority would be compromised and they would have to resort to a higher authority?
The fact that a person has authority over another human being does not always mean that the one in authority is better or more intelligent than the subordinate below. In fact, sometimes, and possibly most of the time, this is not the case. But if the student does not ultimately outshine the teacher, then the student has not really learned anything significant. And any teacher who has had a student who outshone him in his own field should be proud that he helped create this star.
But being afraid of being upstaged by our students or frightened by our own or someone else’s demons, or intimidated by those in authority over us is something we need to seriously examine and question. This is not an anarchist idea. It is simply, and I think intelligently and with all due respect, a redefinition of the relationships, dogmas and creations that we have allowed to take over us. We are warned not to question “our superiors” or those in authority. Who are our superiors?
I believe that the wisest people are those who are the most humble and would never assume to be better than anyone else and would never assume to have control over us. My example would be well-known and established people of great and recognizable integrity. Two names instantly come to mind: Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. These are people who have dug the skeletons out of their own closets and expelled the demons from their psyche, faced them, embraced them and turned fear on its head and transformed it into its opposite: love. And make yourself available to humanity to help create a better world. People of this caliber would always be aware that they are the ones who learn the most from their peers, and not the other way around. They would also be people who see life as it is, without taboos, class levels, dogmas and superstitions.
I often wonder where our superstitions come from in the first place. Were they “invented” by people who recognized the fears within us and used those fears to gain control over us for their own selfish and mostly misguided purposes? Someone who cares about your good would never use you in a manipulative way: they would never impose an idea on you that was not for your own good. Once we accept these superstitions and incorporate them, we give the “inventor” of the superstition control over us. And if we ourselves are the inventors, then we give control to superstition itself and have done ourselves a great disservice. One that will require a lot of homework and probably a lot of professional help to eradicate.
We haven’t learned our lesson from “The Wizard of Oz” yet. We have created our monsters and we allow them to rule over us. We still see “Oz” as a children’s story with a children’s plot and comic book characters with some memorable songs. The message is lost on us. It was the little dog, with his inquisitive dog nose, that sniffed out the human manipulator behind the monster and exposed him for what he really was; a farce. But we still seem to be fascinated by monsters and ghosts. Our bookstores are full of horror novels. Our filmmakers make a lot of money scaring us. Computer game stores are full of aliens and monsters to destroy. All in the name of entertainment!
Nor have we learned from our past. Great civilizations have risen and fallen. Wars have swept our lands and have gone down in history. Great men have lived and died. Economies have boomed and crashed. All of these plummet up and down only to repeat the pattern over and over again. If history has taught us anything, it is that we can be manipulated over and over again. And we fall for the same “tricks” over and over again. Most of us are gullible, and the clever manipulators among us use it against us for their own benefit, all the while telling us it’s for our own good. And we swallow it wholeheartedly. Will we ever learn?
Perhaps we are not aware of what we should learn. We study in schools and in collages the subjects that interest us or that we believe will give us a good livelihood. But is that all there is to it? an interest; a livelihood Do we ever stop to study ourselves? Really stop and look at what we are. How we behave with others. How we react to our friends, acquaintances, relatives, blows… Someone reacts unfavorably to something we said or did. Is the defect in me or in the viewer? Or I recognize a weakness in another person and use that weakness to manipulate and bring them down. Do we see our own inhumanity towards our fellow man? Shouldn’t I recognize that the fault is probably with me and I need to find ways to correct it?
Are the demons we have created really the demonic side of our own nature? Have we allowed ourselves to be afraid of that part of us? The dark side of us: the negative aspect. Is it like saying that we are afraid of our own hand; for it to hurt us. I believe that the demons that scare us are mere figments of our imaginations over which we seem to have little control and are allowed to grow unchecked, sometimes to insane proportions. They are, I think, just the negative side of our duality. After all, we have become what we think we are and these are our own creations. Even if we take part in its creation as part of the collective consciousness. And then we allow them to live within us. We nurture them from our fears.
With a little effort we could easily fade and get rid of them, and like the unwanted weeds that choke the flowers in our garden, they should be uprooted and consumed by the fire of our wisdom. But perhaps, deep down, we are just as attached to our dark side as we are to our bright side; attached to our hates as much as to our loves; our dislikes as much as our likes!
There is nothing to truly fear except fear itself, says the voice of wisdom. And that fear is the greatest demon of all. That is the basis of all our problems. Tear it down and the entire edifice of our demons and the shadows of our doubts will come crashing down.