Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Monster in Us

-



Former police inspector Rolando Mendoza held 25 bus passengers hostage in Manila on Aug. 23, 2010 to protest his dismissal from service on extortion charges.

Eight tourists from Hong Kong died; the deadliest attack on visitors in the Philippines. Mendoza died in the assault.

The next day, the whole world roared with anger and pointed a finger at his dead body crying "Monster! Monster!"



Human history is filled with stories of men and women who have done horrible things. Adolf Hitler killed six million Jews and Joseph Stalin's reign of terror in the U.S.S.R. led to the deaths of approximately 20 million people.

And then there are those like Mendoza, ordinary citizens whose sudden acts of violence flood our TV screens and hold us captive. We are shocked by the brutality that we see, and we howl and scream in anger.

"But we love our bit of terror," blogger Kevin Musgrove once said.
Those delightful moments of terror that give us our adrenalin rush safe from accompanying danger. We like our demons dressed up in the costumes of pantomime, our villains bedecked in hi-vis personae. We can hiss and boo with childish delight because it is safe to do so. We are the magpies chafing a passing cat: we know the danger and we know we are outside its reach.

We like to think human civilization has advanced dramatically in the past thousands of years, that we are no longer barbaric, that we have become civilized as shown by the comfort of our homes, the beauty of our parks, the order in our streets.

But as Friedrich Nietzsche once said, all civilizations remain eternally the same, despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations. That while societies may progress, human beings don't; and our capacity for cruelty and violence remains infinite.

That while we sleep peacefully at night, we are acutely aware that the monster that is Mendoza lives in each of us, quietly bidding his time.

18 comments:

Fickle Cattle said...

Well said Kane.

http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

engel said...

we're all loaded guns who's waiting for our triggers to be pulled?

paci said...

..and that is why society is there so we won't end up killing each other.

narnian said...

i'm a monster, the lady gaga kind.

Désolé Boy said...

i somehow managed to tame the monster within me
.
.
.
.
but still...

kaloy said...

Just like porn - the actors may be different but the acts remain the same... We are perpetually condemned to imitate our past - whether that be grounded on violence or inaction...

Kevin Musgrove said...

Powerful stuff.

I'm flattered you've quoted me in this context! Thanks

Joanna Cake said...

Ooh, that's scary! Having only recently watched the Raoul Moat drama play out pretty much on our screens and a few weeks before that another man running amok with a gun shooting people indiscriminately, mental strain can certainly present a few surprises.

Great post!

Annah said...

God. Harsh pill to swallow. I like to believe that not all of us are monsters, but in some way yes, if pushed at the right time, we have the capacity to become one.

itsyaboykorki said...

great post ! im korki

Arian Tejano said...

HAHA. major major LOL to kaloy's comment.

rockylubrico said...

nice read...

Yas Jayson said...

13th comment. nice.

This is horribly put. LOL.

As always, an introspection.

Momel said...

And so I say this -- civilization my ass. Two tears in the bucket, mother fuck it. Its this colloquialism for shit happens but life goes on.

ʎonqʎʇıɔ said...

Awesome. A friend and I were talking about the monster inside us once. He told me he often sees himself punching pregnant women and he has to literally gnash his teeth to keep from doing it. i told him about my abject fear that I would one day consciously stop a motorcycle with my car door. So far, we've both been good. 0:)

wanderingcommuter said...

i second... very well pointed...

Anonymous said...

You don't know what kind of monster's lying in me, do you?- Raffy

Ana Marie said...

... and in as much as "our capacity for cruelty and violence remains infinite", so is our capacity to love. History is a motion between these two extremes.

I hate to be the eternal optimist, but like Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, "It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates."

Great read!