Last week I spent an evening writing about Tori Amos (which will surface here next week). In doing background research I came across the following quote:
A lot of people think darkness is making somebody emotionally defecate on themselves. That’s baby demon stuff. … These baby demons can be wonderful in some ways. Wonderful in some ways, highly conscious in some ways, but until they’ve done their work on their shadow, they are more concerned with the power of seduction and the control over another Being than anything else.” (Lucifer, per Tori, Piece by Piece)
I’ve been conscious of that lately – about the difference between having a negative opinion and trying to make someone doubt themselves. I’m a critic by nature, but I don’t want to be that baby demon. I don’t need anyone to feel bad to make me feel better. I’d rather give light than emanate darkness – especially not impotent baby-demon darkness.
Think about it that way – that everything you do either provides lightness or darkness. Every encounter – writing a record review; bumping into someone on the bus; being disappointed by a family member – in each instant you have a binary choice to make. Will you try to shed some light on the situation? Or, make it blacker – make it pejorative and hateful?
We all know that I don’t like warm weather, but I have to say that I appreciated our high-degree days this weekend. I sweat out all the toxicity I was fostering. The sky sucked it out of me like venom from a snake bite, and it oozed off me like tar.
I feel like I’m back.
Wow, that’s a pretty simplistic view of the world. Binary choice? Really? I think any honest discussion requires the admission that every encounter brings light and darkness, and often it’s hard to tell which decision will cause more of which. Attitudes like the one you seem to be advancing here generally end up causing more pain, because they encourage people to value short-term harmony over long-term happiness. You can’t really believe that, can you?
I think there’s plenty of room for gray in our opinions, Wes. The difference between light and dark here is whether you’re consciously trying to add to someone or subtract from them – not whether you might upset or cause pain. Pain isn’t the same as causing someone to emotionally defecate on themselves.
I’ve had a few subtractors in my life recently, and some of them even framed it positively. The difference is pretty plain.