Have you ever played Black and White? It’s a role-playing PC game, based on the idea that you are a god reigning over villages across a number of islands. You get to choose whether you will be a benevolent or frightening god. It’s all about the tension between good and evil.
I used to play this game when I was at university. I almost always chose to be an evil deity. In real life, I try hard to be a good person. I attempt to treat other people as I would want to be treated. When someone pisses me off, I want to put myself in their shoes to understand why it might have happened. I guess I want to see the good in people and give them the benefit of the doubt.
This said, I have a persistent feeling that something horrible lurks within me. It’s like that evil nature dwells somewhere in the depths and rears its ugly head every now and again. That’s what made me think of Black and White. I feel as though no person is entirely good or bad. We’ve all got that darkness hidden in us, and some people work harder to conceal it than others.
I went carol singing last night with my parents and their friends. It was a warm and fuzzy event, with lots of well-wishing and hugs. I love singing carols, even though the god references bother me. But on my drive home, I felt as though I needed to cleanse myself of all that festive goodness. I listened to Nine Inch Nails in the car. There’s a track on that album with a chorus that always resonates with me:
I hope they cannot see, the limitless potential,
living inside of me, to murder everything.
I hope they cannot see, I am the great destroyer.
I love this song because I feel like this is me. Not because I want to murder people… but because I want to destroy myself. And I suppose we all have the potential to wreck our own lives. We’ve all got the capacity to be that great destroyer. There’s power in knowing it’s there. After being the good, kind external me that meets and greets and answers questions with polite lies to make everyone else more comfortable, it felt great to remind myself of what’s really beneath that thin surface.
Photo credit: Phil Long, Creative Commons.