Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide: A self-portrait

The moment in which Audrey succumbs to her carnal affection for Agent Cooper he tells her: “Secrets are dangerous things Audrey”, and as the story unfolds Audrey’s dangerous duality is only bested by a dead girl (Twin Peaks s.1 ep.6). In Stevenson’s book, Dr. Jekyll is haunted by his own inner shadow. A manifestation for inner evils that bubbles under the meek Doctor’s skin.

We often think that we know people. Friends and family show their face to us, their behaviour. Still I feel a stranger to the closest of people. My mother recently told me she was exposed to a new side of me. A side she never seen and I could tell that she did not “approve” – in lack of a better word. My father as well, often looks at me puzzled. And I wonder, how is it that the people who know me the best, still appear to know me so poorly. Am I hiding myself, with secrets, dishonestly? or do we simply see what we want, rather than what others truly are?

I guess things are never really what they seem. Too often I have fooled myself by sticking to strongly to what I wanted, to what I expected, rather than looking with open eyes at the situation. As Mr. Hyde runs down the streets in the story, I wonder if Stevenson chose for the passer-byers not recognise the good doctor simply because they “would not”, not because they “could not”, blinded by expectation. Jekyll makes up excuses to release his inner demon, and whether he truly fools his desire is irrelevant, the readers are not fooled: he enjoys it.

Is this duality of secrets, of dark desires and inner demons part of what it means to be human? To be torn between doing what we want and what others expect of us? The demons whispering in our ears every selfish desire we already considered while the angels try to whip us into altruistic obedience: the jin-jang of the human nature.

It’s a cruel twist that life and her intoxicating ways get us into situations of the most enchanting and arousing character, yet often prohibit us to truly experience them. The devil persists on having the last laugh. Fall into sin, dear children, and forget about enjoy it!

It is true what they say, that the body is weak where the mind is strong. Lingering is not memories of pleasure, but the satisfaction of experience. It’s the proof of the mind’s, perhaps God’s, unyielding dominance. Carnality is in an instant, spirituality, or mentality, lingers.

As I walked on the streets in Madrid, in Milano, throughout the world, the stench of piss and filth encapsulated the experience. The homeless, the abusers, the abandoned, slept on old pizza cartons and mattresses filled with body fluids. I walked past bothered, hardly heartbroken. Ringing in my ear, the choir of heaven: behold the face of humanity, half rotten, half heartless.

I suppose it is unfair to compare the self with this crass view of humanity. Carnality is not filthy and mentality not heartless. Yet sometimes I wonder why there appears such a big gap in the duality of humans. Are we trapped behind the veil of culture that enforces the view that parts of us are sinful? Or is it part of human nature to pursuit an increasing level of carnality in it’s consistent display of habituation? The desperate need to be a Mr. Hyde to escape the prison of being the gloriously perfect Dr. Jekyll?

I fear I have become hedonistic. I no longer pretend to know the border between right and wrong. I’m not sure if it’s experience that subdued me, or if it’s age that taught me the illusions of my ways. I care less for the homeless, the unfortunate, I also care less for myself, which might be the most healthy development. Like the drunkard on the street, I am but a drop in the ocean. The waves will still crash against the rocks, the rain will still fall, regardless if I am part of it or not.

I fear that people who love us only know us from who they want us to be. And I believe that those who despise us only see us for who we could be.

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