The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. Howard Phillips Lovecraft
I think; therefore I am. I am; therefore I am afraid.
Fear has become a kind of culturally determined magnifying glass through which we consider the world. It shapes us, our behaviour; we see everything from a perspective of fear. But this “social fear” is a mere derivative of the brutal sensation that descends upon you and putrefies your very soul; that extreme brain spasm that robs your face of blood then malevolently transforms it into a vile exudate that oozes from your every pore when faced with imminent danger.
There is no absolute fear, the thing that makes your face turn ashen and your hands clammy is always the fear of something; death, pain, loss, loneliness….
Pavidus brevis; transient fear.
Within me, there lurks a more reclusive form of fear. The fear of self - timor domini sui.
Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my soul a drum has, since my earliest innocence, beat an incessant rhythm -not unlike that of a death march. It is a monotonous, incomprehensible noise; the sound of a demonic affliction that resonates its dictums of reproach and remorse from deep within my cursed entrails.
Innocence sequestrated by misfortune inexorably paints a sullen image where hues of grey seduce the blackness of despair. Anguish born of doubt and mistrust, like the coils of a python’s embrace will progressively eclipse the beatitude of life until there remains only fear.
Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.
Because of fear, life is the most profoundly dramatic and terrible thing in the universe. Because of life, fear is the most profoundly dramatic and terrible thing in the universe.
Death becomes the uber-fear.
Death is the ultimate unknown; the dark abyss into which all life eventually flows.
But as the drum resonates its first muted beats -grave and forte, heavily and majestically laden with its a prophecy of doom- I do not fear death. Death will be a reprieve from a life lived in fear. Timor domini sui.
But unlike the purity of innocence, the epistemic darkness of the fear of self cannot be cleansed. The stains of anguish remain forever indelible.
Rat-a-tat-tat. I grope in the gloom to find an exit. Rat-a-tat-tat. My vision is blurred. Rat-a-tat-tat. I try to run from this place. Rat-a-tat-tat. There is no exit. Rat-a-tat-tat. Fear, fear, fear is your eternal companion. Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat.
But as the clangour of the drum subsides, the question remains -who is this self, this demon that plagues my days and torments my nights?
Don’t be fooled by my angelic countenance, my pseudo-intellectualism, my cultivated cosmopolitanism or my friendly demeanour – it’s all ersatz.
Scars, deep scarlet welts lay like Mikado sticks upon my soul. Each one an eternal reminder of some past suffering, some past torture. None can be extracted from below without disturbing the others and resurrecting memories best forgotten.
Scars inflicted from without and then from within as self-confidence crumbles beneath the constant onslaught of admonishment followed by rebuke and castigation. And profanities.
Scars that when roused, incite indiscriminate violence and undiscerning vehemence. And hate.
Scars intimately bound by deceit and dishonesty. And lies.
Covering the scars, a blanket of desolation, like fallen soldiers on a battlefield, are the wounds. They ooze an unrecognisable, but noticeably impure substance, evidently in the process either of coagulation or of decomposition.
Wounds of frustration at being different, incapable of assimilation. Of loneliness.
Wounds of longing for acceptance, approval and recognition. And love.
Wounds of vexation at pretending, hiding and deceit. And isolation.
Wounds of weariness of constantly fleeing, running away. Of exhaustion.
The throbbing of the drum rumbles like Thor’s thunder. A warning of caution. In the negative transcendence of madness, my world becomes a relentless trial, its everyday rituals and objects, beacons of desolate horror. And as the darkness looms, I fear that I will never sing life’s joy in iambic pentameter.