Truth and duality are two concepts we constantly discuss in class.
And at this point, in my own search for identity, I feel that the more I learn, the less I know, and the more I desperately want to learn and know... about truth, identity and the deep fathoms of the mind.
The Stange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde deals with the hidden in the human psyche, the hidden in houses, the hidden in the fog, the hidden in power, the hidden in lies and the hidden in truth.
My course is called Madness and Writing, and believe me when I say that it lives up to its name. I constantly find myself at the brink of reality, at the edge of truth and by the cliffs of lies... obviously reading the syllabus, but I just recognized how strangely at home I feel borderline sanity and insanity, diving deep into discussions on what's visible and what's not...
The universal search for identity, that's what this really is about.
Who are we?
Who am I?
Finding identity and standing tall, in the western world, is mostly not a challenge... yeah, can be discussed, eh? But certainly not as challenging as if you were, say, a gay man in the Victorian London, and a gay man hidden inside a pillar of the society... You had no chance, you would have to conceal the truth from the world, from the surroundings, and from the self. The search for true identity becomes a different one, completely.
Keeping up appearances was the only thing that mattered, not loosing face, not loosing dignity or social standings. Hiding the feminine sides, in all aspects, became a self preservation, and staying within strict rules in society became the little death.
From a modern point of view, Mr. Hyde is Doctor Jekyll's gay, mad, crazy, murderous alter-ego.
When he is Doctor Jekyll, he's the kept together, well thought of, contributor to society and beautiful to look at. However, on the inside he's unhappy. He feels constricted and bound.
When he's Mr. Hyde, he's almost an ab-human character. He's hideous, small and vicious, but he feels great, deliberated almost.
Looking at his own reflection in the mirror becomes a conflicting and frustrating experience for the free Mr. Hyde. What he sees in the mirror is not mirroring what he feels on the inside. But which of them represents the truth?
We do like to think that we have come a long way today, that we accept any kind of identity in others, but the truth... lies... somewhere else, I think. We are just as constricted, restrained, and afraid of the unknown as we've always been.
And how can we search for any kind of truth when we always will see the truth from where we are standing? Truth for me, may be lies for you, presenting the question with a duality making it close to impossible to give a truthful answer.
Further, how can we understand why people make choices for their lives that everyone, including the one making the choices, knows are bad ones? Why can't we just make the good choice and be happy? Why can't we just make sensible and wise choices for our lives?
Could it have anything to do with the search for identity again?
Most of us (and now I'm talking about the people who have a certain moral compass, and just tries to get to one side of the sun to the other in one piece) come with a built in sense of right and wrong. We come with a feeling of who we are, who we might turn out to be, we come with a feeling of our own identity. Those of us who have children will know that the strength the little baby showed is something he or she brings along as they grow up. Some of us were stubborn, determined and happy as children, and can find a piece of that lingering on as grown-ups. Sometimes we might feel we became a person we don't always recognize. Sometimes we might react in a strange and unexpected manner in new (or even old) situations, and scare ourselves...normality cracking up, feeling a stranger in a familiar life. And sometimes we will find that everything turned out just as we thought when we were seven and fantasized about what grown-up life would be like.
We all have a sense of duality in us, a Doctor Jekyll and a Mr. Hyde, an angelic and a demonic side to our identity, and which ever side gets to dominate has to do with the experiences on the road towards identity and truth...