Temples of Violence

June 19, 2017

You stand on a wide, green field. An elysium field. This field is dotted with hills, some massive and some small, and usually in clusters. This green field waves with unseen winds, some coming from the hillsides and some falling from some spectre that haunts it in certain places.

There are places in this field, though, where dark things dwell. Where the grass dies, where the sky seems dark only there, and where the earth feels pitiless and hard. Places where the hills seem meanacing and the winds cut deep within the soul and burn the bones.

Scattered around these places, some on hills and some in the wide valleys between, are temples made of clean stone and strong timbers, even in the dark places. These temples are built to a variety of styles and focuses, each hung with the trappings of their devotion.

This is your emotional landscape and the temples, themselves, your emotions.

I’ve been listening to Invisibilia and there is a fascinating element of the first few episodes about how our emotions function. Our emotions aren’t things of power and permanence, things that are locked into our brains by the powers of history and biology that cannot be changed. Emotions are, instead, our interpretations of more base feelings within our body, guesses as to what is going on by our extensive, impulsive nerves.

Our bodies have very few specific triggers that can be woven into messages; your body can feel good or bad, your body can be excited or becalmed. Even these things are inexact; good isn’t pleasure or joy, simply a feeling of general comfort that must be honed. Excited is also not good, merely a form of arrousal that hightens the focus of the body to pay attention to the surroundings it inhabits.

This field shows this; good is the green and bad the brown, while excited are the hills and the calms are between. So what, then, are the temples?

See, these feelings need interpretation. We need to examine them as a culture and figure out what they mean, what they are, in their contexts so that we can discuss them. So that we can talk about what they are and when they’re applicable. So we can tell each other how we feel.

These are what the temples are; our emotions themselves. Emotions like anger, love, attraction, fear, and suspicion aren’t natural. They’re these varied impulses in this field without definition, without attachments to other ideas. That is, until, our language gives them form. The temples are laid brick by brick as we describe them as a culture, imbue them with meaning and purpose. The larger the temple, the more cultural force an emotion has once it has been named. Several temples tower over the landscape; the bright red banners of Love, the deep ruddy banners of Anger and its antechamber Hate, the black tattered banners of Fear, the white and yellow banners of Joy, the gold banners of Safety. These powerful temples oversee massive complexes with hundreds of varrying definitions and understandings.

There is one massive temple that draws so much power and lays the foundations of so many other temples laid by the hands of men, though, that it needs to be examined carefully. This temple, built by the hands of men, on the backs of men, and glistening in grout with the blood of men, is Violence.

Violence lays bricks in Joy and Freedom, Exultation and Pride, Fear and Longing, Revenge and Protection. Violence by the hands of men find its way into many emotional temples, attach themselves to the deep seated feelings throught the landscape and feed on them, growing in power and telling our emotional sub-system – the fuzzy field of fascinating and inellegant nerves and impulses – that violence is the right place to start in reaction to any of these. It teaches men that Violence is our strongest emotion, our greatest emotion, and our most just emotion.

This is a danger not only to men ourselves, but also to everyone around us. It blinds us from the truth of the world by wishing to see it painted in blood. It causes us to see those around us as either righteous allies in combat…or virulent enemies that must be slain. Violence demands obescience from the men it nurtures and empowers in the West. It demands blood and obedience.

We are not violent by nature, but we have been nurtured in a world of violence. Any of those who have ever been mistaken as a man by society have been poisoned by its priesthood. We must remember this, all of us, for Violence is not a god that wishes us well.


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