Do you know your own darkness?
If yes, how well do you know it, and do you fear it, want to exorcise it, or is it a friend, an ally there for you when you need it.
If no, do you know the darkness of others?
It always strikes me as strange when people who claim to have no darkness of their own and who view darkness as disgusting, repulsive, something to be reviled and avoided, spend a lot of time pointing out the darkness of others, focusing upon the bad, the evil, the monstruous…
in a similar manner that people who think they’re perfect like to shine a spotlight on the faults and flaws, the imperfections, of those around them…
Is it perhaps because they’re fascinated by what they do not possess? Are they studying what is unknown to them in an attempt to know it, maybe so as not to fear it.
Do they want to learn a foreign language so that they can understand what those who speak it are saying?
Do they want to open their doors of perception… or close them? Do they want to use others to contrast and compare themselves with them and say this person does this which is bad and I don’t do that so I’m good?
What is the intention and motivation behind their fascination with the darkness of others which they say they do not have, nor will they ever have such a despicable thing?
In an episode of Elementary (WATCH OUT: Spoilers are coming) Sherlock Holmes discovers that a member of a team conducting a psychological study online which measured sociopathy in society – by asking the public to take a personality test – was using the results to find people who, with the right incentive, might be coaxed into being contract killers for a criminal mastermind.
That episode popped into my mind when I came across an online personality test this morning – How Dark is your Personality?
The test asks you to answer the questions honestly – which made me chuckle considering the subject of the test. It uses a sliding scale of agreement versus disagreement,
I always find hard to use as a method of answering because… I’m an INTP
And the questions did not have context, example scenarios. They were too vague – something which always irritates INTP’s about personality tests (including the ones used to determine what MBTI you are).
Mind you, INTP’s often irritate others for being too vague,
for saying things like…
Well, it all depends on the context and scenario, if I’m with someone who is being manipulative then I’ll probably meet their chess move with a chess move of my own, but then again maybe the best chess move to make is no chess move at all as making a move will signal that I’m agreeing to engage in a game of chess with them, which is probably based on their own set of rules, especially if they made the first move, so that immediately places me at a disadvantage, requiring of me that I know what game they’re playing and what rules they’re playing it by – if they’re playing it by the no-rules rule then it’ll be very different from if they’re playing by the cheater’s manual or the I’m copying what someone smarter than me taught me rules (which means they’re at a disadvantage because… we always are when playing by someone else’s rules… unless we’re not).
(I learned to play chess with someone who was very honest, but later on I played it with someone who taught me how to cheat at the game by thinking outside of the chessboard)
test questions from How Dark is your Personality?
Most of my answers to this test kept the slider in the middle because I could neither agree nor disagree until I had further data. Basically the majority of my answers were a shrug… to loosen up my muscles in preparation for dodging a bullet or an arrow aimed at my head. Or maybe to stay perfectly still yet be flexible enough to withstand the impact.
Even though I didn’t do very much in the way of answering I think the results are fairly accurate…
as accurate as any test result is going be when you’re the one answering it (using your image of yourself as a guide created by your ego’s rules)
and someone else with their own agenda has created it and is calculating the results based on their personal bias (which they may claim is an unbiased bias).
I must confess that I would probably be more frequently vile if I wasn’t aware of how vile I can be, the consequences incurred by giving into to it and letting it express itself, and therefore try to keep that darkness to a minimum.
But I’m also aware that… I could think I’m being really nice and good and someone else might find that vile.
It’s surprising how often doing those things which are considered nice and good… don’t get the results which you think they should.
We’re told to be honest, but… your honesty may be experienced by someone else as vile, evil, live pain in progress.
The truth hurts… those who have a different idea from you of what the truth is.
Machiavelli was a diplomat, he advocated techniques which were mainly designed to be used in politics, as that was his area of expertise, but his name is now associated with being a manipulative mastermind and evil genius. His words have been taken out of context and used in other contexts.
One of the weirdest arguments which led to a falling out that ended a friendship which I have had in recent times began (much earlier than it seemed to begin… but that’s another story) when someone got offended by my being honest with them.
They liked my authenticity – a word and concept which is very popular in theory, but in practice…
They kept telling me how much they loved it, valued it, needed it, wanted more of it… just not when they didn’t like it, value it, need it, want any part of it.
They claimed that they wanted the truth… just not when they didn’t want it.
The incident was a small nothing… which became a big something.
They shared something which they thought was relevant to me – it wasn’t, it was relevant to them. I said as much. They seemed okay with that, but… they weren’t. They brooded over it and then came back to me with a dramatic scene which was reminiscent of a short story trying to milk itself into a long one. At the end of their dramatic scene, just before they flounced out of the room making their grand exit, they said – I want the truth even if it hurts!
The thing is, this whole drama was caused by my giving them the truth. A silly one which should not have hurt… apparently what something should and should not do isn’t always what it does and does not do.
I’ll never forget that…
partly because I suspected before I did it that I should have told a convenient lie to them rather than an inconvenient truth.
I guess I was testing their personality – the one they told me belonged to them. Which they also stated was very compatible with mine – in fact they’d never met someone like me who was so much like them (except older and wiser – they liked to point out how old I was compared to them, and how wise they were to make friends with old people like me)
I learned a lot from that interaction, from my relationship with them, especially when the dark side of it emerged and took centre stage.
The truth is… we were similar. In them I saw who I had once been… a person possessed by certain very human demons.
This is a great film if you like – the exorcist trope with a humorous and different twist
These days I’m not possessed by those very human demons so much as I possess them.
They’re here… and I got used to them because I had to at some point accept them as they are a part of me – whatever me is.
It’s funny… when you talk about the darkness of being human, especially when you mention that you own your dark side, people may think what that means is that you’ve gone over to the dark side.
Accepting your dark, doesn’t mean being dark… it can, but… that’s up to you and how you perceive how that kind of thing works.
For me… it has actually made being less dark a more viable and easier option, as knowing I have the dark within means I can rely on it being there for me when I need it, particularly when faced with the dark of others, but more often than not I don’t need it, I just need to know it’s there.
I can be gentler because I know I can be harsh. I can be nicer because I know I can be nasty. I can be compassionate because I know I can be unsympathetic. I can be empathic (which is different from making a show of showing empathy) because I have a living, breathing, personal experience of being human in all of its shades and that helps me to understand where others may be coming from.
If you’re vile to me, I have options…
Been there, done that…
I understand why you’re squirming because what’s making you squirm made me squirm too.
get to know it…
get to know yourself…
get to know others, both their light and dark.