Firstly I have to say that I’m not in any way religious. Not in the normal way at any rate. I do believe in a greater power, and I also believe that each of us has a purpose – something or things that we have to learn, do, or share along the way. So. I research a lot of old myths and legends for my Shadow People books, as well as ancient building sites and so on. I’ve been doing a lot of digging around about free will, death, the afterlife, reincarnation, angels and demons again too, and now I’ve given myself the proper willies. When I was writing Echoes of Narcissus I kept on thinking that some malignant narcissists are actually demonic entities inside. Having known my own, and seeing a couple of videos online they very often look and sound the part. Even if they’re physically gorgeous, it’s always in the eyes and the voice that you’ll see or hear those glimmers of darkness.
Some people believe that after you die you become pure spirit again, but I don’t reckon that sounds very logical. If you’ve been an evil sod during your life on Earth, why should you stop being an evil sod after popping your cork? No. You’ll enter your next incarnation with that evil remaining within you somewhere. I think that souls can be blackened by your choices, and once blackened you have to choose to unblacken them or they’ll just keep getting darker. I know that a lot of people don’t believe in any sort of life after death or spirits and that sort of thing, and that’s fine, and probably a lot less creepy, but I do believe in these things, and the more I research, the more I wonder about payback.
There is good and there is evil. It’s pretty obvious if you look around the world these days. Seeing good in any form gives you a good vibe, and seeing evil makes you feel bad – or angry or guilty. I like to think of myself as mostly as good as I can be these days, but I still do things that I know are wrong. Like those things we use in our daily lives that are produced to the detriment, pain, or deaths of others. I do try not to contribute to harm too much as I zoom along, but sometimes I’ve chosen to take the easy way and look away instead.
None of us know with any certainty whether there will be payback or not, but if there is some of us are in for a rather nasty surprise. Throughout history there have been people who have risen to greatness who shared pretty much the same messages of striving to be and do good. To do no harm and so on. While we as a species have raised them up and often worshipped them, as a whole we are all either doing, or allowing to be done, the opposite of all those things they said that we so strongly agree with.
We all appear to be watching helplessly as our world and all who sail on it are destroyed, but unless you are physically at the mercy of a stronger physical force I think that our helplessness is a choice. Free will. We are all able to be as good or as bad as we choose to be. Fair enough, heading off to have a stern talking to with those who somehow we’ve crazily allowed to rule the planet along the way isn’t going to happen (although really cool plot for a book!), but every single day we have choices that will either add or remove a black spot from our soul. Every little thing that we do is important I think, and life shouldn’t only be about self-gratification.
All of this research has me thinking now that all the bad you do, maybe you get to take that with you, and you get to stay that way until you exercise your right to free will. So those evil killers and torturers that have come and gone over the years. If they weren’t tossed into the deepest pits of hell, and if reincarnation is true, well then, they’re back with us today in some form or another, and they’ll either choose good or bad. Or maybe they’re just so bad that it’s too late for good. Or is it ever too late? Either way, there really are some evil buggers out there these days. Some pretty creepy photos of spooks too, never mind dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Image Credit: Paul Rubens
It’s totally untrue that science fiction fans (and writers) are silly, nerdy, oddballs that like to dress up in Star Wars outfits, and believe in aliens. Well… they’re not silly at any rate. Sci-fi geeks are very clever people. Morgan Freeman is clearly one as the host of my favourite documentary, Through The Wormhole, and he has to be the un-geekiest person I’ve ever seen. I am a fully paid up member of the geek club.
A lot more research goes into writing science fiction than you would think. Even though you’re reading about something or some place that (apparently) doesn’t exist, the actual idea for it probably came about while the author was pulling on his Captain Spock leotard in front of the television set, watching a geeky science documentary. Theoretical science is my favourite playground, but actual science is very often a lot more mind blowing. Especially when it comes to the mind.
Good versus evil, reincarnation and time travel are all large parts of Shadow People and the stories to follow in the series. Do we have souls? Are these souls reborn good or evil? Is life all just about a physical form that is born and dies – The End. Not in Shadow People. Dragons reincarnate as humans, and angels become demons. There is lots of zooming around through time and space, and the fight between good and evil decides the fate of the universe. So. Even though none of us can prove any of these theories beyond a doubt, I do like to at least have a little insight into what I scribble about. This means that I have to find out as much as I can about these things from the actual current proofs and theories that are floating around. I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve found. Right now I’m eyeballing the evil. My dear Morgan explored the brains of truly evil people.
There is a part of the brain that controls empathy. If this doesn’t work you’re apparently not going to feel sorry for anyone or thing in pain or suffering. In the brains of psychopaths this area comes up cold blue in MRI scans. Aah, you say. It’s a physical thing then. I don’t think so. The doctor who discovered this did scans on his own family, and discovered to his horror that not only did he have the brain of a psychopath, he also had people in his family tree who actually had been cold-blooded, convicted killers. He’d never had vicious urges though. The only compulsions in his life had led only to him being an overachiever. He thinks that his saving grace was his incredibly loving family and idyllic childhood.
Aah, you say. It’s an environmental thing then. Maybe not. Another doctor conducted tests on babies around six months old. She put on little plays where one teddy was nice and another teddy was really nasty. Over eighty percent of the babies liked the nice teddies. This sort of shows that we have some small clue about good and bad way before anyone tells us the difference. She also found that even young babies tend to group with other babies who agree with them and shun those who don’t or are different to them. Again, way before their parents tell them it’s not cool to play with children that are “different” to them. These tests made it clear that while similar, babies know what they want or like from very early on. Just because they haven’t figured out how to chat, doesn’t mean that they each are not born as the person they’ll become.
I honestly didn’t come away after this particular programme with any good reason why people turn out to be killers or torturers. Definitely one or two have been made so by tumours pushing on relevant parts of their brains or have some other physical issues there, but not by a very long way for the majority of them. Some people have zero empathy and view the rest of the people in the world as objects. They don’t all turn in to rapists and killers. I’m sure there are quite a few that maybe don’t make a lot of friends, but harm nothing more than a turnip for their soup.
Then you get to that belief that both good and evil exist as forces in the universe, and that it’s up to those with free will to decide who wins in the end. I like this idea best. I’ve gotten a lot of things wrong in my life, but I like to think that once you realise you’ve done something horrible, and hurt someone or something with your actions, you really don’t have to do it again. That’s free will. If these cruel killers really and truly did not believe that what they do is wrong, why do they hide it so well? They don’t want to be caught, you say? Fair enough.
But still. I think that on some level they do know that their deeds are evil. It’s often hard to do the right thing for all of us, let alone for someone with a damaged brain, but the fact that they get through life for so long having everyone around them thinking that they actually are kind and nice, makes me think that they know exactly what kind and nice is. There are some people on this planet who get up to such awful things, that I personally would be more than happy to stomp on them with hobnailed boots. So – my opinion — Evil exists as a force in the universe, and should be exposed for what it is, and duly stomped on.