Let's face it most of us present a certain image of ourselves, intentionally or not, which becomes the public perception of who we are. But there's always more to us than is shown right?
The iceberg analogy is commonly cited; what you see on the surface is only the tip and beneath the surface, hides our true selves.
The only person who has seen the furthest below my tip (steady now ladies) is adorable wife. I act the clown, do impressions, stupid voices and comedy skits at home that no one else in my life has ever been privy to. I retreat into that irritating shy shell when I'm around others, and I don't think wild horses could tear that goofy imp out of me. Okay, wild horses would just tear me apart, but I can't think of a theological equivalent of wild horses.
But that's not my dark side, obviously, that's my playful, carefree, side actually letting loose, rather than sitting in the dingy repressed recesses of my mind.
I know within me there are definitely dark thoughts that don't really sit with how I am, how I act and how I want to be.
I don't know where they come from and why they are there. It's not like they're there all the time and it's not like I don't tell them to bugger off. But that doesn't mean they do. Because they stemmed from me. Is it the primal, human animal still alive and well somewhere deep, nestled in my, well, where, in my mind? In my soul? Is he in there waiting for the moment when my survival instinct is required and I have to do anything to protect myself and my kin? Will it really unleash all hell like it promises? Or is it just all talk and no action?
Some people may deny the existence of having such a dark side. I'm pretty sure I'm perceived as a 'nice guy' by pretty much everyone who meets me, and I've yet to hurt anything much more than a wasp (and frankly I felt pretty guilty about it afterwards), but I'm confident there's something unpleasant hiding within me like a troll under the bridge.
I read the following story a friend shared on Facebook Marina Abramović, “Rhythm 0,” 1974 which, in a nutshell, was an experiment in human behaviour. It showed that when presented with someone who simply did not fight back, the vicious, bullying side of people was quickly revealed. The article notes other, more extreme experiments that showed what happens when people are given power over others.
Having said I have a dark side, I'm not saying I believe I would soon turn to acts of violence upon a stranger, just because I supposedly had the power. I genuinely believe I don't have it in me to inflict suffering upon another. But it's that very discrepancy that I can't reconcile in my mind. If I am adamant I cannot be nasty to someone, why is that dark side, with those odd thoughts still present?
Also, is it a bad thing? Should you not embrace who you are in total? Because to repress any part of yourself if to actually give it strength. Repressing emotions causing stress and illness, I know this all too well because I used to make myself sick with stress all the time when I was younger.
I'll give you an example of a curious urge that surely shows some sort of pent up side to me; whenever I am in a shop full of china, glass or crockery, there's a part of me that just wants to smash it all up. Just go utterly ape in there! Clearly I would never do it, because my rational side reminds me it would be a bad idea for many reasons. So I don't. And I won't. But what is that urge? Where does it stem from and why should I even be thinking it, and reminding myself that it's just not what one does in a civilised world?
Here, this clip from High Fidelity is a perfect example of what I mean. Let's face it, most of us must've been in this situation; your mind is thinking one thing, but you do another.
But to think the bad thoughts, there must be a bad little person sitting inside us right? I guess the question is; is that a bad thing?
Perhaps it actually serves as a vent for our frustrations. Perhaps the thoughts, the rants, the fantasy, like in the clip, help us clear our mind first, before actually thinking about the situation more rationally and hopefully actually doing the sensible thing.
Or maybe we're all just crazies fit to explode at any moment...