Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dr. Jekyll ... Meet Mrs. Hyde

It was on the moral side, and in my own per­son, that I learned to rec­og­nize the thor­ough and prim­i­tive dual­ity of man; I saw that, of the  two natures that con­tended in the field of my con­scious­ness, even if I  could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was rad­i­cally  both; and from an early date . . . I had learned to dwell with plea­sure,  as a beloved day­dream, on the thought of the sep­a­ra­tion of  these elements.

~ R.L. Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”

Have you ever heard the story Dr  Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? These two char­ac­ters … actu­ally the char­ac­ter was born from a novel writ­ten by Robert Louis Steven­son in  1886. Briefly put, the first half of the dual char­ac­ter, Dr. Jekyll, is a  doc­tor who after drink­ing a potion of his own cre­ation, is trans­formed  into the shal­low, cruel, remorse­less, evil Edward Hyde. Jekyll feels as  if he is con­stantly bat­tling within him­self between what is good and  what is evil. His friendly per­son­al­ity slowly becomes mys­te­ri­ous,  vio­lent, and secre­tive. As time goes by, Hyde, Jekyll’s alter ego, seems  to grow in power. (No spoiler here. If you want to know the end­ing …  read the book).

It’s a very inter­est­ing read.  Not to  men­tion that it has sur­vived the test of time to become a “clas­sic”.  Many plays, movies, etc. have been based on Stevenson’s novel. “Jekyll  & Hyde” have even made their way into psy­chol­ogy books. Stat­ing that  good and evil exists in us all is not merely enough.

Freudian The­ory states that fail­ing to accept the evil or our shadow side results in the evil being pro­jected onto oth­ers. (That the thoughts and desires ban­ished to the uncon­scious mind moti­vate the behav­ior of the con­scious mind.) In  other words,  if I shove all of my evil thoughts to the uncon­scious  part of my mind, try­ing to be “good”,  it can cause a Mrs. Hyde  kind of inci­dent. As I  sti­fle a gig­gle I find myself mak­ing a men­tal  note of this. I am sure  that this expla­na­tion will come in very handy  the next time Mrs. Hyde  makes an appearance.

Judge: … and how do  you plead?
Me: Not  guilty.
Judge: Not guilty? Not  guilty! After that hor­ren­dous  dis­play of evil? Are you crazy?
Me: No Your Honor. I   appar­ently sup­pressed my evil feel­ings in a fee­ble attempt to be a   happy, healthy, whole­some mem­ber of soci­ety and … well you know what   Freud says about doing that.
Judge: *with a look of  dis­gust*  … No. What does Freud say about doing that?
Me: Well, it  brings  about the uncon­trol­lable Hyde part of a per­son.
Judge:  In layman’s  terms please.
Me: The nicer I pre­tend to be and  the more I  totally squelch the slight­est hint of evil within myself  … well the  big­ger the bitch I become! It’s sci­en­tif­i­cally proven. I  swear it on  Freud’s Theory.

I must admit … I have no qualms with doing a Jekyll and Hyde switch — quick, fast and in a hurry. Now you have to under­stand that this switch is never made unless it is war­ranted. For exam­ple: Hurt, talk bad about or mess with my fam­ily (espe­cially my kids) in any way, shape, form or fash­ion; attempt to manip­u­late me; lie to me, steal from me or cheat me; take my park­ing spot at Wal­mart (you know … the one close to the entrance that I was wait­ing for patiently for 5 mins.); talk about me in a way that is totally uncalled for; be cruel to an ani­mal or an old per­son; or just go out of your way to piss me off. These things will send me speed­ing down the track … from Jekyll to Hyde in less than 60 sec­onds. Need­less to say that the trans­for­ma­tion is not a pretty picture.

So I’m not sure if Freud is even remotely close to being right about this one but who really cares … he wasn’t right about “cig­ars” either.

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