22 August 2010

Exploring the Dark Side

Lately it seems I've been spending a lot of time exploring the 'dark side' of things, particularly philosophy and music, ranging from reading about 'left-hand path' philosophy to watching Cradle of Filth videos on Youtube.

This has a lot to do with aspects of my personal philosophy I've been thinking about lately. I believe the human mind does have a darker side, the side ruled by subconscious fears and desires, the wilder, potentially more harmful instincts and impulses. (These are the real 'demons', if we take a subjective/Jungian approach to religion, as I do, seeing deities primarily as archetypes of the subconscious.) I also think that trying to deny, ignore or banish this side of us (as conventional religions have a habit of doing) is probably not healthy, that it would be better to integrate it, to guide it towards positive results.

But philosophy is only part of it, of course, there is also a purely aesthetic fascination. I've always been a fan of horror movies and dark fantasy. Though 'darkness' isn't synonymous with 'evil' of course, and I equally enjoy elves and soothing, beautiful starlight and candle-lit evenings.

There are some snags, though. Some left-hand path traditions and darker metal bands seem to have a tendency to go overboard with it, with their misanthropic and anti-Christian themes. Hostility towards other groups and philosophies is something I find annoying (in milder forms) or simply unacceptable (in extreme forms). Wasting time and energy on hate is simply counterproductive. I don't see why being pro-dark should mean being anti-light, or anti anything else (except anti-stupidity and anti-intolerance, of course).

In music this applies also sonically. Black metal bands tend to sound rather too harsh to my ears, countering aesthetic elements I could potentially find pleasing if used more moderately. (Although I must say in general I seem to find the black metal shriek, used in moderation, less bothersome than the death metal grunt.)

In philosophy and religion this doesn't really present much of a problem. I'm not one for following any ready-made philosophy, anyway. Probably couldn't even if I wanted to. I make my own path, and don't care much about what others think or believe. But in music I'm of course always open to new experiences. It could be interesting to find music that explored the dark side in a more positive way, both sonically and thematically.

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