Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scars across my arms and thighs

"When inward life dries up, when feeling decreases and apathy increases, when one cannot affect or even genuinely touch another person, violence flares up as a daimonic necessity for contact, a mad drive forcing touch in the most direct way possible."
-Rollo May, Love and Will

I just started reading Harlan Ellison's Deathbird Stories. He ends the first story in the collection, The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, with the quotation I've copied above. The story itself was dark to say the least but it's the quotation that really intrigues me.

It's easy to go through a day and realise that I've had no real contact with another human being, not physically and not in the way of having been affected by or affecting someone else. One can be surrounded by family or co-workers but have the most superficial of interactions. Sometimes it seems so unnatural, almost frightening. Certainly lonely.

Does that result in violent behaviour though? At least for some people? I think he's talking about a general increase in societal violence but not all violence is directed outwards. I would also expect an increase in the amount of mental illness and depression as well as drug use; probably rather more than violence. I'm intrigued enough to to give Love and Will a look.

As for the word daimonic, it appears to have been coined by May; here's link to a definition of sorts. This was certainly the first time I've come across the word.


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