We seem to assume that our deepest inner self is our worst, most beastly. I'll play Devil's Advocate (paradoxically demonstrating how contrary and hostile my "Inner Beast" is, I guess) and make a case for our (or at least my) inner self being the best self.
Everyone seems to admit that humans like to get drunk so they can act out with abandon and not worry how other people will judge them for their actions. We all know (and perhaps are) people who can only express themselves (verbally, in action, or both) when drunk. We assume that all people act worse than normal and that this reveals the true nature of mankind.
However, some people act better when intoxicated; they become more free to do presumable virtuous things. People who are normally too restrained to fight foolishness or wickedness may speak out boldly. Some people may get preachy and not hesitate to act like prigs and prudes. In their case, then, this would seem to be the inner self. "Conscience does make cowards of us all," to confuse conscience with self-consciousness and introspection.
Let's strip away the outer cloaking and admit now the obvious, that I'm really talking about myself. If I'm such a saint within, why am I so detestable that everyone hates me? The problem is the outer man, the outer beast. I could be perfectly nice, perfectly content and co-operative. The problem is the horrible world out there. The news is always bad, so I read the newspaper just to distract me from the pressure of getting ready for work. I never read magazines; politics and the state of the world make me furious. I can't handle it, so I retreat back within my inner saint. I even got to where I couldn't listen to religious broadcasts because I became so inflamed at the ludicrous doctrines taught. Scratch off religious radio. And whenever the songs on popular music stations get too lurid, I turn on classical music instead. Sweet music to calm me, bring me back within the soft solitude of the inner self. Of course, classical music has jarring ups and downs in amplitude. I keep the radio near so I can adjust it to moderation and mellowness. Ah, peace! Nothing wrong with me, it's just that jarring world out there!
Surely it's not my fault that I love everybody and no one loves me back? I try to help everyone but no one appreciates it. I get so tired of loving that I have nothing left but hate. I get so tired of being nice that I get angry and fly into rages. I'm such a good parent, trying so hard to help and to guide by proper discipline, that I cannot stand being unappreciated for all my efforts. If I fly off the handle and attack my daughter, who can blame me? Why did she have to yell at me for turning off the light she couldn't properly read by? I was just trying to save her eyes from damage.
If my mother and my wife project all their unrecognized sins and faults onto me and blame me for their flaws, thus ruining my life, can you blame me for swearing blue streaks at them and storming out of the house? It's not my fault that they're crazy. So what if my kids say I'm crazy; they were poisoned against me by my wife. Don't blame me that my marriage is on the rocks. You should be praising me that I've stayed in it all these years.
So, you see, none of it's my fault. My outer beast is just a result of unfortunate circumstances of time, place, and persons. I could have been so admirable if things had been different, if anybody had loved me, if my party had ever won the elections, if the bad guys had lost all the wars.
Don't look at me that way. You must be one of those bad guys my outer beast can't stand. You'd better get away while you can still walk!
Don't understand me? The explanation is simple. You're a female. We males always blame everybody else when anything goes wrong. Our inner selves are wonderful. You can believe your inner self is beastly if you want.
Self-professed beast DALE ADAMS is well-known to readers of these pages under the nom de fin "Lottie Fish-Bate."
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