While reading “The Satanic Verses”, by Salman Rushdie, this passage resonated a lot with me. After reading it, I just thought “that’s me”.
I am by nature an inward man, he said silently into the disconnected phone. I have struggled, in my fashion, to find my way towards an appreciation of the high things, towards a small measure of fineness. On good days I felt it was within my grasp, somewhere within me, somewhere within. But it eluded me. I have become embroiled, in things, in the world and its messes, and I cannot resist. The grotesque has me, as before the quotidian had me, in its thrall. The sea gave me up; the land drags me down.
There are two main characters in the book, Chamcha and Gibreel, the only survivors of a terrorist attack that blows out a plane in-flight. Both survive miraculously, and soon suffer totally different transmigrations.
Hero or Villain?
Chamcha becomes a grotesque devilish figure, complete with goat horns and hooves. Gibreel, on the other hand, becomes a blessed deity. While the latter inspires awe and devotion, the former causes fear and disgust to everybody around him.
That phrase above comes from Chamcha, as his world is turning upside-down. I naturally identify with him rather than with Gibreel. When I was a kid, I always identified myself with the villains, not the heroes. Simba? Nope, I liked Scar. Why?
Heroes seem usually flat and dull to me. Superman, James Bond, Spiderman, Conan, Batman, Thor… You name them. Roided guys who had inherited their superpowers like Superman or acquired them by accident, like Spiderman after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Most of the times, all they had to do to ruin a flawlessly-designed (but still evil) plan from the villain was to start kicking asses here and there.
As a kid, I saw that in a way as intelligence VS violence. Heroes didn’t inspire me anything. I found it hard to believe people like them ever existed, and the closest I could think of where the bullies at my school.
Villains, on the other hand, were much more interesting. They were smart guys with complex and puzzling personalities that, oftentimes, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Does Optimism Vanish With Age? Is Pessimism Just A Phase?
One characteristic of heroes is their optimism. Even in the face of adversity, they are always determined to save mankind, defeat the villain, and rescue the girl. Villains, on the other hand, are always surrounded by a halo of doom and predestination. Even the more cynical antagonists see the world through dark lens. Perhaps that’s what made them become villains in the first place.
I used to be an optimist. I always thought that everything was possible if you’d devote enough time and effort to it. Well, I am not so sure anymore. They say a pessimist is just a well-informed optimist. Perhaps I got more information, or maybe I’m getting older. It may just be a phase.
Pessimist Or Villain?
So have I become just a pessimist, or a villain?
In the end, it does not make much of a difference. Optimist or Pessimist, we all need to keep on doing our best, fight every day to survive, and pretend we know where we are headed.
“Microblogging pills” (MBP) are short posts containing random thoughts that cross my mind. Without necessarily any context or story behind them, raw and unedited.