The premise being (going on in the same train of thought as yesterday) is that the duality of the selves also contain a primary identification of type as “predator” and “prey.” A person who is a natural predator, who rejects or is taught to reject this aspect of themselves, adopts the false façade of prey and vice versa. This sets up a fairly obvious conflict and source of tension and disruption in the person’s life.
The predator type, who is deeply invested in appearing as prey (kind, generous, giving, trusting), and then meets someone who is a prey type is thrown into a volatile psychological state because their native nature is brought to the fore. The same way that someone who is a “prey” type may adopt the masque of the predator (forceful, willful, strong) to protect themselves.
A general mess occurs when those two types meet.
It can either bring out the buried nature of each or force them into paroxysms of behaving as their masque in order to deny that aspect of their nature.
Now being either predator or prey is not a good or bad thing. Look at nature, its just a part of it. Where it becomes unhealthy is when the predator or prey is unaware or unaccepting of the fact that within each type exists the qualities of the other. A predator is someone else’s prey; a prey is the hunter of someone.
It is this rejection of the totality of self that sets up a large range of problems. Debbie Ford defines the natural self, the higher self as the self which recognizes that all qualities and drives exist simultaneously. Whereas the masqued self strives for proof and identification, the higher self has no need of recognition at all. It holds all aspects of the self in equal regard and this is what allows someone governed by their higher self to make decisions as to what is need in the moment rather than make them from fear. Think of sweet Jesus (and that is tongue in cheek) driving the money lenders from the temple with a whip.
So now I have all this in my head and I turn back to the city. There is Sadima, the Goddess of War, the ultimate predator, who has been stripped of her masque through the loss of memory and she is facing the choice of accepting her true nature – that of Justice, or picking up her masque again and tying it on tighter.
There is the Demon of Hope, for whom it is essential to be perceived as all good, all healing (and therefore all powerful) revealing her stronger nature, that of the predator that most oppress and control – or if thwarted, obliterate the existence of that which she cannot dominate.
They haven’t met yet, but that is the part I am inching toward and it is a hard thing to balance. To keep track of the masques and retain the integrity of the character’s delusions and their reality in a way that is recognizable to the reader.
To write this requires that I become willing to see my own masques and make the same decision that Sadima must make – will I cling to what I have created and adopted? Or will I start to learn what it takes to live with both the predator and prey within me and learn what brings either out?
One thing Debbie Ford mentions is that as you begin to learn to recognize your own masques it becomes radically easy to spot the ones that other people wear. Its like the paleontological speech analysis, people are dressed in symbols that they are mostly unaware of but are present and obvious if you know what to look for. And, I have found, you cannot know what to look for until you have learned to spot your own. I have also found that it can be surprising how easy it is to create self-deceit in trying to understand the self. It can be easy to “not see” people’s masques and symbols but to project onto them the ones you need them to wear.
Writing the City is life changing, to say the least. But then again, so were a few other ones, like the Demon.
I absolutely dread writing the main scene in the City. I will probably have to take off and do some navel gazing retreat in the Himalayas for 5 years to find the wherewithal within me to write that bit.
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