Home - Somewhere

Slayers of Boogey Men, pt.1


Why is the Trickster like the Guide or the Raconteur? Well they all have a confident disregard for our default world norms.

The confident break from the norm seems to be the point. Breaking from the norm is venturing into the Verboten, which is usually scary but the Guide/Raconteur/Trickster is confident which tells us that we don't need to be afraid. They give us the strange and the new without the threat of the monsters in the unknown... or at least no monsters that can reach us.

In other essays I've discussed our natural fear of the unknown. In a natural state, with predators and the possibility of not being able to get what you need for survival, it is a bad move to stray from where you are: alive. A fear of the unknown is healthy and worked into the mechanics of our psyche at the very low, instinct levels of our minds.

In fact, I'd be willing to say that this is where under-bed and closet monsters come from. At some point kids get afraid of monsters that lurk in the dark unknown places they are near. These monsters are not spawned from any actual experiences (like sights or sounds) and rarely have specific articulatable characteristics. The Boogey Man simply is. I bet this is the point in our brain development where our abstracting minds are coming on-line and the natural wiring to avoid the unknown is crackling to life.

As we get older the monsters take on specific forms, some reasonable and realistic, some not so reasonable or realistic. But either way they are the things we avoid. They are harm and we stay out of its way.

But the Guide, the Raconteur and the Trickster don't stay out of harm's way. They dance out into the unknown... and they come back! They went out into the Verboten were countless dangers lurk that we know nothing about, the monsters in our grown-up closets, and they won. Like a billowing cloud of fog that comes rampaging down only to split and wrap around you when it hits or a giant bubble that pops as soon as it comes in contact with anything more solid than it. The monsters disappear when the person with no regard, the Guide, the Raconteur and the Trickster, stand in front of their charge.

You could argue that the Raconteurs and Guides we love are not fighting phantoms. Their Boogey Men are known dangers, whether these are actual physical monsters or social exile and embarrassment or just a bad experience. But it's not the case. That's the point. They did it and they didn't die.

I once saw a performer called The Human Tesla Coil (I believe that was his name). He had a big metal outfit and stood on the platform of a giant static electricity generator and would throw his arms around to create arcs of electricity that looked like 1 story lightening bolts and carried at least as much juice as any household outlet. This is the kind of electricity that hurts you badly. But it didn't hurt him. He knew what not to do to keep from dying and he wasn't going to do it. The threat that I saw when I watched The Human Tesla Coil was never going to happen and thus was not actually a danger even though what it was based on, giant, lethally high-voltage arcs of electricity, was very real.




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