In times of danger, they love the beast inside you:
The adrenaline-junked strength by which you pluck a drowning child from the torrent.
The pulsing veins as you rack the 12 gauge at the break of glass.
But outside of these rare emergencies, they beg you: “bury that beast inside you. Bury it so far down we never have to look at it.”
And so you come to believe the beast in you–that animal power–is some kind of horrific, cataclysmic weapon, to be unleashed only as a means of last resort.
But of course, the animal cannot be turned on and off at whim, like a switch.
They do not realize (or they do, with terror) that the animal is always there, just below the surface…
…that you expend vast stores of energy and heart keeping him on leash, terrified of what they will think and do if you let slip the barely lipped fang.
Man and beast.
We are set apart from the animals by language, culture, rational thought. Yet biologically, and otherwise, we are clearly still members of that kingdom.
The animal in you craves sugar and fat.
The animal in you craves indiscriminate fucking.
The animal in your craves utter domination.
ALL of them survival mechanisms inherent in your animal nature.
So what are you to do with this beast inside you? How do you live with these dark, “unacceptable” powers?
The first way would have you wholly embrace them. To give the animal free reign. To sneer off all of civil society as a brief, cozy dream, soon to be swallowed up by the ancient, inescapable law of the jungle, where the strong eat the weak.
The second way would have you muzzle the animal at all costs. To proclaim that you are wholly evolved past such drives and compulsions, at every moment seeking to prove it by your genteel, compliant nature.
But neither way satisfies.
For when you give the animal free reign, all your loves are betrayed: all that your humanity built will be burnt to the ground.
And when you recoil at your biological reality, writhing in shame and denial, you choke on self-contradiction: you become the snake eating its own tail.
And so we come to the third way: to honor the animal while still making it servant to the man. To celebrate the primal powers in your veins while yet subjecting that power to rationally chosen ends.
You acknowledge the fact of your drives, and look for constructive ways of directing their energies… using them to amplify your loving, your freedom-seeking, your creating.
Only then will you break the old stalemate between the human and the animal inside you, becoming neither the slave nor the denier, but its master.
The animal inside you is not “base” or “lower,” but a vital part of the whole: without the animal, something essential is lost.
For in your animal nature is the wild spark by which you burn apathy from your life, rouse yourself to risk… by which you ravish, cherish, exalt.
It is the man in you that chooses your mountain. It is the animal fire in you that blazes the trail.