Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jekyll and Hyde

Growing up my knowledge of the story of Jekyll and Hyde was very limited. I was familiar with the book on the most basic concept. I knew a person changed from being normal to being a monster. That was it. I thought Jekyll was the monster because the name Jekyll sounded more menacing than the name Hyde(which is wrong by the way). My main source of knowledge came from the PBS TV show Arthur. I strongly urge you to watch the clip because it is one of the best few minutes of television.

 I was grossly unaware of the whole story. For a summary please read the plot overview. I tried making my own synopsis...but spark notes already did it for me. If you're not familiar with the book take 10 min to read the summary. Spoiler alert. Jekyll turns into Hyde.

Personally I am fascinated with people's motives, their stories, and their rationales behind their actions. So hearing from Dr. Jekyll the story of how he came to die and be overpowered by Mr. Hyde is very intriguing. To me, it offers a glimpse into aspects of life that I think many of struggle with. I see a relationship in this story to my own life and to some extent, I think this story sheds light on universal truth about human nature. 

Most of us have desires to do things we know that we shouldn't do or at least we would be ashamed to do publicly. I think we all want to be good people but there are those times when we want the opposite. We want to have some fun, give in to our passions and lusts, and take advantage of others. 

Sometimes we give into these desires and give life to our alter egos. If we give in enough to these desires, eventually they will become stronger and overtake us like Mr. Hyde overtook Dr. Jekyll. 

One great enabler behind Dr Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde was that he was able to dissociate the actions of Mr. Hyde from the publicly virtuous life of Dr. Jekyll. He thought by physically separating the two he would make the actions of one have no effect on the other. He was wrong. Dr Jekyll became utterly miserable and didn't find that happiness he thought he would have. So with us, we may try to dissociate our impure desires and actions with our more pure side. We do this in many ways. We may think that what we do behind closed doors alone doesn't affect who we are outside those doors. Or we might think that overcompensating and publicly espousing our Dr. Jekyll will somehow redeem the actions of our Mr. Hyde. However, we cannot hide our Hyde completely. 

The more time we give for our lusts, urges, whims, passions, jealousies, and anger the more power those aspects gain. Eventually they will win. We may think we can live the best of both worlds and that will make us happy. Dr Jekyll thought it would make him happy but in the end he described his life as the bitterness of hell. I don't think it would be any different for you or me.

Can we live two lives? Can we cheat on our spouses in the dark and not be affected? Can we sneak down hidden alleys for a quick high or buzz and not have consequences? Can we watch pornography and not have it effect our relationships? Can we say we are going for a run but secretly just stroll over to Mcdonalds without it affecting our health? No we can't.

Dr. Jekyll was able to physically separate his good and bad actions and he couldn't escape from the consequences. All of our thoughts and actions have some form of effect on us whether they are disguised or not. The more we give into our darker sides, the more power we give to our darker side to become the prevailing force in our life. So don't give into your Hyde and please don't ever join the dark side like Anakin Skywalker. It will only lead to suffering. 

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