The Wisdom of Pinhead: Part Two
“He’s makin’ a list. He’s checkin’ it twice …”*
Last year for Christmas, I blogged about my favourite part of Hellraiser V: Inferno. I talked about how Pinhead’s dark, scary message was really a cautionary Christmas tale – avoid superficiality and selfishness and embrace what really matters, or, you know, pay horribly forever. I realized afterward that Pinhead has always had some very Christmas-y things to say … when seen in the right light. So this year, I will be presenting a Pinhead-Christmas-personal empowerment-happy-joy-countdown. At the end of it, I hope readers – Christian and non-Christian alike – are more disposed to find the love and joy the Christmas holiday represents.
And maybe they’ll want to watch the movies too.
Pinhead: “Ah, Kirsty. We thought we lost you.”
Kirsty Cotton: “I didn’t open the box!”
Pinhead: “Oh, Kirsty. So eager to play, so reluctant to admit it.”
People have curiosity about things; curiosity has little to do with any other emotion, such as love, empathy, fear, or ethical consideration. It’s simply … curiosity.
People have inner darkness, mostly because we are creatures much like all the others on the planet – we have basic instincts for survival, which include the ability to kill if necessary. Of course, we’ve complicated those instincts with layers of civilization, cognitive development, social development, and a complex world full of thousands upon thousands of rules, scenarios, guidelines, circumstances, etc. We have come to a place where we try to be “good” – to kill only when it’s incredibly necessary, to avoid hurting others, to do things to help others with or without recompense. We value social connection; we value love and all the selfless things that go along with it. We work to have a world where we all feel safe, and where no one has to kill anyone. But underneath it all is the instinct, which gets translated as darkness by our “sophisticated” brains, and suddenly we’re submerged in the guilt-ridden world of things-we-think-about-that-make-us-feel-weird-about-ourselves.
And what’s the harm in that? Well, when we put a lot of judgment words like “bad”, “dark”, “evil”, “weird” on entirely random thoughts, we don’t just judge the things society has excluded, like murder; we also judge ourselves, and begin to mistrust our thoughts, and to shove them away in a dark place, and to ignore them even though they keep talking. And suddenly a random thought becomes an insistent, subconscious buzzing that stimulates our imagination – because that’s the only part still listening – and transforms itself into whatever the imagination decides. Basically, this unacknowledged darkness ferments into something the thinker never thought, and ordinary people can suddenly find themselves behaving in ways that would have shocked them cold earlier in the day.
If Kirsty had been more willing to acknowledge her curiosity, she might have been able to control herself better. She might have been more able to make sure her actions matched up with what her goodness and ethics and wisdom guided her to do. She had pushed her darkness away for so long that she was now completely unaware of it, and this allowed her darkness to do, well, pretty much whatever it wanted. And so, even while her brain told her, “Good people don’t want this,” her hands just kept picking up the shiny puzzle-box.
Look inside yourself. Look at your weaknesses as well as your strengths – not with judgment or revulsion, but simply to know. Know your darkness. Know your limitations. Know yourself. Once you know yourself, then all your actions will truly be yours, and your goodness will be deliberate and true.
* “Santa Claus is comin’ to town” by Coots and Gillespie