Infection

File source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_angel_of_death_striking_a_door_during_the_plague_of_Rome_Wellcome_V0010664.jpg

The fear of infection, pollution, contagion is one of the primordial fears. It lives at the root of human nature responding to one of the most insidious traps of Nature. It’s the fear of an invisible, incomprehensible enemy: the disease that passes from one sufferer to another, the evil spirit that works in the dark recess of the cells; pestilence, cholera, flu or hideous leprosy seen through time as curses coming from a cruel God, or from several cruel gods, vengeance sent from the Other World. All animals, including our own species, share the fear of the monster, and the monster is the predator when it turns on us or leaps from the ambush. To learn the fear of the microscopic predator a culture based in articulate language is required so the menace that can only be read in hints and relations never as clear as the relation between death and claw can be communicated inside the group. Then it is the turn of poetic and mythic imagination to enter the stage and give explanation to these things for which there is no explanation yet. Religion and magic infuse Dream into the order of wakefulness and the connections among meanings turn into beliefs. Biblical curses, plagues envisaged as God’s wrath, the power of witches and sorcerers, the sway of evil spirits, the contagious thirst of vampires, the snares of Evil where physical and moral corruption are intermingled in a perfect metaphor: all these run and expand through the cultural net. When Humankind arrives to the knowledge of the microscopic world and even makes it visible though technical devices, the invisible world of the spirits and incarnate emotions retreats but does not surrender. There will always be people who choose blind faith and dogma instead of reason and anyway the decisive influence of science and reason is no obstacle for that old, invisible territory to be alive in the mind, where it is real and, moreover, true. There it teems with messages and shapes, weaving visions, narratives and advices so we can see the world through the laws of Dream. In any case, who can tell which relations the different orders of reality keep among them in the secret places where the law of Day does not prevail and the chains of fanaticism are of no use.

Published by Mary Wolfhouse

Writer and freelance journalist. Mary Wolfhouse is a pen name and also an Internet avatar.

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