Humanity is a Monstrosity

Monster me, monster me, when is it that I am this monster me? Yes, when, not how. The how of my monster is easily determined. There is duality in my nature; it is easy for me to understand this dualism that is my humanity and my animality. As a Christian I am taught to accept the dual nature of Jesus Christ; a duality that is one hundred per cent human and one hundred per cent divine. You do not need to be Christian to understand this; however, Jesus for Christians is not like Apollo or Dionysus for ancient Greeks no matter how many reductions the traditions have been forced to fit.

Jesus had free-will to reject his divinity, I presume. I am not certain of the theology here, what the official word is on this in my Church. I wish I were more sure, that I knew more than I do on this. Nonetheless, it seems to me that his divinity would have had to have been an option for him. The significance of free-will in the three great monotheistic religions is impossible to overlook and demands inclusion in any assessment. The whole point of the Son of God who had been begotten not made before time and creation to incarnate in the person of Yehuda ben Miriam was so he could experience life as a man, live as a man, choose as a man, suffer as a man. This is integral to the entire schema of Christianity whether there is Truth or nothing true in the whole of it. Jesus had to choose to be engaged with the divinity of his nature; even Jesus at the start had only divine potential. The actuality was distinct. Christ contends with his humanity and his divinity, a duality, not a dichotomy. Likewise, I contend with my humanity and my animality. I am not human by simply having been born. Humanity is a choice. Humanity is not then an inherited nature except in potential. Remember, Jesus is one-hundred per cent human and one-hundred per cent divine, not fifty-fifty like Dionysus or Apollo, as alluded to above.

Likewise, I am animal; I am human. I am both, each one-hundred per cent worth. I am also neither human nor animal in that by being both simultaneously I become yet something else–someone else, all within one body. Another monster me to be? One flesh; many persons; many yet one; I am we. The actuality of humanity is a process, a nurture within the animal who chooses this option, an election. I am capable of Reason, this related to knowledge, thus the Sapiens of my species. This choice to be human, that is, humane, is by comparison, a monster me coexisting with the animal me. My animal nature would reject the humane; it despises the human potential in me; it resents the pull of humanity. A species of animal is a species of animal–here I separate animal from human; here I make a distinctions between what is human and what is simply animal.

Human nature coexists with the animal nature that precedes it, if you will. Thus, our humanity is exceptional; it is not a given.  The Homo sapiens is a species of animal with an animal’s nature, of course. We must not, though, confuse this animal nature for our human nature, no matter how many Venn Diagrams may show us how the human and the animal overlap. If being human in the way we mean when being human is to be humane–and this here is key–is what it means to have humanity as a quality and not a category to belong to, then having been born an infant homo-sapiens is not enough, although in potential, I can be human. If being this human is different from being the co-existing homo-sapiens as another species of animal, one among many in Nature, then it might qualify as a monstrosity, as Darwin defines monstrosity in Chapter II, right  early in his civilization changing On the Origin of Species. By monstrosity is meant “some considerable deviation of structure, generally injurious, or not useful to the species.” What we call humane is something other than what we call animal, when what we mean by animal is brutal, nasty and red in tooth and claw, if I might borrow from Darwin’s great contemporary, Tennyson, in the latter’s reference to Nature, the Naturalists nature, not the nature of the Romantics. Yes, humanity is a deviation in the structure of the homo-sapiens, when it is the sapiens part of the species that distinguishes it as a species among others. The fact that being humane is in itself, when it is itself, non-utilitarian, there is no part of our humanity, when we mean acting and being humane, that is useful to the homo-sapiens. For a Christian, the primary nature of Jesus is divine; he grows into his humanity and through choices, perhaps fostered by his conscious or preconscious or unconscious knowledge of his divinity, develops that humanity into the living human Jesus. 

Humanity, as an exception, is thereby a monstrosity in the development of the Homo sapiens; thus, to be human is to be a monster. When I am humane I am, in contrast to the homo-sapiens nature I am born with, the monster me. Yes, in contrast with the nature of the Homo-sapiens, human, as we mean when human is humane, is a monster, a monstrosity. This sense of monster is reserved for Victor Frankenstein’s monster, at one time called his being, that which in his “living’ context, is Victor’s creation–but it is this sense of monstrosity he bears into the world, a monstrousness framed by his otherness among other humans–for it is a human Victor Frankenstein tries to create–that the being succumbs to, is destroyed by. He forgets, though, that humans are not created but nurtured and chosen; Victor and his being both ignore the native monstrosity that is a human being. Victor’s being was desperate to have this human modifier placed in front of his reference as a being. He did not recognize that his overt and exteriorized monstrousness was native to all of humanity in each and every member, perhaps only interiorized, the alienation each of us suffers in our selves within the Self, the many selves Self suffering monstrous alienation from each other, in some, so severe as to crack the veneer of singularity and break out in a multiplicity of warring selves too the destruction  of any sane personality–what we also forget is our maskality. His creation is on the lines of the homo-sapiens, but is it really his disfigurement at the hands of his patchwork making? His true monstrosity arrives from Victor abdicating his responsibility to his creation. The being calls him on this by saying that he could have been Victor’s Adam. But the crime of hubris has already overcome Victor and he recoils, as I recoil from this monster me, a monstrosity of my nature, this human I choose.

To be me is to be many, to be one, to be someone never having been, to be who I have always been, to be someone I might have been once, someone I could yet be, someone I might be if. I am another self and another self and another . . . I am other too. What other I do not know yet; this other is chosen, embraced by necessity otherwise it becomes another monster set to destroy me. There are many monsters within me. To be many might seem confusing, but it is not. I am who I am whenever I am anyone I am, wherever I might be, with whomever I am.


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