The Wisdom of Pinhead: Part Three
“Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.”*
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.
“There is no good, Monroe. There is no evil. There is only flesh.”
As individuals and as a society, we make a host of rules and criteria with which we judge … everything. Sometimes, the rules are no-brainers: we dislike murder, physical assault, theft. But all too often the rules simply exist to make ourselves “good” and others “bad”, to justify our decisions, to buffer ourselves from change, or to try in some way to make life a series of guarantees.
But in fact the world has only one guarantee: if you are alive, then one day you will die, and chances are that you will not know when. And the world has only one rule: eat or be eaten. Only humans have placed emotional and ethical criteria on being part of the food chain … and on most of the other aspects of our lives.
We lose our ability to evaluate or handle our elected governments because we begin to assume that “law” is inherently good … because many laws seem good, and we don’t want to take the time and responsibility to assess each law on its own. We assume we are “right” and “good” when law is on our side, because we want to feel “right” and “good” … but when the law changes, suddenly the good are bad and the bad are good. New laws make former followers into the bad guy; other people’s laws that differ from mine are obviously “evil”, “misguided”, “wrong”.
Do I mean that we should all be lawless, or that there is no right or wrong? Hardly – and Pinhead would agree with me, I think, since the laws of Hell are rather … totalitarian, and he is in charge of enforcing them. No, I simply mean that we should be more detached from the rules and criteria we create. We should create the laws to reflect what we feel is good and bad, rather than to feel that “good” and “bad” are some concrete, separate things about which we can do nothing. We should look dispassionately at ourselves and ask which of our rules and judgments are based on love-versus-harm and which are based on justification, fear, wanting to appear good, and expecting stress-free joy 24/7.
And I believe we should ultimately decide to focus on love-versus-harm, to accept others as long as they hurt no one else, to celebrate our differences rather than fearing them or penalizing them, to be willing to change for the better – not just today but every day, so that we are constantly evolving rather than falling apart and rebuilding. We make the rules on this planet; we should all be a little more aware of that, I think … and a little more willing to do the work.
* “Santa Claus is comin’ to town” by Coots and Gillespie