The human mind is a wonderful thing. There nothing else quite like it. As the bard famously said, “How noble in reason” he elegantly cited exactly what the human mind is capable of:
“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.” he goes further to distinguish humans. “the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?“
Norman Bates (from Psycho), Leatherface, (from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and Buffalo Bill (from Silence of the Lambs) are three of the most iconic fictional horror characters of all time. They’re all loosely based on one man: Ed Gein. I used Ed Gein in “Meeting Sam.”
I write a lot of historical fiction and in order to remain authentic to the era I must research the ways and norms of that time period. And a lot of the practices are truly insidious.
I came to the conclusion that much of the senseless brutality and madness committed was laid at the altar of religious belief or superstitious beliefs…but I don’t buy that. I have never bought that. I firmly believe many of these people were psychopaths and sadists using the religious beliefs or superstitious beliefs to justify their actions.
How did I arrive to this conclusion? Self-examination is how I drew this conclusion. As Shakespeare said ” humans are infinite in faculties, and in reasonings“. Humans are all pretty much the same and haven’t changed in millions of years of existence and if I know it’s wrong to massacre people or do all manner of evil to others, then I’m not convinced for one second that ancient man or medieval man didn’t know the same.
Humans are wonderfully made. They were endowed with the ability to make conscious decisions of right and wrong. Ancient man could think and reason.
If I know when something is right or wrong, then, I’m not buying it that many of the ancients didn’t know what was right or wrong.
For example of behavior of psychopathic behavior. The Aztecs were a culture obsessed with death and the afterlife. They believed that human sacrifice was the highest form of honor and karmic healing of the people. I’m very sure their victims had a very different opinion.
When the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated in 1487, the Aztecs recorded that 84,000 people were slaughtered in four days. People were usually captured from surrounding village or jungle and brought in against their will.
While it’s clearly possible that the Spanish undoubtedly inflated their figures—Spanish historian Fray Diego de Durán reported that 80,400 men, women and children were sacrificed for the inauguration of the Templo Mayor under a previous Aztec emperor—evidence is mounting that the gruesome scenes illustrated in Spanish texts are true. The bodies left behind is proof it happened. Anyone familiar with this practice know that today the front plaza of the temple is a vast grave yard.
Some historians believe it is possible that around 20,000 people were sacrificed a year in the Aztec Empire. Special occasions demanded more blood – when a new temple to Huitzilopochtli was dedicated in 1487, an estimated 80,400 people were sacrificed.
Tlaloc is the god of rain, water, and earthly fertility. The Aztecs believed that if sacrifices were not supplied for Tlaloc, rain would not come, their crops would not flourish, and leprosy and rheumatism, diseases caused by Tlaloc, would infest the village.
Just as I’m not convinced that African chieftains didn’t know it was wrong to invade villages, massacre the people and sell the survivors into slavery.
The Spanish Inquisition was another example of madness and atrocious covered up by the alleged cloth of righteousness when it was really nothing but a vehicle used to control and wreck mayhem. It had nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth.
This sort of madness was repeated throughout the world, throughout history, and in some parts of the world are still in practice today. They may manifest in a different way, but it is the same old madness. I’m not convinced for one second that those participating didn’t know any better back then. I believed they did. Just as people today, know better.
I wonders who decided such atrocious, madness would appease some god?
Even today, talking to people about their wrongness is as mind-wrecking as it was nearly three thousand years ago when Socrates was trying to teach Alcibiades something.,