Monster Is As Monster Does
Why do some people fear real Vampyres? Because they have fangs? Because they hide amongst them in secrecy? Because they steal energy? Because they drink blood? Or because they are different?
Vampyres do not seem anything like the fanged undead myth so many people think of when they hear the “v-word”. In fact, many non-Vampyres are probably slightly disappointed when they discover how ordinary we really are – and that fangs are more an aesthetic luxury item than something we are supposed to be born with. Despite this, Vampyres in fiction are all too often classified as monsters, creatures which go round killing, maiming and destroying – and sadly, real Vampyres are being tarred with the same brush.
I often wonder if the fear which surrounds us does not come from the fact that we look so like everyone else, that those who fear us cannot seem to tell us apart from themselves? If we are monsters, then surely this fact inspires self-doubt and then fear of the unknown – as non-Vampyres begin to realize how alike we are? Could this realization that everyone has a capacity for doing good or harm to others, regardless of whether we are vampiric or not, generate the brute intolerance that meets us?
I should think that people would be classified as monsters, not because of who we are, or what – but by what we do?
Surely, if any of these fears were true, then newspapers would be filled with amusing tales of people being attacked in dark alleys, and being drained of blood or energy. Still, they are not. Still, we share this world with those who fear and loathe us. Still, we do them no harm – at least, overtly as Vampyres. Still, for the most part, they don’t even know who we are. And still, somehow we are demonized generally by some as a threat to them – and even to all they believe in. Why?
I think the answer to this question is simple: it’s because people perceive us as being so very different to themselves – and because in general, people fear things they don’t know – and which appear to be different.
What I have heard some people saying lately about our kind appears to be no more than speculation and hostile remarks verging on hysteria. The skeptics seem to be coming up a little short on reports of people being attacked by vamps – whether psychic or sanguine – and yet they act as if they have statistics to show it happens once every three minutes.
In trying to allay fears of Vampyre attacks, I have referred to well-known codes of ethics employed by the Vampyre Community, notably the Black Veil and the Totum Lex Vampyrica. One of the questions asked of me was: “How can anyone be sure all Vampyres follow it 100% and that it’s not just pretty words to make you look less dangerous?”
I have to say that the place such questions come from is a dark one, filled with distrust, ignorance about who and what we are, what we need, what it is we do – and from our perspective at least – irrational fear. The best way to counter such irrational fears, is to counter the ignorance that lies at its base. We can do this by educating those who do not understand – but we can only do this if people who lack this knowledge, are willing to accept it.
If I may clarify, not all Vampyres belong to a specific group, nor do I speak for all Vampyres. I speak for the SAVA, and the members of SAVA. Further, every single group or culture has its bad apples – it is hardly fair to judge all members of a group by their actions or words, is it?
Regardless of where this remark came from, the person making it belongs to a group, whether religious, spiritual or cultural – and it too has a code of ethics upheld as something just and correct and something to aspire to – but in response I ask: How can anyone be sure all of those who hold to it, follow it 100% and that it’s not just pretty words to make them look less dangerous?
Can you see my point?
Some today wonder whether there may be Vampyres hiding among them within their groups. I notice how they use the word “hiding“, and ask why some might feel the need to hide? Why would anyone? Because as they fear, they are spying or planning some kind of takeover? Or because they believe as the rest of the group does, and want to be there – but are afraid they will be rejected because of who and what they are?
2000 years ago, Christians were persecuted, murdered and hounded by other religions who held sway in their cultures at the time. What happened after the Christians gained first equality and then the upper hand? Did they learn from the experiences of their past? Apparently not. Once they held sway, they set about demonizing, killing and torturing people who still followed the old ways or chose their own paths. It is sad indeed to see that this lesson is lost today, not only on Christians, but on people of all faiths, subcultures, or social groups who have experienced persecution.
It’s time to change that.