Come here, little hellspawn. Flick up your ears and perk your antennae, and for a moment, settle at least a few of your legs. Soon enough, we’ll take the meat from the fire and we’ll have us a feast, just like in the old days, but first it’s time for you to learn a little wisdom.
Don’t roll eyes four through seven at me, young creature. These things are important. It’s the prerogative of the ancient ones of our clan to teach the younglings a little about the world. And I know, it’ll go in three years and out several of the others. You’re not likely to think too hard about any of this stuff until you’re bigger and engaging in your own blood-hunts under a shrouded moon. But for now, I’m still the elder beast here, and the price of this carefree camping trip is a little grownup talk at the end of the day.
Indulge me, if you will. If you’re not prepared to see this as the wisdom of our species, then see it as one of the few remaining pleasures of the very aged; I can’t very well climb trees (not unless I want my massive frame to snap every branch) – and I’ve not the energy to run back and forth from the depths of the swamp to the centre of the forest’s ugly, enchanted heart ten times a day just because I’m chasing some particularly interesting species of insect or a particularly tasty morsel of Faerie. (You could’ve saved some for me, you know. Nevermind; I understand the growling stomachs of your age. I was a larva once, myself.)
So what I’ve got left is casting guttural primal magicks into the sky in the hope of someday destroying the sun, and occasionally boring the youngfolk with my tales. That, and naps. Naps are so good, youngster. Take my word on this. But where was I?
Now, I know some of my generation say that we shouldn’t be using human technology, but don’t mind them. A century ago, the oldsters were were saying we shouldn’t create dummy factories to blast smoke into the atmosphere. Fifty years ago, they were afraid humans landing on the moon would forever disrupt our relationship with the Lunarians. Today, they say you shouldn’t have the Internet. Balderdash. Sure, some species discovered and then harnessed fire, and others of us just spit it naturally and never had much to do with technology, but that doesn’t mean technology is bad for us. What it really is, child, is fear of change, and that’s no good. Because change will come whether or not you want it, and being afraid of it just means you’ll be less happy when that happens.
But that’s not my main lesson. My main lesson is this:
Mankind—yes, Mankind, that murdering, pillaging, world-destroying, self-destroying, rapacious, greedy, angry, untrustworthy, prideful, foolish, dangerous species—calls us monsters.
They think they’re people and we’re monsters!
Because they don’t want to see it. They don’t let themselves see it. In their arrogance, in their pig-headed dogmatic idiocy, they don’t understand the truth:
All sentient beings are murdering, pillaging, world-destroying, self-destroying, rapacious, greedy, angry, untrustworthy, prideful, foolish, and dangerous. That’s part of sentience. We also have certain positive qualities, and if you live long enough, as I have, you might get to see them, every once in a while. Maybe. If you’re lucky.
Ain’t no angels out there. Well, there are, but the Head Office is awfully cagy about just what percentage of them are fallen angels.
It’s not “us” against “them”. It’s always “all of us” basically against “ourselves”.
And that’s good to know, because believing that you’re doing good and right and you’re surrounded by fiends, why, that’s basically the definition of Hell, ain’t it? No reason to go there early; we’ll all get there some day. And we might just find out that we’ve been lied to about the management.
Now, before you go off to that snug hole in the ground we dug earlier (and don’t forget to put some webbing over it, unless you want some nitwit wildlife falling in just as you’ve dozed off)—let me summarize:
Don’t spend your life trying to figure out who’s on the right side of history; just remember that everybody is someone else’s nightmare. And the more you grow a thick skin about it, the better you’ll sleep at nights. Worry a little less about “Good” and “Evil” and a little more about “Stupid ways of being smart” and “Slightly less stupid ways of being smart”. Trust me on this one. Or don’t; figure it out for yourself. Just take this to bed with you:
We’re all monsters. Might as well enjoy it.