Kind and Cruel

Although I’m a pretty firm non-believer, my “benignbeast” username comes from a dream that I had with God. It’s probably a little sacrilegious and bizarre and all, but the dream still has a message, which I think most good dreams have.

Anyways, a little background first. I go by several usernames on the internet that I make up as I go or that I re-use. If it weren’t for the web, ridiculous usernames wouldn’t exist. Somewhere in America there is a person with the username “QuiltLover”. This silly moniker is descriptive and represents a part of that person’s personality. I believe there’s a story behind every username out there.

Which gets me to my dream and the term “Benign Beast”. The dream starts in the clouds. God has created the world and is about to create man. This is where the dream gets bizarre, and maybe metaphorical in some ways. So God asks me, Garfield the Cat by the way, “What exactly should the attributes of man be?” For some reason I take out a dictionary and flip the pages to a random word. I see that my paw lands on the word “benign”, but then I slip a bit and God sees that I’ve actually pointed to the adjacent word “beast”. So He starts creating man as a beast. I realize this about half way through, and kindly tell Him that I meant benign. But God has already created half of man so He decides to create the other half from the new word. When He’s finished, man is half kind and half cruel. A benign beast. That’s where the dream ends.

Having the capacity for good as well as evil describes man pretty well in my opinion, even though the term benign beast might seem like an oxymoron. It can be argued which is the bigger component of man, good or evil. Maybe it isn’t exactly divided half and half. Then what exactly is his inherent nature? I believe, even with all the hate and wars in the world, that good wins. In the main, man is loving of others. That’s my opinion and why I cling to the term benign beast, even if the beast part is a little unsettling. Benign may make us who we are, but the beast nature shouldn’t be ignored. The human condition is about balancing our needs with the needs of others, and I recognize the necessity for both. Sometimes this balancing act leads to internal as well as external conflict, but I hope that in the end, in most cases, love wins.

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