Embrace the Monster in You

By | June 17, 2022

[June 17, 2022]  There is an axiom in the post-modern philosophy that permeates our Western thought that says those incapable of evil are higher moral persons.  Certainly, they claim, more moral than someone capable of evil deeds.  I will propose that this is wrong, dangerously wrong, because if you are incapable of doing evil, then you are absolutely a victim of it, a rejection of the evil in you.1  Embrace the monster in you.

“The line between good and evil runs through the human heart.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It may seem counterintuitive to say that, in my thinking anyway, the embracing of the monster within you is what gives you the strength of character and self-respect too.  It is impossible to respect yourself until you grow teeth, the ability to bring great havoc and destruction upon others.  If you grow teeth like the great lion, you realize that you are dangerous and capable of standing up to threats and defending those who are weak and innocent.

Such an idea does not mean that being evil is better than not being evil.  What it means is that being able to be evil – and then not being evil – is far better than not being able to be evil.  In the case of being incapable of evil, you are nothing but weak and naïve.  In the second case, you are dangerous, but you have it under control.

Those in the martial arts world know this as part of their training philosophy.  Their idea is that they are not training you to fight; they are training you to be peaceful and awake to the world around you and avoid fights.  But, if you happen to have to get into a fight (and are competent at fighting), that decreases the probability that you will have to fight.

The strength you develop in the evil within you is the best guarantee of peace.  Through your analysis of yourself, you can understand why other people are capable – and you are capable of all sorts of terrible atrocities that characterized the evils of the 20th century.  Without that understanding, there’s no possibility of bringing it under control.

If we study the 20th-century evil (Nazi Germany, communist USSR and China) and ask ourselves what these culprits are like, the answer is that they are just like us.  If you don’t know that, you don’t know people or yourself.  You also have to discover why they’re just like us.  People don’t like giving themselves such an honest look, which partly explains why the path of enlightenment within yourself is rarely followed.  If the world were all about following what makes you happy and blissful, then everyone would be at the pentacle of wisdom, and that is certainly not the case.

Wisdom is facing what you least want to face.  It means to embrace the monster within you.

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  1. Much of what is found in this article is taken from various lectures given by Dr. Jordan Peterson. I recommend his videos, books, and adopting his practical advice.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Embrace the Monster in You

  1. Nick Lighthouse

    Sure did catch me by surprise with this article, Gen. Satterfield. I never gave this much thought, but what you say sure makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  2. Rev. Michael Cain

    Wow, sure came at me with a great idea or two here in this leadership article. Surely made me do some real thinking. I brought this up to my congregation and they were too surprised but not surprised. We had a good time talking about how the very monster that can make us into something evil can be harnessed for good.

    Reply
  3. Max Foster

    Embrace your monster. Now, at first I thought that Gen. Satterfield was trying to be philosophical or something like those who dispense wisdom. But, I now see the real practical application of his idea (similar to Dr. Jordan Peterson) to everyday life. That is how you can walk the streets of the most dangerous places on Earth and feel confident no one will mess with you. You have confidence that you have the skills to handle all comers and all situations. That is what the Bible tells us, but only if you read it closely, focus, and pay attention.

    Reply
    1. Adolf Menschner

      Hi Max, almost lost me there but I see now where you’re headed. Gen. S. is really writing about every day leadership.

      Reply
      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Yeah, and lets try to follow the logic here. Max and Gen. Satterfield are on top of what makes us good people. Pay attention, practice the good things learned here and you will be more satisfied with your life.

        Reply
        1. Fred Weber

          Right, happiness is not the goal but merely an offshoot of being satisfied with your life.

          Reply
  4. JT Patterson

    “The line between good and evil runs through the human heart.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    This quote from Solzhenitsyn is an example of his great thoughts. Fortunately he was able to survive the Communist Gulag and write about a true evil to mankind and that is communism. But communism continues to persist, despite its deadly past. Why people remain attracted to it is a real mystery.

    Reply
    1. Greg Heyman

      Communism gives you a free pass without working for it. You get moral superiority, stuff goes to you (taken from the “non believers”), and you have lots and lots of like-minded lemmings around you.

      Reply
  5. Willie Strumburger

    Gen. Satterfield, it may seem counterintuitive but once we get down into the mush of the idea, it starts to make a lot of sense.

    Reply
  6. Karl J.

    General Satterfield, another “wow” article. Making me think hurts my head (just kidding) but it pushes me to think more about what motivates me and others. Now, to steer people who work for me in the right direction.

    Reply
    1. Emma Archambeau

      Ever see a war movie where “criminals” are given a chance to redeem themselves by going in to attack the enemy in an impossible scenario? Yeah, this is what we mean when we say to ’embrace the monster in you.’ They have the skills and drive to attack and destroy the enemy with sufficient guidance and leadership. Hmmmmmmmm, just putting two and two together.

      Reply
  7. Tom Bushmaster

    Last sentence, “Wisdom is facing what you least want to face. It means to embrace the monster within you.” Yes, I had to think about this for a long time. Learn to use those emotions and motivations that could go astray (like it has in so many folks) for doing good things for others. It becomes the meaning of life.

    Reply
  8. osmodsann

    Hmmmmm, never thought of it this way … that the part that makes me “potentially” a bad person, can be used to make me a better good person. Deep! 👍

    Reply
      1. Laughing Monkey

        Bingo! Got it right. This is something we should let every one know about. And why we don’t reject the strong parts of our personality. Strength equals evil in the minds of post modernists and neo-Marxists. that’s why we must reject them.

        Reply
      2. Harold M. Smith II

        Excellent points osmodsann and PS. 👀👀👀👀👀

        Reply

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