Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Many Philosophies of Vampires

Happy Holidays everyone!  It’s been so long since I posted.  I’ve been very busy but I do long to write. This blog is about something I have been pondering a lot since I started writing my story about nymphomites.  The subject is Vampires.  What is it about them?  The question isn’t why are vampires so popular lately?  The question is why have vampires been so popular since their inception?  Every generation seems to spawn a new vampire trend and there’s just no escaping it. I’ve been pondering the literary and societal significance of vampires in my own twisted and philosophical mind.  It’s one of those subjects that can make my mind go off into infinity or be reduced to absurdity.  Vampires are scary, beautiful, ugly, funny and archetypical.  Below is a list of reasons why they are so universally popular.

Vampires are immortal and immortality is cool:  There are some people who wish to be immortal.  While this is against nature, many of us still crave the idea of being young forever, never growing old, becoming frail or getting wrinkles.  To think, we will never be sick, never be helpless and never lose strength.  There is self preserving aspect in us that simply doesn’t want to die. If we could be young forever, that would be so cool. We would be powerful and strong too, just like the super heroes of popular comic books.

Immortality is mythical and godlike: Some authors have taken the immortality of vampires to a mythological level.  Their vampires are like Gods that have been around for eons. These stories are epic, like the classic myths of ancient civilizations that are still told today.  These vampires are powerful and want to keep their power much like the Greek Gods. Some authors attest that vampires are the Greek, Roman, Norse or Egyptian Gods.  Some establish them as other characters from mythology such as fallen angels or Judas Iscariot. They rule societies and cast off enemies and create legendary battles and stories.

Immortality is historical:  The vampires who have lived for hundreds or thousands of years have a thing or two to say about history.

Immortality makes us think of our own mortality: On a smaller scale, vampires make us ponder our own mortality.  Seeing someone who is immortal makes us realize that we are mortal.  This can be life affirming.  We wonder what we would do if we lived forever which makes us think of what we should do because we don’t.  We look at our accomplishments and relationships deeply and we are moved in a subconscious way.

Immortality means your species can’t evolve: Not being able to evolve can be sad.  It means that after hundreds of years, you get bored.  There is nothing left.  So vampires become quite dark and depressing.  It also means that they are pure.  Vampires are a species that hasn’t changed and this appeals to those of us who like to learn about ancient civilizations and species that no longer exist.

Vampires are good looking and sexy:  Because they are forever young and powerful, vampires have sex appeal.  Sex sells.

Vampires are hideous and scary: The scary vampires appeal to our own love for anything horrifying.  We tell stories around the campfire and dare ourselves to not be afraid.

The lust for blood is a symbol for greed, sex, or hunger:  I experimented with this idea a lot in my book. What if I compared the hunger for food with the hunger for sex? I sometimes think that hunger is the worst feeling one could ever have and when we are starving, we do desperate things.  It is often confused with the hunger for sex which isn’t quite the same thing.  Still, we desire things and we are often ruled by these desires.  Literature gives us a great escape by indulging us in these desires.  Greed is another example of desire which is compared to hunger.  We are reminded of our own barbaric nature which can be a breath of fresh air when we are constantly told how to be civil by authority figures.

Vampires change from humans to something else: Vampires are immortal and don’t evolve but when they turn from humans into vampires it is a different story. This is evolution in of itself.  We are reminded of our own loss of innocence.  We are subconsciously reminded of a time when we realized that life may not be the way our parents taught us it should be.  It represents a time in our lives when we did something we weren’t supposed to do and will never be the same. It reminds us of our own inner guilt, our struggles to let go of someone who we no longer are, and our own longing for a simpler time. It also reminds us of how easily we can be led to evil.  We don’t want to be transformed and fight the temptation.  Some people beg to be transformed and want to change completely.

Vampires are at the top of the food chain: Humans are horrifying enough.  We are at the top of the food chain and have the ability to kill any animal.  So, when we ponder the idea of another species that is more powerful than we are and that feed on us, it is compelling. We are humbled as we put ourselves in the shoes of our own victims.  We kill animals and plants. We wreak havoc on Mother Nature.  So do vampires and they do so at our expense.  Finally, we know what it is like to be the victim. It gives us perspective and something to truly fear.

Vampires are dead:  They bring us closer to our own obsession with death. We like to think that nothing will really die. If our loved ones never died, would we let them be vampires so we don’t have to let them go? We are fascinated with death and want to be close to it.  We want to understand death and know that it is not the end of everything.

Vampires are like a disease: When they bite you, you become one. This appeals to our fear of disease, of germs, of catching something that might kill us or change our lives forever.

I can go on and on about why vampires are entertaining.  They bring up universal ideas that lie in the psyche of every individual. They can be hideous or beautiful, immortal or dead, godlike and archetypal, evil or good, funny or menacing, dark or silly, barbaric or sublime. There have been so many takes on vampires and I can’t say I like every interpretation but I do like the fact that people still tell vampire stories.  Why do you think vampires are so popular?