There’s this billboard on Kenyan streets where some Kenyan celebrities are qouted saying, “The side you do not know”. Are they saying that they have two sides? Is there a possibility that we all have two personalities?
It seems that the answer is yes. We all display a two-sided personality, one of which is good and the other side evil.
Emily Thorne says, “Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One that we reveal to the world and another we keep hidden inside. A duality governed by the balance of light and darkness. Within each of us is the capacity for both good and evil. But those of us who are able to blur the moral dividing line hold the true power”.
I believe that is what Robert Louis Stevenson had in mind when he conceived the novel, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. The novel is the account of a good and respected doctor (Dr. Henry Jekyll) who becomes evil and terrifying (Mr. Edward Hyde) when he drinks a portion. Stevenson was fascinated by the duality of man. That every man has a darker side. And sometimes our evil self may become stronger and threaten to extinguish our good self altogether.
And, come to think of it, we all have social roles where we change our presentation when relating with others. Professionally, we are simultaneously somebody’s boss, someone else’s employee, and a mentor to a third person. In our personal life, we are a parent, son or daughter, husband or wife, sibling, and friend, all at the same time. The responsibilities that each of this roles entail make us to condition the way we present ourselves accordingly.
We all have our other side but it seems that some of us are skilled at hiding it as we comply with the rigid conventions of our class, society, families and friends. A person might be shy at work but is outgoing by night when he is enjoying with friends. We may confess to be very religious and portray the ‘holy look’ throughout the day. And yet we are the same ones who will gladly and willingly ask for our palms to be greased when no one is looking so that we can influence an outcome.
And here I am not talking about illnesses like multiple personality disorder where people display two or more distinct identities which take control of their behavior for a period of time, such as schizophrenia.
I am referring to normal beings who are respected citizens by day and housebreakers by night.
Persons who are doctors, community leaders, preachers, lecturers, teachers and respectable husband/wife by day and corrupt, skirt-chasers, murderers, sorcerers, drug sellers and harlots by night.
Persons who remain anonymous or use coded names and will not want to reveal their actual names on social media because they know that, at times, they engage on the interwebs in ways that they would not want their families and peers to know.
Persons who will sometimes pretend they are trying to help you but in reality they secretly hope that you never achieve your goal. How many times have you been happy because someone did not get that job which you know very well he/she was qualified and deserved to get?
Old men and women intermingling in entertainment joints at night with, and behaving exactly like, youngsters the age of their children and grand children; away from their class, society, colleagues, and ilk.
Look at the atrocities meted out in post election violence; the terrible things that we do to each other; the hatred for our neighbors and even long-time friends just because they are from a different ethnic, race or religious background. And yet at the same time go to church or to mosques for prayers, professing to be holy.
In his book, “Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life”, Psychologist Douglas T. Kenrick says that “the positive side of human personality delves on the happy, courageous, productive and self-actualized. The opposite side, the dark side of human personality, comprises psychopaths, narcissists, Machiavellians, and everyday sadists. These four have no empathy for other people, they are extroverted and sociable and often make good first impressions before going to make life miserable for those who are exploited by them. They often do harm to others as they go about seeking thrills with little concern for who gets hurt along the way. They are often inclined to violence when others get in their way and they enjoy cruelty”.
In conclusion, we all experience this two faced phenomenon. I guess that is why we agree that none of us is perfect, that we all make mistakes. We all make mistakes but if you feel guilty about it, that shows your good side is more powerful than your evil side. By the way, what do people mean when they tell you to be yourself?
We all experience spur of the moment hatred and anger which sometimes translates into cruel acts which leave us wondering how we could have done such terrible deeds. We just flip, and then flip back again.
As for me, I will strive to learn my evil/dark side so that I can take active steps to reduce it.