On vampires

Seriously? Vampires? The rational empiricist in me says this topic is dead even before it gets started. Some people are totally obsessed with the figure of the vampire, but the vampire only has life because people fear death, the dark, and premature burial. The “life” of a vampire is completely antithetical to the sun-loving, light-loving normal human being who wears a cross and eats garlic bread until it bleeds from their pores. People generally fear that which is completely unlike them. Unless we can see our mirror image, we are afraid of all “others”. The vampire couldn’t be more “other” because they don’t drink…wine. Vampires “live” at night, sleep in their coffin during the day, drink blood, simulate sex by biting their partner (okay, forget that, some people also bite, or so I’ve heard), cannot bear to be out in the daylight, don’t eat food, don’t age, and don’t die. A psychologist might suggest that humans construct the vampire in order to embody all of their own irrational fears about life. The very solitary nature of the vampire’s so-called existence is also antithetical to the gregarious nature of most humans. The thing is, vampires don’t exist, but human fears do. The vampire moves through the dark of night, inhabiting the shadows and corners of the human mind where fear dwells and the unknown makes its nest. With all the pressure of the modern industrial world, and let’s face it, the vampire is a product of modern industrialism, unbridled commerce, and uninhibited capitalism, human beings cannot for a minute pretend to cover all of their responsibilities brought on by work, school, marriage, children, church, and social organizations that pull on their time and energy. The vampire appears on the urban scene when time poverty is everywhere, sleep comes at a premium, and the pressure to succeed at all costs comes from every corner–business, home, society. The vampire is a cold, blood-thirsty primitive animal that arises out of that primordial mass of irrational thought that resides at the bottom of the brain, driven and fed by all of the really negative energy of emotion, fear, and hate. What makes the vampire particularly interesting is that it feeds by sinking its fangs into the throats of its victims and sucking out their life’s blood and recreating itself by killing its victim, engendering a new line of vampires, of the undead. Undead is neither alive nor dead, but something interminable between the two where life neither progresses nor ends. The undead are rejected by both Heaven and Hell, not fitting the criteria for either one. Why humans fear all of this is, of course, highly irrational because no such beast has ever existed, exists now, or will exist at some time in the future, but the strange erotic attraction people feel toward the figure of the vampire is real and creepy. Some goes as far as having actual fang dental work done, so they can more easily simulate the most notable characteristic of the vampire. The necro-erotic, homo-erotic, and hemo-erotic psycho-sexual undertones that run through all vampire literature only add to the global attraction that mortals feel toward this dangerous supernatural creature. It is weirdly ironic that it is usually a man of science a la Van Helsing that occupies itself with eradicating the menace. Vampires are a real physical manifestation of our irrational fears—creating a literal body upon which these fears are inscribed: undead, darkness, fear, violence, self-loathing, hate, ire, violence, death, and blood. The vampire is then, by default, us.