By Sarah Dorrance
I decided tonight to try to sum up my thoughts on the whys and wherefores of vampirism… such as they are. I still think it’s pointless to try to explain why vampires are what they are. There are too many reasons, most of them failing to express all but a part of what might inspire the need or desire to feed. None of them are right or wrong; and sorting them all out is a headache.
On the other hand, it’s an interesting challenge to come up with a coherent philosophy.
Here is what I’ve whipped up. It’s more social than it is metaphysical, because I am still of the opinion that a metaphysics of vampirism is onanistic by its very nature. For those of you who aren’t up on the word “onanism,” it means that anyone who has the time and inclination to fit “vampirism” into the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is having fun jerking off their brain cells. Not that that’s necessarily bad, but I don’t find it very productive.
Anyway. First and foremost, what is a vampire? Answer: A vampire is a being that feeds on the being of other things. The food might be raw energy, it might be blood, it might be a combination of both or some other essence of being altogether (ever had an overly cloying person develop a crush on you and try to be you? They’re feeding from your essense, in a way, by stealing your personality). The important thing here is that the vampire feeds.
Secondly, there is no such thing as a “fake” vampire. Any person who feels a need to identify with the vampire metaphor has a personal reason for doing so. You can question it, but you won’t stop that person from continuing to believe him or herself a vampire. Their need to believe outranks an outsider’s need to disbelieve. Vampirism is a personal matter.
Corollary to the second point is an old cliche that I think fits our community well, to wit: If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then treat it like a duck because for all intents and purposes it might as well be a duck. Susie Q drinks blood. She calls herself a vampire. She’s right; she’s acting like one. Winston Salem III says he needs life energy to survive and oh, yes, his soul isn’t really human but it’s from a planet of cat people and he likes to do kinky things with his astral tail when no one is looking. We might have a hard time taking his statement at face value, but it’s important to him that he have this belief, he wants to hang out with us, and that should be good enough for us, even though we may whisper about him behind his back.
Third: Vampirism is normal and common. Most people vampirize others at some point in their lives, although only a minority of them will actually come out and call themselves vampires. The ones who don’t identify with the metaphor could probably learn a lot from those of us who do, but oh well, life isn’t perfect.
Fourth: All forms of vampirism are equally right and wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in energy or not, or approve of sanguinary feeding or not. The only people that matter during the transaction are the vampire and the donor. If the transaction means something to them, then an act of vampirism happened. In some cases (i.e. soaking energy from a crowd, or draining energy from an inanimate object) the transaction is mostly one-sided and therefore need only mean something to the self-identified vampire.
Fifth: There is no universal “why”. Why do we hunger? We hunger because we hunger. If you take a poll to collect theories, you’ll find a slightly different answer for each vampire. The hunger is what defines the vampire, not the reason for manifesting hunger. A starving vampire would rather feed than talk philosophy, unless the hunger is an intellectual one and the vampire in question feeds on words and ideas (which might very well be possible, although I have yet to encounter anyone who feeds in such a manner and says “oh, by the way, I’m a vampire.”)
There is a Chinese word that unasks questions, sending them back to the querent and silencing chatter altogether. The word is “mu.” Its glyph is a zero, a perfect circle, a pictogram of emptiness. It is the open mouth of hunger, the wound that bleeds, the orifice waiting for sex to fill it, the empty stomach, the blank mind of meditation, the soul in nirvana, the ouroboros of infinity, the gate of creation. It is nothing and it is everything; its essence is whatever you choose to make of it. It has much to do with vampirism, if you choose to apply the symbol in such a way (and not all vampires will find this emptiness appealing the way I do).
What do I have to say about vampirism? Nothing, really. Mu. There is no point in finding justification or reason; there is far more point in dealing with the hunger the best way one can, and that is something determined by the individual vampire. It is personal, as personal as making love or communing with God, and while it may involve elements of both or may not, it’s not for the rest of us to pass judgement on the feeder.