I wonder when my life really started. Do you?
I love the Vampire Lestat. Honestly, of all the fictional characters that I have ever read, I most want to be him.
Perhaps many of you don't know who that is.
Well, in the film, "Interview with the vampire" it was Tom Cruise. If you know that then you know that Louis was Brad Pitt.
I fell in love with a character that was published in the year I was born not because of a star in a film. I fell in love with Lestat, because I read "his" words.
Lestat, the brat prince, the misunderstood. The devil in Prada. I understood him, I felt a kindred soul with Lestat de Lioncourt, the wolf killer.
Snatched out of a rural existence, thrust into the life of a big city. The same thing happened to Lestat, though in a very different way.
Louis, asks his interviewer, in the book, how he should begin his story. If he should start like David Copperfield, or if he should start when he was, "Born to darkness as we call it". What a great line! Especially when we take it out of the world of fiction and put it into our own lives. Stopping to think about when, "our lives really began". When exactly did you, become you? Can you put your finger on that moment in time? Probably not, is my guess. Most of us were not snatched by a vampire in the middle of the night and turned into a vampire ourselves. We have had to stumble through our lives. We have had to make our own decisions that lead to the next point in our lives. Little by little we inform, through our actions, who we are. Our personal philosophy of life has been created at a gradual pace, often without us realizing that is what we are doing.
Lestat, does not have an interviewer to write his story. He sits down to tell his story on his own. He is bold and fearless always willing to take the chance, consequence be damned. He is beautiful and lucky, normally things turn out well for him in the end. Mistakes get made and not everything is perfect, but he at least understands the mistakes and accepts them. His moral code is his own and it is childishly simple. He then moves on to the next adventure with a smile. He lives in the moment, for the moment. That we understand to be his philosophy of life based on the actions.
These fictional characters, created in the mind of Anne Rice, have helped guide parts of my philosophy. All good novelist are philosophers. If you define philosophy as, "the love of thinking or thinking about thinking", then a novelist creating thinking acting characters and the worlds in which they inhabit must then logically be, philosophers themselves. These two characters that Anne Rice created are very different. Almost the polar opposites of each other. Louis is constantly concerned with the moral questions and consumed by the consequence of his every action. Louis must try to decide if it is ok for him to live given what he must do to sustain life, while Lestat is able to accept necessity moving on to try to be happy. Lestat is all action and passion, consumed by beauty, constantly in search of the next great beautiful adventure on the devils highway.
Looking at this relationship, through the eyes, of the Danish theologian, existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, (following posts will show why I started with him), we would think that Anne Rice gave us two aspects of a person. One in his early childhood, (Lestat), thinking only of his own desires. The other in adolescences, (Louis), trying to make sense of the world and who he is based on others views. Kierkegaard, continues the life cycle giving us other aspects of this same person. The adult comes after the adolescent and sets aside the previous two in order to produce something of value to others through their work. Finally, the adult, reverting to something of the child form seeks understanding through their own conscience once again before the end. Anne Rice was able to focus mainly on these first two aspects since the characters she created are immortal. The fact that they are immortal causes other issues to arise, and a few of them decide immortality is its own burden. You can read the books for yourself to discover the issues, along with those other characters if you want.
I am going to go back to focus on the duality. Duality is a very common human theme. We like to put things into a black/white, right/wrong context. There are sinners and saints, heaven and hell, good and bad. Philosophy challenges this way of viewing the world, it requires each of us to come up with the answer to the question, "What is good". Just as those fictional vampires require you to suspend your judgement of what they are and accept they have many of the same issues that you do, in order to enjoy the books. We are required to suspend judgement about what is good, in order to think about what makes it good to us. Why is one action preferred to another? Is it helping the common good of humanity, or only ourselves? Can only helping ourselves be the right choice? We all have to find out what we think, "good" means. We show the world what we think good means through the choices we make. More often than not, we are faced with decisions that are not so easy to place on one side or the other. We have to find a way for Louis and Lestat to be friends. Searching the middle ground to make the best possible decision among an almost infinite number of choices that lay between the opposite poles.
I love the Vampire Lestat, I would love to be able to live like him, completely free in his fearless way. I empathize with Louis and his search for his own morality. Not being an immortal fictional character, I still often look at decisions through the eyes of these two, then try to make the best choice I can in the middle ground between them.