Superstitions have always been an effective means to regulate
and discipline. A survey into the virtual enemies of the past and today.
My people know the two histories of spirituality. Although they
are considered Christians, they have kept alive a few old
superstitions. Whether they are Atheists or Catholics or whatever, that
hasn’t kept them from adopting certain pagan beliefs at the same time.
One of these stems from the fear fuelled by the theory of determinism,
which states that we all have to die some day, that evil forces can
attack us from the sky and someone who is “other” to us, is an Enemy.
Pagan virtual enemies or: how to control pregnant women
Some of these pagan virtual enemies were believed to attack young
mothers during pregnancy and cause defects and flaws in their children.
If I pregnant woman was to
– touch her body while looking at fire – her child may get a mark on its skin;
– if she were to look at something ugly – her child may end up with bad eyes;
– if she made fun of the crippled or blind – her child would be crippled or blind;
– if she touched a cat – her child would grow fury;
– if she were to look too long at a certain type of animal – her child could turn out weird;
– and if she were to see a dead person during pregnancy – her child could be born pale, weak or ill
Pregnant women are also supposed to avoid eating the following foods:
– rabbit – in order not to pass on their bold eyes to her child;
– wild rabbit or fish – in order not to pass on large ears;
– snails – lest her child would be sleazy;
From fear of being cursed, pregnant women used to wear bracelets
made of garlic (this belief, obviously, is far older than Bram Stoker,
the inventor of Dracula).
Modern virtual enemies
The same way of thinking can be found within modern
dictatorships, for example when Cold War propaganda spread “certain
attitudes” and implicit messages ‘on the air’. We also see many
examples in the USA. In the beginning the native Indians were
considered to be aliens, and feared only because they were different.
Next it was the deprived African Americans (they were described as
‘bugaboos’ and ‘boogie men’ to frighten young children), then the
minorities, the Japanese and other Asians who immigrated during the
Second World War, and now “true” aliens (i.e. evil strangers) in the TV
series, such as ‘Star Trek’, and ‘The X Files’. I think that the slogan
‘The Fear is Out There’ may just as easily be interpreted as ‘The Fear
Is Between Us’.
The era of the Virtual Enemy No. 1
This kind of thinking is always addressing somebody else. It is a
metaphor but of our time and place, projected onto the future, advising
us no to worry too much about the present, it’s the future we should be
frightened of. Obviously, fear is an efficient weapon, when it can
create such a powerful virtual enemy. And today the whole world is
victimized. Because we are made to believe, under the old conspiracy
theory stimuli, in an equation of victim and aggressor… It’s dear
You’re invited to be frightened! Frightened of the man whose
picture you only saw on TV; who can’t be caught, because he’s needed
alive and kicking. If you have any news of his whereabouts or what his
intentions are, let us know. We’ll come and get him. Welcome to the era
of Virtual Enemy No. 1.