What do a phoenix, a dragon and the sun have in common. Simple. Each in their own way represent not only absolute power, but rebirth, transformation, victory of life over death, and ability to magically transcend and bind of ashes and dust.
In true crime one of the major gripes I feel with most people involved in the genre is there one-dimensional thinking, in fact their one dimensional approach to virtually every fucking thing. True crime feels like it’s at least a duality of some sort, good versus evil, light versus dark. It’s more than that, it has many interconnected layers, shades of grey, hidden meanings and dead ends. And yet to the average person it’s always dead simple. X is totally and absolutely innocent, and Y is a monster. Of course the average person casting these aspersions sees him or herself invariably as X [and thus perfectly innocent too] and everything that is unfair, wrong or to blame about their world as Y. And they spend a lot of their time making sure what they see and believe conforms to this prescribed, self-reinforcing transference. That’s not true crime, it’s a kind of self-perpetuating voyeurism. It’s what the tabloids run on.
At TCRS we like to be a lot more sophisticated in our approach, and we like to think not a little, but a lot about how crimes and criminals fit into the larger human condition. Some people roll their eyes when, for example, we dig into the extended history of one or other character. What the fuck has history or geography got to do with why Chris Watts strangled his pregnant wife? Excellent question. The answer is both nothing and everything – simultaneously. Try to figure that one out.
One essential aspect to true crime that is highly misunderstood, underestimated and minimized [especially by the criminals themselves] is the emotional dynamic. It’s so ironic to me how people invariably notice how emotionless a murderer appears, and they hold this up as a sort of summit flag to plant on the top of the Mount Everest of the case file.
SEE, they scream, I TOLD YOU HE HAS NO FEELINGS. HE IS A PSYCHOPATHIC EVIL NARCISSISTIC MONSTER. THAT’S WHY HE COMMITTED THIS CRIME.
No, it’s the opposite. The crime was committed not because of an absence of feelings, but because of a surfeit of emotion. The nonchalance mask is the last resort of the criminal to hide exactly those slippery little sensations that drove the motive to commit the crime in the first place. From the outside looking in we see the lack of emotion and damn the criminal for it, but from the inside, the criminal is doing his best not to show emotion, not to show the reason why he was driven out of his body and mind to do what he did.
Chris Watts’ affair with Nichol Kessinger isn’t evidence that Watts is a heartless man with no feelings, it’s the opposite. The affair drew him outside of himself, pulled him outside his shell and reminded him that he HAD feelings, and had a whole dimension to his heart and his head and his life that he wasn’t given voice to. These emotions played a cardinal role in activating ultimately a murderous response from Watts, but that’s only one side of the emotional coin.
The other side of the emotional coin was the suppression of healthy feelings and emotions. Those feelings that made him like his wife, and love his children had to be dealt with too.
Of course those feelings never existed and never came into play, because Watts isn’t a human being, he’s an alien psychopath remember. And when you deny Watts feelings, you throw away the good with the bad, and all chances of figuring out why what happened happened. That’s why he committed this crime. Not because he’s human, like the rest of us, but because he’s NOT human and not like the rest of us.
Yup, keep on telling yourself that. It ought to make you feel better as the X part of the equation. The reason Watts did what he did is because we don’t understand him. Yeah right.
“I TOLD YOU HE HAS NO FEELINGS. HE IS A PSYCHOPATHIC EVIL NARCISSISTIC MONSTER. THAT’S WHY HE COMMITTED THIS CRIME….”
If Watts had no feelings, then it wouldn’t have been necessary to begin to break away and disassociate himself from Shan’ann and the kids over a premeditated period of time.
In the TWO FACE series I refer to this distancing process as Psychological Preparation. Just as athletes mentally prepare and physically train for an important race, so do murderers. They gather intel, they run through the maneuvers, but most important, they prepare their hearts for the most extreme event of their [and their victim’s] lives.
If you haven’t seen Captain Marvel, be warned of spoilers below.
The key to Captain Marvel’s power is letting go and losing control of her human side, specifically her emotions. Once she does that, she releases her true power and she literally glows in the dark with Godlike Phoenix-like plasma energy. Dragons function the same way, at least in symbolic literature.
Emotions, like dragons, guard a great treasure. But counter-intuitively, emotions can hold treasures prisoner. They can trap us in ourselves, in our grudges, resentments, our anger, our jealousy. Anger can rob us of our true potential. Your own anger – not the world, not your boss, not your parents or your spouse – can keep you poor. In this spiel your biggest enemy, your biggest obstacle is you, or more specifically, your persistent failure to master your self.
Often a dragon set loose can devastate and destroy lives not as some externality or beast, but as a part of ourselves that if we don’t, won’t or can’t control. A dragon released will burn through our lives, our homes and burn families to the ground. And the fire that fuels that dragon comes from within. It’s us.
When I traveled to the East I understood the dragon through a Western, Christian mindset. I also thought the Asian and Chinese notion was evil. But when I lived in Asia I understood the dragon as neither good nor evil, but simply as a source of immense power [which could be used for good or evil].
The idea of the sun rising over a frozen, dead Earth, or of a phoenix filling with golden light and coming alive, or of a person reclaiming their memories, their power, themselves – all of these are affirming, in theory.
But there is another side to all this affirmation, a balancing aspect. The MLM Thrive spiel also operates on emotions. If you want something you can have it. It couldn’t be easier. If you want to be healthy, wealthy, be with your family, go on free holidays, have a fancy car, just put up your hand and get yourself a magic patch and all will be well!
If you want to be happy, just SAY SO! Make the choice, and you can change your life with the snap of a finger.
In the Lord of the Rings the ring of power is precisely the same. You want power? Just take the ring!
Of course as soon as you do, you are consumed and destroyed by it, and your world laid waste.
It’s precisely this kind of thinking Chris Watts used to murder his wife. Do you want a better life? Do you want a better wife? Do you want to be healthy and choose to do exactly what you want? Do you want to be free? Do you want control over your money? You do! Well then just make a decision to be happy! Just make the choice! JUST DECIDE TODAY WHAT YOU WANT! It couldn’t be easier.
And so he did.
Chris Watts didn’t kill his family because he felt nothing. He killed because he felt more than he ever had before.
The 6-part TWO FACE series is available at this link.