By Chris Wilson
Beauty and the beast is a sequel to the Paradox of Man, yet any reader perusing its pages might well question what, if any connection there was at all. There is a connection though, and it is a very strong connection, and it runs the whole way through both books from the beginning to the end, but through the style of writing it is expressed in very different ways.
The paradox is a balanced serious work reflecting the at times perilous state we, as a species, often place ourselves in. While it is true that the introduction and first chapter of the book has certain note of levity, the remainder of the work is a serious study of who we are, and of the potential avenues for advancement, or degradation that lie before us all.
Beauty and the Beast however is the flip side of such a sober discussion. Politically incorrect, at times bawdy and sacrilegious it follows the course of a life long struggle or battle that all to many of us know only too well. Sometimes it is waged with good humour, at other times with deadly seriousness, but whatever else it is or isn’t, it is an ancient battle which by anyone’s reckoning will carry on for many centuries, if not millennia to come.
The battle I refer to is the eternal battle of the sexes. Man versus woman, beauty sitting down to break bread with the beast, Mars versus Venus, call it what you will. The struggle is so well known to most of us that it scarcely needs a name. Within such a conflict both sexes lay claim to beauty, and both apportion bestiality with avid joy, but for any observer it is like watching a top class theatrical farce, and a farce which seemingly will never come to an end. Is it always a happy production, no not always, and does it always have a happy ending, again we have to say now, but it is wonderful mix of the absurd, the ridiculous; the funny and the sadly farcical, and the chances are that it has been going on from the very early days of man.
So let’s dim the lights, raise the deep red stage curtains, and put away the popcorn that oh so invitingly sits by our side.
Ladies and gentlemen, pray silence for our long lost ancestor, a funny simple little soul who will, very quietly, never quite leave our side