Oscar Wilde from another perspective
Ah, Oscar Wilde. Who can doubt his eloquence and his brilliant wit? Yet if one takes the trouble to look beneath the superficial, what a different spectacle one is treated to. If one reads descriptions of him by his contemporaries in combination with his own ‘De Profundis’, this is a man whose philosophy turned around and bit a large chunk out his backside. Yet he kept fast to that philosophy to the end, provided he was not the recipient of its consequences himself, and despite this he still has a group of followers which have become almost a cult.
Based on his actions, on historical facts and on his own ‘De Profundis’ there can be no doubt that Lord Henry Wotton in ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a reflection of Wilde himself and that Wotton’s expressed theories reflect those of the author. And if one compiles all the available evidence, what one ends up with is the fact that behind the brilliance and the wit lay a simply despicable, base creature and I use the word ‘base’ deliberately.
Like others, I was originally blinded by the man’s almost boundless literary talents and I was in owe of his dazzling witty sayings. Until I read a transcript of his trial and saw how he ended up contradicting one brilliant saying with another equally brilliantly witty one, meaning exactly the opposite of what he had previously supported.
So I looked further into this and I ended up with a picture of a greedy, shallow, selfish, gross, flabby man, willing to corrupt everything around himself for the purpose of satisfying his own depravity. And for those who are ready to jump on the bandwagon of human rights and the right to sexual preference, let me hasten to add that I do not refer to his homosexuality.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
According to Wilde, loyalty and fidelity are shallow and contemptible attributes. He considers them to be ‘a lethargy of custom or a lack of imagination’, a ‘confession of failure’ . To him it is inconceivable that one can find a kindred soul who absolutely reciprocates one’s feelings and emotions, thereby creating a spiritual as well as a physical connection which excludes everyone else as a candidate for sex.
When eventually his theories were put to the test and he found himself on the receiving end of those very same theories from his own Dorian Gray, one Alfred Douglas, he whined like a dog that had been kicked by its master. This is not only evidenced by his own ‘De Profundis’, but by statements written by contemporaries and supporters of his with whom he had associated closely.
In my opinion, Oscar Wilde was the representative of those who use an expensive education to disguise their inability to benefit from it. One of those people who used education and wit in order to elevate the base natures they have been born with. They absolutely enjoy wallowing in unqualified animal instincts but they use their educations to disguise the fact by being witty. They demean charity in others, for example, so their own complete lack of it will not show them up for what they really are. They hide their selfishness under the ruse of supposed loyalty to themselves. What they actually mean is that they should have absolute license to do as they please, irrespective of consequences to others, including their children.
They are the ones who subscribe to the theory that the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. And they might be right, provided their actions did not hurt others around them. But they conveniently forget that proviso and they go through life slaughtering everything and everyone in their path, taking no prisoners. They bring the human back to the animal level before evolution gradually raised him to that ‘something more’.
Regrettably they very often succeed in fooling most of the people most of the time and are even thought of as great philosophers. Those of the people who are not fooled part of the time can only look on with the contemptuous irony that the antics deserve.
Another quote from the great man: ‘How shallow were the arbitrary definitions of ordinary psychologists!’
According to Wilde, ‘Ordinary’ psychologists have ‘arbitrary’ definitions, but he, being an extra-ordinary psychologist, had the entire well thought out definitions ready to be served on the ignorant in order to educate them. – The difference being that this extra-ordinary psychologist could not conceive that it is possible for others to have completely different standards from his own perverted ones. A vain, selfish shallow, half man.
How is it possible for so much skill with words be wasted on such base intent? He was a talented genius wallowing in filth with base animal cunning as the paradoxical ally of his considerable and indisputable intellect. He was made of the stuff that the serial killers of this world are made of. He had no human empathy, unless it was for himself.
He described himself perfectly when he said that he lived in ‘An age grossly carnal in its pleasures and grossly common in its aims’ – What an apt self description! – A brilliant, flabby, dirty little man. A monster.