Previously, I discussed the concept of misbehavior. These characters aren’t villains, or evil as such and don’t actively thwart the protagonist. However, they do exhibit negative behaviors although the characters may not consciously realize it. Even good characters exhibit negative behaviors and weaknesses. It makes them human.
In taoist philosophy, the monkey mind refers to our ego state that causes us to act inappropriately. It makes us hold on to outdated beliefs that no longer serves us, and upsets the stillness in the body. It makes our minds flit from thought to thought. It makes us act impulsively and sometimes unwisely.
Why do we need it? It tests us. It makes us pause and consider the moment. It makes us takes risks and feel alive. It is the thorn in our sides. It leads us away from our true paths. It’s a counterbalance to our logic. But without the monkey, how else would we experience the world around us; opportunities, challenges and wonderment.
If we ignore it, the monkey mind lies dormant. If we ignore it too long, we fail to grow. If something within us or around us triggers its awakening, it plays havoc. It causes trouble and mischief. It needs things to do. It has a child-like desire to explore.
The monkey mind thinks only in linear terms; cause and effect. The monkey mind satisfies our ego and gets us into situations we shouldn’t necessarily get involved in. It’s always busy. It’s always reactive. It’s a part of us.
Do you have a monkey or a gorilla? Is it restless, fanciful, whimsical? See how the monkey can enhance your characters.