It was an Id, of course. She found herself turning to the ancient Freudian term. Strange to think that Freud's basic vocabulary had survived so many centuries. Particularly since so little was known about Freud. About all that remained of the person was the name. Wouldn't it be odd, she thought, if Freud had been a man? Rather than a woman, the way everyone thinks?
But, in any case, the creature in the tank didn't have its higher mental processes activated. It was only the lowest functions in operation. In other words, it was an Id.
Now, what was an Id interested in? Well, that wasn't clear. Food, comfort, maybe sex…and…and death.
That's what Freud had said, wasn't it? It was the Id that gives us our Death Wish, our strange compulsion to destroy ourselves.
And why? Because in the days when people were still born from women, the womb had been the perfect refuge. Before birth, the fetus knew no pain or suffering or want. After birth, however, the real world intruded. There was hunger and hurt and frustration.
So, the Id, which is to say, the mind of the unborn child, struggled to return to the womb. And what was most like the womb? The tomb.
She found herself thinking again of how hard life had been, back then, in the past. And, suddenly, she understood why it had seemed important. Maybe…just maybe…the "Death Wish" was healthy! Or at least it had been in ancient times.
Today, when there was relatively little suffering, and lifetimes might extend indefinitely, there was nothing useful in having a wish to destroy yourself. But, in the past, everyone born was certain to know considerable pain during their lives. And, eventually, everyone would die.
Maybe the Death Wish was the brain's way of dealing with that. Since you're going to die anyway, you could at least pretend that death is a "consummation greatly to be wished." The mind told you that after dying you'd go someplace more beautiful, and even if that were a lie, you felt better about the inevitable.
So maybe its hardwired into the brain, she thought. Maybe it keeps us from going mad with fear.
It hit her.
Suppose you didn't have that lovely lie to comfort you? Suppose that, for some reason, you were born without it? Or had it beaten out of you? Suppose you looked into the future and saw nothing but terror and darkness and the end?
He was a freak! she realized. The Creature had been born deformed. He had been born without an absolutely necessary part of the psyche. And, as a consequence, his Id had been truly horrible.
To survive it, to control it, you'd have to have a will of steel!
That was the answer. She knew so with absolute clarity. That was the reason for everything. That was why he hadn't died there in the ice, as the ship lifted into the sunless sky. That was why he had been able to walk back those thousand kilometers. That was why he had become terrible.
Become the Father of Demons…
Even in the warmth of the Center, she shuddered. She knew what it meant. The only possible path for them was the most dangerous of all. Just as it had been for him.
All those centuries ago.