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The Darkness is a term often used by vampires to describe the dark nature of vampires, from their cruelty to their insanity. Beliefs for this perceived "darkness" are far from unanimous, but whatever the cause, many agree on its existence. Although it is a generalisation to say all vampires are evil, there does seem to be a historic trend towards evil in their natures, though some would claim this is rationally explainable.
The beliefs of the Sangñero clan (which have been adopted by many even outside of the clan) are that vampires are darkness incarnate, in every sense of the word. Their Origin Myths regarding the origins of vampires claim that they were created by shadow monsters, and used as vessels to spread darkness to the world. "The Darkness", they said, is a gift from the shadow realm, which frees vampires from weakness, conscience, morality and humanity, making them superior to mortals.
The ancient assumed link between physical absence of light, and evil actions, seems to lack scientific or psychological evidence of any kind, but the Sangñero seemed to believe there was indeed a link between evil and physical darkness. They claimed that the feeling some of us feel when we are alone in the dark (the fear or the uneasiness, as though somebody is watching us) isn't in our imaginations at all. Their theory was that the darkness is alive, in a spiritual sense, and hungers for the living. Their belief was that deep down in every living being "the Darkness" dwells, hungering to be free from the constraints of conscience, desiring to be given free reign, and that all emotions of anger, jealousy, spite, perversions and selfishness are born from this Darkness. Only vampires, they said, are able to use the Darkness without constraint, because they are one with the Darkness.
For more information on the Sangñero beliefs regarding the entity believed to inhabit the Darkness and the realm of shadows, please read the legend of lightfalls.
Another belief in regards to the apparent 'evil' of the majority of vampires is that vampires are damned, stripped of their soul by some higher power (the specifics of which varies according to religion), and are incapable of feeling unselfish 'good' emotions. They believe that for some reason, vampires have been cursed, and are now either servants of some form of devil, or they are left on the earth as immortal bitter twisted beings unable to feel joy or love in any true sense of the word.
This largely Christian belief has come under fire in the modern era, partly due to the fact that belief in a deity is increasingly unpopular, but also due to the notable number of exceptions in the 'evil' vampires rule.
This belief, though, seems to have stemmed from the fact that vampires are, by their nature, beings who feed on the life of others to sustain their own. This, in the eyes of many, makes them essentially selfish creatures.
Modern Psychology Explanations
For every vampire that believes they are damned, or are darkness incarnate, or that they are simply twisted evil sadists, there exists a vampire who applies modern philosophy and reasoning to the Darkness phenomenon.
John Dalberg Acton once said: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." In the case of vampires, this does often seem true, and appears to be the most plausible, logical reason for the perceived 'Darkness' of vampires. Vampires, more than almost any other known creature (supernatural or otherwise) are capable of growing in such massive power that their perceptions of mortals are bound to change.
Firstly, a creature with such power is bound to grow proud, believing themselves to be special. Often, when a person is allowed a life of constant victories and the subservience of others, their pride will grow to the point where anything harming it will be met with a violent reaction.
Secondly, too much power can give individuals what is commonly refereed to as a God complex. In the same way that humans believe they have the right to dominate and kill humans because they believe themselves to be more intelligent and powerful, so too does the vampire psyche develop. Humans can become lesser creatures in the eyes of a sufficiently powerful vampire. To them, mortals are little more than the livestock they fed on while they were mortal themselves. Social empathy dissipates as the vampire's self identity goes from 'human' to 'vampire' and 'immortal', and humans become little more than bugs to be dominated or crushed as their pleasures require.
Another very possible reason for the perceived evil of vampires is the heightened emotions and personality traits, common in the majority of cases. Though these heightened emotions seem most common in Allurists, the personality traits of an individual do seem very often multiplied when a vampire is sired, both the good and the bad. The exact reason for this is unknown, but is thought to have something to do with the increased mental activity of all vampires, making their base personalities more prevalent. A vampire who had a violent temper while mortal, for example, is said to become three times as violent, reactionary and sadistic when sired.
On the other hand, a vampire who was extremely empathetic or loving while mortal can become much more so when they become immortal. While this might seem like a good thing in theory, it often creates an imbalance, which sometimes culminates in the individual being unable to cope with life, and instead turning that heightened emotion in a very different direction. For example, the empathetic human might feel too much sorrow when he or she becomes a vampire, causing them to become depressed, bitter, or even vengeful. Such a vampire might try to right the wrongs he or she perceives in such a heightened emotional state, and yet might end up doing dreadful things in their path, believing their goal is noble. Another example: a loving human might make a doubly loving vampire, but this love can turn quickly to jealousy, envy, fear of rejection, and complete obsession. Vampires have been very often known to gradually become obsessed with the love of a mortal or immortal, to the point where they slaughter the object of their affections rather than see them end up with somebody else.
Like the Allurist's heightened emotional state, and the general vampiric magnification of personality traits, Telepaths have been prone to developing severe insanity, due to their massively increased cognitive functions, and ability to read other people's memories, emotions, and so on. However, it it not only Telepaths that are prone to insanity. Vampirism, it would seem, can very often lead to mental instability. This can be due to their expanded power or mental activity, or their magnified personality traits, their ability to see the dead, or even, sometimes, something as simple the fact that they cannot ever see themselves in the mirror again. What ever the reason, mental instability often comes with actions that others might see as being evil, sadistic, or just downright eerie. At times, much like Allurists, these insane vampires do not intend evil at all, but end up taking such actions in a fit of mania, a bout of depression, paranoia, or merely because of some figment of their imaginations.
Transition into death and the frozen bodily state that comes with it bring about collateral elements in the vampire: the body cools due to the decrease in blood flow, and blood itself becomes, literally, colder, which in turn affects the heart, skin conductivity and the brain. These factors create a portrait not very different from the psychosomatic configuration of humans with affective disorders like sociopathy. Similarly, many vampires typically find it harder to experience empathy and 'connect' with the suffering of others, although they retain their ability to feel their own suffering.
Lastly, a common cause of vampiric 'Darkness' is thought to be the perception of darkness and evil itself. The fact that vampires hunger for blood often causes them to lose control, killing a human in the throws of pleasure, without even meaning to. This, or simply the fact that they have to consume the energy of others to survive, can often distort the self-worth of a vampire, making them believe they are actually as evil as the old legends say, and so they fit their actions into this preconceived notion. The rest of the world sees them as evil, they see themselves as evil, so why not embrace it, and just be evil?
Insanity, damnation, heightened negative personality traits and innate "darkness" aside, not all vampires end up doing evil things. Some vampires turn out to be pleasant individuals (though the percentage is admittedly much smaller than it is with humans), who want to do the right, honorable, kind thing where possible. Some fight for justice, some even fight for humans. What ever their true motive, they are living proof that vampirism and The Darkness does not have to define or control a vampire.