The Devil You Know- Published in The Idealist Mag, Nov 2014
The Devil exists. But not in the way you think.
The Devil is a demon inside you. He’s the demon of myopia, of short-sightedness. He’s the demon preventing you from building a better future. He’s the demon who tells you that your actions have no consequences. Your Devil is persuasive: he convinces you that participating in-line with society’s norms and coercions -- regardless of their diseased nature -- is the most important thing to do. He smirks and drums his fingers as you amass things -- products and services that he’s convinced you define you. We all have these demons inside us, preventing us from becoming the best version of ourselves.
Joris-Karl Husymans’ infamous 1891 novel, La-Bas, tells a story of Durtal, a protagonist embarking on an investigation of the occult underworld. The novel culminates with a description of a Black Mass, the ultimate Satanic feasting of Devil worship. Throughout the story, the reader is challenged by savage themes of moral turpitude stemming from these Demonic rituals. And on days today, as we fall into the constant entrapment of the media, obsessively consuming the horrors of our own actions, as individuals, as groups, societies, as a species, we continue to worship our own Devils in a way that reminds me of Husymans’ La-Bas. We sacrifice our rationalism to the Black Mass of our own media outlets. We parade our own demons. We fill our minds every hour of every day with a plague of distraction. The fact that we have become accustomed to the constant noise rotting our brains is endemic to an anthropological system that needs to be hacked.
The Devil exists. But, not in the way you think.
He’s behind you clicking the next link in your Facebook newsfeed to another pointless article. He’s keeping your eyes fixed on the news headlines that play every evening on your television set. He’s the adverts on your radio reminding you of your own insecurities- insecurities that can only ever be resolved through purchase. He’s the magazines we read and the adverts that line our streets.
Knowing that every future life is somehow connected to the current time-slice of the Universe in which I am existing doesn’t allow for television or the Kardashians or caring about how many ‘likes’ I have today on social media. What is required from us is action, actions that rely on us developing a strength of will to avoid these distractions. Actions that depend on the rejection of our own internal demons that fuel our demise.
Actions, born out of kindness, for the sake of all the future beauty of the world.