WHAT WOULD A DEMON DO? (revisited)

7 02 2015

This is a revised version of one of a commentary from one of my very first radio shows.  I think it’s worth revisiting.

Let’s engage in a little freewheeling fantasy, folks.

Let’s look at the world today and ask,demonWhat would a demon do?

A demon, in Western religious tradition, is a servant of Satan. It’s a demon’s job to make hell unpleasant for the rest of its inhabitants, to tempt us mere mortals into sin, or to afflict us once we’ve fallen. And how, in this day and age, might a demon afflict thee? Let me count some of the ways:

Demons can make sure souls are trapped in unhappy situations—for example, a life in which your mother didn’t want to have you in the first place and lacks the motivation, support, and resources to bring you up happily. Hell for you, hell for her.

Or, you could be born to parents who wanted you, but who find their own lives disrupted and crushed by vast forces beyond their control—drought, flood, war, disease, overpopulation, famine, marauding oil companies—you know, the classic horsemen of the apocalypse. A refugee camp in Africa for your kindergarten? Hell for just about everyone.

Or something subtler—a life in the American underclass–a life devoid of intellectual stimulation, emotional support, psychological understanding, nutritional intelligence, material comfort, and challenging opportunity, a life filled with distraction, exploitation, denial, dead-end jobs or welfare checks, neither of which provides enough money, and constant exposure to the starkly contrasting, luxurious lives of the rich and famous, coupled with the near-certain knowledge that such a life will never be yours. That’s America for a lot of people—and that’s hell.  Even those who enjoy the material advantages that our society can provide are tortured by feelings of insecurity and the idea that if they just acquire a little more stuff, then they will be happy.  That, too, is hell.

These are all things demons could or would do to make life miserable for people—and the sad thing is, most of the people trapped in those hells would have no idea they were in hell.  They would just think they were living normal human lives.

Another thing demons can do to torment souls is to keep them from dying. For example, suppose someone were in a coma, blind and unable to speak or move, suppose they needed a feeding tube for nourishment and were unable to respond to, or possibly even notice, any kind of outside stimulus whatsoever. Suppose that person’s brain had decayed to half its normal size?

Whatever shred of consciousness such a person might have left would perceive itself as being in a dark, soundless room, or unable to make sense of what it could hear, for a period of time that would seem infinite, for s/he would have no way to mark time. Infinite, complete solitary confinement. We know what just a few days of it does to prisoners. Doesn’t that sound like hell?

Wouldn’t the compassionate, loving, Christian thing to do be to let that poor, trapped soul die and go to heaven? Doesn’t it seem demonic to force such a person to stay for years in the dark room of what is left of her mind? Sounds worse than Abu Ghraib to me! Likewise, wouldn’t it seem like the compassionate thing to release unborn children from hellish lives by allowing their mothers to have abortions, or, much better, making contraception widely available and socially acceptable so that fewer unwanted children are conceived in the first place?

Oh–the demons say that having unwanted children should be the price women pay for giving in to their “carnal urges.”  If recreational sex is a sin, it certainly is diabolic to punish not just the woman, but her child, for the rest of mom’s life, and the child’s entire life, for that sin, isn’t it?  So…why is recreational (i.e., non-procreative) sex something God doesn’t want us to engage in?  If that’s true, why did He make it so enjoyable, and such a strong urge?  To tempt us?  Is this temptation the work of a God or a demon?  People have been burned at the stake for daring to ask such questions.

Of course, to be a demon, you need to be inconsistent, so while you are sparing no effort to make sure fetuses become babies and preventing very sick people from dying, you must at the same time make it harder for people who are consciously and intentionally clinging to life to do so—by limiting how much financial assistance you give them, making medical “insurance” and care shockingly expensive, and making it harder for people burdened by medical debt to declare bankruptcy.

Another thing a demon would do to make life hell for people is be unforgiving. As I pointed out, if you’re a young girl and you get pregnant, you’re going to have that baby. Furthermore, if you’re a young person whose learning curve happens to include petty theft, overt expressions of anger, wild driving, or the indiscreet enjoyment of “recreational” drugs, the demons would make sure that your youthful deeds follow you and cripple your opportunities for the rest of your life.

But—inconsistency rules! Demons let other demons get away with all kinds of behavior.  Demons can kill hundreds of other people and be declared “heroes” if they are in the military.  Demons can make peoples’ lives miserable by polluting their environment, selling them products that will make them sick or kill them, or by taunting people with visions of an unattainable life of ease.

I’m getting into another class of demon here: corporate demons. Do you understand that for-profit corporations are demons? They are legally considered “persons,” but their basic, declared purpose is profit—that is, a for-profit corporation must be, by legal definition, completely selfish. That’s quite different from how you and I are expected to behave, isn’t it?  We are legally and morally supposed to be at least somewhat altruistic, to work to bring about greater peace, love and understanding. I believe that generosity is a far better impulse to exercise than selfishness. I’d guess you think pretty much the same way. But you can’t write generosity into the charter of a for-profit corporation. They have to be on the take.  If corporations were people, they’d be considered sociopaths at best, psychopaths at worst.  They’d be jailed or institutionalized.  Instead, they’ve bought the government and are running the country.

Corporate demons, and their human-embodied minions, love to demean the Creation. Cut down the forests, bulldoze the hills, pave the plains, pollute the air and water and be sure to spread shame and distortion around that extraordinary Divine creation, the human body. You know, it’s only flesh and blood and electricity, and it blooms and decays in the blink of an eye, but there really is nothing else like it in the Universe, as far as we can tell. We seem to be the only, almost infinitely tiny, piece of this entire, vast cosmos that knows that the whole show is here.

I have respect and admiration for the intelligence, wisdom, and communicative capacities of dolphins, whales, pigs, wolves, dogs, cats,and our various primate cousins, as well as octopi and the fabled giant squid, but until I hear them weigh in on cosmology or its equivalent, I’m presuming we know some very important things they don’t. But I digress.

Maybe it’s just my DNA talking, but I appreciate the human form and like to see it celebrated—but another aspect of the demonic agenda is to convince us there’s something wrong with our bodies and their needs and urges.

Too big, too small, wrong color, smells wrong, wants to relax the wrong way with the wrong person—wrong, wrong, wrong. Love is not the law among demons—the name of their game is control and shame.

Is oppressing souls unpleasant for the demon? The demon doesn’t think so—demons are inured to their obnoxious environment and the pain they cause others. They are full of the self-righteousness that comes from knowing that you are doing the Lord’s Work and Giving Sinners What They Deserve.

But the fact is, that the evil a demon does is corrosive to him or her. Poor diet, stultified emotions, a blunted intellect and a warped world view eventually take their toll, and it is far more unpleasant to be a dying demon than it is to have been one of their victims, though that is scant consolation to those victims.

Now, you may have noticed something through my little discourse on demonology: All those things that would logically be done by a demon for the right and proper conduct of hell are being done today by people who call themselves Christian. So-called Christians are against abortion, birth control, and serious aid to the profoundly impoverished. So-called Christians support the bland, malnourishing pabulum of mainstream culture—their self-serving squawks against Hollywood vulgarity are just window dressing.

So-called Christians fought to keep the tortured remains of Terry Schaivo alive, even as they moved to cut welfare, Medicaid, and social security. So-called Christians have propelled the so-called war on drugs until it and its collateral damage have given this so-called Land of the Free the highest prison population per capita of any country in the world. So-called Christians have moved to relax environmental standards and ease up on corporate crime, while tightening the bankruptcy laws and changing the tax laws to remove incentives to large-scale charitable giving. So-called Christians create an atmosphere of obsession and compulsion around the human body that distorts perceptions for all of us and makes a rational, emotionally adult society an impossibility.

And yes, the good news is that these so-called Christians’ self-indulgent disinclination towards personal lifestyle changes and spiritual evolution means that those of us who know how to take care of ourselves in those ways will probably outlast them, although we may not have much of a world left to enjoy.

And I need to clarify something:  while for-profit corporations are inherently demonic–i.e., selfish by their very nature, the people who act out these demonic agendas are not.  Demons are not reddish humanoids with pointed tails, horns, and bat wings, nor are people who act “demonically” themselves demons. The demons are programmed behaviors that have taken root in people, and taken them over. The demons are not the people they infest. They have turned their human hosts into robots. The demons are our unquestioned urges toward anger, hatred, separation, and selfishness.  The demons are our impulses to try (always unsuccessfully) to keep ourselves and our lives always the same.  The demons are our wilful ignorance, our turning away from self-awareness, self-questioning, and any kind of non-self-centered perspective on our lives.  These impulses infest us like parasites, but they are not us. Under the thick armor of every smug, selfish, self-righteous Christian/demon there stirs a sad soul that is crying out for love and understanding.

Combating these demons begins with identifying whatever footholds they have established in our own psyches, by questioning our own urges to be angry, hateful, and selfish, and by intentionally increasing our awareness so that we do not succumb to the fog of ignorance.  When we work on ourselves, we can clear ourselves enough to be of genuine help to others, when they ask for it.  Attempting to help people who have not asked for help is generally counterproductive.

Technically, if not politically, the solution of the problem of demonic, oppressive corporations is simple:  we the human people have the power to revoke their charters and simply end their existence.  I have no problem with capital punishment for corporate persons, but I do believe that capital punishment is  an inappropriate solution to the problem of humans who have been taken over by demons. It is our compassionate duty to them to dodge their thrashing as best we can, keep them from harming themselves or others, regard them with love and caring, and pray that a chink in their armor somewhere, sometime, somehow, will let someone give them the love they need. Hang in there, brothers and sisters—patience is a cardinal virtue.

music: Brother Martin and the Intangibles, “Bag of Skin

Jane Siberry, “Calling All Angels

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25 responses

15 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

Martin,

Thank you once again for your work which I genuinely appreciate. That said, I again have to raise a few questions on some specifics which don’t make sense to me.

“Combating these demons begins with identifying whatever footholds they have established in our own psyches, by questioning our own urges to be angry, hateful, and selfish, and by intentionally increasing our awareness so that we do not succumb to the fog of ignorance.”
This is my motivation in raising these questions, I am not a member of the christian right. My concern is that the “window dressing” and questionable if not contradictory logic expressed by the “Christians” is also in other issues alive and well amongst the “Green”.

“tempt us mere mortals into sin”

I’m sure coincidental that this is followed up immediately by a partially veiled appeal to population control.

I have to question might it be possible that many well meaning people are “tempted to sin” when arguing in favor of population control which seems pretty obviously to be an agenda of the “demons”?

http://journal-neo.org/2015/01/01/world-overpopulation-hold-on-buddy/

“another aspect of the demonic agenda is to convince us there’s something wrong with our bodies and their needs and urges”

Is reproduction not a need and urge of our bodies?

“your mother didn’t want to have you in the first place and lacks the motivation, support, and resources to bring you up happily”

Is this not an attempt to convince us there is something wrong with our bodies? Something that needs fixing by the latex industry (condoms), the pharmaceutical industry (birth control) or western medicine (abortion procedures)? I guess you could simplify and call all 3 the chemical industry? Should we “revoke their charters” or our own?

And then specifically within that statement why is the motivation lacking? Given that we are human beings (heirs to a long line of humans) I would have to conclude that if the motivation is lacking then it has likely been stifled.

Having some knowledge of ecology I would think we can both agree that the alleged lack of support and resources is either exaggerated by materialism or the result of “demonic” interference with nature or both.

Both of us being fathers I would assume we can also be honest and say that the motivation, support and resources are often struggles rather than something that one is absolutely endowed with prior to copulating.

What of the Buddha? He didn’t seem to put much value in “being brought up happily”.

There is some hard reality to what you describe but as a truth in it’s self very dangerous – not much of a stretch to then conclude that only the wealthy citizens of “politically stable” industrial nations should be allowed to reproduce.

On a somewhat related note. I remember in the “JackSF” conversations a link you posted to an article on the Rockefeller clan divesting of oil stocks in the name of global warming. I wonder if you have recalled that article when watching oil prices and profits fall?

16 02 2015
brothermartin

Thanks for the very interesting and challenging questions. I have the broad outlines of a reply in my mind, but am in the middle of dealing with the worst weather of the winter, and need to make that my primary focus in daylight hours. (As you may recall if you’ve been reading much of this blog, our uninsured house burned down almost two years ago and we are living in fairly “primitive” conditions on our land while we try and pull together the money to rebuild.) I will do my best to give you a full response some time in the next few days. Stay tuned!

16 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

No hurry! Hang in there. If I was in your neck of the woods I would offer to help.

18 02 2015
brothermartin

OK, here goes…first, one can understand that a physical need or urge is inappropriate without being “wrong.” This level of understanding takes a certain amount of perspective on oneself, as per the bumper sticker slogan, “Don’t Believe Everything You Think!” Most non-human animals are pretty unreflective about acting out their needs and urges. I think we can do better than that.

And no, it doesn’t take “fixing by the latex, pharmaceutical, or medical industries.” If we are not slaves to our bodies’ wishes to procreate whether it is appropriate or not, and are uninhibited (and physically clean) enough, there are lots of ways to play with somebody you love without running the risk of making a baby. If you’re tuned in to the signs of fertility, there are times when you can even go through the motions of conceiving a child with pretty complete confidence that you won’t. There’s also the possibility that a significant number of men could get sane enough to get beyond ejaculation addiction, although that’s not a sure-fire birth control method. (I have read that, among Australian aborigines, “circumcision” involves cutting a slit at the base of the male organ, so that much of the fluid that would ordinarily exit via the tip dribbles out at the base, and men, like women, have to squat to pee, among other effects. They managed to have a low birth rate in a non-technological and relatively sexually uninhibited society.)

As for abortions, women have been helping each other have them for a long, long time, and don’t need no stinking doctors to take care of that if that’s what it comes to.

Here’s a pretty good counter-argument to your link on overpopulation. Albert Bates is possibly the smartest person I know, and I’ve known him pretty well for a long time. Check this out:http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2012/12/done-with-math.html

Let me make it clear that I don’t favor a lower population so us rich white folks can have the run of the planet. We are generally the ones with the biggest carbon footprint, me included. I’d rather see the planet populated with people who know how to, as they say, live lightly on the planet, and most of the ones who know how to do that best are darker-colored and live in the third and fourth world.

Contrary to your assertion about Buddha not putting much value in “being brought up happily,” one of the basic Buddhist aspirations is, “May all beings know happiness and the cause of happiness.” “The cause of happiness” is an important qualifier there.

As to the Rockefellers and the oil price drop, I don’t know that there’s necessarily causation there. A number of the peak oil prognosticators I read from time to time have predicted that there will be occasional gluts on the way down.

I may think of more to add (or subtract!) from this once I shut down this computer tonight, but I wanted to give you something back ASAP, and so here it is. Hope it helps you make sense of my attempt at humor!

20 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

Martin,

Thanks for the reply. I hope you are surviving the freeze.

“Albert Bates is possibly the smartest person I know, and I’ve known him pretty well for a long time. Check this out:http://peaksurfer.blogspot.com/2012/12/done-with-math.html

Based on what I know of Mr. Bates, yourself and other concerned parties it is hard for me to believe that you are strangers to intelligence. I do not wish to challenge or run afoul of your community of intelligence. Mr. Bates’ article was a real eye opener for me. I hope all concerned can forgive me my sophomoric prodding and for my part I shall refrain from dabbling in that which is beyond my reach lest I fly too close to the sun. Again it is sophomoric, my questions are a mere vehicle by which I thought I could be a part of your community by demonstrating my own intellect but I see now I have clearly demonstrated a lack of intellect. I now see that I am in the wrong for questioning such authorities particularly when my desire is to simply live in this great new world.

I recant my foolishness. Thank you for gently correcting me and leading me to a deeper understanding.

20 02 2015
brothermartin

you’re clearly BSing me–what’s the problem?
you sent me a link to a story claiming population shrinkage was the problem, not population growth, and I posted a link rebutting that. I’m not sure why you’ve gotten so sarcastic over it. Please explain!

21 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

No BS. I’m serious and sincere in what I have said.

So you know I am as I say, here is my process of consideration (after reading the article):

Those who know Bates vouch for his intelligence. Whether the man is as intelligent as is claimed by many and suggested by his illustrious resume, I can’t say with certainty.

This personal mystery is irrelevant when I conclude that it is unlikely if not impossible that Bates is truly “idiotic”.

The likelihood or possibility of idiocy becomes irrelevant in light of the position of influence the man holds – given that a true “idiot” is unlikely to achieve such a position without some form of “intelligence” supporting him.

So I conclude that Bates is either personally reasonably intelligent at very least or serves at the pleasure of some form of external intelligence.

Having read this article I then begin to dissect it line by line.

I separate “facts” from “speculation” and “innuendo”.

I check “fact” against source where a source is given. “Facts” without a source I attempt to verify.

I analyze “speculation”.

I consider whether speculation is informed or wild.

I consider if speculation seems to be consistent with the rest of the man’s popularly considered and self promoted “life’s work” and ideology. I further analyze speculation against the teachings of ecology, permaculture, eco living, etc. (which the man is publicly most associated with), to see if it is consistent (or even plausible that someone reasonably intelligent and versed in such fields might think it consistent).

I consider the possible purposes of said speculation (whether it is literal, provocative, whimsical, intentional etc.)

I repeat the same process with innuendo as with speculation.

I consider other possible ideologies and “lives’/generations’ work” that these “facts”, “speculation”, and “innuendo” and this agenda are consistent with.

I then consider what relevant facts are missing and their pertinence to attempting to understand this issue and if missing why the writer may have omitted these facts. (inconvenience, manipulation, or ignorance)

I consider whether a man with a background like Bates’, who is not truly “idiotic”, could be grossly ignorant of an issue he has applied his intellect to understanding (to the point that he has formed an indisputable opinion of fact that he publishes). I consider also in this case, if a man is not truly “idiotic”, he is aware that the influence of his opinion will be significant given that many look to his largesse and stature for the materials with which they construct their own opinions. Many of those whom look to Bates, I also consider, are far less likely to accept “mainstream” opinions but when such opinions are shared by a “counter-culturalist” they become a truth because “everyone agrees”.

I have already noted my conclusion on the author above. (Bates is either personally reasonably intelligent at very least or serves at the pleasure of some form of external intelligence.)

I compare the conclusion on the author’s intelligence with the considerations of the author’s work.

It now occurs to me that this no consequence bit of amusement for myself has inadvertently wandered into a realm of intelligence beyond my humble means.

Albert Bates clearly knows things relative to this issue (and of course well beyond) which I do not. I freely and eagerly capitulate. I am out of my league. I recant my challenge.

No BS, it is that simple. The rebuttal was excellent. I entered with an open mind not from a position of certainty or even opposition but simply (following the spirit of your original post) as the devil’s advocate for humor’s sake. I like to dig a garden for fun but not where i think gas mains may be present.

21 02 2015
brothermartin

Thanks for the explanation. Communicating by typing letters in a little box is not a great form of communication. So much gets lost–tone, facial expression, the subconscious subtleties of smell.

While I was considering that you were being sarcastic with me because you thought I was somehow claiming to be vastly superior to you, I thought to tell you that the only reason I mentioned my long association with, and appreciation of, Albert was to let you know that I had not just plucked his essay off a search engine, that he is somebody I have looked to and trusted for decades, ever since he first (literally) walked to the Farm from New York, down the Appalachian Trail and then west a couple hundred miles in 1974. Albert wrote the first popular book on climate change, “Climate in Crisis,”which was published in 1990. It got then-Congressman Al Gore’s attention–he wrote the forward for it (they already knew each other through Albert Bates’ environmental work) and gave a copy to everybody in Congress.

Please feel free to keep on challenging my assertions! I know I don’t know it all!

21 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

I agree with you about the little box so I’m happy to explain. I promise it never for a second occurred to me that you were “name dropping”. I like to read things a few times and make sure to read the sources thoroughly but I wont explain my process again (don’t worry).

I’ve previously read Albert Bates’ biography and it is quite the story. It is interesting how certain people rise to prominence within a community and internationally almost as though it is preordained. From Connecticut rich kid to bearded counter-culturalist guru – who’d of thunk it. If only those papers hadn’t been lost in the car we may have been free of the nuclear scourge but at least he hasn’t given up saving the world. The man seems to be the master of where to apply a lever for maximum result.

You’re a gracious host and I appreciate it. I’ll be prodding you again soon enough i’m sure…

21 02 2015
brothermartin

thanks…yeah, we kid him about being Spock’s hipper younger brother…

21 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

You lost me… I’m guessing that is a star wars joke? I’d tell you to live long and prosper but given the subject matter the former may not be appropriate and the latter could have a monetary connotation… so I’ll steal a line from you: may the farce be with you

22 02 2015
brothermartin

Star Trek, not Star Wars…guess my age is showing!

22 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

Star Trek…that’s right. Star Wars is the Reagan thing, right? All they watched in my day was hardcore pornography and pharmaceutical adds (mostly catering to erectile dysfunction)… now i guess they’ve added network news snuff videos to the mix

22 02 2015
brothermartin

well, now you’ve lost me! Who were “they” and when was your day? “Star Wars” was both a series of movies and Ronald Raygun’s great science fiction defense project….anyway, back to the original subject, for my take on human sexuality, check out the “Curmudgeon’s Corner” page on this blog….

22 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

Raygun… that’s a good one. He could play the harp i thought i read somewhere? I came up during the blowie era and the can’t string a sentence together era (the latter may have rubbed off a bit). I knew of Reagan because those who loved him were particularly devoted and many years later still down and longing to be trickled upon again. Then I heard he was a Hollywood actor and was surprised that a man with those credentials could get such a high political office, as at the time that seemed to run counter to what was taught in school and the general public ideas about the leader of the free world.

Without causing a sensation, “they” are the generations. On tv they say it’s the bogey man (the all covered up one, not the shirtless rider,nor the giant hungry one, nor the really hot one) who makes the snuff videos. Didn’t the guy who made that Star Wars make a snuff film or something?

23 02 2015
brothermartin

The crowning achievement of Ronald Reagan’s life was playing “The President of the United States” in a reality TV show, right? Snuff videos, I don’t know much about. I’m not into cigarette or cigar or pipe tobacco videos either…

23 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

I’m not into it either. Some people like reality tv, though it seems. War, brother, it’s just a video away (well that and congressional approval).

P.S. i hate to tell you your age is showing but you failed to mention e-cig videos… unless you are into those?

23 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

If you can name that song, you can name that film and speak a mantra maybe appropriate to your situation, in one fell. The little box is ok maybe…

24 02 2015
brothermartin

Oh, yeah, tobacco vaporizers…junkies, junkies, junkies…..Gimmie Shelter! (I note that you are writing late at night!)

24 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

When the dim shine the brightest, right? Wits that I retire… I hope you at least got a kick out of seeing ramparts if not its content (I had never heard of it prior to you referencing it on this fine blog).

25 02 2015
brothermartin

Ramparts was the Mother Jones magazine of its day. Well, my dim light is dimming further, so I bid you good night!

26 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

and what is that? the standard snake oil?

27 02 2015
brothermartin

Well, at a level I would call MJ “the standard snake oil,” due to their constant shilling for Democrats, as if the DP weren’t a complete corporate whore, but MJ is also, apart from that, probably the most widely read lefty news and opinion magazine. That’s what I was referring to.

27 02 2015
Ben Ennen-Falsch

Fair enough. Thanks for clarifying. I had heard of Mother J and probably read a few articles somewhere but obviously wasn’t sure of the point you were making. Now I really will stop before I have to cut a check and take a final. Thanks for the schooling, truly appreciated. Keep up the great work.

28 02 2015
brothermartin

You’re very welcome–thanks for the tough questions! Hope you do well on the exam!

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