what is the devil?

  • English: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, fro...

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    before 900;
    Middle English devel, Old English dēofol  < Late Latin dia-bolus  < Greek diá-bolos
    to assault someone’s character, slander, accuse, 
    (to vilify, to shame, to relate to from a spirit of contempt)
    Of the various categories of human action, one can label some bad or evil or any one of many labels that may be more or less extreme in their connotations. You may even think that the acts themselves are inherently evil or good or diabolical or bad or pure or heroic, which is exactly what you have been trained to do. However, occasionally people may disagree or even change their perception as to whether a particular event was heroic or evil or what.
    I know what the root of the word devil is, as in dia-bolos (shown above). I know what it means (shown above).
    It is a reference to labeling something bad as if that thing is inherently bad, rather than recognizing the labeling as one valid way of relating to something. It is a very, very simple linguistic issue- elementary, fundamental, self-evident, but perhaps only rarely recognized.

    So, when politicians demonize other politicians (the “enemy”), that may be intentional propaganda or it may be sincere rage. In the case of the US, villification of the alleged threat posed by the Native Americans has been followed by vilification of the British, the French, the Spanish, the Cubans, the Japanese, the Germans, the Soviets, and various other former allies throughout the world. Basically, as George Orwell pointed out in his book 1984, all of our greatest enemies were our prior allies (and perhaps will be again soon). By “ours,” George Orwell of course implied “whoever and wherever you are.”
    In the case of Saddam Hussein, the propagandists of the US presented justifications of pre-emptive strikes by condemning his use of chemical weapons against civilian populations in the 1980s. The US supplied those weapons and did not seem to condemn the use of them at the time, nor any of the many uses of chemical weapons by the US against civilians, such as the 3 million Vietnamese civilians allegedly killed by the US military in about 10 years, many through Agent Orange and other chemical weapons.
    So, is it demonizing to suddenly condemn something, especially while one is hypocritically doing the same thing? Yes, that would be demonizing.
    Let’s look at the root of the word vilify:
    15th century, Latin: vilificare
    to make worthless to make vile, to speak evil of, to speak ill of, to slander, to defame
    In other words, vilifying or demonizing is to cultivate ill will or contempt. We might even call it to curse, as in a type of black magic.
    What does the root of the word vile mean? “Common.”
    So, propaganda may be used to justify certain actions by condemning other actions. If the action condemned and the action justified are essentially the same action, that is still propaganda.
    In many traditional forms of spiritual practice, there are warnings about the spirit of contempt or the spirit of the devil. In some cases, people may even be trained to have contempt for contempt or to condemn condemnation or to vilify vilification. However, to be ware of or be aware of vilification is actually the core teaching.
    In the Christian New Testament, is the teaching to vilify vilification or to remove the blind rage from one’s own perspective before trying to remove the blind rage from someone else’s point of view? Is the teaching to throw stones of blind rage at those who throw stones… or to question the blind rage that might lead to throwing stones?
    While it may be popular to condemn the US government for propaganda, especially within certain subcultures of the US, which government in the last several thousand years has not consistently used propaganda? Given that the US has been the dominant imperialist operation on this planet for many decades, the US has certainly used propaganda much more than certain smaller operations.
    However, propaganda indoctrinating people to reactively and reflexively condemn all propaganda may be the single most universal ingredient of all propaganda campaigns for thousands of years. Propaganda is evil.
    Why is propaganda evil? Well, that is what the propagandists trained us to think, isn’t it?
    Why is vilification vilified? Well, if everyone knew the secret of what vilification is (and how easy it is to practice it in language), then concocted vilifications might not work nearly as well to govern the perceptions and actions of the masses.
    Propaganda must first be labeled evil for propaganda to be so openly and widely used. Propaganda must be vilified. Vilification must be demonized. Demonizing must be condemned.
    That may be the best way to keep a near monopoly on the power of demonizing and vilifying. That may be essential to the justifying of the operation of governments. If there are no enemies (near and far) requiring protectors and saviors, then why would people want to eagerly pay taxes to the ruling protection racketeers? Fear!
    Realistically, whenever there is an absence of a bureaucracy protecting the masses from organized violence through the use of organized violence, a new bureaucracy forms in filling that void. Dense populations of humans naturally produce social structures of stratification.
    The denser the population, the more stratified the structure is.
     The more stratified the structure, the more that justification of that stratification through propaganda is relevant.
    To serve that propaganda function, many dense populations of humans create enemies. Leaders of dense populations are those who unite dense populations by identifying enemies, even concocted enemies. Even the “global” enemy of global warming is used to justify new bureaucratic concentrations of authority.
    Other “global enemies” include epidemics or intergalactic threats like pole shifts or asteroids. Of course, one of the most popular global enemies is war, especially nuclear war.
    All of the organizations that have nuclear weapons seem to be very focused on keeping their club exclusive by discouraging any other organizations from developing nuclear weapons. Why do the organizations with nuclear weapons agree so consistently that nuclear weapons are so dangerous that any group that tries to develop nuclear weapons should be discouraged even if that means by using nuclear weapons against them? Well, perhaps because that kind of propaganda works very well to justify a wide variety of bureaucratic practices and produce compliance from the masses.
    Propagandists never announce that there is a new war being sold to perpetuate warfare and war profiteering and the perpetuating of governments of organized coercion. Propagandists instead announce that there is another new war to end all wars.
    How many thousands of years have propagandists been justifying wars in the name of peace and national security? I am not certain. I would guess that propagandists have been rationalizing “peace-keeping” wars of organized coercion for about as long as propagandists have been vilifying propaganda.
    Given that taxation could be considered a war of organized coercion against the domestic population, I would assert that propagandists must have been useful to governments almost as long as mercenaries. In fact, if a competent propagandist hires enough mercenaries to perform operations of organized violence, that might be the origin of all political systems and governments. When an operation of organized violence is so effective that it excludes competing operations of organized violence and forms a functional monopoly, that is called a government.
    I am not aware of a single operation of government that does not extensively use language for propaganda to justify the existence of that operation. Mythology about the heroism of the founders of a government is one of the universals of propaganda, besides the obvious anti-propaganda propaganda.

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2 Responses to “what is the devil?”

  1. Hell-raising Love Monster Says:

    Great article! I see that many of my actions are diabolical, and the feeling is bitter/sweet. But the sweetness is based on a dogmatic position of mine about the dangers of partnership and trust. I’m going to post it on facebook.

    • jrfibonacci Says:

      By the way, to throw a label over something is not just for presumptive labels of contempt, but also presumptive labels of trust. Do we presumptively trust someone just because they have a license or a title or an institutional accredation? Probably!

      And, it is only natural to engage in the spirit of divisiveness and presumptiveness at a particular level of development. Just get the distinction. Condemning condemnation is just as diabolical as any other condemning. Just get the distinction of idolatry- presumptively worshipping something as evil is basically the same as presumptively worshipping something as holy.

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