“Challenging contemporary worldviews has always been a big part of the philosopher’s job description.” ~ Daniel Klein
Perhaps the most diabolical belief in the history of humanity is the childish belief in the devil. Born from the insecurity of the human condition, which is faced with the inevitability of mortality, the devil is a symbol of evil planted in the impressionable minds of children and then further indoctrinated into adulthood.
Although most mature adults are able to get over their belief in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Boogeyman, an overwhelming majority of adults cannot get over their belief in Hell and the devil. It’s fine if you’re using the devil as a metaphor. It’s not fine (dangerous even) when that metaphor becomes a literal belief.
It’s quite hilarious the reaction I get when I tell a group of believers that I have killed the devil. How they cling to their unshakable belief, in absolute denial of the idea that the devil could ever be killed.
How they look with abject horror at the “blasphemy” I have just orchestrated. With dead-mackerel stares they shudder. Like how dare I kill their precious Satan, their prized devil, their cherished Evil.
I laugh and say, “Yep, I went to Hell, came face to face with the devil, slit that f&$@ers throat from ear to ear with the Sword of Love and rode the red wave of his blood back up to the land of the living to inform everyone that there is nothing to fear anymore.”
Of course, everyone must do this for themselves. That’s the kicker, that’s the rub. Indeed. It’s your responsibility alone to kill this most diabolical belief. Nobody else can do it for you. Not even me, though I’ve tried.
(*buries Satan’s dead body next to God’s; high-fives Nietzsche)
Kill the Devil: Only You Can
“You pass over and beyond them: but the higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly.” ~ Nietzsche
What believers hate most about nonbelievers is their ability to fly over the outdated nonsense of it all while they remain imprisoned by it. So be it. Let them hate. All you can do is point out the wise words of Rumi, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is wide open?”
Choose love instead. Haters gonna hate; lovers gonna love. Be fiery, empowering Love, despite being surrounded by petty, jealous moths.
Love is a fire that will burn brighter and hotter than any Hell ever could. Why? Because love is real. Love is true. Love is the beacon of all hope. It burns up the kindling of false beliefs. It burns up the dried-up husk of fearful faith.
But love also brings water to the wasteland. Be that the wasteland of a living hell or a makeshift religious hell. Love is the essential quench, the primordial salve, the sacred ambrosia, the magic elixir. And neither your pathetic devils nor your jealous gods can destroy it.
So, murder the devil. Shoot all the arrows of your hard-earned love at his fake heart. Kill this parasite of parochial thought. Transform all the hatred, all the blood, all the rage into something beautiful, something cathartic and healing.
Something that will empower others toward heroism rather than continuing to play the victim.
Overcome Outdated Fearmongering Through Updated Heroism
“Practice integration—strong back, soft front, wild heart. The strong back is having grounded confidence and healthy boundaries. The soft front is staying vulnerable and curious. The mark of a wild heart is living out these paradoxes in our lives. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, and, above all else, being both fierce and kind.” ~ Brene Brown
Hell does not exist. It’s a cartoon in your brain planted there by fearful fundamentalists playing out victim-based lifestyles. Rise above it. Don’t play the victim, especially when it comes to your own spirituality. Become a fearless hero instead.
There are thousands of other mythologies worthier of your time and effort. There are self-inflicted mythologies to create and co-create through the fruitful depths of your imagination. You are a meaning-creating creature. It’s high time you acted like it, rather than pathetically leaning on outdated meaning.
Be heroic instead. Plant your fear inside your courage. Let it be the spark that compels you to create new meaning despite the old meaning which seeks to entrench itself in uncouth stagnation and sickly decadence.
Hell is for cowards. Turn the tables on such nonsense by being a hero for a life well-lived; an examined life, a life of heroic self-overcoming that blurs the false boundaries drawn between worlds.
The Unwritten Law will Always Defeat the Written One
“As anywhere else in the world, the unwritten law defeated the written one.” ~ Herman Hesse
What is the unwritten law? It’s the universal laws that bind all things into an interdependent cosmos. Some might call this God. Others call it Infinity, or the Great Mystery, or, my personal favorite, Rob Brezny’s “The Blooming Haha.” So be it.
This unwritten law will always defeat any and all written laws, because written laws are written by imperfect, fallible men who are usually wrong about a great many things. So it stands to reason that the written “law” of the devil, of hell, of biblical Armageddon, is utterly defeated by the unwritten law of the interconnected cosmos.
In a post-apocalyptic world still in the throes of surviving the death of religious gods, the unwritten law of the universe, of the Great Mystery, of an interconnected cosmos, is the spiritually healing medicine needed to get us over the hump of being fearful, codependent, disempowered beings, while transforming us into courageous, interdependent, empowered heroes.
So after you’ve killed the devil, please, by all means necessary, toss the outdated, ill-reasoned written laws of man onto the dust-heap of history’s dumb ideas, and move on smartly with your courage and your love in full flutter, glowing brilliantly against (and despite) the blackened backdrop of humanity’s naivety.
Transform the “Evil” Shadow into a Golden Shadow
“Only through the process of burning away your false ideas and beliefs do you gain clarity on who you truly are. Nigredo is the first stage of the Alchemical process. The process of creating the philosopher’s stone. Viewed through Jungian psychologically, this is the process of individuation. Giving birth to your true, honest and individuated Self. It is the reason for embarking on the Great Work (Magnum Opus).”Nigredo, The Blackening
Transforming the evil shadow into a golden shadow is akin to the alchemical transmutation of lead into gold, the transmutation of shadow into Self, of psychological ailment into virtue, of religious imprisonment into spiritual surrender.
Make the transformation from religious dogma to spiritual open-mindedness your Great Work. Tap into your withheld courage, your hidden talents, your repressed passion and stifled creativity. It’s the unfulfilled potential you’ve failed to see or develop because of fear (Of hell? Of the devil? Of sin?) and a lack of risk-taking.
Take risks. Like murdering the devil and banishing Hell. Overcome fear with the courage of your love. Make the darkness conscious. Mine the gold from the abyss and then transform it into your magnum opus.
Something you can bring back to the tribe as medicine, as magic elixir, as a new, updated mythology that can help us all climb out of the two-thousand-year-old religious gutter that’s been holding us back as a species.