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The Devil Rides Out

No, not the novel by Dennis Wheatley. But similar matters.

I once got stuck in Prince Rupert, in northern British Columbia (Pacific coast Canada). There’s an old joke about the inhabitants of Prince Rupert, that they all have webbed feet and hands, because the rainfall there is insane.

The rainfall here in Europe is also a bit insane at the moment.

So, shaking the raindrops from my keyboard, I will attempt to try and express what I want to say in this post.

The two years of covid stuff, the Ukraine war, and now the slaughter in Gaza, has made many people realise that ‘evil’ is a tangible thing.

I’m quite surprised at how many people have got religion, mostly over the covid stuff, as they’ve realised the pure evil of it all.

I should add, for context, that I am not religious.

I think what I’m trying to say is that perhaps one good thing about religion is that it removes people’s fear of death (you’ll go to a better world, etc).

But does such a belief system enable evil?

That’s an interesting question @RobG . I think perhaps on the on the issue of enabling evil, what about the “turn the other cheek”, or for the less religious, what about, “peaceful protest”?

For what it’s worth, it seems to me these are all a ruse by the powers that be to turn us away from what you term evil and give us a feeling of empowerment. To me, although ‘evil’ is a religious notion and I prefer psychopathy, evil really is the perfect descriptor of the Covidian creators.


Some interesting thoughts there Rob. I’ll add a couple of random thoughts.

Personally I see the dynamics of our world through the lens of the impact of trauma on us individually and collectively. Our current system of hierarchy, privilege and oppression has let humanity’s shadow side, and the psychological scars of trauma rule the show. I think a lot of evil behaviour is a consequence of trauma.

In my experience religion can play equally on both sides of the trauma fence, on the one hand encouraging some to release some of their negative behaviours and patterns, but on the other reinforcing in-group Vs out-group conflict and creating new rounds of traumatic experiences.

I watched an interesting podcast recently with Prof Robert Sapolsky who made several very interesting observations about how neurotransmitters like oxytocin and testosterone can affect human behaviour and psychology. His bottom line was that these chemicals are amplifiers of existing societal patterns of behaviour. They amplify the good and the bad things that already exist in our cultural headspace. He goes on to question the very idea of whether humans truly have free will, given how much of our behaviour and beliefs are conditioned by chemicals in our brain.

Given that trauma affects these very chemicals, and they in turn affect so much of our behaviour, I can see how he gets there.

Religion could be a way to change our cultural norms. In recognising an authority above human beings, at our best, we are able to raise our perspective to work for a greater common good, and the understanding that this world we inhabit is sacred in and of itself I hope we can raise our perspective above the narrow minded profit and control motive we are currently enslaved by.

I think we’ll need that kind of thinking to handle the multiple existential crises that we’re currently heading straight towards…

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It sounds a little like Romney Marsh.

It is very interesting to see how, really very quickly, the Religious Right in the US is becoming very assertive indeed about flag-waving for Israel and yelling for Muslims to be put in their place…

I think the impetus is n to really based in belief systems, or not religious ones at any rate. There is a recognition that the Democratic Party may not iwin the 2024 Election (though they might well steal it anyway) based on current trends. So: revive an enemy that the US Right can hate upon and channel propaganda, funds, battleships, armaments etc Iranwards.

Then a segue to China and leave the Democrats, when it’s their turn, to go back to poking at Russia and pushing the quasi-religion of Woke.

This still leaves the option for the Joebot to finally malfunction terminally and a more credible candidate to emerge. Please, not Hillary. Kamala could hold the ship, on a very tight leash, for a few months with a nice cushy position awaiting her as long as she doesn’t stand herself. Basically no one likes her even a tiny bit, I can’t think why.

Until that bump in the road has been smoothed out there is no serious campaigning among Democrats that anybody would notice, but the race is quite intense among the GOP candidates. The dark horse, forgive the expression, is Vivek Ramaswamy who suddenly went from seeming fairly rational to outright lunacy, describing Israel as a Divine nation and wishing aloud for the heads of Hamas leaders to be mounted on stakes along the Gaza-Israel border. This may or may not be a sincere belief, I suspect not, but it definitely plays to the apocalyptic tendency of the Religious Right.

While she smiles a little more sweetly and has better control over her rhetoric even Tulsi Gabbard is at it.

None of the above really answers your question @RobG but I’d say the God of America is Mammon (though Dimitri Medvedev claims Moloch, with some credibility). Both fit neatly under the heading Evil, that is for sure.

There’s going to be a peaceful, no flags, vigil at Canterbury Cathedral tomorrow, 30 October. Take along your battery-operated candles, we’ll have no actual flames at our event thank you. Probably no singing of kumbaya either, but there might as well be.

Excuse my cynicism but these kind of events are only for those with Luxury Beliefs… hence I’d imagine it will be very well attended.

This summarises very neatly Aly what could be called the ‘social control’ argument (corraling believers into their ‘natural’ political homes, as I commented elsewhere re the Religious Right in USA) and the ‘social cement’ argument (an ideology helps to bind society together). All systems of belief can work in these ways: bringing togetherness but Othering as well.

I genuinely don’t think that Buddhism quite works that way as one is encouraged to take refuge in one’s inner goodness (Buddha), the real nature of how things are (Dhamma), and in the community that one feels part of (Sangha). But that is not to deny that ostensibly Buddhist regimes have, even so, been really vicious towards the Other - see Myanmar. (Illustrating that religion - or lack of it - is a personal choice and a personal practice, not something that ought to be institutionalised. Monks who take a vow of poverty are made dependent on the community and have an inbuilt incentive to serve that community rather than take it for granted or use it as a power-base.)

I do find that a consolation, even though it involves a basic recognition that humans are terribly vicious in their behaviour given license to do so. I claim no exemption. Recognising that, but not following the impulse, is probably the work of more than one lifetime and I think I started too late.

Thanks to @RobG for kicking off this discussion. (Denis Wheatley is a guilty pleasure of mine, he really knew how to keep the pot boiling, the scoundrel.)

Bonjour. Thanks all for your very interesting replies.

There is presently very heavy rain in my little neck of the woods - quite ironic, since I was banging on about Prince Rupert!

This means that we keep having power cuts, and hence no internet connection, which is making it difficult at the moment to reply in this thread.

It must stop bloody raining sooner or later!

Ally, the psychological aspect of it is a very huge part. I would hazard, though, that the bottom line here (with regard to Gaza) is that our glorious leaders (and MSM) are cheering on genocide.

If our glorious leaders are that callous about human life, how do you think they will treat you and your loved ones?


Karen, without wishing to confuse things, I have sort of made a reply in the thread that Aly’s started…

ps. I have lots of happy childhood memories of Romney Marsh. Have they turned it into an out of town retail centre yet?

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PatB, back in the day Melvyn Bragg did a really good programme on Radio 4 called ‘In Our Time’. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with it.

I think you can still access BBC radio programmes from outside the UK. If interested, and if you’re able to listen to the audio, here’s the programme that Bragg made about The Devil…

Is it still pissing down at your end of the Charente? Up where I am we are starting to develop webbed hands and feet.

I apologise for implying that residents of Romney Marsh have webbed feet, this is cruel of me. Amazing numbers of people there do look terribly similar though.

Apart from a few AirBnBs and posh-tent outposts (glamping they call it) I don’t think civilization has quite reached there yet.

Thanks for the link but to listen one has to ‘sign in’ to the BBC. I refuse to do even that for the BBC.

And yes, not drowning yet, but every time we have a bit of flooding, I tell people well, imagine if you lived in Gaza.

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