The Evolution of the D/evil

The Devil’s Notebook.

I have been thinking recently about the evolution of evil.

How innocently it begins, how invisibly it grows.

The D/evil is in the details

His first trick is to encourage a sense of entitlement.

I deserve it. It is my just due.

Add to this a touch of envy. Memetic desire.

I want it (and deserve it) because you have it.

Why should Bill Gates have so much and I so little.?

When my (impossible) expectations are not fulfilled I become resentful, my sympathy turns into antipathy.

Resentment morphs into paranoia. I imagine that the other –my neighbor, my mate– is hostile to me, withholding, a cheating, not giving me my just share of cash or care.

I give more than I get.

Paranoia leads to creating a fortress —the self puts on its character armor, the nation builds its defenses, the quest for revenge emerges as a perverted demand for justice. Defeating, humiliating or killing the enemy sets the world right, balances the scales. Withholding love and punishing the other allows me to get even. You only got what you deserved, what was coming to you.

Once established the cycle of resentment and revenge becomes autonomous of its origins, a self-reinforcing feedback loop in which hostile expectation become self-fulfilling prophecies.

To escape the grip of the Devil I must practice living with  a sense of gratitude for what has been given me. My life is a gift, not an entitlement. You—my mate, my child, my neighbor do not owe me love (although I am entitled to civility and justice).