The Devil Made Me Do It

In the 1970s the comedian Flip Wilson used the old catchphrase “The devil made me do it!” to catapult his character Geraldine into mainstream culture. In preparation of this blog post I tried to find the origin of this phrase, but it seems to be lost among etymologists, or at least the ones who frequent the internet. There is an obscure linguist who postulates it was first uttered, perhaps not exactly but in meaning, by the first woman – Eve – to explain the reason why she ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge after being explicitly ordered not to by God. Indeed, the Bible does record that Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent (and forever sullying the reputation of all subsequent snakes) and told her that eating from the prohibited tree would be ok. Specifically, Satan told her “You shall surely not die: for God knows that the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.”(Genesis 3:4-5) Of course we all know what happened next. Theologians have chewed over this story from the moment it was told, wondering if the whole incident was actually God’s plan or not. I could jump into that debate with both feet, but that’s not what this blog post is about. I’m here to talk about the influence of evil upon individuals, why certain people tend to fall prey to such influence, and what we can do to make sure we don’t – if we don’t want it (the influence of evil).

In my novel OOBERS you read quite a few instances where someone becomes an instrument of murder and mayhem. A few characters listen to and obey voices in their head, some are forcibly taken over by an evil entity, and still more are beset by subtle temptations. Without exception, there is influence from some sort of inner force to act in a way that is detrimental to themselves or others. I want to stress here that no matter what you think about the subject, you have to acknowledge that there is an almost constant war going on within each and every one of us to conform or break from the conformity of certain moral codes. Have you ever been in a situation where you see a person accidently drop money on the floor without knowing it, or are faced with a moment of weakness in which you could easily fool around with someone you really shouldn’t (a friend’s husband during a drunken party, for example), or are getting your butt chewed out at work for something you didn’t do and suddenly have the overwhelming urge to punch the jerk in the face? You know what I mean. You’ll discover in OOBERS that I’ve used a demon by the name of Brakin to both tempt and take over the mind and bodies of what I call in the book ‘weak minded’ people. The good doctor Don told my unlikely hero Joel, after witnessing a cashier become possessed by some entity to warn them, that “God must favor weak minded people, because he made so many of them.” I use the image of an Etheric Demon and his snaky offspring to push his agenda of destruction of the human race, one person at a time. Those who possess the ability to have out-of-body experiences are able to see the extra dimensional forces at work upon humanity. This ability is the equivalent of Toto pulling the curtain back and exposing the true identity of the ‘Great and Powerful’ Wizard of Oz. Brakin of course will not have this if his plan is to work. Whether the OOBERS know it yet or not, they have the ability to expose him and his agenda, and once the masses realize that they can not only fight against him but can learn how to render him irrelevant, the game is up for Brakin. You see, he needs ignorance to use us against each other. His children, the snake-like creatures that spring from him (Unnamed in the first book but more deeply explained further in the series. Patience!) have the ability to tap into negative emotions and exploit them, thus fomenting the soil of destruction.

Now some of you are thinking that all this talk about demonic possession and inner negative influence is nothing more than fantasy, and if you choose to believe this I won’t try to persuade you otherwise. In fact, you have a valid point, if you want to get down to brass tacks. Isn’t everything a symbol, a reflection of the basic Hero’s Journey? The very premise of having inner demons is centered on our attitudes and beliefs. I can tell you how you can attract and fester negative energies: despise life itself; foster powerlessness; lust after something or someone; feed the negative thoughts and emotions that rise in you; believe that everyone has a hidden agenda and can’t be trusted. I can easily give you dozens of examples. I can also tell you how you can repel and dispose of negative energies: love; faith; self-empowerment; hope; knowledge. This list can go on and on also. I choose to use a specific and powerful demon by the name of Brakin to demonstrate (look at the word ‘demonstrate’ – could it literally mean ‘to point out a demon,’ hmm?) the central nature of evil and the influence evil can have upon us. You can say that ‘the devil made me do it,’ and you might be correct if you gave him fertile soil for growing evil, but then, no one can ‘make’ you do anything, really. You always have a choice. I will leave you with a link to the incredible song by Rush, “Freewill,” and the song’s lyrics. I think it pertains to our subject, don’t you think? Don’t let the devil use you, unless you choose to.

Rush: Freewill (from the 1980 album ‘Permanent Waves’ written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson)

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance

A host to holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

A planet of play things

We dance on the strings

Of powers we cannot perceive

The stars aren’t aligned or the gods are malign

Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill

I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand

The cards were stacked against them

They weren’t born in Lotusland

All preordained a prisoner in chains

A victim of venomous fate

Kicked in the face

You can’t pray for a place in heaven’s unearthly estate

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill

I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

 

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