The Romantic Projection And Personification Of The Devil
NP - Opeth - The Grand Conjuration
I was thinking about this. The Devil, and modern society. How do we see 'The Devil', do we still believe in him as anything more than a metaphor for our own personal evil? I'm not talking religiously here or anything of the sort.
Anyway, often the Devil isn't depicted as some big evil monster, dripping acid from his terrible fangs. No, the devil is much more subtle. Theres no hate in the devil, or if there is, its well concealed behind his facade of sophistication and false, mocking modesty.
Many of us see, unfortunately, when faced with the word 'Vampire', think of the Buffy type...rotting or horribly disfigured corpses without minds. I take personal offence to this. In my view, vampires are a perfect personification of the Devil of the Middle-Ages.
Picture this: an old castle - unapproachable to the local population, the village farmers and blacksmiths and bakers (thats us). Nobody really knows what happens in there - but its big, its daunting, and its threatening - covertly so. Its threatening in its scale, its grandeur, and perhaps also its emptiness. And obviously its mystery.
On to our vampire. He is the definition of sophisticaton. Absolutely cool, cold. Not a hint of temper whatsoever - a vampire never loses his temper, because he knows it serves no purpose. His sense of humour is ironic, and you always feel shabby and stupid in front of him, because he projects and air of absolute intelligence, but hes not the brainiac. He wont drown you in useless facts - he's content to let you know hes better than you. This cool arrogance isn't accidental, its intentional, and its attractive.
It's attractive to us, because its what we wish we had. The power in our hands, the utter contentment that we could do whatever we wanted to do, but have no need to exercise it. Our vampire is also absolutely irresistable - every move is graceful, every hair is in place, he is an absolute charmer. There is the hint of great lust and sexual exploration and deviation - absolute adventures of the flesh take place in this, his castle, at his hands. But it's all shrouded in mystery - inviting you in.
Thats what we see as the Devil, or at least what I see is the modern interpretation of him. He's become something to aspire to, something to be desired. In our increasingly orderly lives, he is one who doesn't conform, who has all the power in the world, and is delighting in it. Theres always the hint, the invitation, that you could be the same. We know its pure evil, but oh how we want it. A line I read in a book today, "the devil isn't an imperialist, he's a seducer". Meaning he doesn't force you, against your will, to do evil, he turns it around, subtly removes good and evil from the equation, and shows you what you stand to gain (and not what you're bound to lose).
After all, the image of the devil as a massive, rabid hound is kind of easy to counter. It's easy to say 'God will protect me from the devil' when thats the image you have of him. But when hes everything you aspire to be - can you resist...?
Posted by illogicist at 4:15 AM