Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Hearing so many hints about “this is an iceberg,” “you’ll be stunned when it all comes out”, “no one has suspected”, and “we’ve been working on this for literally years”,  even "I'm not at liberty to disclose," I began to look at the Senate hearings and the prospects for impeachment, if not arrests, through the lens of what I know from dealing with all institutions and governments.  What I kept seeing was the Devil’s laughing face, and I don’t think it was just because of seminary, which always pushed hard to get rid of personalization, whether for good or for bad.  Or for keeping us from imposing it as a mask on our professors.  (Not that it would always be a mask.)

But being institutions, the universities and their div schools or law schools or economics schools, have their dark side, their cover-ups, their evil.  Among the little circle of PNWD UU ministers of the Seventies, it was generally agreed that one of the biggest evils is ignoring and denying that there is such a thing.  Those men are gone now, replaced by consoling and optimistic women.  The larger denomination/institution half-consciously did that.  When their own evil side was challenged (by those women daring to be evil and confrontive), the old white bureaucrats ran.  But now I’m getting hooked by my own prejudice, which is wicked.

Why do we love crime so much?  

1.  It’s sexy.  That’s how that personification gets into it.  People understand sex as personal, hopefully a happy relationship and among monotheists one-at-a-time, but even gang bangs are personal.  We’re edging into sex bots, but they still look like people.

2.  Crime is seen as powerful, uncontrollable, creeping in everywhere.  This is not unrealistic because crime is the seeking of control, power, the ability to beat the odds, predict the future, stay safe.  But these motives are kept alive by the constant teasing thrill that things might get out of hand.  It would be so interesting -- we might learn some tricks.

3.  The roots are at birth when the helpless infant must control the adults to get what keeps a baby alive — shelter, food, cleaning, reassurance through bonding (love).  These needs and the ways we learn to handle them — including defiance, doing without, theft, and the positive ways, including charm, timing, asking, guilt (oops) consciousness of obligation, gratitude and generosity — become a personal blueprint for identity with various strategies and emphasis according to opportunity to learn.  Some people become “game-focused,” in love with their conscious expansion of means of satisfaction.  Of course, only in the movies does it work so well to hold a gun on someone.

4.  Crime, evil, sin, are all relative.  A very wicked but liberating (maybe wicked BECAUSE it was liberating) phenomenon of the 19th century and the ability of educated people to travel was awareness of how relative all sin, evil and crime are, with the laws and customs of different places staking out  different lines of violation and stigma.  We often talk about the schism between laws and justice, how often they become a tragic mismatch, usually justified by stigmas from efforts to control through labeling and stereotyping.  

And yet we go on creating laws against this and that, completely or partially out of unjustified conviction.  When we do that, we are evil, committing sins even as we create them.  Or we move the markers again and suddenly what was formerly a major offence is now taken for granted.  Usually because of profit.  Marijuana and abortion are currently legal in some places, still demonized in others.

5.  Ironically, making laws generous, forgiving the wicked by softening enforcement and punishment, letting destructive behavior be excused — all those nice liberal tendencies also can lead to evil or allow evil to expand.

6.  Somehow, “white collar” crimes about money and contracts about the essential gambling we call business, get a pass from most thinkers, though laws about resources, crossing borders, risks from products, deception, usury, land use and ownership, employment practices, probably kill or maim or punish many more people than overtly criminal semi-war by terrorists, tin pot jungle kings, or armies of oppression.  The devil in a tuxedo is more dangerous than a devil in a blue dress.

7.  What devil?  What sin?  The most creepy evil is the denied evil because it works by penetration.  It can’t be seen by looking over your shoulder because it is INSIDE you.  Most people are terrified of looking within because — who knows? — you might see the laughing face of the Devil.  Meaning that you might accept the idea that you are very bad, which you were told as a child, and must be punished — even by yourself.  

8.  A mafia don who is in psychoanalysis— what a concept!  Almost as interesting as analyzing a madman.  Which is to sympathize, a kind of participation in the crimes but without ever having to suffer consequences.  On the other hand, consider the anguish of a person trying to help someone they care about when that someone can’t be helped.  Once they are really attuned to that wicked person, they must seek and address their own wickedness or be compromised.

9.  From the point of view of evil, the analysis or even plain knowledge of facts is itself an evil — destructive of stigma, control, games, and illusions.  Society will label this evil and try to punish it.  But in prosecuting the wicked, the prosecutor must shape to their ways.

This is from whowhatwhy.org.  “It will take an agency independent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to expose Donald Trump’s true relationship with Moscow and the role Russia may have played in getting him elected.”  That agency can only be journalism, partly because of its multiplicity and independence.   The above is the quote that gave rise to this blog post.

10.  Institutions created in order to investigate, curb and punish criminal institutions are very likely to absorb evil by interpenetration in the interest of spying and bribing.  See above.  Did J. Edgar Hoover know he was evil?  Using evil means?  Gaming the Mafia by gaming the United States of America?  Even after justice is measured and imposed, the evil of the enforcer can linger.

11.  “Religion” as represented by institutions has so deeply compromised -- consciously and unconsciously -- with the sinful, the stigmatizers, the controllers — that there is so much gaming penetrated into all of them that Pope Francis, the most hierarchical of leaders with the most compassionate goals, failed to detect destruction of children (a root of the necessity of virtue to protect them) among his own close associates.  

12.  “Government” as represented to be democratic in the USA has been undermined to the point of ineffectiveness by human nature.  Democracy can only work with an informed, active demos.  Otherwise, it is as evil as any other system.

So what shall we watch tonight?  “Orange Is the New Black”, “Criminal Minds”, “American Crimes”,  one of the CSI’s, “Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer” — or do you aim higher “House of Cards”, something BBC Mystery?  Or should we just watch the news?

Delanceyplace.com   7-18-17 for a fascinating quote from Never a Dull Moment by David Hepworth.

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