“Sympathy for the Devil”
Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m a man of wealth and taste. The Rolling Stones blasted out on the classic rock station as I headed out to my friend’s sailboat last Friday night. I was on the toll expressway which meant that I could do a breezy 120k (about 75 mph) while listening to intermittent reports of gnarled traffic heading into the weekend. I had a ways to go so I put my mind in neutral and started thinking about what Mick was saying…
In all of the sacred books of the world, chaos is depicted as the alpha and omega – the beginning and the end. More recently scientists have corroborated this with the chaos theory. Out of chaos emerges order. Worlds and systems within worlds, weather and populations build along certain patterns, hit a critical mass, a stone on the road disturbs the pattern and wham – the system careens out of control! Or so it seems.
Chaos – unavoidable if we or any system is to evolve to a higher level of creation – in a way, is a desirable manifestation if we are not to live in a drone-like world. The caterpillar weaves itself a cocoon and dissolves (literally) into chaos before an imaginal cell emerges where it did not exist before. At first the caterpillar’s immune system fights the ‘invader’ but the cells continue to multiply at such a rate and cluster to form a whole new entity – the butterfly. One analogy I heard was that the butterfly was so completely dissimilar to its caterpillar that it was like disassembling a bicycle and putting it ‘back’ together as a Cessna!
What does all this have to do with Mick and poor misunderstood Lucifer? Just this: At every significant change resulting in the radical evolution of humanity, something ‘terrible’ happened. The devil – to paraphrase the song – gets a bad rap because he is only acting out for ‘you and me’. But before we go plunging down the slippery slope of self recrimination for our shadow side – let’s agree that without Pilate sealing his fate, Jesus would have been a minor activist and Christianity never born.
Whether they are Roman, Tsarist or Wall Street, empires topple because ,like the Wizard behind the screen in Oz, they are mere projections of superiority and control. It is our collective agreement to believe in these empires that make them real. That doesn’t necessarily make us the devil’s pawn but it does give rise to the question; are we living an unexamined life? This is not a question of morality but of consciousness.
Our life – yours or mine – is a system in and of itself. We have our personal evolution within the complex organism of humanity. We can only ever be in charge of ourselves, develop our innate talents, and express our personal creativity – be it as parent, artist, CEO or emperor. When we deny our own personal evolution we lock ourselves down into the yoke of the status quo. Interestingly, there is no status quo – only the projections of those who would control through the screen of our TV, iPhone or computer. If we agree that nameless others know better what lifestyle will make us happy, what pill will offer greater sex, deeper sleep, or more regular bowel movements, then our lives become the colour of all colours mixed together – neither black nor red – but sludge.
We absolutely will not be happy – because we will never look like the airbrushed ‘them’ – six pack abs or perky butt. Pills to deaden the signal of our bodies little alerts come with side effects – like the nasty ‘a’ word – addiction. But on the bright side we will be a system ready for revolution to a higher order! It may not be as socially dramatic as a crucifixion in our midst, but it will invariably come wrapped in a nasty surprise and be just as personally cataclysmic.
It might be something ‘diabolic’ like cancer – although statistics have it that mis-prescribed drugs account for more deaths per year in North America. Or your ‘witch’ of a wife or ‘devil’ of a boss might kick you out of the house/job and force you to examine your life. Or you might get T-boned at an intersection by a drunken demon and have contemplative time in traction. The point is there is a new collective agreement emerging. We are moving from the numbness of the herd to the oneness of holism. You can come nice and easy – or you can stay dozing on the couch until you get the sharp rap upside of the head. Either way we are all waking up.
‘Bad’ things like holes in the ozone layer; unfit drinking water (acceptably treated water rife with hormones and antibiotics); clear cutting the primordial forests – Earth’s very lungs; AIDS, and war are diabolical results to a collective lack of individual consciousness. The good news is that the created universe is based on holism – whether you buy into it or not. Holism is the chaos out of which emerge yin and yang, humility and valour, light and dark, shadow and creativity, joy and sorrow, irreverence and veneration, mindlessness and mindfulness. This is an unparalleled moment to become conscious that we are the whole! Our every choice effects the world!
Do you have to fix the ozone layer? No – not exactly. What you have to do is fix the holes in your own personal universe. Do you have to join a task force to study the effects of undissolved hormones in ‘safe’ municipal water on the rate of breast and prostate cancer? No. Forget the study – demand healthful water now. Do you have to go to Africa and adopt an AIDS orphan or build a school? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe you can stay right where you are and be your own hero in your own true adventure of conscious Self emerging. The child you save might be the one within you.
The world is not ‘out there’ or ‘over there’. Sinners and saints, opportunities and obstacles, inertia and momentum all reside within our own hearts. How we consciously live in integrity with our own unique potential decides what kind of order will ultimately emerge out of the chaos. Our own personal business and how we conduct it is the business of the world. Will we be imaginal cells and, like the butterfly out of the caterpillar, co-create a world extraordinary and beautiful? Or will Lucifer continue to dance on our heads “puzzling
Like his name, Lucifer – lux meaning light and ferrous meaning bearer – is only shining a light on what we have allowed to grow in the dark of our unwillingness to see. It’s a lousy job but someone has to do it. You gotta feel sympathy for the guy.
P.S. This article was originally posted on Hubspot in 2009