A Dialogue with Mephistopheles
It’s the Devil, Joe.**
Yeah, right. Come on, Bill. You can do better than that.
No, really. It’s the Devil.
You mean, like THE Devil? Mephistopheles, Baphomet, Satan, The Cursed One, Asmo…
Yeah, yeah. I get the point. Yup, that’s me.
What in hell do you want with me?
Hah, hah, Joe. Good one. Pun intended, I assume?
Whatever. Who is this, really?
It’s… Well, for starters, why don’t you just call me Bub.
You got it.
(groan) Okay, I’ll play along until I figure this out. What can I do for you, Bub? I mean, seriously, I don’t even believe in you… Not really.
That’s why I picked you, Joe.
Okay, I’ll bite.
Look, I get enough hatred and adoration thrown at me from day to day depending on what I’m paying attention to down there on Earth; I figured it would be a nice change to talk to someone who was more open-minded, someone who was willing to consider different viewpoints.
And you picked me? Why would you want to talk with anyone at all?
To set some things straight.
Okay, let’s say I do play along. Can I still not believe in you, and demons, and imps, and the Nine Planes of Hell, and so forth.?
You can decide whatever you want. You can believe whatever you want — that’s where free-will comes in.
Free will is a topic we could discuss for hours, right there. Well, what can I do you for?
Why don’t we start with Evil. We can get back to Free Will a bit later on.
That seems like a pretty big topic right off the bat.
It might take us a couple of days. You still willing?
Sure, I’ll start… Here’s a question for you: What is evil?
I was hoping you would tell me.
The opposite of good!?!
I probably deserve that; but you don’t sound convinced.
How about consulting Daniel?
Webster’s always a good fallback. What’s he say?
Well, in the version I have: “1. morally wrong or bad; wicked… 2. harmful, injurious…” And the one I like best: “7. the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin…”
Sounds like me.
You are supposed to be the embodiment of evil. Get this, though — Webby ends with: “13. the evil one, the devil; Satan,” with “the evil one” in bold type.
Yeah, depressing isn’t it.
Depends on how you look at it. So you’re not enjoying the gig?
I don’t exist.
So I’m right?
In a way; and in a way not. Have you ever heard the phrase, “thought creates”?
So, there you have it. There are enough people out there that believe I do exist. So, here I am, sorry about that.
Yeah, and you’re talking to one person who doesn’t really believe in you. That seems like a major conundrum right off the bat. I’ll need a whole lot more convincing to change my mind.
Don’t be sorry. Trust me, it will be easier this way… So, tell me, do you believe in that statement from Webster, “the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin…”
Whoa, that’s heavy! There certainly seems to be enough “wickedness and sin around.” The hard part is whether there is a “force in nature” that influences it.
Your thing is working with “difficult people.” I know that doesn’t necessarily mean all difficult people are wicked or sinful, but…
Where does difficulty come from? … not to mention wickedness and sin? I guess I have some ideas.
Want to start there next time?
Got other pressing matters?
Well, you know, the wicked never rest.
Touche’! Next time it is then… And if I find out this is you Bill, you’re in serious trouble.
** My sincere apologies to Bill Cosby, Neale Donald Walsh, Jeff Rovin, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Andre Nickatina, and any others who have touched on this topic. This series of independent dialogues, however, is envisioned as a serious, semi-serious, and sometimes irreverent (how could it not be?) perspective on… well, you’ll see.
Best, Joe Koob