Thursday, April 21, 2011


The Devil is a good many things and more:

“I smoke because the money I spend on cigarettes is money I’d otherwise spend on booze, and when I drink I beat my kids.” But he does that anyway.

“I think it’s better to stay away from her because she’s better off without me.” But that’s fearful conjecture at best.

“I cheat on tests because they’re designed to be too hard in the first place.” But she never studies for more than ten minutes a day.

“There’s no point in voting. Nothing we do makes a lick of difference.” But that’s asking for what one gets, if not a vote all its own.

“Drinking is what keeps me sane. It allows me to forget the things which trouble me.” But nothing has been forgotten and, if anything, matters have become exacerbated.

“Wanton unprotected sex with eight mutual acquaintances is the best way to teach my ex a lesson.” But it does so much more than that, and not to the ex.

“I’m not running. I’m changing gears, and far away at that.” But the cost to oneself far outweighs the benefits.

“Nothing will change. I know it’s true. Nothing you say to the contrary will alter the truth. We can’t change. Don’t ask me to think about it. This is for the best." But that’s untrue on all counts.

Pessimism and justifications have their rightful place and time, but The Devil goes one step further, beyond the realm of reason into one that lies on the edge of self-destruction and, much worse, that of stagnation. Stillness is not what The Devil craves, per se, but it’s the end result of rationalizing pathetically obtrusive thoughts, behaviors, and values; and yet, the path of The Devil is seductively, deceptively facile - which is not to say that it’s effortless. Far from it, in fact, as such an outlook requires constant attention to neglecting details, details which, lo and behold, would lift The Devil from the quagmire of his own design.

Of all the cards, The Devil is, ostensibly, the most alluring to those with more than a few copies shuffled into the deck. Seemingly luxuriate within its willful ignorance, The Devil nonetheless potentially undermines all the decisions that may lead to progress, offering instead the pleasure of shallow ease fueled by defeatist tendencies, a criminal’s incredulity, and subversive diversion. (In-of-itself, The Devil is not the most dangerous card, but on the rare occasion it's paired or conjoined with others, the results can be cataclysmic.)

Even so, there comes a time, however, when The Devil must loosen its hold and give way to something else. That, or languish forever. But the sway of other cards is powerful indeed and even The Devil can see change coming, foolish justifications be damned.

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