What is evil? We all have a general notion of it, and may have even interacted with it. Religions typically blame evil on personified entities, yet it seems so much bigger than any one person or thing. In order to understand conceptions of the Devil we must first understand this seemingly simple notion. However, evil is anything but simple.
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Episode 1 - Evil Part 1
[00:00:00] Don Early: Her name meant one who bears all gifts. According to Hesiod. She was the first woman on earth created perfectly by feistiness and then bestowed gifts by the gods. She was taught crafts by Athena, grace, femininity, and a quote cruel, longing by Aphrodite Hermes gave her the power of speech and a quote, shameless mind, and a deceitful nature.
[00:00:34] When she first appears before the gods wonder sees them. When they look upon her, she was quoting shear guile not to be with stood by men. This first woman was given a jar set by the gods to contain special kids, but was instructed specifically not to open it. Hermes took her to Epimetheus brother of Prometheus to take us his wife.
[00:01:02] Prometheus told his brother never to accept any gifts from the gods, but Epimetheus was so struck by her beauty, that he accepted her immediately. She brought with her the jar and her curiosity finally won out. Pandora, the first woman, opened the jar and all of humanity's evils burst forth into the world and terrified.
[00:01:29] She tried to close the jar, (later mistranslated as a box) shutting hope inside. Pandora's story was a way to explain why there was evil in the world and tragically, it bolstered deep misogyny, blaming mankind's evils on a woman. Commanded by Zeus, she was in fact created as a punishment to humanity for Prometheus's theft of fire.
[00:01:59] And yet another story bears striking similarities. God created Eve, the first woman, to be a wife for the first man, Adam. And they lived in the garden of Eden, naked and unaware. They were instructed by God that they could eat anything in the garden, except from the fruit of the tree of knowledge in the center of the garden, the serpent in the garden, convinces Eve who convinces Adam to eat from the forbidden tree, gaining knowledge and awareness and disobeying God, the first sin ever committed.
[00:02:41] Again, the reason why sin and evil exists is because of a woman. A woman who convinced a man to do wrong. And all of humanity is cursed with sin as a result. It is a story that attempts to explain why there is evil in the world. And it's a story that bakes misogyny right into the foundation of multiple religions, and is still taught today.
[00:03:10] It seems we cannot escape evil. Our stories to explain evil, have created more evil. And what is evil? Why do bad things happen? This is The Devil You Don't Know.
[00:03:25] Welcome to The Devil You Don't Know,the podcast that explores the historical and cultural relevance of the figure known as The Devil. I'm Don Early. And with me on this journey, we have Emily Quann. Hello, and Jeremy Spray. That's me. You guys. I am so excited to be finally doing episode one.
[00:04:10] Jeremy Spray: Yes. It's been a long journey to get to this point.
[00:04:14] There's been so many damn emails. Yeah. It's nice to find that, to see you in person
[00:04:19] Don Early: and just to like do this thing. And finally, so yeah, well, uh, I have some news. We have social media for this thing now. So you can find us at facebook.com/thedevilpodcast. Uh, we're on Twitter, at @thedevilpodcast.
[00:04:41] Probably didn't need the double at there at the devil podcast. Instagram is thedevilpodcast. Our Patreon is a patreon.com/thedevilpodcast. And then you can find, yeah, and then you can find us on YouTube. Um, it's just, you know, look upThe Devil You Don't Know. Uh, there's nothing there obviously yet, but it's a channel that's started.
[00:05:06] Jeremy Spray: not ever be another devil podcast, right. Because you've got no, I
[00:05:11] Don Early: mean, there isn't right now. Nice. I mean, I looked at. We got the devil pocket. In fact, I could probably have that as an actual domain. So something I'm going to look into this podcast is about tracing the history and the cultural context of the devil and the personification of evil.
[00:05:37] And that might sound like the same thing, but as we'll find out, that can mean a little bit different things. So, but before we get into the devil, you don't know, we should probably talk about who the heck we are. I guess I'll go first because I'm put this together and put you guys on for this. Thank you.
[00:05:57] Yeah. Yeah. At this time. All right. So I'm Don early. I am a filmmaker and producer for gosh, 20 some years now. And I've been acting I've done, uh, some writing for role-playing game. And so I have decided that the devil is super interesting and, uh, I always loved kind of doing radio in college. So podcasts seem like a good idea.
[00:06:27] And, and let's,
[00:06:29] Jeremy Spray: let's be clear not to, not to completely just going to wash over it. When you say you were filmmaking 20 years ago and work worked on creating a role-playing game, that was about demon hunters that was already about the devil and the angels and the celestial beings. Like this has been a part of your career for your entire career.
[00:06:50] You started with demon hunters. So you, you have some experience in some like re. Passionate about this type of subject. I just wanna point that out because you didn't, this is something that you've been into for a really long time. So you have a lot of, a lot of study
[00:07:05] Don Early: that goes into this. Yeah, I guess you're right.
[00:07:07] I didn't think about that. Uh, our first thing was demon hunters. So of course at that time I was, well, I was a classics though. I was into the classics I saw that's. The other thing is I'm a, I'm a classics major and I finally get to use my major guys. Hey,
[00:07:28] so, uh, so yeah, so that's me in a nutshell. Emily you want to go next? Uh, sure.
[00:07:35] Emily Quann: Uh, I was in demon hunters and the second one. Uh, so our relationship as friends goes back all the way to when we started doing those movies, um, I'm not a classics major. I was a political science than emphasis in legal studies and public administration, basically a pre-law degree.
[00:07:56] So that's my background. I'm not really doing any of that stuff right now. What I do like to do in my free time though, it's historical research. And so I've, oh my gosh. I'm such a nerd. I'm such a nerd is one of my hobbies. Um, but yeah, I, I love getting lost down rabbit holes of, I have a question about something, so I'll check it out and then, oh, what's this, I'll check that out.
[00:08:25] So my interest in the double action. Kind of started when you asked if I'd be willing to co-host this with you? I hadn't actually given it much thought before, but, uh, it sounds like a lot of fun. Um, talk about a lot of rabbit holes to get lost in. Um, and so, and I just have barely even scratched the surface.
[00:08:45] Uh, so, uh, this is to be a lot of fun. I first see a lot of my free time spent with numerous things to read and watch and learn about. So
[00:08:58] Don Early: is your family going to look at you weird with all this devil stuff? They
[00:09:02] Emily Quann: may, they may,
[00:09:07] Don Early: well, Jeremy, you're up.
[00:09:09] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. So, uh, didn't go to college with you guys, but I I've known both of you for well over a decade, I think closer to 15 years now. And, uh, my background is, is a little bit different. I am also an actor and I've, I've been at a film actor and, and. You've worked in television and film for well over 15 years now, I am a corporate trainer and, uh, telling stories in different ways to audiences.
[00:09:36] But I grew up, uh, evangelical. I was, I was raised in the evangelical church and I had a real hard time connecting to a lot of the material. The one thing I could connect to is stories and characters. And so the way I was able to relate it to my life, that wasn't full of fear was understanding the characters of all the stories that I heard.
[00:09:58] So Lucifer coming down and, and the biblical references to the Bible and the adversary and Satan and all of those. But it's, uh, it's a real interesting thing for me going into the idea of the devil, because I did so much, uh, I would, I would say Scholastic studying of it's, uh, as a kid, because that, that was how I could kind of conceptualize the biblical information, but I couldn't get into any of the actual lore or mythology or even pop culture references because my parents were so afraid of it.
[00:10:33] So the satanic panic was very real in my household, Dungeons and Dragons to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Like it. God-like or God based at all. I couldn't watch He-Man. I could barely watch GI Joe, like nothing that that would work for my parents. Like it was really, really shut down
[00:10:50] Don Early: fascinating that they wouldn't let you watch He-Man but they'd let you watch GI Joe,
[00:10:55] Jeremy Spray: right?
[00:10:56] Yeah. But like, even that was, was, was minimized. There was, there was a lot that was really, really, really scared of monsters was bad. And my house and my mom and dad's house, like it was, it was really intense. And so there was a part of me that was drawn to it because I was like, why is that so bad? What do I need to know about this?
[00:11:15] But I am very clear even as an adult that I have. These ingrained taught, trained, visceral reactions. I remember seeing a pentagram once. I think I was watching a movie like the burbs or, yeah, I think that was it right. There was, there was a whole satanic ritual situation where they to
[00:11:36] Emily Quann: I want to kill... Everyone, Satan is good. Satan is our pal-
[00:11:39] Jeremy Spray: say this good that's right.
[00:11:41] And like, I remember seeing it and it was supposed to be funny, but I had this, like, I need to be afraid of this. And I had this trained, like that's bad. That's really, really bad. And now I'm 42 and I know way better than all of that. And I still have those reactions. I still see it. I still have this, the, this knee-jerk.
[00:12:03] And so, uh, I'm really excited to kind of talk about that and tend to go, go into the, where did that come from? Why do we have it? What's what's coming up from it. And who else does it affect? Because it's, it's really interesting. No matter what I believe about the devil or where it comes from. I have a reaction every time I hear about the devil and, uh, and, and it, it comes up and it's consistent.
[00:12:26] Don Early: So, yeah,
[00:12:27] Emily Quann: that's really interesting because you grew up in a religious family and I did too. In fact, my dad was a pastor with the evangelical Lutheran church of America. Um, and so I grew up going to church every single Sunday. That's what you did, you know? Um, and I was mentioning this earlier that I have no recollection of my dad ever preaching about Satan or the devil, anything like that.
[00:13:04] And I mean, I did not miss Sundays that that was a big no-no, you know? So, um, it's so weird. That two people growing up in religious families and, and, you know, these are, the beliefs have very different experiences with that.
[00:13:21] Don Early: If I might add also both Christian, both considered a Christian background, a Christian related,
[00:13:29] Emily Quann: and maybe it's just the Lutheran denomination that we were, my dad would, would preach and tell stories, you know, uh, about the life of Jesus, um, the parables, the good news, his birth, his death, but nowhere in there do I ever remember him talking about the devil was going to take your soul and you need to repent and you, and you need to do all of this stuff and, and, you know, to protect your soul.
[00:13:58] Like there was none of that. And so I, you know, I think that the first concept that I ever had of the devil was. Uh, watching Fantasia and, and that the short animation of Night on Bald Mountain where right. And the, and I mean, I was young when I watched this, but of, of this big beastly creature, just collecting all of these innocence and throwing them into fire and stuff.
[00:14:27] And I mean, it was terrifying as a child for sure. Um, and so it was, and that was my first concept, I think, of the devil and hell and evil. Um, so yeah, and then I'm probably the next one was the burbs.
[00:14:48] So I kind of knew it existed. I knew it was there, but it wasn't really a big deal that I thought was like real or anything, you know, it was just even, even at a young age, I thought, oh, this is a concept. Is, is that there? Uh, probably not. That seems kind of like. So, but, but anyway, yeah. So just, just that, that difference between our two very religious families, um, that's just really striking to me.
[00:15:18] Don Early: This is something that I've been picking up on, um, as I've been delving into, um, uncovering just what I can about this figure. And so this podcast is dedicated to tracing the history and the cultural context of the devil and the personification of evil. And we'll kind of talk about what those two things mean as, as we go on, but why this subject, why the devil, what you guys just talked about is exactly the reason.
[00:15:54] Um, every single person that I have ever talked to about this subject has an opinion one way or the other. They have strong feelings, usually. Um, and it and strong feelings in either it's like bullshit and it's a scare tactic. And, um, you know, something to that, the Christians made up to control the believers and things like that to more like maybe your parents, Jeremy, where they, it was very real and it was a, a threat, uh, it was existential.
[00:16:33] And, but also in this present moment, a spiritual active warfare against you kind of situation. Um, and there's, there's a whole gamut in between there. I grew up Lutheran like you, Emily. I didn't, I only started going to church when I was 15, but my parents might, you know, we weren't super religious. We were, but we kind of went to church, uh, to more, for social reasons.
[00:17:02] Meet more people and have a community.
[00:17:05] Emily Quann: I mean, really what's better than coffee and cookies after
[00:17:08] Don Early: church and bad coffee at that, but it's still good.
[00:17:13] Emily Quann: The place
[00:17:13] Don Early: to be that's right. That's right. So my, my experience is very similar. I feel like you, you touched on I, my, uh, so my background is I've, I've studied Luther Martin Luther studied Christian theology, um, Marcus Borg, a lot of scholarship, some comparative religion, but I'm thinking I'm getting more into that now than before.
[00:17:42] And I think that's something that I'm noticing is that the devil as a real figure is not real prominent in the Lutheran faith. I mean the more conservative branch is probably more. More. So I think the, I think they tend to buy in a little bit more in this sort of evangelical line, but yeah, the main line, most of the, you know, and I think Methodists and, uh, and whatnot have a very similar, I call those the main line churches, you know, church of Christ.
[00:18:19] And I feel like it, we sort of treat it as like this intellectual concept that a us or a story device that is important to wrestle with and, and think about figuratively to apply it to daily life. But it wasn't really like this existential threat. Now I also grew up with like Mormonism. Around in where I grew up, a lot of my friends, my girlfriend at the time and whatnot.
[00:18:53] And so, um, their understanding what. Very interesting as well. And I don't remember a lot of it. I'm going to have to get in, get back into it and, um, you know, see if I can talk to you some knowledgeable folks to get a better understanding, but I think that's the point is that even, even atheists have strong visceral feelings, either a rejection or, um, you know, on the conservative side, a complete acceptance and like trying to arm up and defend themselves.
[00:19:26] So I feel like the reason why I wanted to do this podcast is that it seems to me that the world has a lot of fear going on right now. I mean, we've had this year and a half long pandemic that has created a bunch of fear. Um, we had Donald Trump for four years and we had, uh, escalating school shootings and violence, uh, leading up into that.
[00:19:55] You know, we've had mass occurs and you know, other countries, border issues, the separation of children at the border. Uh, there's, there's just a lot of these things that I would consider evil or at least evil acts or evil systems. And I th I feel like we're seeing a rise in people believing real supernatural forces, um, going on, at least we see that in the media, you know,
[00:20:28] Emily Quann: meaning that it might not be the devil as a singular entity, but just the devil representing this, this concept of evil.
[00:20:39] Don Early: Well, that's part of what I want to do this podcast and find out, but oh, what I'm referring to? Yeah, no, no, no, you're fine. What I'm referring to is that I feel like just given from. The anti-vax sort of, uh, feeling about in the fear that's sort of driven there. Um, the Q Anon support where that really took fire with, um, Donald Trump and, um, and that sort of thing.
[00:21:12] And, and it was just surprising to me how, what seems to be a lot of people believing it and these, uh, you know, I know some of these people and they're good people, they're smart people. Um, so what it occurred to me is maybe if we start trying to understand what is evil in their worldview, what is the devil to them?
[00:21:43] We might have a better ability to talk about it and to maybe come to terms with it a little bit more. It's easy to do other isms. I mean, I'm guilty of it myself. I am, I do this so much. I, I do kind of feel like I'm a pretty judgmental person. And so when there's something that I don't like, or you don't, you know, it's, it's, it's there for me.
[00:22:07] Um, and so when there's a group of people, much like Q Anon, or Trump supporters or things like that, it's easy to lump them into a group that maybe perceived as less intelligent or less than whatever it is, less than, you know, so even most of us are capable in guilty of doing that on Sunday. To anybody, either conscious or unconscious.
[00:22:35] And I feel like a study of the devil and the study of evil will help us reveal some of that in our own selves, but also maybe elevate everyone's consciousness level and awareness so that we can engage with each other and maybe hopefully help reduce violence and atrocities and things like that. So, so I asked you folks to come join me on this journey.
[00:23:04] Why did you say yes.
[00:23:07] Emily Quann: Well, I thought that it would be fun to learn something new that. Honestly really don't know anything about, cause I, I haven't read up on it. Um, I, my, my preconceived notions are very, very limited, so it's, I always jumped at the chance to, to learn something new. So that's why I said yes.
[00:23:31] And who wouldn't want to hang out with your buddies to record something. So, um, that's, that's basically what I wanted to get to, and I thought that it would be especially interesting for me growing up as a pastor's kid and, and hearing wellbeing, being preached to every Sunday, not necessarily about this topic and was this topic left out intentionally and, and if so, what does that mean?
[00:24:01] So, um, anyway, yeah, just, just, I guess it's just a sense of deep curiosity for me. So that's why I said yes.
[00:24:10] Don Early: Well, I'm glad you're here.
[00:24:11] Emily Quann: I'm glad I'm here too.
[00:24:13] Jeremy Spray: Yeah. And, and on my end, uh, this is an idea that we talked about, right? We talked about going into the concept and, and what it would look like and, and having the conversation around, I mean, just having the podcasts in general and having the conversation together about what we were talking about, and then really diving into something that we find interesting.
[00:24:34] So a story that you and I look out for, we, we find the movies, we see the books. We, we, we have the conversations about where this came from and where these characters are. And, and like, there is an entire book in Dungeons and dragons about devils. They like all of these different characters and monsters about them and to the, you know, these infernal, magics and whatnot, that it just, it really inspires a lot of the, the fantasy mindset.
[00:25:03] So I'm here because it is already interesting. And it's already something that I. Like to, to seek out. And I have been for a long time and as Emily, so aptly put it who doesn't want to hang out with your friends and talk about stuff that you're into. So like, yeah. So I'm here for that.
[00:25:22] Don Early: Well, that's great. Um, I, that you just reminded me of what really, I guess, was the catalyst to putting this together, uh, F I've been searching for awhile, uh, of something, a project to do, and just not finding a lot of inspiration. And I was watching the television show Lucifer, and it just got my wheels turning about Cindy has to be a question about some of the lore that they're putting forth.
[00:25:49] And it's like, was that actually in the Bible? Is there something about that? And I'm like, oh, No, I don't think so, but I think it's coming from this other myth and there you're either putting this other thing together. And it just that, I mean, from there, I just spiraled out of control into a research and my awareness of a lot of what this character of the devil, when we say that we have, we're referring to the Christian, Satan, Lucifer, whatever.
[00:26:21] And there's, there's some attributes that we all kind of have this idea of what he is and who he is and what he does. Um, and there is this assumption that it's all in the Bible and it isn't. And in fact, there's, there's not a lot there. I mean, the devil is definitely there and the. And he serves a purpose, uh, in the stories, but what we'll get into, we're going to get real deep into all that.
[00:26:52] Um, but, um, but yeah, it just got me thinking. So, uh, popular media, Lucifer television show got me started in, in thinking of this. So love it. Well, we could talk about this forever. Um, but I think we need to get on track. So today's topic, uh, is going to be on the concept of evil, because I feel like before we get to the devil, which is, um, you know, the personification of evil, we need to understand what, what evil is all about.
[00:27:25] Right. Um, so that's where this episode is going to be dedicated for. And so to do that, we need to kind of try and establish a working definition of evil and just kind of, how to deal with it. Right. Um, there's about three different questions that we're going to try and answer. Maybe try, do our best. Yeah.
[00:27:50] So what is evil? Where does evil come from and why? And from whom does it happen? Like, why does it happen? Who does it? These are the big three that I feel like if we can wrap our heads around that, then we can segue and move on into the actual, you know, the devil himself kind of thing. Cool. So I think, uh, we'll go ahead and take a break.
[00:28:16] And when we come back, we will start with what is evil sounds good. I'm ready. We're going to start with what is evil, the definition of evil and. So I'm going to open this up to you too, and just start with, what do you think evil is? What, what is your understanding of evil?
[00:28:44] Emily Quann: Um, let's see, what is evil? I, I guess I would say it is doing or causing harm to others, uh, with intent, the intent to, to hurt others or cause.
[00:29:04] Yeah, I would chaos. I, I mean, I, I guess I, this is a tough one. This is
[00:29:11] Don Early: the eh. You see the conundrum with this. Uh, it's. It is very, very difficult to define as you'll see with any kind of universal, universal acceptance. So I'll, I'll put a F a way forward for us, I should say right up front that a lot of this material is coming from a book called the devil perceptions of evil from antiquity to primitive Christianity by Jeffrey, Jeffrey Burton Russell.
[00:29:42] And, uh, the reason why I have been really kind of stuck to this book is that every time I go somewhere else to other sources to. Um, get more information, get a different perspective. Uh, they all refer it back to him. So, so far, so he like, he's the guy. Um, and, uh, and it was written in the late seventies to mid eighties.
[00:30:09] Uh, there's a four book series. This one in particular,
[00:30:12] Jeremy Spray: That's why he doesn't have a podcast
[00:30:14] Don Early: yeah. That this was written in the nineteen, like 19, yeah late seventies. So, um, some of what we're going to talk about is going to feel a little bit dated that's okay. We can criticize that. Um, but, uh, but yeah, so I just wanted to make that known, um, and it, and all of my other sources, I'm going to put into the podcast notes.
[00:30:33] So you be able to check out the links and read articles for yourself. So, um, w what is evil, let's try and make some kind of definition of that. And I think, I think as we just saw, um, evil cannot be defined with universal acceptance. Like it's, I think it's impossible, right? We all can agree on exactly what the, and not just the three of us, but like everyone.
[00:31:04] Um, so we need to, for the purposes of this podcast, we need to kind of narrow it down, uh, to something that we can agree on and right out of the gate, the first few sentences of this book called the devil it, um, I'm going to, I'm going to quote this. The essence of evil is abuse of a sentience. Being a being that can feel pain.
[00:31:32] It is the pain that matters. Evil is grasped by the mind immediately and immediately felt by the emotional. It is sensed as hurt, deliberately inflicted.
[00:31:46] Emily Quann: Yeah. Yeah,
[00:31:47] Don Early: I guess so Jeffrey Burton Russell right out of the gate, uh, attempts to define it. And I, I don't know how you guys feel, but I think it goes beyond a sentient being don't you?
[00:32:01] No. Oh
[00:32:02] Jeremy Spray: yeah. I w I wouldn't say that evil is reliant on a being doing it or causing it, or even creating it. I think evil is evil. If there is an intent of harm, whether it be a person's intent of harm or someone else's. If, if it is, uh, if it's a, if it's a knowledge, you know, it acknowledging a willing act to hurt someone else, I would consider
[00:32:28] Don Early: that evil.
[00:32:29] Sure. I mean, so I'm going to rephrase it this way. Okay. Evil is the abuse of a living baby. Causing suffering. And I'm going to leave it at that because I think you're right. I think there's a lot of factors and forces going on.
[00:32:49] Jeremy Spray: I have to agree with you on that one. I think if I go back to my, my crazy psychology investment of watching Dexter and recognizing that, right, the, uh, the psychopathic killer, the one who's got, the mental illness needs to kill something, needs to harm something.
[00:33:08] Whether that thing is, has done them a wrong like that. That's kind of a common thread throughout the series. Uh, I, you know, I have that same thought of like, well, if I killed a slug, right, did, does the slug know? I don't know that the slug knows that it was alive or that it was existing, but if I intentionally causing it harm and possibly deriving pleasure from it, like M said, that still sounds like.
[00:33:37] Yeah. Whether or not the slug knows it was having an evil act put upon on
[00:33:41] Don Early: it. I think unfortunately I have a more, uh, I'm not going to get into the details of it, but there's a real prominent example that has come, that comes from, uh, our growing up, our experiences of growing up there is this a series of films called the Faces of Death.
[00:34:00] Do you remember this at all? They were essentially snuff films of kids doing really awful things to animals and other thing, you know, whatever, just, and really doing extreme things and torturing, uh, stuff. So I, I, again, I would call that evil and animals don't necessarily fall under that. So, um, that's why I say I rephrased to the evils, the abuse of a living being that can feel suffering.
[00:34:34] Um, so going on, I mean, he, he definitely seems to go along with the suffering part. So he says, you know, evil is the cause of suffering the abuse of a person, other, or other living being that can experience suffering. Um, yeah. And I think if we're going to talk about suffering, we have to go to Buddhism. Um, it's so central to, uh, its tenants.
[00:35:03] And so Buddhism says that, um, evil is a cause of suffering. Suffering does not necessarily have to be an evil experience. Right. Um, yeah, but evil or excuse me, human negative actions and beliefs, uh, give rise to either. And in, in particular greed, anger and ignorance, they cite some will add hatred to this list.
[00:35:36] And so evil is something to overcome in order to achieve enlightenment. So there's three types of suffering that comes up painful experiences like old age sickness, death, trauma, um, constant change. So we constantly lose things in situations that we're attached to. And then finally is just the dissatisfaction due to the lack of enlightenment.
[00:36:06] So we're Buddhism, that's, uh, those are three types of suffering. Um, and the, the root of all suffering, I find this amazingly interesting. Does the root of all suffering is desired. Desire causes suffering that the pursuit of a thing. Right. I just realized you couldn't
[00:36:27] Jeremy Spray: hear my facial reactions. Yeah. Oh yeah.
[00:36:31] That's really interesting. Yeah. That's that's I mean, when I think of it, that in those terms, it, of course it makes sense because the intent of desire is to want something as to whether it's something I have or something I don't have. It's usually something I perceive that I don't have. And so therefore, by being in lack, I would be suffering.
[00:36:55] That's a, that's a real interesting kind of coin flip side way to
[00:36:59] Don Early: look at it. Yeah. Um, evil is a, is senseless, meaningless destruction. So Eric from, uh, puts this, uh, as evil is life turning against itself. Um, this is from his, uh, the anatomy of human destructiveness. That's a good saying. Yeah.
[00:37:23] Jeremy Spray: Yeah.
[00:37:23] Interesting concept too. Cause that would, that would imply that life itself is opposite of evil. So evil, evil is life attacking life or, or right back to that causing harm causing an intentional pain. Yeah.
[00:37:39] Don Early: Yeah. Well, and there, I think there's a sense of betrayal there too. Yeah. Right. So life betraying itself, um, I think is part of that human evil, and I, if there's nothing else that we get out of this, I think to me, this is the, the kernel, the, the central core of, of what evil is evil is as humans perceive it to be the perception of evil is a direct, immediate experience of something done to an industry.
[00:38:14] Whether it be person or animal or whatever. So it's based on your own experiences, you try to identify with the suffering of others. And I just feel like the key to that is evil is what we perceive it to be. So
[00:38:33] Emily Quann: therefore it's different to each individual. Yeah. Okay.
[00:38:43] Don Early: Um, but I do like that, it's the experience of immediate, like the immediate experience of something done to something else that causes suffering.
[00:38:56] Right. Um, and then we try a new identify with that. We it's it's in our nature to do that through empathy. Right. So which segues to the. Uh, thought is through empathy. Um, we can actually do this with, um, with individuals that we know personally or complete strangers, whether it's thousands of miles away or thousands of years away, um, the distance doesn't really matter.
[00:39:28] We, eh, when we hear the story of the individual by means of empathy, we can experience a version of that ourselves. Um, so examples of this would be like the heretic burning at the stake or tortured in the dungeon. Joan of arc comes to mind or a real person who experienced this. Uh, when we read her accounts, read her story, you know, we can be there.
[00:40:05] The Jewish mother and her children in the gas chamber, you know, back in world war two. Um, the show man in the high castle has a very, uh, moving and heart-wrenching, uh, example of what I just talked about. Um, a couple of other things that I want to I'll throw out there just because they're personal to me.
[00:40:28] Um, you know, the gay man beaten to the edge of his life, uh, only to, um, die several days later. Um, you know, I'm talking about Matthew Shepard, uh, and, uh, and of course the, the woman who was raped by her drunk boyfriend, now that's a lot of people's stories, unfortunately. But, um, the one that stands out to me is the Brock Turner case.
[00:40:52] Yeah. Um, yeah. And so we, we have to understand evil in terms of the individual. Um, when we get abstract, you know, we really can't get there. We can't really grasp with evil, all that. Well, it doesn't really prompt us to action of any kind for the most part w um, so evil, just, it always has to come back to the suffering of the individual and we can perceive on a larger scale, but yeah, uh, I just feel, he feels, and I agree that.
[00:41:34] When we move beyond the individual, it gets more distant and more difficult to really wrap your brain around. I
[00:41:43] Emily Quann: agree. I mean, you, you know, it's, it's bad, but, but when it, when it's dealing with a specific individual and you, and you hear that individual story, there's almost an intimacy there. And that, that makes it so much more real.
[00:42:02] Jeremy Spray: I agreed that you were like, back to that thought you just mentioned of the gas chamber, Don. Like I knew the Holocaust was horrific. 6 million people were killed, but like, I hear that and I go, wow, that's awful. 6 million people that I can't conceptualize. I can't visualize how many people that is. I can't even, I can barely get around it.
[00:42:22] You say that one woman and her children who got killed in a gas chamber, that I feel that, that, that I have that reaction. You'll go, oh my God. That is so evil causing that, that type of harm.
[00:42:36] Don Early: Yeah. This one is I found a article in the international journal of sociology and anthropology. It's called an investigation of sin and evil in African cosmology.
[00:42:52] Uh, it was written by, uh, oh, I'm going to butcher this name, but, uh, Kasama Daniel, I think is how we pronounce that. And he explains that in African religions, in his study, uh, evil is wrongdoing or badness or destruction of life. And I thought that was really interesting that Emily, you brought up badness as well.
[00:43:18] That, uh, that there is, um, that evil is perceived as a bad thing, um, or badness, but it's, it has
[00:43:29] Emily Quann: to go beyond that because bad things happen and often bad things that happen accidentally. But I really feel that there has to be an intent behind the bad outcome for it to truly be. Uh, evil or influenced by the devil or of who basically maybe is the personification of evil or the objectification of evil people turned into an object, which is the devil, I guess, but I mean, that might be moving forward, but back to badness, um, my cat's knocked a plant off, off the thing woke us up in the middle of the night, scared me after death.
[00:44:26] Um, this, that was a bad thing that happened. It, it killed the plant, it broke my pot. It was a huge mess to clean up that that was not a good thing. And if not good as bad, then that was a bad thing. Was that evil? Of course. That, that, you know, there there's no intent there there's no. So I,
[00:44:46] Don Early: and again,
[00:44:47] Jeremy Spray: you're putting a lot of assumptions in there, like and hatred against that plant.
[00:44:54] Emily Quann: Um, I don't know. Maybe, maybe there was, oh man, but, but you see, you see what I'm saying? That something is bad, but just because it's bad, that does not mean evil was behind it.
[00:45:10] Don Early: I just want to point out that we are also thinking in terms of like the American first world, even white perspective here on what wrongdoing and badness is, right.
[00:45:24] Those understandings, uh, can be very, very different to other communities. Um, right. And
[00:45:33] Emily Quann: I picked the most mundane. Less of bad thing that I can think of just to go from one extreme to the, to
[00:45:41] Don Early: the right, but too many, they wouldn't call it bad unless it was evil. Okay. Let's see what I mean. Gotcha. Um, so yeah, it's again, M people is all over everywhere trying to con you know, wrestle and, and come up with some way to understand this thing that we experience, you know, in ancient Egypt, I love this, uh, evil is the disruption of Ma'at, the ordered harmonious justice of the cosmos done by the individual.
[00:46:20] So it's the disruption of the harmonious justice of the cosmos. Done by an individual.
[00:46:29] Jeremy Spray: It feels a lot like the turning life on, on itself as well as a deal, right. Life, life working against itself.
[00:46:37] Don Early: Absolutely. Um, some say that, uh, as you've brought up, uh, evil is the absence of good or nothingness. You said the opposite of good, but some say that evil is just the absence of good it's nothingness.
[00:46:55] It's like a vacuum. Hmm. Um,
[00:46:58] Emily Quann: that's not what I would think at, at all. I guess just, just nothingness, I, I guess, would be maybe in the middle, not good or evil to me anyway. Yeah.
[00:47:13] Don Early: Now we're going to get to my buddy Martin Luther, um, Martin Luther, the. Cipro century long
[00:47:22] Jeremy Spray: Lutheran 16th century monk, bro. Yeah.
[00:47:25] Don Early: So Luther uses the word sin, an evil kind of interchangeably, and he has some pretty strong feelings about it.
[00:47:39] And, but for Luther. So again, just to recap, Luther was a Catholic Catholic monk who decided to read the Bible for himself and study it. And he found things that the church was teaching that didn't seem to line up. And so, um, that kind of sent him down the path that he went on. And so for him, sin and evil really is about the turning away or the not trusting God.
[00:48:18] And the trust is the real trust in the divine. Is that real key thing here. It's sort of believing that you don't need God, you can do it on your own, you know, better than anyone else.
[00:48:32] Emily Quann: So in that vein, he would then think that people who have no belief in God who are just going about their daily lives, not having God in any type of consideration in their lives, uh, would be evil then is that
[00:48:52] Don Early: he would say that they are just trapped in sin.
[00:48:55] Um, and
[00:48:58] Emily Quann: I thought you said, is he uses
[00:49:02] Don Early: interchangeably. He does. But what I'm seeing is that I don't think he would call the person evil. He would call that they, they are stuck in a state of, of evilness or sinfulness, you know, um, That's a good, it's a good thing to point out. I appreciate that. Um, and he had some very interesting thoughts along the way around that, you know, um, I think another way to put it is that, um, you know, trust in the divine is the king key factor for Luther.
[00:49:35] Um, that's his big thing. Only God can create good. So all good comm originates from God. That's, that's his perspective. And a person relying on themselves are just incapable of doing it on their own. Um, and that's where he sort of operates. Uh, he says, quote, the will of man without the grace of God is not free at all.
[00:50:03] But as the permanent prisoner and bond slave of evil, since it cannot turn itself to.
[00:50:11] Jeremy Spray: So, hang on. Let me talk about this. Cause I, I have a pretty solid disagreement with the idea that sin is evil and evil is sin all in all fairness, based on the concept of, of sin, right? The Judeo-Christian concept of what sin is.
[00:50:26] I would think that everything is evil as also a sin that probably fits causing harm to others, intentionally hurting others, uh, to be training them in everything that would be an evil act killing that we like. We've mostly been using as an example. Sin totally makes sense. But is all sin, intentionally evil is all sin sought to cause harm?
[00:50:48] Do you, do you think that that is a proper comparison of the two? Or do you want to just go with it because that's what Luther says and we're going to use his examples of it. Cause I'm a good,
[00:51:00] Don Early: um, my, my place is more, my position is that evil is, as we perceive it. So that can mean different things. And so to Luther, uh, sin is evil.
[00:51:15] Sin is the same. We are in slaved to it. We are in bondage to evil. Um, and so for him, that's why he needs, you know, you need God in order to pull you out of that. Um, and the devil was very, very personal to Luther. The devil was a character that plagued him and tortured him in real life as he perceived it.
[00:51:44] Um, and he agonized over this. So there's, we've got to kind of understand where he's coming from too. You know, I'm not saying it's right. And I'm not saying that, uh, that's the way we. You know, look at things, but it has influenced Christian thought for long time
[00:52:05] Emily Quann: life. Therefore it affected his writings and what he has taught to others.
[00:52:10] And there's an entire religion. Well, the whole Protestant movement, um, and all those denominations thereof, I guess, are influenced by
[00:52:22] Don Early: Luther. And, but the big thing that I always that sort of stuck out for me is that it's a change from evil as particular acts or particular wrongs against the church, uh, or witchcraft or whatever.
[00:52:41] Uh, although he was totally against it. Um, he changes this to a state of being that heaven and hell. He evolves to come to understand that these are not policing. After you die. They are states of being that we can experience in the here and now. Um, and that's, that's one of those things that I glove on to Luther's thought process about.
[00:53:10] Jeremy Spray: okay. Thank you. I didn't mean to kind of cut off the train, the train of thought there, but I w I wanted to kind of make sure that I was going down the same track.
[00:53:20] Don Early: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, I mean, and that leads us to the very end of this, which is evil as personified. We do this, but why? And so Russell says we feel evil as a deliberate malignancy happening to us from an external entity.
[00:53:40] That's how we experience evil. Um, we feel threatened. By hostile and alien powers and evils personified, because we just do that. We personify good and evil. We, we always talk about, you know, the, the universe is telling me this, or sometimes he might say I'm cursed or there's something, what we cannot comprehend.
[00:54:07] And we think of it that made this beautiful world, right? We get Australia by nature and there's like the, you know, we can get lost in this idea that there's gotta be some sort of intelligent design behind this amazingness or whatnot. We do the same thing with evil, you know, things that we cannot comprehend.
[00:54:27] We interpret as sending evil to us or,
[00:54:31] Emily Quann: or that we need that easy explanation. Yeah. So it's to find a way to explain what our brains can't. Yeah.
[00:54:41] Don Early: We don't want to take responsibility for it, to be honest. I mean, we, it is our, in our nature to shift blame on something else. Yeah. Question for you. Do you assign an image to evil?
[00:54:59] Jeremy Spray: Um, but I wouldn't even say image. I would say symbols. There's certain symbols that I look at them. I go immediately evil, like, like that. My reaction goes to that. And, uh, the swastika is one of those specifically the Nazi swastika, the one that's in the reverse flips. So the Nazi flag, that one strikes me as being evil immediately.
[00:55:19] Uh, I don't want to say it out loud, but I already admitted it earlier. The pentagram specifically the pentagram with the, with the, uh, goat face inside of it, the, the, The Bahamas or Baphomet, uh, face inside the pentagram that catches me as an evil reaction. Like if I see, and if I see a witch wearing that, or if that is a piece of decoration, I go, oh, that is the black magic.
[00:55:44] That's the dark one. That's the bad, that's an evil symbol. Um, I I, that one, I have struggled against more. I have, I've tried to retrain my reaction to that truly religious symbol. Um, more than a couple of times, uh, the swastika though, fuck Nazis. I that's always evil for me and I continue to stay in on that
[00:56:10] Don Early: one.
[00:56:10] Emily Quann: I agree. Yeah. I agree for me. I, I, I can recognize symbols that are meant to be associated with evil or the devil such as yeah. The, the pentagram that you were talking about, the numbers 6, 6, 6. I know that that's supposed to be the sign of the devil or, you know, something like that. Does that get a reaction for me?
[00:56:34] Like, I recognize that, but I don't put any stock in those things as actually being evil. So, but I, I recognize those as representative of evil because that's what I. Grown up with, and, um, that's what society has said are, are evil, you know, symbols.
[00:56:59] Don Early: So
[00:57:00] Emily Quann: cross the upside down cross, right. Uh, the movie, the Exorcist, you know, I, I learned a lot about the devil from that movie.
[00:57:11] Uh, yeah. So, um, but again, I recognize those symbols is just, those are there. Those are the symbols that represent the devil or evil in the world. Um, but they don't, they, they don't strike fear in me. They don't, I, yeah. Yeah. They, they don't weigh a lot to me in terms of, of how I feel about them. Like if, if someone were to hang across upside down in my house, that wouldn't terrify me, that wouldn't.
[00:57:48] Yeah, scare me or, or, or instill fear in me. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I guess that's it as an, as far as do I think that the devil is an actual being and if so, what does the double look like? I have no idea. I'd probably go to my very first image of the devil, which would be from Fantasia's night on bald mountain, this gigantic beastly creature with these glowing eyes killing things and yeah.
[00:58:20] Making them suffer. And, um, I guess that would be it. That would be,
[00:58:26] Don Early: I am so excited to image that I have delve into the imagery of the devil and where these things come from and because you're right. I mean, the way we picture the devil, the way we perceive or, you know, and, and conceptualize this being is.
[00:58:47] Yeah. Um, and art has such a impact upon making a thought real, right? It has inspired to the point of becoming real, becoming a reality. And obviously that can be good or bad, but, um,
[00:59:08] Emily Quann: the devil's museum and Lithuania, I, when I was reading some of this stuff, I came across this museum, which started as just this man's private collection of, of art depicting the devil.
[00:59:24] And now there's like 3000 pieces of art in this museum there. And they're all depictions of. What the devil looks like, and most of them are sculptures. And I was looking at some of these images and some of them are, you know, grotesque and, uh, just not at all pleasant to look at. And then some, I found just downright comical.
[00:59:50] Like they look like a joker or adjuster, um, that you would picture from the medieval times, you know, adjuster in a court, you know, weird hat, you know, weird shoes and stuff. And, um, so it's just really interesting how different artists have portrayed the devil. Uh it's cause it's many more of them than not are completely different than what I picture in my head.
[01:00:22] So it was fascinating to look through those.
[01:00:25] Don Early: That's awesome. I have no doubt. We're going to, uh, engage that particular museum in, uh, in an upcoming episode. It's just bound to happen. Thank you for listening to the devil. You don't know, uh, this is part one of a two-part episode on evil. So go download part two right now.
[01:00:50] If you haven't already, uh, be sure to subscribe and leave a review, you can find us on Spotify or apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spreaker, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can find us on social media, facebook.com/the devil podcast, Twitter. Um, we're at the devil podcast, Instagram, the devil podcast and patrion.com/the devil podcast.
[01:01:19] Um, you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, the devil, you don't know, uh, just a reminder, nothing there yet, but there will be soon. And, uh, speaking of the Patrion, we do have some Patrion shout outs, but I am saving those for the end of part two. So join us for more of the devil. You don't know.
[01:01:54] Next on the devil. You don't know
[01:02:01] Jeremy Spray: it's called you out.
[01:02:02] Don Early: Oh, hang on a second.
[01:02:06] Emily Quann: I'm not the one doing harm to people who are, who are doing harm. What if I'm just enjoying that, that harm is coming to them because they're crappy people
[01:02:15] Jeremy Spray: and that's,
[01:02:17] Don Early: it was an evil
[01:02:18] Jeremy Spray: action and an evil action, or even an evil thought because of causing harm to somebody else.
[01:02:23] And now, uh, my justified. Doesn't feel as justified cause I was being able to them. So fuck you.
[01:02:34] Don Early: I hear ya. I mean, if we're going back to this understanding that evil is the intentional causing of suffering. I understand. I'm just reporting stuff. I read in the book. Okay.