Sunday, 23 November 2014

Satan is a process (in the modern world)

A personification of Satan for modern times would be the voting committees that administer almost everything – from supreme courts and parliaments down to peer reviewers and job interviews and casting committees, and the millions of casual votes of ad hoc groups here and there to decide this and that.

Satan works at the level of the invisible, indefinable committee decision; because none of the participants in that decision feel responsible for it.


What would very obviously have been a moral decision when made by a single person, is apparently moved into the level of pure abstract necessity by the simple fact of taking a vote.

'The group' is treated on the one hand as a responsible moral agent, capable of reason; and yet none of 'the group' need actually believe in the rightness of that group decision, that it really was the proper and best decision in that situation. Indeed, as individuals, every single member of the committee may disagree with the decision of the group - yet that decision stands.


Who, then, has made that moral decision? The answer is the process has made that moral decision (the group dynamic process, the committee procedure, the voting process - whatever).

But how can we hold a process morally responsible? For instance, how can we hold 'democracy' (i.e. any specific system of voting and counting votes) responsible for electing an evil person as President or Prime Minister; or for implementing an evil law; or for unjust persecution of the innocent?

The answer is we cannot, so we do not, so evil is done by processes; and this happens countless billions of times every day.

What is remarkable about bureaucracy is that evil has been, apparently, conjured ex nihilo – from nothing.

Yes - Satan is bureaucracy; or vice versa, perhaps.