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The Devil: A Projection of Ourselves
My World on May 18, 2005

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: May 17, 2005
Latest Update: May 17, 2005

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Index of Topics on Site Imaginative Activism: My World on May 18, 2005.

We often speak of judicial activism meaning that judges sometimes try to create law by re-interpreting the law according to their own preferences. We hear this currently with respect to abortion, to the influence of church within state, to the death penalty, and to safety nets for those who may need them. Judicial activism, when it actually tries to alter the law as our legislature has enacted it, as Governor Schwarzenegger is presently doing in California (guess you would call it gubernatorial activism) is a social problem issue because it destroys the checks and balances through which our system protects itself from the tyranny of those in power.

Some judicial activism is necessary. The kind in which judges make an honest attempt to interpret the laws as we have enacted them within the social context as it has evolved today. Courts are usually very conscious of holding to the standard that we will not substitute our judgment for that of another so long as the other had the right to make the judgment and the judgment could conceivably be drawn by a reasonable person.

I wish we had a standard like that to guide our imaginations. Tell us the hunchback of Notre Dame is evil; he looks evil; we believe he's evil. We have a hard time believing the elephant man is human. We often fall back on the assumption that people "deserve" what has happened to them. I'd like to call that "imaginative activism." Old wives' tales abound. About the homeless. About the poor. About immigrants. About the rich. Those are Martha Minow's unstated assumptions, and they get us into a whopping lot of trouble.

Sabra tells me in all innocence that she doesn't know what the devil looks like. Neither do any of the rest of us. But the images in smoke at the Twin Towers sure give us a lot with which to ploy our imaginative activism.

Sabra Trevilla wrote on May 17, 2005 in Message No. 4796:

Jeanne I really don't know what the face of the devil looks like because I have not seen him personally. But I would like to add that if that is a face in the smoke from the fire it is an evil looking one.

Sabra, I can't even get my mind around the concept of "seeing the devil." It eludes me. What we actually imagine is something evil, something scary, something ugly. But Christ speaks of temptation, and do you imagine He would have been tempted by such a visual image? So maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't recognize the devil if we fell right over him. Holding onto good thoughts might protect us from his image or his visual presence. It's like seeing the Bogeyman. Once you turn the lights on, he's gone! Or so goes childhood.

I hope it's only in Hollywood movies one ever gets to see "the devil." For all of you who want to see what we're talking about try Visual Sociology: Clouds

Then consider that you were looking for the femine goddess, so much spoken of these days, but imagine that you were thinking of evil and consorting with devils, so that you thought of Lilith. See if you can see a feminine giant perverse goddess lurking in those clouds:

. . .

Could Lilith be there? Can you see her? Would she scare you?

Lilith is the goddess of Hebrew myth. She was the first woman created, but wouldn't obey Adam, hence Eve. Lilith is said to have gone off into the caves and forests and consorted with devils. She was the heroine of the Women's Movement of the 70's.

love and peace, jeanne



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