The Roman Philosopher Lucius Anneaus Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE) was perhaps the first to note the universal trend that growth is slow but ruin is rapid. I call this tendency the "Seneca Effect."

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Are the Evil Gods Returning? Or is Evil is Inside us?


Benito Mussolini in 1922: is this the face of evil? Maybe, but Mussolini was not worshiping evil deities, he was not eating babies, he was not making human sacrifices. He wasn't even indulging in bouts of satanic laughter, as evil characters are supposed to do. There was nothing behind the mask. Mussolini was just a victim of his own propaganda.  

As a devoted reader of H.P. Lovecraft's stories, I have always found the idea of evil deities fascinating. The existence of supernatural entities that somehow control people's minds could explain a lot of things that otherwise would seem impossible to understand. But Lovecraft's horror stories are so over the top that they are not really scary. His evil Gods are comic book characters, clumsy creatures haunting dark and desolate places. Not even the mighty Cthulhu and his minions ever directly intervened in human political decisions. 

Yet, sometimes you have the sensation that something truly evil is moving in the world. Naomi Wolf expressed the idea most clearly in a recent post of hers.   

I could not explain the way the Western world simply switched from being based at least overtly on values of human rights and decency, to values of death, exclusion and hatred, overnight, en masse — without reference to some metaphysical evil that goes above and beyond fallible, blundering human agency. ...

What we have lived through since 2020 is so sophisticated, so massive, so evil, and executed in such inhumane unison, that it cannot be accounted for without venturing into metaphysics. Something else, something metaphysical, must have done that. And I speak as a devoted rationalist.

Lately, I've been thinking along similar lines. I even argued that worshiping the evil deity Baphomet could be a good idea for really nasty people who want to dominate the world. Overall, though, I think it is not the right explanation. No matter how inexplicable the rise of evil can look, it is still something that comes from inside us, not from the outside. Evil is us, eventually.

The recent release of the "Lockdown Files" in Britain supports this idea. These files contain the messages sent and received by Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care during the lockdown period in Britain. In these messages, Hancock doesn't sound evil. He just writes as if he cared only about himself and his personal prestige. He wanted to "own the exit," and he didn't care about the British people, whom he evidently considered a band of morons. We were mistreated by dumb bureaucrats, not by the minions of evil deities.

Now, I have a stated policy that I call the "Grokking Strategy" that consists in listening to everyone and trusting no one. So, I am perfectly willing to consider the hypothesis that the Hancock files are a psyop designed to divert the public's attention away from the hidden forces that governed the reaction to the pandemic. On the whole, though, I think these files are genuine. They make sense, and they also match other examples of the same kind. For instance, we recently saw similar leaks of messages sent and received by the Italian equivalent of Hancock, Mr. Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health of the Italian government during the lockdown period. We can't swear on the authenticity of these leaked messages, but they fit with the personality of Mr. Speranza. Like Hancock, he was clearly trying to "own the exit." In late 2020, he published an autobiographical book designed to show how he had been valiantly fighting the virus and eventually had succeeded in squashing it. The book was quietly removed from the market when it turned out that the pandemic was not over. Now a printed copy is a rare collector's item.

Speranza and Hancock are just examples of the attitude of many people who reach the top. They are psychopaths, caring only about themselves, unable to feel anything for other people. They have zero or nearly zero empathy. Hannah Arendt describes this attitude for Adolf Eichmann, the German war criminal executed in 1962. 

What he said was always the same, expressed in the same words. The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with an inability to think, namely, to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such.”

We find another example of this attitude with Benito Mussolini, who ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943, and part of it up to 1945. For him, we have the equivalent of the leaked messages by Hancock and Speranza in the diary kept by his son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano, who acted as foreign minister up to 1943. In a post of mine I described how the diary tells us of a man who had lost all contact with reality. Mussolini had no friends, just lackeys. He wasn't listening to anyone; he was giving orders. He was not asking questions; he had all the answers. He was not learning from his mistakes; they were always someone else's fault. Worst of all, he had no respect for the life of the people he was supposed to rule. Just as an example, during a cold wave in winter, he was rejoicing because "the weak die, and the race becomes stronger." In 1943, Mussolini ordered the execution of his son-in-law. He didn't care even about the members of his own family. 

Was Mussolini pursuing an evil plan of his own creation? No, he never had structured ideas or plans. You may have some hints of his thoughts from his 1911 novel: "The Lover of the Cardinal." About it. I wrote:

.... I was curious about the possibility of gathering some hints about Mussolini's personality. Maybe his dreams, his goals as a young man, his ideals, this kind of things. But there is nothing like that in the novel. The author comes out of it as shallow as his characters. Which I think is what Mussolini probably was. A shallow character, of modest culture, with no real ideals, and with just a few ideas, but confused. 

Yet, a whole nation followed this man into doing whatever he thought was to be done. Let's skip the many disastrous strategic mistakes he made, and let's just focus on one that was pure evil: the persecution of the Italian Jews. It started in the mid-1930s, and it was a crescendo of harassment and mistreatment. The "racial laws" were enacted in 1938, and the Jews saw themselves fired from their jobs, forbidden to work, and, in many cases, forced to exile. Jews could not be administrators or doorkeepers of houses inhabited by Aryans, dealers in valuables, photographers, sellers of books, children's items, playing cards, and stationery. Jews were also forbidden to be licensed as amateur fishermen, to publish mortuary announcements, to include their names in telephone directories, to own and sell radios, and to join sports or recreational societies. They were forbidden to play chess in chess clubs. Even the Italian "Science" was compact in condemning Jews as an inferior race based on what was presented as a certain and undisputable set of data. See in the image the front cover of a 1938 Italian magazine: it is self-explanatory ("La difesa della razza" means "the defense of the race").

Now, picture yourself in Italy in the 1930s. Why this avalanche of hate against a group of Italian citizens? Many of them had fought for Italy during the Great War, and many were intellectuals, professionals, industrialists, and active elements of the Italian economy. They were indistinguishable from the "normal" Italians, except for their religious beliefs, But even that was not the point, because even those Jews who had converted to Christianity were targeted by the racial laws. You were just subjected to a wave of hate against Jews that pervaded the media of the time: mainly radio and the press.

Who exactly was masterminding this campaign? Obviously, it was created and controlled by members of the Fascist party or by government officials (the two things had mostly merged into a single entity in the 1930s). And, of course, once the story started, there were people or groups of people who directly benefitted from the persecution. Non-Jews took over the positions left free by Jews. For instance, university professors seem to have been more than happy to see their Jewish colleagues fired. At least, no non-Jewish professors protested against the mistreatment of their Jewish colleagues. Others profited from the confiscation of Jews' goods and property. Then, the military industry had everything to gain from a wave of hate that was clearly leading to war. But the surprising point is how the hate percolated through all sectors of society when most Italians had nothing to gain from the persecution. Mussolini himself had no obvious interest in taking an anti-semitic stance. He had taken over the Italian Government in 1922 without the need to demonize Jews, and in 1938 he was safe and secure in his position after the success of the Ethiopian campaign (*). I would surmise that he was a victim of his own propaganda.

Wouldn't you think that some evil deities were at work in causing this disaster? But the Italian Fascists were not the minions of an evil cult. And we don't have evidence that Mussolini himself was a puppet of supernatural entities or of human lobbies. The British secret services may have pushed him to make some of his many strategic mistakes, but there is no evidence that they had a role in the anti-semitic campaign. Evil didn't originate from Mussolini, nor from evil deities behind him. It was generated by ordinary people, just like you and me, who fell into the trap of propaganda. It is easy: you know that the road to Hell is smooth and easy. 

I think there the persecution of Jews in Italy is one of the best examples in history of the phenomenon that Mattias Desmet calls "Mass Formation." It was a self-reinforcing phenomenon: the Italian press started telling people that Jews were evil, people were believing what they were told, and that led the press to step up their accusations, convincing people even more.  And that went on, unchecked: a spiral of evil growing on itself. Soon, nobody, not even the Catholic Church, dared to say a word to defend their fellow Italian citizens so unfairly discriminated against. All the self-reinforcing phenomena tend to grow rapidly, even exponentially. And that was what happened with the anti-semitic campaign in Italy. It grew to the point when concentration camps started being built for the Jews, then these camps became extermination camps. Fortunately, the whole thing crashed with the defeat of Italy in WWII before it could reach the level of the parallel German extermination program. It was a perfect example of a Seneca Cliff -- even evil is subjected to slow growth and fast collapse. 

During the past three years, the whole world has been walking along a dangerous and slippery road toward Hell. In Italy, the Covid policies didn't arrive at the creation of concentration camps, but we got very close to that. They were actually created in Australia. Then, miraculously, something happened that defused the whole thing. Now the story seems to be over, and most people just want to forget about that, just like Italians want to forget the mistreatment that their grandparents and great-grandparents inflicted on Jews. But the elements that created these waves of hate are all in place, and we are all subjected to being affected by a propaganda campaign designed to demonize someone. Who will be the next victims?

(*) I have an idea about what could have been going on in Mussolini's head. It goes like this. First, there is no evidence that Mussolini had anti-semitic ideas for most of his political career. He never wrote anything about Jews, and even in his 1911 novel, the Cardinal's lover, there is no trace of anti-semitism. Mussolini even had a Jewish mistress, Margherita Sarfatti (1880-1961), an intellectual, artist, and writer, from when they met in Milano in 1911. But, in 1933, Mussolini took a younger woman as mistress, unceremoniously dumping the older Sarfatti. From then on, Mussolini started to encourage anti-semitism, becoming a rabid anti-semite himself. Was the whole idea of persecuting the Jews a result of Mussolini's personal dislike of his former Jewish lover? Who can say? If a butterfly can start a hurricane by flapping its wings, some of the mass murders of WWII might have started from a bedroom quarrel. But we will never know. 


  1. I think that one can see similar behaviour in monkey troops. If one monkey gives a warning of danger, the whole troop panics and scrambles into the trees. After a while they all calm down and return to thier normal behaviors; feeding, grooming, bickering, copulating, etc, whether there was an actual danger or not. They will also gang up on a threat, throw rotten fruit and feces at it, from the safety of the trees of course.

    Humans have a more sophisticated set of behaviors, and maybe a slightly longer attention span.

  2. "But who exactly was masterminding it [and later masterminding similar campaign in Germany - all between the theatrical 1917 Belfour's declaration and 1948 - the declaration of the state of Israel]"?

    Last week, Saudi Arabi and Iran have resumed their normal relationship after decades of hardship - which left all observers speechless asking - why then all those lost decades of rivalry?

    Now, Iran and Saudi Arabia [and likely Russia and China] appear forming one camp, and Israel, Jordan, UAE, Egypt are forming another.

    The Arab-Israeli conflict seems to have become dissolved - quietly, replaced by new Iranian-Israeli one...

    The two camps seem encouraged by the West to fight against each other - putting oil-rich war-torn Iraq at the centre of the coming struggle...

    Local media and alternative media channels started loudly drumming for a new regional war - erupting very soon...

    But who exactly was masterminding all of this long-going never-ending choreography, since 1917 - in Italy, Nazi Germany, the Arab-Israeli conflict and now Iran-Israel conflict?

    Observers also noticed that every 10-20 years, rhyming events seem exactly repeating themselves in the ME - the 2003 invasion of Iraq - and now, in 2023, another war between Israel and Iran over Iraq - looming...

    The last week's ongoing collapse of banks in the US and a new war now hovering over Iraq - is a pattern that some even believe - is calculable...

    A pattern that might be used as a top-down approach to estimate how much producible oil is actually left in the ME, Russia and coal in China - only known to few?

    ...most likely very little by today's scales of massive oil consumption - worldwide...

    The more the reserves dwindle down - depleted to the ground, a new war over Iraq is choreographed and executed...

    One guesses Jews and Iraqis (many Iraqis are actually Jews, even the first Exchequer in modern Iraq was one of them) - are miserable - both are brutally used by the West since 1917 to camouflage how our Western Civilisation is actually no more than a fossil fuels-extraction operation - empty of substance, foolish, savage and lost...

    "In any system of energy, Control is what consumes energy the most.
    No energy store holds enough energy to extract an amount of energy equal to the total energy it stores.
    No system of energy can deliver sum useful energy in excess of the total energy put into constructing it.
    This universal truth applies to all systems.

    Energy, like time, flows from past to future".


  3. I had to look up your older post, but it appears more applicable to Russia than Italy right now. Evil is always close, and sometimes very visible...

  4. Re "many people who reach the top. They are psychopaths" and "It [evil] was generated by ordinary people, just like you and me, who fell into the trap of propaganda" and "Who will be the next victims?"

    As a typical "expert" author of this blog that belongs among the whitewashing BIASED alternative media, you push the misdirecting false victim narrative which goes like this -- the problem is the people at the top, the public is just a victim of their schemes, the bogus equation of the criminal shadow government vs. the innocent public.

    In that misdirecting FALSE equation it is just a matter of "draining the swamp" at the top and we're back to our former ("healthy"=destructive) "normal." This fake narrative or fantasy is, of course, appealing to the masses, removing their culpability in the many past and present atrocities committed by "homo sapiens." It's why the "experts" disseminating this fantasy become popular and influential...

    "All experts serve the state and the media and only in that way do they achieve their status. Every expert follows his master, for all former possibilities for independence have been gradually reduced to nil by present society’s mode of organization. The most useful expert, of course, is the one who can lie. With their different motives, those who need experts are falsifiers and fools. Whenever individuals lose the capacity to see things for themselves, the expert is there to offer an absolute reassurance." —Guy Debord

    The fact that evil people rule is only ONE part of the equation. The pack of leading criminals do not operate in a vacuum. There are 2 destructive human pink elephants in the room and they are MARRIED --- study “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room”... . The criminals in powers are in those positions and do what they do ONLY because of the activities of "good" people.

    Isn't it about time for anyone to wake up to the ULTIMATE DEPTH of the human rabbit hole --- rather than remain blissfully willfully ignorant in a narcissistic fantasy land and play victim like a little child?

    “Never hide the truth to spare the feelings of the ignorant.” --- Mikhail Bulgakov

    Without a proper understanding, and full acknowledgment, of the true WHOLE problem and reality, no real constructive LASTING change is possible for humanity.

    And if anyone does NOT acknowledge, recognize, and face (either wittingly or unwittingly) the WHOLE truth THEY are helping to prevent this from happening. And so they are "part of the problem" and not part of the solution.

    “... normal and healthy discontent .. is being termed extremist.” --- Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929-1968, Civil Rights Activist

    If you're in the US and your employer mandates the toxic/lethal COVID jabs, register to receive a free "Medical Exemption Certificate" at or

  5. Ending the use of fossil fuels will be worse than all the Holocausts combined.

    1. Some want to poison you, and others believe the oil will flow forever. No chance for reason.
      As someone who was affected myself, I can well imagine that a humiliation of Mussolini was disastrous for the Jews. We never forget and even less often forgive.

  6. I seem to recall that Mussolini was a great admirer of Hitler. That may explain his later attitude toward the Jews.

  7. Brother Ugo,
    You have forgotten much and so you are confused.
    Study, if you will, A Course In Miracles and all will be made clear.
    Peace be unto you who rest in God, and in whom the whole Sonship rests.
    Brother Laurence

  8. You might want to read George Selden "Witness to a century". He was a journalist from the International (Chicago) herald tribune, and in the end was forced to flee Italy for publishing the involvement of Mussolini in the murder of Matteotti.

  9. Hello esteemed friend. The little fire that you tend, flickers bright against the hours of night. Woe unto the weary who sojourn without light. Pity the poor and weep for the war. Indifferent god is here no more.
    Are volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes evil? Their destructive capacity is evident. Do we ascribe to them intent? Are they the instruments of gods who toy with us for their amusement or punish us for our hubris? A frightened child or a guilt ridden priest might think so.
    The Son of God nailed on a dead tree on a broken hill is supposed to have said, "Father forgive them they know not what they do."
    To do and not know is a pathology, a spiritual illness. Moral reasoning is one manifestation of this sickness. They are legion.
    We lived and developed as hominids for eons in the garden. Our cycles of days spun round the moon and sun in the present moment. We were born, lived and died with the same small group. We owned nothing and we were happy. When the garden was abundant, and it was abundant beyond measure, we feasted. When it was scarce we went hungry. We shared with one another, and we knew one another. What we took from the garden went back to the garden as did we ourselves.
    Than, we settled down. We built. We possessed, We EARNED our bread by brow sweat. We multiplied. We feared for the future. We began the WORK of control. The psychic wound begins to bleed. Les Fleurs du mal began to blossom.
    The adaption contrary to our nature. The primal violation. Repressed and dissociated trauma. The sins of the fathers visited unto the seventh generation.
    Thou shalt not be aware. For your own good. Our unconscious mantras. There is no death wish only life tortured and twisted against itself.
    "It would be better for him that a millstone be hung around his neck and he be sunk in the depths of the sea" Our heads are bowed and the waters are rising.

  10. A thoughtful essay, as usual.
    The slow growth today seems, to me, an increasing crescendo of war drums beating toward China. That's a game that can go off a cliff with alarming speed. . .

    Something I have lightly considered since the "China Balloon" terror in the US is how ridiculous the fear was and how ridiculous the idea of warring with China is.
    Isn't Google Earth available to the Chinese? Don't they have their own satellites to conduct observations over the US? Aren't there hundreds of thousands of free-range Chinese citizens in the US? Can't they collect all sorts of information, say, like Google did, with car-mounted sensors and cameras?

    And this idea of the US military getting kinetic with China's forces over Taiwan. . . laughable.

    Since the 2000's, there have been several reports made to US congress about hypothetical Electromagnetic Pulse attacks/events on the US and their potential effects. One report famously noted “Nine of 10 Americans are dead from starvation, disease, and societal collapse. The United States of America ceases to exist,” in the event of a successful EMP event.

    Ha! No such event needs to happen to take down the bulk of the power grids in the US. Substations are found all over the place and are protected by. . . chain link fences. A thousand saboteurs across the country could do similar damage to what a hypothetical EMP could accomplish. There would certainly be no physical or moral (ehem. . ) support for war with China in a country gone dark.

    So why the demonization campaign? China not paying enough imperial tribute?
    Also hilarious to me is how the same regime that spews endless homilies about "diversity, inclusion and equity" demonizes extra-national ethnicities and groups and calls for their destruction. Their supporters have never seemed to catch that incongruity.

    I may have strayed from topic here. The evil inside us? I suspect it is boredom and a lack of meaningful activity to keep us away from the ever-present red territory of demons we carry with us. We are historically a violent and murderous species. We think we are "evolved" and civilized but remain obsessed with murder and worship death (just make a survey of television programs if you doubt that), even if we as individuals don't typically go around killing others.
    I suspect our fears hold our blood lust from manifesting in ways that violate other's rights to exist. Maybe civil education and a reasonably effective justice system has something to do with that. Kill one's kind at home and be excluded from society. Kill the "other" far from home, be called a hero.

    "Thank you for your service"

  11. A very famous story about Zen-Buddhist master Hakuin:

    Hakuin & the Samurai
    A soldier came to the Zen master Hakuin, with query on heaven and hell.

    “Does something like Heaven and Hell exist?”, asked the soldier.

    “Who are you?”, asked Hakuin in response.

    “I am a Samurai”, said the soldier, proudly.

    Hakuin replied, “What kind of King will have a soldier like you! Look at yourself, you look like a beggar, at best!”

    The soldier was fuming by now. Just as he was about to draw the sword, Hakuin said, “Oh so you have a weapon too. Do you think you can do anything with it?”

    As the samurai took an attacking stance, Hakuin said calmly, “Here opens the gates of Hell for you”.

    The soldier realized the master’s words suddenly and he immediately kept back his sword and bowed to the master.

    “Here opens the gates of Heaven for you”, the master said.

  12. I would like to know if You have read the 3 books Antonio Scurati has written about Mussolini? How do you judge his writing?

    1. No... haven't read those books. And I am not sure I want to. With novels, there is always the risk of eulogizing the protagonist -- In Italy, Mussolini is still a sensitive subject and many people still admire him. I would say that it is not a good idea to write novels about someone who has done so much damage. Even by presenting him in a bad light, it means making him some kind of "anti-hero" and there are always people who side for Wile E. Coyote rather than for the Road Runner. Which, incidentally, is not a bad thing. Unlike Mussolini, Wile E. Coyote never did any damage to anyone except to himself

    2. Incidentally, among the recent books on the subject, a very good one is "La Macchina Imperfetta" di Guido Melis.

    3. Here is an intervjue with Scurati in a norwegian leftleaning newspaper. Use Google translate from Norwegian. The book you recommended is not published in English or German?

  13. Wolf hasn't been paying attention if she thinks it's "sudden" and only happened in 2020 in the developed world, she should look to how Australia demonized refugees as but one small example from around 2000 and how many nations treat their indigenious citizens US, Canada, Australia etal

    A good read that touches on some of this is John Gray's "Staw Dogs".