Praise to the First Humanist of All Times

By Mariano Martínez.
Translation: Jerónimo Corregido.
Revision and editing: Santiago Astrobbi Echavarri and Daniel Schechtel.

Devil by Juan Agustín Grenno, 2015

                                                                                          “Without free thinking, freedom of expression is useless”

[«Sin libertad de pensamiento, la libertad de expresión no sirve para nada».]                                                                                      
José Luis Sampedro

   From all the fictional characters that inhabited my childhood, few seem to me as nice as this one. I can’t recall when I first learnt of his existence. But I know I was afraid of him. Very afraid. In some deep store of my memory, there still lie, though covered in mould, those celebrated and ecumenical stories about his adventures ─as attractive as meeting a long-starved hyena in a dream. I’m serious: those stories where so creepy and repugnant that I got to think that they would not get away from me not even at my death.

            Writing about this individual is not done out of mere pleasure. It’s a lot more than that: it’s an act of justice. And what I now intend with my quill is fighting to improve his reputation. Raise it to the throne where it deserves to be. Our species, the homo sapiens, is the only one that has managed to transmit their thinking through writing, and thus becomes the main responsible for the discredit and misery that this character has suffered. Even a genius like Goethe contributed to the denigration of this figure in his Faustus. It is said that Richard Nixon and Carlos Menem dined with this figure some time, but I seriously doubt this myth, since the were both too stupid and ignorant, unworthy of such a noble character.

            He has been given many names, like Shaytan, Iblis, Belcebu, Mephistopheles and Luzbel. Patoruzú the aborigine and so many creoles from my lands tattooed on him that ridiculous and clownish name that evokes an African language: Mandinga. Few have had the guts or the lucidity of the anarchist Bakunin, who called him, without any hesitation whatsoever, “the first free thinker”. The reader will have guessed by now who the hell we are talking about: the Prince of Shadows, best known as Lucifer o Satan. The Devil!

            What´s such a picking on Satan? What was his crimen, if any? He´s commonly related to evil. It is on his shoulders that lies all the blame of our deep misfortunes: from Auschwitz to the the Massacre of Saint Bartholomew, including the crimes of the Big-Eared Dwarf and the scams of Charles Keating (he the friend of Mother Theresa), ending with the beardless guy who ran away on his preganant girlfriend and the poor wretch who stole a chicken because he was starving his ass out and ended up in prison. However, the stereotype of a “bad Devil” doesn´t stand any kind of analysis for people who have studied ethics. By transforming Satan into a symbol of the wickedness, one would be considering evil as an objective entity, as a universal essence. Nothing could be further from the truth. At this moment of history, we have finally discovered that killing is not always an altogether condenmable and evil thing (take the example of euthanasia). In the midst of such a moral chaos,  the poor Devil would end up submerged in an existential crisis, stunned at the impossibility of discerning conclusively whether, in his pursuit to be bad, he was in fact being good. Disoriented, like the tango by Troilo and Castillo[1], Satan would stroll aimlessly, ignoring whether he was fighting for his own cause or for foreign interests, whether for Cuba or the yankees, bro!

            What was so condenmable of Lucifer? Wanting to overthrow God? Would you expect him to be obedient and submissive, to remain sat and bored, singing celestial choirs ad eternum, like those teenagers who jerk off on Sunday Mass? I would have done the same in his place. I am positive that sane minds are only those who seek emancipation from authority. Rebellion is the response against those who excercise power with abussive zeal.  And nobody was ever more zealous than God or Yhave.

            Satan is accused of seducing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. The story is too well known, thanks to the army of catechists who sterilise the minds of the world: after trying the delicious delicacy, the unfortunate female convinced Adam of following her steps. Poor Eve… It had to be a woman who took the blame of the original sin! And it had to be a woman, of course, the first being of flesh and bone to think freely! Adam the dumbass would have never dared to eat that fruit. (Coward, wimp, punk, slave!). Only Eve was intelligent enough to doubt the prohibition of Mr-Owner-of-Paradise. The impulse of the Devil was of course required for that matter, it was him who persuaded her into doing it and freeing herself. What would have become of us without her noble and brave deed!

            We could say without further ado that Satan is, besides the first free thinker, also the first humanist. Ever since he planted the doubt on us, we were emancipated for good from Mr-Big-Brother. Without him, we would have never had Bertrand Russell or Thomas Paine or Newton or Emile Zola. Whoever takes on the Devil is also taking on theses beautiful and ethically just minds. It was thanks to him that we have had science, essential tool to discover the beauty that secretly embraces the universe. We should call him Prince of Humanity and not of Shadows! It is the least that we can do!

            The story of Adam and Eve is just one of the many examples that show the obsession of that fictional character (God) of keeping us submissive and devoid of all personal insight. Let it be recalled that God asked Abraham to kill his own son, Isaac, to “prove his love”, and the bland prophet hurried to obey him, instead of bidding him fuck himself, as suggested by the conteporary humanist Christopher Hitchens[2]. The commandments dictate to avoid impure thoughts. It is evident that God considers thought to be crimes. It is not very clear what “impure” means. Maybe a strong erection upon the presence of a pretty girl. Jesus himself, when he claims to be “the way and the truth and the life” doesn´t seem to be very fond of dissent or of other perspectives on intellect. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

            Let´s go back to Adam and Eve. I often wonder whether there was something special about that fruit, forbidden by the Creator. It is usually said that it represents an allegory. And that´s possible: maybe it was the best metaphor that old Jews found to say that Eve asked Adam to fuck her, or the moisten her clitoris, or to cum in her mouth…, what do I know. It sounds strange that the God of the multiverse would care so much about the passion of those two outcasts, though. The only true thing from this legend, the only thing that clatters as clear as water, is that Satan tried to sow the seed of doubt in those two miserable wretches, and he managed to do it with Eve. That´s the topic, the crux of the matter: doubt. Fearsome doubt. For it is doubt that leads to knowledge. And it is knowledge that kills God. And whoever speaks on his fucking behalf.

*

[1] So begings the tango “Desencuentro” by Anibal Troilo and Catulo Castillo: “Your are disoriented and don´t know/ what train you should take to go on”.

[2] The good God finally intervened and sent a poor lamb to be sacrificed instead. Just like usual, the non-human animals become the victims of the blood-thirsty Heaven.

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