The adversary. Ho satanus, in Greek: Satan—the “god” of this world.
Adversity—“adversary-ness”—is built into the “program” that runs the world we live in.
Trials, tribulations, tests, and temptations are signs of something in the world actively opposing people. Our response, the lesson learned, determines our victory…or defeat.
Defeat always means at least one more round with that particular “fighter,” though the “matches” go on without reprieve. Beat one and another challenger comes. This is not because you’re “Number One,” but because you’re human.
Adversity is the god of this world, this world in which we are, but of which we are not: our flesh is born of this world, a mix of energy and matter, but the Spirit that animates our flesh is not of this world.
It is this Spirit against which the adversary throws its tricks, meant to sabotage right feeling and thinking—meant to confuse, confound, confine, and convince (that unreality is reality, that surface is depth, that temporary is eternal and eternal is temporary).
Adversity itself is built into the machine: life happening against your intentions. The adversary throws curveballs—the only kind of pitch that a crooked pitcher can throw.
Adversity is the tendency of life to offer you something quite different than you expect or hope for, something that requires you to “take care of” or “handle” it before you can continue. (This does build character.)
The essence of this tendency is corruption, just as the essence of the ego/false self is corruption: things not working as they’re “supposed” to. A glitch in the program.
The adversary is not entropy, the tendency of mass toward equilibrium. That is a quality of matter itself, left without the infusion of energy to move it. The adversary is energy that moves in opposition to the energy of Spirit.
Life is like a big chess game—like playing many chess games at once!—and the adversary is the opponent: that which opposes us, the black pieces, a mirror image of one’s own.
The adversary is supposed to be here, in this world of relative darkness. This is “his world,” so to speak, or at least “he” has dominion here—dominion, but not absolute power—and we are apparently unwelcome visitors who threaten that dominion. (Otherwise, why bother to oppose, to throw curveballs, to bring trials, tribulations, tests, and temptations?)
It’s as if we had a mission and purpose here that an opposing intelligent energy was trying to thwart.
The adversary works through the ego/false self of human beings. The ego/false self creates man in “his” image: corrupt, deceitful, and greedy.
The world is not evil; the human world is evil. Mankind’s presence in this otherwise perfect world (imbued with the graceful brutality of the Life Force in Nature) brings “evil” into the world. And so we oppose each other: we become adversaries ourselves.
People corrupted by the adversary become deceitful, greedy people who “fuck with” other people. “Fucking with” is the active opposite of helping people. Not content simply to leave someone else alone, or to allow others to suffer in peace, these people instead cause their neighbors unnecessary grief, hardship, or difficulty.
This attitude fosters competition among people, rather than a spirit of cooperation. The competition fostered here is not the same as the “spirit of competition” seen in many fields of human endeavor, such as professional sports. This negative sort of competition reveals itself in greed, hoarding, condemnation, trickery, violence, murder, and war.
That which fosters these tendencies is also of the “evil one”—the adversary, the god of this world, the tendency toward corruption, the symbolic embodiment of a (purposefully?) corrupted human nature.
Those who follow this dark influence worship what is seen: the densest, most crude and solid parts of the reality we occupy: material objects. They chase shadows and rejoice in illusions. The essence of evil is the lack of insight into the deepest parts of things—a preoccupation with the surface and its apparent-ness.
The essence of evil is viewing that which is temporary as eternal; giving up depth for shallowness (and not even breadth).
The god of this world appears to be “evil,” focusing the minds of men on the fleeting and the superficial, so that they trade quiet reflection for flashing lights and intense noises. Fleeing toward these outer charms, corrupted people even fear being alone with themselves.
The god of this world seeks to make human endeavor for naught, ineffective—a waste of time. The goal seems to be to make people give up in the face of unrelenting, constant, and continual opposition to their noble aims and deeds—or to exert continual effort to overcome adversity.
The god of this world rewards those who follow “his” materialistic creed. They receive the sum of their lot: an extra helping of this world, with more of this world to follow.
Thus the adversary entraps the souls of men and binds them to the human world of flesh and corruption. Until their eyes become free, until they are able to see with deeper vision, their hearts and minds will remain captive to the god of this world.
Written on September 4, 2012, and freshly edited on September 4, 2018.