Why we make our own demons?

Amal Chatterjee
9 min readAug 9, 2018

Source : Google photo

Synopsis: The mankind suffers from the demons it creates on its own and passes the blame on a religious book or edict that creates numerous problems like intolerance, blind beliefs and hatred that cause violence against those who are different. If the mankind wants to live in peace everywhere then it must get rid of the demons first. It means they have to admit that they have a problem .

I have often thought about this subject but never got around to writing because it may open a Pandora’s box that may contain opposing views on the subject. Still I want to provoke your mind to look at yourself critically and ask yourself this eternal question- Why we make our own demons and blame it on a book or an ideology that is alien or has little to do with the 21st century?

I was watching a movie last night on TV which was a re run like most movies are but this one was interesting so I watched it again called The others. In this movie Nicole Kidman played the role of a horrible woman who occupies a very old mansion in rural England where she lives with her two very small kids and has two maids and a gardener to help her maintain the massive mansion and its garden.

She constantly scolds her daughter who says that a ghost called Oscar lives in the closet and comes out to cry for help often because she does not believe in ghosts and punishes her for telling a lie and locks her up in a room for three days with the task of reading the Bible and to memorize certain pages. She threatens her kids with more punishment and warns that they will suffer in the purgatory for eternity if they do not stop telling lies about ghosts because that is what she believes. Her Bible thumping role is scary in the movie as it distresses the children beyond belief and causes great grief and anguish in them.

It is a very hard movie to watch as Nicole Kidman is one of my favorites but I suppose she had to play the role she was assigned to and did it well. The kids and all other characters played their roles exquisitely making the movie interesting to watch and learn how the demons created by the woman herself tormented her and she in return punished her children and the maids for her mistaken belief in the purgatory and the rest. She had clearly created her own purgatory where she was roasting her own children just because she did not believe in the supernatural.

The house was haunted where many bad things had happened in the past so the owners of the mansion did not bother to live there any longer and rented it out to unsuspecting renter so the kids who were innocent did see the ghosts specially the boy called Oscar who was crying for help and showed himself to the kids who were frightened but also sympathetic to the child ghost.

One day the mother ( Kidman) heard noises and voice upstairs so went to investigate , found nothing but an old album full of photos that she then showed her maids and asked them about it . They said that it was called the Book of the dead because long ago there was this practice of keeping the photos of dead people to keep their memory alive so they took photos of corpses to preserve their memories.

The woman was horrified and asked them to burn the album but she saw a photo of her maids and the gardener also in the album. They were the ghosts who were trying to protect the two kids who were being punished all the time very unjustly by the woman. Her husband showed up one day but looked very sad and did not speak more than a few words to say that he had come to say goodbye to his wife and the kids as he was going back to the front to fight the war.

It was clear that he wanted to get away from his horrible wife who was quoting the Bible at every turn and yet doing a poor job of raising his kids whom he loved. At this point I had to turn off the TV because I felt sorry for all the characters except the woman who acted as if she was possessed due to her beliefs that brought only misery to all she professed to love. It was the demon of her own making that prompted me to write this blog.

I then started to think about all those unhappy people in this world who create their own demons because of their belief in a book or an ideology that prompts them to cause unhappiness to others or worse. Just ask any Taliban why they shoot children who are going to school and they will quote from their book that they have never read that schooling for the girls is prohibited so they shot Malala and will do it again. They show no remorse because their mistaken belief is very strong. It is so strong that they commit crimes and justify them with a book they never read. Who then tells them to commit crimes if not the Mullahs who have their own agenda to fulfill?

Who tells the Brahmins that they are superior to others and should not touch a person designated as untouchable? They will also quote a book that they have never read but it helps them perpetuate a myth that is based on false assumption.

I come across people frequently who have created their own demons that torment them and others through their behavior all because of a belief in a book that was written centuries ago by people who wrote about the world as they saw it which was very different from what it is today yet people take it as the gospel truth and get into fisticuffs with anyone who dares to disagree.

One politician now claims that the world is flat because he has been flying around a lot but has not seen its shape except the flat surface because it resonates with his supporters of uneducated people with bad teeth and foul smell. May be they should put him in a rocket so that he can reach the space station where he can live forever and look at the earth from there.

People with demons sitting on their shoulders have been tormenting the world ever since they created their own demons and threatened Galileo for saying that the world was a sphere and it was going around the sun just like all the other planets in our solar system. The great scientists and thinkers like Galileo and Da Vinci were mortally afraid of these demonic people who wielded enormous power at that time and killed anyone who disagreed with them.

The history of mankind is filled with horrendous stories of torture and burning at stake of poor and innocent people just because Inquisition called them heretics who did not adhere to the beliefs of the church.

I have seen a chalice in the Vatican museum that the ancient Popes used to fill with wine to give to their enemies. The handle of the chalice was hollow and filled with poison that could be released with the push of a secret button. This was because the Popes also created their own demons that were strongly influenced due to their beliefs that they were always right and the rest were wrong therefore subject to punishment. The inquisition was a product of jealous padres who saw the world as black and white with zero tolerance for those who did not agree with them.

I see still see such demons everywhere in people who are intolerant of other faiths, other people of different ethnicity, race and color who quote some holy book all the time to justify what they believe and how they treat other human beings so despicably and still pretend that they are normal human beings.

I had a classmate who was raised by his super strict father to become a strict and fanatic Hindu who is missing all the fun of being a normal human being going to movies and having fun because he was told that the movies are made by immoral men and women. He can quote verses from the Geeta in Sanskrit at the drop of a hat to justify everything he does but does not know how the rest of the humanity lives and what challenges they are facing daily. It is not his problem but pity if you disagree with him on anything.

I have seen this intolerance in Haiti where I used to work. There the American Missionaries who are Protestants and take the word very seriously indeed gather up the poor Haitians in the football stadiums to castigate about their Catholic faith and voodoo devil worship. They do not mince their words and shout and yell until they are hoarse and frothing in their mouth to drive home their beliefs. There I saw the demon sitting on their shoulders and grinning at the mischief they were making to tear the Haitian society apart and creating tensions.

This demon of blind faith caused a million innocent Hindus and Muslims deaths during the partition of India in 1947 and the same demon drives the ISIS terrorists who chop off the heads of journalists on live TV and rape and enslave Kurdish and Yezidi women . They have blown up the ancient UNESCO site of Bamiyan in Afghanistan because of this demon they carry on their shoulders and have reduced Palmyra in Syria to rubbles.

The question to ponder here is why in the 21st century we behave the way we do and do not see that the blind and erroneous beliefs are not going to help anyone who needs help. Why we have become so intolerant that we push the boat full of refugees away from our shores just because they are black and are seeking asylum? Why we openly denigrate other religions and beliefs daily on TV and insist that we are always right and others wrong just because of a belief?

This sort of thing has been going on for centuries that has blotted the history of mankind with human blood and is still going on in this modern age.

I think we all are capable of creating our own unhappiness that I call the demon because of the feeling of superiority over others. This feeling is more widespread than one is led to believe. It is apparent in cold disapproving stares in some countries that do not welcome visitors who are alien to them. It is apparent in the hostile actions some take against the immigrants who are fleeing from persecution and war from their homeland to seek a better life elsewhere.

It is apparent in the culture shock some people get when they visit other countries because this shock comes from their own sense of superiority of their culture and belief system.

It is apparent when you see them flocking to their own fast food joints abroad because they are afraid of local food and consider their unhealthy fast food better than gourmet street food of the country they are visiting with condescending attitude.

It is apparent when people say Oh my gosh because of the belief that one must not take God’s name in vain. It took me a while to figure this out but I learned that the Brits say Egad for the same reason. Just change the spelling and you can circumvent the Biblical injunctions any time.

A child who was harshly raised by his parents and frequently punished physically for the slightest infraction grows up with his own demons and does the same or worse to his child. A lot of serial killers, child rapists and parricidal people are a product of such homes where the parents failed to raise them with love, kindness and compassion because they had issues of their own.

A child is born innocent but as they grow, they may turn into the devil because of their upbringing or rather the lack of decent upbringing so it becomes a psychological problem the parents cannot handle and admit so they suffer and make others suffer just like in the movie I was writing about earlier.

We all know that in order to find a solution to such problems, people have to first admit that they have a problem. Only then they can begin to heal themselves and get rid of their demons but it takes courage.

Do you have that courage?

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