5/1/16 ~ Personifying Beelzebub (On Dehumanizing/’Otherness’)


What’s Up Next?

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Sunday, May 1, 2016 ~ Personifying Beelzebub
(On Dehumanizing/’Otherness’)

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Inquiry:  How do you gauge your level of enemy imagery — a.k..a. your point-of-view circa the ‘beelzebub personification spectrum’ (see below) — towards another?  And then how do you go about transfiguring your perceptions (if/when you opt to)?

The Connection Continuum:
<<< You and me (always moving back and forth) >>>continuum-connection

rage, disconnection and violence                                    connection, compassion, peace

On “SNL” Dana Carvey’s Church Lady Returns To Interview Trump and Cruz

Puppetmaster Rosenberg

We’ll be practicing with awareness of — see:  Dynamics of Self-Connection — and working with our Enemy Imagery on the call.


Reptilian Brain & Mindsight

 The Exercise – Shifting Toward Compassion

Even though this is an online exercise, you still need a pen or pencil and a piece of paper with a blank side. I created this exercise so people can have what I call a “Shift”. By that I mean experience a “shift” in what you are thinking about and a shift in how you feel. Read More …

The Connection Continuum:
<<< You and me (always moving back and forth) >>>continuum-connection

rage, disconnection and violence                                    connection, compassion, peace

Dr Daniel Siegel presenting a Hand Model of the Brain

Dan Siegel: Name it to Tame it

Amygdala Hijack & Emotional Intelligence

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Recently I noticed, on the political scene, Lucifer has gotten quite a lot of press:


“An unconscious relationship is more powerful than a conscious one.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Human beings, as they evolved, didn’t lose the fight or flight response; they just built on top of this “reptilian brain.” The new layer was the “cerebral cortex,” which allowed us to reflect on experiences and develop ideas rather than just act out instinctual responses.

~ David Rickey

Quilt, Hissing My Plea

Enemy Imagery processes are commonplace, in NVC apprenticeship certainly, however while witnessing this most recent spate of Lucifer-themed current events and noting the apparent ubiquity of our tendency towards demonic attributions of our fellow human beings (conceptualizing how we characterize those, both domestic and abroad), I became a bit more curious to understand the Judeo-Christian origins of this tendency, the ethos in which we swim, that seems to act upon us regardless of any belief system or lack thereof.


There is real pain in America, and where you sit along the ideological spectrum dictates whom you see as your Satan and whom as your savior. ~ 

Origin of Satan

Quotes beneath taken from The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels

These book passages, which are taken from Elaine Pagels introduction and conclusion, I found rather illuminating and opted to quote from — in bulk — in case others might too…


The moralizing universe in which we operate…

“The Jewish theologian Martin Buber regarded the moralizing of the universe as one of the great achievements of Jewish tradition, later passed down as its legacy to Christians and Muslims.  The book of Genesis, for example, insists that volcanoes would not have destroyed the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah unless all the inhabitants of those towns — all the inhabitants who concerned the storyteller, that is, the adult males — had been evil ‘young and old, down to the last man ‘ (Gen. 19:4).

When I began this work, I assumed that Jewish and Christian perceptions of invisible being had to do primarily with moralizing the natural universe, as Buber claimed, and so with encouraging people to interpret events from illness to natural disasters as expressions of “God’s will” or divine judgment on human sin.  But my research led me in an unexpected directions and disclosed a far more complex picture….

As I proceeded to investigate Jewish and Christian accounts of angels and fallen angels, I discovered, however, that they were less concerned with the natural world as a whole than with the particular world of human relationships.

Rereading biblical and extra-biblical accounts of angels, I learned first of all what many scholars have pointed out:  that while angels often appear in the Hebrew Bible, Satan, along with other fallen angels or demonic beings, is virtually absent.  But among certain first-century Jewish groups, prominently including the Essenes (who saw themselves as allied with angels) and the followers of Jesus, the figure variously called Satan, Beelzebub, or Belial also began to take on central importance.  While the gospel of Mark, for example, mentions angels only in the opening frame (1:13) and in the final verses of the original manuscript (16:5-7), Mark deviates from mainstream Jewish tradition by introducing ‘the devil’ into the crucial opening scene of the gospel and goes on to characterize Jesus’ ministry as involving continual struggle between God’s spirit and the demons, who belong, apparently, to Satan’s ‘kingdom’ (see Mark 3:23-27).  Such visions have been incorporated into Christian tradition and have served, among other things, to confirm for Christians their own identification with God and to demonize their opponents — first other Jews, then pagans, and later dissident Christians called heretics.  This is what this book is about.

To emphasize this element of the New Testament gospels does  not mean, of course, that this is their primary theme.  “Aren’t the gospels about love?” exclaimed one friend as we discussed this work.  Certainly they are about love, but since the story they have to tell involves betrayal and killing, they also include elements of hostility which evoke demonic images.  This book concentrates on this theme.

What fascinates us about Satan is the way he expresses qualities that go beyond what we ordinarily recognize as human.  Satan evokes more than the greed, envy, lust and anger we identify with our own worst impulses, and more than what we call brutality; which imputes to human beings a resemblance to animals (“brutes”).  Thousands of years of tradition have characterized Satan instead as a spirit.  Originally he was one of God’s angels, but a fallen one.  Now he stands in the open rebellion against God, and in his frustrated rage he mirrors aspects of our own confrontations with otherness.  Many people have claimed to see his embodied at certain times in individuals and groups that seem possessed by an intense spiritual passion, one that engages even our better qualities, like strength, intelligence, and devotion, but turns them toward destruction and takes pleasure in inflicting harm.  Evil, then, at its worst, seems to involve the supernatural that we recognize, with a shudder, as the diabolic inverse of Martin Buber’s characterization of God as ‘wholly other.’

…What interests me instead are specifically social implications of the figure of Satan:  how he is invoked to express human conflict and to characterize human enemies within our own religious traditions.  In this book, then, I invite you to consider Satan as a reflection of how we perceive ourselves and those we call ‘others.’  Satan has, after all, made a kind of profession out of being the ‘other’ and so Satan defines negatively what we think of as human.  The social and cultural practice of defining certain people as ‘others’ in relation to one’s own group may be, of course, as old a humanity itself.”

Introduction, xvi-xviii

Dehumanizing otherness is too often the (subconscious) rule, rather than the exception…

Elaine Pagels:  Yet this virtually universal practice of calling one’s own people human and ‘dehumanizing’ others, does not necessarily mean that people actually doubt or deny the humanness of others.  Much of the time, as William Green points out, those who so label themselves and others, are engaging in a kind of caricature that helps define and consolidate their own group identity:  “A society does not simply discover its others, it fabricates them, by selecting, isolating, and emphasizing an aspect of another people’s life, and making it symbolize their difference.*”

*William, Scott Green, “Otherness Within:  Towards a Theory of Difference in Rabbinic Judaism,” in Neusner and Frerichs, eds., To See Ourselves As Others See Us, 46-49.

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The (subconscious) water that we all swim in, however secular/atheistic/agnostic one may consider oneself to be…

“Many religious people who no longer believe in Satan, along with countless others who do not identify with any religious tradition nevertheless are influenced by this cultural legacy whenever they perceive social and political conflict in terms of the forces of good contending against the forces of evil in the world. Although Karl Marx’s extreme and resolutely materialist version of this apocalyptic vision is now nearly defunct, a secularizing version of it underlies many social and political movements in Western culture, both religious and antireligious.”  Pagels, p. 182

How NVC’s aspiration towards adopting a nonviolent state-of-mind (ahimsa/agape) is similar to that preached by Christianity, at its best:

“…This vision derives its power not only from the conviction that one stands on God’s side, but also from the belief that one’s opponents are doomed to fail.  The words Matthew places in Jesus’ mouth characterize his opponents as people accursed, who the divine judge has already consigned ‘into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’

Yet among first-century Christian sources we also find profoundly different perceptions of opponents.  Although Matthew’s Jesus attacks the Pharisees and bitterly condemns them, and John at one point characterizes Jesus’ opponents as Satan’s progeny, the Q source that Matthew uses also suggests different ways of perceiving others, in sayings attributed to Jesus that urge reconciliation with one’s opponents:

If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (5:23-24).

Or Matthew 5:43-44:

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  But I say to you, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven.”

To pray for one’s enemies suggests that one believes that whatever harm they have done, they are capable of being reconciled to God and to oneself.  Paul, writing about twenty years before the evangelists, hold a still more traditionally Jewish perception that Satan acts as God’s agent not to corrupt people but to test them; at one point he suggests that a Christian group “deliver to Satan” one of its errant members, not in order to consign him to hell, but in the hopes that he will repent and change (1 Cor. 5-5).  Paul also hopes and longs for reconciliation between his “brothers, “fellow Israelites, and Gentile believers (Rom. 9:3-4).

Many Christians, then, from the first century through Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the twentieth, have believed that they stood on God’s side without demonizing their opponents.  Their religious vision inspired them to opposed policies and powers they regarded as evil, often risking their well-being and their lives, while praying of the reconciliation — not the damnation — of those who opposed them.

For the most part, however, Christians have taught — and acted upon — the belief that their enemies are evil and beyond redemption.  Concluding this book, I hope that this research may illuminate for others, as it has for me, the struggle within the Christian tradition between the profoundly human that “otherness” is evil and the words of Jesus that reconciliation is divine.”  Pagels, p. 183-184

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Trump and the Lord’s Work – The New York Times

San Fermin – No Devil

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Overcoming Enemy Images – Irmtraud, Hagit, Joshua, Amos, Jo

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Dalai Lama – The New York Times

The Dalai Lama spoke about the Atlas of Emotions study at the Wilson House on the Sisters of St. Francis’ Assisi Heights campus in Rochester, Minn.

Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That

The Dalai Lama has commissioned an Atlas of Emotions to further a lofty mission: turning secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.

Daniel Siegel discusses Mindsight with the Dalai Lama Center

Siegel: Time In: Reflection, Relationships and Resilience at the Heart of Internal Education

Learning to Express Anger Fully

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Becoming a bit more ‘impeccable’ (without sin) with our words…

NVC: Dealing with Enemy Images

Downshifting the Beelzebub Personification Spectrum:

The Connection Continuum:
<<< You and me (always moving back and forth) >>>


rage, disconnection and violence                                    connection, compassion, peace

Some possible steps towards making shifts on our Beelzebub Personification Spectrum, (whether our enemy-imagery is directed at ourselves or others):

  1. Intention:  Become mindful of your anger-warning signals/dashboard (witness your greek chorus narration of events, a.k.a. watching the ‘jackal show’, especially any movement on the enemy-imagery continuum — a.k.a. the ‘beelzebub personification spectrum’);  see:  Reptilian Brain & Mindsight &  Linnaea Marvell’s  Dynamics of Self-Connection
  2. Observation:  Just the facts m’am —OFNR:  sticking to the ‘who, what, when and where’ of identifying, observationally-speaking, the stimulus for our current upset;
  3. Feelings:  Track the blame game by becoming increasingly Self-Responsible — noting how our interpretations blend in with how we feel and both are invariably rooted in what we are valuing (needs as causal, in NVC terms), and what we are ideally wanting (our preferred strategies) while scrupulously avoiding the habitual/culturally-inculcated propensity towards an entirely external attribution for our current agitation (as is the case of for others:  extrapolating how the acts of others are rooted in their own interpretations/feelings/needs as well);
  4. Needs:  Wanting Fully Without Attachment – Empowerment through more expansive brainstorming of the potential variety of alternate strategies that might be deployed towards attending to our own needs while simultaneously honoring the needs of others, whenever possible;
  5. Requests:  Practice with articulating clear action requests (both of ourselves and others).  See:  Requests-4-Connection & Dwelling in Request Consciousness

The Difference Between Cause and Stimulus

Taking responsibility for our feeling

Guided Meditiation with Dan Siegel (Wheel of Awareness)

He drew a circle that shut me out –
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

“Outwitted” by Edwin Markham

Mix – Tom Lehrer – National Brotherhood Week

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One approach to transforming enemy images that are especially challenging — as with a political figure with whom you have a great degree of wariness — is to approach it as one might a loving-kindness meditation, for example:  by choosing someone that you are more motivated to soften towards (for example, a friend or family member who holds differing political views than your own):

Overview of Loving-kindness Meditation

How to do it . . .

The practice always begins with developing a loving acceptance of yourself. If resistance is experienced then it indicates that feelings of unworthiness are present. No matter, this means there is work to be done, as the practice itself is designed to overcome any feelings of self-doubt or negativity. Then you are ready to systematically develop loving-kindness towards others.

Four Types of Persons to develop loving-kindness towards:

• a respected, beloved person – such as a spiritual teacher;
• a dearly beloved – which could be a close family member or friend;
• a neutral person – somebody you know, but have no special feelings towards, e.g.: a person who serves you in a shop;
• a hostile person – someone you are currently having difficulty with.

Dan Siegel: The Neurological Basis of Behavior, the Mind, the Brain and Human

Via the Garrison Institute‘s 2011 Climate, Mind and Behavior Symposium: Dr. Dan Siegel of the Mindsight Institute discusses the neurological basis of behavior, the mind, the brain and human relationships. He explains one definition of the mind as “an embodied and relational emergent process that regulates the flow of energy and information,” and describes the role of awareness and attention in monitoring and modifying the mind. Dr. Siegel puts forth a method of expanding the sense of identity so as to include other people, species and the planet and proposes the concept of “we maps.” He recommends using the notion of health as a means of linking individual, community and planetary wellbeing. To learn more about the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Mind & Behavior Initiative:  Visit its website: https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/cli… & Twitter: https://twitter.com/climatemind


Fossil Fuel Billionaires Kill Children

Rather than personifying evil (as in our enemy imagery towards a discrete person/individual), it might be worthwhile to take a more panoramic view…

Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground

John Oliver exposes how the media turns scientific studies into “morning show gossip”

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See also:


NVC Certified Trainer Miki Kashtan’s take on the Trump phenomena…

Blog | The Fearless Heart | Inspiration and tools for creating the future we want.  Courage to live it now.

What Will We Do if Trump Is the Next President?

By Miki Kashtan

What Will We Do if Trump Is the Next President?

Dorothy Thompson in 1920

In late 1931, Dorothy Thompson, then one of the US’s most respected foreign correspondents, interviewed Adolf Hitler. She spoke of “the startling insignificance of this man.” Although she could foresee the possibility that he would create a coalition government with centrist politicians, she nonetheless said: “it is highly improbable that in this case he will succeed in putting through any of his more radical plans.” Within a year of the article’s publication, he began doing exactly that. In 1934, after writing many articles against Hitler and exposing the reign of terror he instituted, she was the first foreign correspondent to be expelled from Nazi Germany. [Source] …  (Continues)


To discuss this and other of Miki’s blog posts (with both she and other readers of her blog), check in to her free Fearless Heart Teleseminars.
Next dates:

Sunday May 8, 10:30-noon
Monday May 9, 5:30-7pm

And last but not least:

Jon Stewart is back with some strong words for Donald Trump

This entry was posted in Arts & Literature, Enemy Imagery, Giraffe Consciousness, IPNB, NVC & Other Modalities, Self-Responsibility, What's Up Next? and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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