sympathy for the devil

A Courtroom.

A prisoner, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, sits calmly in the dock. There is the slightest trace of a smile on his face.

The prosecutor is addressing the jury:

“…The figure before you has been charged with the most egregious crimes in the history of mankind. The evidence has been laid before you, incontrovertible evidence of a conspiracy to enslave and exterminate humanity.”

The prosecutor pauses for effect before addressing the magistrate:

“I feel that no more needs to be said your honour, the evidence speaks for itself”

The magistrate leans forward slightly before speaking:

“Thankyou Mr Prosecutor”

The magistrate now turns his head to look at the prisoner who has remained unmoved during the prosecutor’s final words.

“Now, would the counsel for the defence please make their case”

The prisoner rises and says: “I am my own advocate your honour”

“Ah, yes… of course…have you anything to say in your defence?”

The prisoner smiles at the magistrate.

“Yes your honour, I do. And it will be brief.”

The prisoner walks towards the jury. His hands are cuffed but he holds them together on his chest, almost in a gesture of prayer.

“Dear Jury folk, my defence in this case is most definitely of a technical nature, nevertheless I believe you will find it quite watertight.”

He begins to pace in front of the jury, head slightly bowed, his clasped hands have now risen to his chin.

“Do you realise that I only exist because of you?”

The prisoner lets the statement sink in for a few moments.

“I am who I am and can be no other. You, on the other hand, have a choice in the matter. One cannot be guilty of being themselves; all guilt stems from not being yourself, not being true to yourself.

“Yes I exist only because of you my dear quarry. All those terrible things I did…and you helped me do them.

“Do you not realise the nature of things – the nature of nature? It is pure will, desire, instinct. It commands, it is divine. When you do not act in accord with the divine within you, when you overrule yourself out of fear or pride, I become. The less you are, the more I am.”

“You see, I am a product of your weakness – your collective weakness is my singular strength, and it is the nature of the strong to prey on the weak. This is only natural.”

“The weaker you became, the stronger I grew. Your passivity is my activity. The longer you remained passive, the worse I became – for I have no choice: I am a law of nature.”

“You see me as evil incarnate but in truth I am medicine, bitter medicine. I cannot but grow until you say ‘no’, until you refuse the bargain I offer. It is your vanity and apathy and your addictions that created me, that made me more and more monstrous.

“You were shown your birthright and destiny 2000 years ago. You have been given time, time enough to realise this. Some of you have claimed this right, and most of them did not fare so well amongst your fellows. Now that time has passed: we could not wait any longer”

“Yes I am monster, a monster of your own creation. A necessary monster. For that is what it has taken for you to wake up, to take responsibility instead of handing over your  sovereignty to experts and authorities. That is what it took to rouse you from your slumber. I am what it took for you to stop being slaves.”

The prisoner pauses, turns and looks directly at the jury.

“The truth? We all know the truth. It took me to make you believe again.”











2 thoughts on “sympathy for the devil

  1. Very good, Gav. Shades of Ivan Karamazov’s interview with the strange, shabby little gentleman. I like the gesture of him holding his hands clasped on his chest.

  2. well my friend there is no higher praise – the grand inquisitor parable is one of the most profound pieces i have ever read. thankyou.

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