That which sides with Satan: Diabolical, sly, sneaky, in shadow and tests your Ethos is evil. The character you build may not be the one that you are. When you believe yourself to have a strong, moral character, astute ethics and are an all around ‘good person’; it can be deduced that you’ve been clothed with the doctrine of society; for to embrace Evil is to be sinful, immoral and abnormal. Eventually, it fits like a straight jacket. It feels restrictive and binding.
Synonyms include but are not limited to: bad, corrupt, destructive, hateful, heinous, hideous, malevolent, malicious, nefarious, ugly, unpleasant, vicious, vile, villainous, wicked, base, foul, low, offensive, poison, reprobate, wrong, angry, atrocious, baneful, beastly, calamitous, damnable, depraved, disastrous, execrable, flagitious, harmful, iniquitous, injurious, loathsome, maleficent, malignant, no good, obscene, pernicious, rancorous, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, spiteful, stinking, unpropitious, wrathful.
I’ll use the film The Ninth Gate (1999) to frame it, may even switch between the movie and the book The Club Dummas – so do try to keep up.
Take Mr. Witkin for example. Corso beats him to the punch, downplays the volume’s real value and gets the books from the estate in his grips for a whole lot less. Corso can then reap a decent profit when he sells them. Witkin, knowing Corso’s reputation and the quickness by which he acts. Calls him out. Does this make him one of the good guys?
Witkin’s overall look and demeanor are supposed to give the viewer the impression he’s on the up and up. Corso knowing Witkin’s reputation, gets in and out before he can even take an inventory, let alone haggle with a price on a collection. Having been beat at his own game, doesn’t by default make Witkin a good person with strong moral character. It only means he’s slow on the draw and was outwitted by Corso (again).
Balkans: “Strange. I’d have bet a brace [pair] of Gutenberg Bibles you spend half the night with your eyes peeled. You’re one of those lean, hungry, restless types that put the wind up Julius Caesar. Men who stab their friends in the back.”
Balkans hires Corso for his reputation, not because he’s a nice fellow that’s trustworthy. Money talks and Balkans is offering Corso a nice sum for authenticating his copy of the Nine Doors (Ninth Gate). In knowing of Mr. Corso, Balkans can also appeal to his sense of pride as being on point with his knowledge, techniques and relentless pursuit.
To be one that would stab his own friend in the back is considered to the contrary of what society would call a ‘good person’ yet, plenty of ‘bad people’ get on pretty well in the world.
The Ceniza Brothers also give the impression that they are ‘good guys’, yet the hint dropped by them during Corso’s first visit to the shop, later proves to be a key.
When the brothers giggle and speak about the ‘Master’ forger, they are really speaking about their own craft. Unbeknownst to Corso and the reader at the time, is that the brothers did in fact forge missing pages so that the Nine Doors in their possession could be sold as a complete and authentic copy.
When Corso is given the clue by Lucifer, he returns to find the shop cleaned out but he does in fact locate the missing original page he was pursuing. In spite of being shady in business dealings, the Ceniza brothers are quite successful and get on in this life rather well. In spite of their dishonesty.
Corso’s characterization does present some moral fiber, even if the majority of his deeds appear to be amoral. When Fargas refuses to sell and Balkans pushes him to take the copy, he refuses. In the meantime, Mrs. Taillefer beats them both to the punch when Fargas is found dead in the fountain, his copy of the Nine Doors stolen and Corso is left to take the fall for both murder and theft.
In the book however, Corso arranges a ‘burglary’ with his partner Pinto but still he’s adamant that he doesn’t want Pinto to harm Fargas, only stage the burglary and steal the book. Pinto protests Corso’s irritating reminders, he knows his work. The purpose is to point to Corso’s Ethic.
Maybe Fargas is the good guy? Just an innocent old man that collects valuable books right? Even Victor Fargas has his own story of woe and suffering, in the book Corso described him as close to madness by the state of his home, even if the collection was kept impeccable. Fargas was slipping away, paying the price to the deeds of his youth. To embrace Evil is to be transformed by it. Whether the outcome is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ remains to be seen.
“Jackals on the sent of the Gutenberg Bible”
Years ago my Black Book of Names caused a stir as I was selling handmade books using the engravings from The Club Dummas. In Occult circles the whole “And it harm none, do as ye will” axiom rears its head but its so rarely understood. White-lighters believe they are ‘harmless’ all while sweeping the harm that they do under the rug as if no one will notice it. I sure the hell see it.
Those that don’t practice but just tow the line of “We don’t harm anybody!” are just idiots with no real ability to comprehend what it means. This book, what’s written in it, or thought in the Ether is for the person that posses it. His WILL be done, regardless of repercussions. Short of grabbing the thing and smacking someone in the head with it, the only real harm it does to another person is to their fragile psyche.
I’ve been accused of causing illness and death by just suggesting a person may be in it. In truth, grab the thing (a prop) off my library shelf and you’ll find that aside the woodcuts, the pages are blank. Malevolent Magic. I’ll be sorry they tell me, I’m going to hell or some Karma boogeyman is going to eat my soul or some shit. These are the things they believe. All that Evil in the world is just the stuff they don’t like, makes them uncomfortable or ashamed and dishonored by the code they’ve been taught.
Is there a single good guy in The Ninth Gate? Even if you pointed to the so called innocent standers-by, you don’t know their story. Everybody has a story and in it, are deeds of Evil.
This Sagan quote gets shared about so often, I doubt its given a second thought. My immediate thought is that child abuse is an act of Satan. To the Satanists with good guy badges, it’s all “But we don’t harm little children!” completely missing the point. The act of harming children in a society that asserts that it’s wrong and taboo, assigns it as Left-hand Path action. Aside that, harm is subjective. Millions of people believe they are doing right and good by their children, harming them, without ever laying a finger on them. Believers and Non-Believers alike. So please, don’t tell me that you don’t embrace Evil.
Carl Sagan and Corso aren’t that different in terms of character. Not only did he say this, he meant it with righteous indignation. He also said:
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
I’d consider the statement about zealots deep nonsense. I remain skeptical of his intentions when he said it and the science of mind doesn’t add up.
Having said it, does it make him a good person because he seemingly rejects the abuses of children? What about the harm done in the name of self-righteousness? In the name of protecting them?
The 9th Engraving Woodcut interprets to: “Now I know that from Darkness comes Light” , things considered dark, unknowable and off-limits can certainly light your ass on fire. One can be illuminated, in that your ignorance has been pulled into the light. If you reject Evil and all those spooky bad things, you can be assured you’re cutting off one hand to save the other. You’ve put a fence up in the field of knowledge but you’re not safe. Not even close. Eventually Evil penetrates barriers and erases imaginary lines. Temptation to know, is like that.