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The Devil Inside Free

…I already had the groove and I had the riff and I knew what I wanted to do. But I know when Michael first heard it, he goes, "What's that?...We gotta have it." And so he scribbled down that rough idea of, "Every single one of us/ The devil inside." And I thought, "This is pretty groovy."

The Devil Inside

Being a winemaker, I consider it my job to push the extremes of winemaking to give you new experiences. This wine was me taking a great leap of faith into the unknown realms of Portuguese based varietals. The quest was to take these tannic monsters (and their like) and make something sexy that would seduce you and wake the devil that lives in every one of us. Hence, the Devil Inside.

Shadow Gate makes for an appropriately creepy horror setting, ornately furnished and cloaked in fog. The interiors are often too cramped to walk around or fight inside, but like other horror games at the time, it has an abundance of desk drawers, closets, and cabinets to root around in for items. Some of the demons haunting Shadow Gate have imaginatively bizarre designs, looking like human-shaped meat with extra limbs; the Night Howler looks like he got his wardrobe by graverobbing a 19th century British military band, which perfectly sits on the edge between dorky and appropriate for a demon to wear.

Some of these movies make reference to the apparent actual growing demand for exorcisms and the need to train more priests to perform this archaic religious rite. This widespread explosion of interest in exorcism was confirmed by a Washington Post article (Feb. 10, 2008) titled "Exorcism makes a comeback in Europe: Citing modern ills, hundreds of priests have trained to expel the devil." In that legitimate news report, a Catholic priest in Poland routinely conducting twenty exorcisms per week explains, " ' there is a group of people who cannot get relief through any other practices and who need peace.' "

Now, more than two millennia later, the Roman Catholic Church is reported to be secretly educating a new crop of exorcists to meet a rapidly rising demand for exorcisms in Italy, Australia, America and elsewhere around the globe. Here in the U.S., where there is evidently an acute shortage of formally trained exorcists, burgeoning numbers of suffering souls--some deeply disillusioned with or wary of what mainstream psychology and psychiatry have to offer today--are desperately turning to exorcism to deal with their debilitating "devils" and "demons."

Exorcism can be said to be the prototype of modern psychotherapy. (See my prior post.) Despite the secular scientific persona of most mental health professionals today, simply scratching the surface of rationality and objectivity reveals a secret exorcist: Like exorcists, psychotherapists speak in the name of a "higher being," be it medical science, rationality or some psychological, metaphysical or spiritual belief system. They firmly (and, in the case of biological psychiatry in particular) literally believe in the physical reality of the pathological problem manifested in the patient's symptoms and suffering, and dispense drugs and/or encouragement while joining with the patient in a sacred "therapeutic alliance" against the wicked and debilitating forces bedeviling them.

The pertinent question then for psychologists and psychiatrists is how best to treat such severely disturbed and intensely suffering individuals? It seems that at least some familiarity with their religious beliefs and meaningful integration of these beliefs into their psychotherapy is essential. These patients have usually tried traditional psychiatric treatment, with its banal neurobiological bias, to no avail. Providing some way to help such frustrated patients make sense of their frightening and bewildering subjective experiences and integrate them meaningfully into a deeper psychological and spiritual understanding of themselves and the world is what real psychotherapy should, really must, strive toward. Without such a meaning-centered, spiritually sensitive secular psychotherapy (see my prior post), exorcism is seen by some bedeviled individuals as their only hope.

Biochemistry, in the form of the tiny neurotransmitter, has become our postmodern demon du jour for which all manner of evils are blamed. Depth psychologists C.G. Jung (in his concept of the shadow) and Rollo May (1969) provide psychologically sophisticated, secular theories of human evil and daimonic (as opposed to demonic) possession which do not demand literal belief in the devil or demons. (I discuss these matters in detail in my book Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic.) But, tragically, most psychotherapy today does not adequately comprehend or treat the possession syndrome. For some bedeviled individuals, the traditional ritual of exorcism or myth of "demonic possession" serve to make more sense of their suffering than the scientific, secular, biochemical explanations and cognitive-behavioral theories proffered these days by mainstream psychiatry and psychology. If psychotherapy as a healing of the soul (not just the mind) is to survive and thrive into the future, our current overemphasis on cognition, behavior, genetics, neurology and biochemistry must be counterbalanced by the inclusion of the spiritual and depth psychological dimension of human existence. It must become, as Freud intimated and C.G. Jung courageously recognized, psychotherapy for the soul. (See my prior post.)

The truth is, most psychotherapy patients need far more than what pharmaceutical intervention and/or cognitive therapy--the two most popular so-called "evidence-based" or empirically supported modalities today--can provide. They need and deserve support and accompaniment through their painful, frightening, disorienting, perilous spiritual or existential crises, their "dark night of the soul." They need a psychologically meaningful method to confront their metaphorical devils and demons, their repressed anger or rage, and the existential reality of evil. They need a secular spiritual psychotherapy willing to ask the right questions. In a time where so many have lost faith in God, rejected organized religion, yet still seek something transpersonal to believe in, something spiritual, something transcendental or supernatural, the notion of demonic possession has diabolically tempting appeal.

It all sounds great. But the devil is in the details, and getting these right may take longer than people think. Says University of Massachusetts pediatrician Kathleen Walsh: "In my mind it is going to be a 10- or 20-year process before this goes smoothly."

Ben could be a typical moviegoer. Think about it: We see manifestations of the devil onscreen far more than we see God. How many films over the last five years have involved manifestations of demon possession or supernatural evil? Twenty? Thirty? More? How many times have we seen God?

Before a Halloween party, Jesse had mysteriously got the necklace back and ends up going crazy again by acting like The Devil, revealing he had escaped from the mirror and possessed Jesse again through the necklace. During the party, Jesse is hesitant to give it up at first, but luckily Brian, Nick, Swift and the rest of the party guests managed to snap him out of it and convinced Jesse to finally kill The Devil by having the necklace thrown into a fire to prevent anyone from finding it or getting their hands on it ever again while at the same time have his mirror leading to the Mirror Realm smashed, destroying it in the process as well as destroying the gateway between Isaac's world and the connections to every other worlds that Jesse had created. As a result, The Devil, the necklace and the Mirror Realm no longer cease to exist as they are now completely erased for good, ending The Devil's reign of terror forever. It was also revealed on the day Jesse went on his two-month trip that the reason Jeff Sr. has turned angry all the time since My Virtual Escape ended is because of the effects from the necklace which caused him to become like Psycho Dad, but also turned him evil towards Jesse and his own family since the necklace can unleash someone's anger and rage that summons their own Devil inside, making them more destructive, abusive and violent. Now that The Devil, along with the necklace, is gone for good as he has completely died in vain, Jeff Sr. has finally calmed down as he has now become his nice and friendly self again like when he started to think the graphic novel is amazing, doesn't mind being filmed and even created his own social media accounts.

We have it on good authority (at least two popes, one saint and one poet) that Hell is a state of mind that any of us might find ourselves in. My working life as a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist in prisons and places like Broadmoor, where some of the inmates have committed the most appalling crimes, has convinced me that they are right. And 80 years ago, a pipe-smoking Oxford don and Christian convert gave us an astonishingly vivid insight into what being in Hell might actually be like. This was C.S. Lewis, best-known for his Narnia novels, who in The Screwtape Letters imagines a senior devil in the Infernal Civil Service giving an incompetent trainee devil advice about how best to tempt a person away from the Christian path, and, in so doing, to drag them into the cold nothingness of separation from God. This, for Lewis, is the meaning of Hell. Appearing first as a column in The Guardian, The Screwtape Letters was published in book form in spring 1942. There were eight reprints within the year, and it has never been out of print. Letters were still the mainstay of personal communication in the mid-twentieth century, and Lewis was a well practised and prolific letter writer. He gave generously of his time and advice in his correspondence, especially to friends (with whom he would conduct long written debates), to aspiring writers and those seeking spiritual advice. He made a point of writing back to everyone who wrote to him (which became fairly burdensome as his fame grew). Lewis became something of an epistolary expert, and he put that to good use in different books, including The Screwtape Letters. 041b061a72


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