fash of the ‘european traditionalist, let’s go back to a mythical idea of pre-modern europe’ variety, who also call themselves ‘nationalists’…like how old do they think the concept of the nation state is? Nationalism is a modern ideology., Europe had no hard borders or immigration controls till after the first world war, and now “traditionalists” have them at the centre of their politics? ‘Against the modern world’ my arse
The “Folkloric Devil” is a term applied to the figure who appears in folk-tales and legends and who is often called “the devil”, but it’s obvious that he emerges from a different source than the theological background of Christianity.
Old divinities or diminished Gods that maintained a presence in the minds or cultures of European peoples are suggested (often enough, and for good reasons) as a source of this figure; but beyond that, the pre-Christian societies had spiritual forces and persons that they related to in the sense of “outsider” powers that could be shady or tricky or dangerous at times, but who often had kinds of relationships nonetheless with human beings. These are the main source of the “folkloric” Devil/Devils.
The Folkloric devil isn’t concerned with damning souls, primarily, but he always wants to make deals or pacts to help humans who need things, but so that he can gain, too- a sign of his origin in the older world of spirit-relationship and spiritual ecology. In Christian gloss, he begins more and more to want “souls” for his help, but he is always able to be tricked, himself- and this is very important. Human heroes or protagonists can outwit him. This is something that would be impossible to do to the Theological Devil, who is far beyond humans in power, and second only to God himself in power.
Modern Pop Culture produces surprising emergences of the old Folkloric Devil- Charlie Daniel’s song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is an appearance of a Folkloric Devil, who can be out-played by the intrepid and arrogant local boy, on the fiddle. There is the Christian conceit of the Devil seeking souls in that song, but that’s just a minor detail, more suited to a Christian audience and born from the imagination of a low Protestant folk singer.
The Folkloric Devil is a being- and a representative of a whole class of beings- who can be engaged with by humans, for gains. They can be harmful, they can be helpful, and they can be outwitted or outdone at times. Sometimes, they become protagonists themselves.
Theological Elites in the Pre-Modern period of Europe saw no distinction between their Theological Devil and the various emergences of the Folkloric Devil. The “Devil” of witch cults and covenants and of individual sorcerers or witches was of the Folkloric variety, though in their own personal understandings, even they may have believed that he was the same as the theological devil, such was the nature of their times. It’s not like there was a neat chart that spelled all this stuff out to earlier people, and folk in Pre-Modern times heard Christian ministers ranting alongside fire-side bards telling folktales, and so the Folkloric Devil/Devils could take on Christian gloss and attributes at times, and the Theological devil could appear in decidedly “folkish” ways.
What’s important to remember is that the Theological Devil doesn’t exist except as the shadow of Christian psychology. He is born from the idealistic Christian imagination, as the necessary counter-ideal or counter-force to their idealistic notion of good, the warped good, the fallen good, born in their continuation of earlier dualistic religious tropes that posited a cosmic war between good and evil cosmological forces.
The Folkloric Devil, on the other hand, very much exists, both in the form of a powerful former divinity worshiped by practically every human culture known previous to Christianity, and as a folk-memory of certain spirit-entities (very much tied to this world) that people have always engaged in relationships with, though they are a group of entities who are, in ways, challenging, dangerous at points, and ambiguous.
The Theological Devil is a remnant of idealism and the diseased imagination of absolutists and idealists. The Folkloric Devil is a remnant of ancient spiritual ecology and human relationships to the wilder, stranger Otherworld.
Pre-modern era, the word virgin meant “an unmarried young woman” not “untainted by carnal pleasure plucked and poisoned by the apple and the snake”. An eternally “Virgin goddess” just means a goddess who didn’t revolve her life around men and consciously objected to marrying men. There’s even reason to interpret the Virgin Mary as not her never having sex, but, rather, her not yet being married to Joseph, since there are problems with translation from the Hebrew.
Anyways, knowing the actual meaning of virgin as it would have meant to the Greeks, you can interpret Artemis either as bisexual or as a lesbian. I choose to interpret her as a lesbian and take her “feelings” for Orion as her misinterpreting the feeling of being fully understood by another person as romantic love, or misinterpreting strong platonic feelings as romantic love. Her feelings for Britomartis, however, have been described as her being madly in love, as well as continually pursuing her.
If you’re really, really desperate for a potentially aroace Greek goddess, try Hestia, goddess of the hearth. She refused to marry two gods, and is never shown to have more than platonic feelings for anyone, man or woman, as well as begging Zeus to allow her to never marry or enter a relationship.
James shoved his phone in his pocket and stared at the
pavement for a moment. There was so much going on right now; he could handle
it. He just needed a moment. He could do this. He could manage the shop by
himself right now. He could. That was why Gates had hired him. In case
something like this happened.
He took a deep breath and let it out again, reminding
himself to breathe. Finally he went back into the laundromat and over to the
washer that he had dumped his clothes in right before he got the call from
A machine that was currently mid-cycle.
James frowned at it. It hadn’t been started when he ran out
of the laundromat trying to make sure he didn’t lose reception. There had been
other machines available. He’d thought he had enough time to get back. Why
would someone just start his? He looked around the laundromat and frowned again
as he hit pause cycle and opened it.
“What the fuck?” His clothes were tangled in amongst other
items that he didn’t even recognize.
“Excuse me, is there a problem?”
James turned around sharply.
A tall blonde young man, who had been sitting in the chair
by the window, got up and walked over to him.
“Yeah, there’s a problem. Is this your stuff in here?”
“Yeah.” The blonde shoved his hands in his pockets
“My clothes were in the machine first.” James hated arguing,
and he hated confrontation, but for fuck’s sake, he really needed to get his
laundry done. He didn’t have time to waste today.
The blonde’s brow wrinkled in confusion and for some reason
the sight of it strikes a faint chord in James’s memory. Where has he seen that
“Oh. It wasn’t started yet.”
“So what, they were still in there!” James was still pissed,
but now he felt guilty as well because he knew the guy had a point.
“Look, I’m sorry. But they are still getting washed, aren’t they?” The blonde said after a
moment. “I mean, that is the goal, right?”
“That’s not the point.” James started, and then subsided.
“You’re right.” He leaned against the machine, looking at the time. Only ten
more minutes, then he could untangle his wet clothes from this man’s laundry
and they could go their separate ways and everything would be fine.
yes i get that the idea of pre-modern Europe being totally what you’d consider ‘white’ by modern standards is false and should be dismantled. i mean we should totally talk about how the Roman Empire was very much a multiethnic civilisation with North African and Middle-Eastern influences and existed with completely different race categories altogether. we should consider how empires we often regard today as non-European like the Islamic caliphates, the Achaemenid Empire (aka Iran) and Ottoman Turkey influenced what we now consider to be ‘Western civilisation’. or consider how Christianity is ultimately a religion of Middle-Eastern origin. we should remember that modern constructs of whiteness are exactly that- modern. they were not perpetual.
but i can’t completely get on board with the way people often only fixate on US-centric race categories to present Europe as diverse. there are numerous European ethnic minorities who you might consider ‘white’ in the US who have historically faced erasure and genocidal violence at the hands larger and more powerful European countries. diversity in the European context is very much about representing ethnic diversity too.
by all means, I understand the term POC has some validity if you’re addressing say, a US-based game developer or a US movie studio making a Hollywood movie when they start saying things like ‘premodern europe was all white’. but all the same, the way racism and exclusion has occurred in Europe has very often been about ethnic faultlines. things like antisemitism, a very old European prejudice, just do not fit simply into a white/POC dichotomy. so i can’t help but feel the way the term ‘POC’ gets flung around carelessly in that context is subtle US cultural imperialism, because this is also kind of implicitly predicated on the idea that whiteness as it is understood in the US exists the same way in various European countries.
I'd to point you to a couple of things. They are. Soviet Russia. Maoist China
Soviet Russia and China are examples of countries that were still entrenched in feudalism at the times of their respective socialist revolutions, which effectively catapulted them into variations of state capitalist development instead of full workers-democratically-control-production socialism. The state became the analogous capitalist class and instituted developments and policies over the course of a few decades that private capitalists elsewhere were pushing for centuries – think forced proletarianization of peasants and concentrated industrialization. The state took over the functions of a bunch of private capitalists, appropriating surplus value generated by workers and distributing the surplus where deemed necessary; they often put this towards the industrialization of infrastructure and public services, but it just as often was used to enrich the party apparatus. Even Lenin literally deemed this setup as “state capitalism”, the idea being an intermediary stage for formerly-feudal societies before full socialism.
As a libertarian socialist/Marxist, I don’t defend the actions taken in these countries, but it’s important to contextualize what was going on. The idea is that it’s near-impossible to just jump from feudalism to socialism – a period of capitalist development/accumulation and liberal institutions makes the jump more viable. As far as I’m concerned, this could have been accomplished through mutualism or market socialism, combining the liberalism of markets with the democratic accountability of worker control (thus mitigating much of the poverty and violent consequences of class domination).
To quote Terry Eagleton:
“Marx himself never imagined that socialism could be achieved in impoverished conditions [i.e. Russia and China]. Such a project would require almost as bizarre a loop in time as inventing the Internet in the Middle Ages. Nor did any Marxist thinker until Stalin imagine that this was possible, including Lenin, Trotsky, and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership…
Building up an economy from very low levels is a back-breaking, dispiriting task. It is unlikely that men and women will freely submit to the hardships it involves. So unless this project is executed gradually, under democratic control and in accordance with socialist values, an authoritarian state may step in and force its citizens to do what they are reluctant to undertake voluntarily. The militarization of labor in Bolshevik Russia is a case in point. The result, in a grisly irony, will be to undermine the political superstructure of socialism (popular democracy, genuine self-government) in the very attempt to build up its economic base…
As Marx insists, socialism also requires a shortening of the working day – partly to provide men and women with the leisure for personal fulfillment, partly to create time for the business of political and economic self-government. You can not do this if people have no shoes; and to distribute shoes among millions of citizens is likely to require a centralized bureaucratic state. If your nation is under invasion from an array of hostile capitalist powers, as Russia was in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution, an autocratic state will seem all the more inevitable…
To go socialist, then, you need to be reasonably well-heeled, in both the literal and the metaphorical senses of the term. No Marxist from Marx and Engels to Lenin and Trotsky ever dreamt of anything else. Or if you are not well-heeled yourself, then a sympathetic neighbor reasonably flush in material resources needs to spring to your aid. In the case of the Bolsheviks, this would have meant such neighbors (Germany in particular) having their own revolutions, too. If the working class of these countries could overthrow their own capitalist masters and lay hands on their productive powers, they could use those resources to save the first workers’ state in history from sinking without a trace. This was not as improbable a proposal as it might sound. Europe at the time was aflame with revolutionary hopes, as councils of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies (or soviets) sprang up in cities such as Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, Munich, and Riga. Once these insurrections were defeated, Lenin and Trotsky knew their own revolution was in dire straights.
It is not that the building of socialism cannot be begun in deprived conditions. It is rather that without material resources it will tend to twist into the monstrous caricature of socialism known as Stalinism. The Bolshevik revolution soon found itself besieged by imperial Western armies, as well as threatened by counterrevolution, urban famine, and a bloody civil war. It was marooned in an ocean of largely hostile peasants reluctant to hand over their hard-earned surplus at gunpoint to the starving towns. With a narrow capitalist base, disastrously low levels of material production, scant traces of civil institutions, a decimated, exhausted working class, peasant revolts, and a swollen bureaucracy to rival the Tsar’s, the revolution was in deep trouble almost from the outset…
Imagine a slightly crazed capitalist outfit that tried to turn a pre-modern tribe into a set of ruthlessly acquisitive, technologically sophisticated entrepreneurs speaking the jargon of public relations and free market economics, all in a surreally short period of time. Does the fact that the experiment would almost certainly prove less than dramatically successful constitute a fair condemnation of capitalism? Surely not. To think so would be as absurd as claiming that the Girl Guides should be disbanded because they cannot solve certain tricky problems in quantum physics. Marxists do not believe that the mighty liberal lineage from Thomas Jefferson to John Stuart Mill is annulled by the existence of secret CIA-run prisons for torturing Muslims, even though such prisons are part of the politics of today’s liberal societies. Yet the critics of Marxism are rarely willing to concede that show trials and mass terror are no refutation of it.”
1) You can’t just expect socialism to quickly arise in materially- and socially-isolated countries in the throngs of feudalism (Russia and China). A material base of industrialization and a social base of liberalism are generally understood to be useful/basically-necessary prerequisites to build from. If other capitalist countries had undergone socialist revolution and provided aid to the struggling formerly-feudal state capitalist countries, they probably wouldn’t have congealed into top-down bureaucracies. A domino effect of worker revolutions across capitalist countries is considered necessary for socialism to fully take hold, just as a domino effect of bourgeois revolutions across feudal countries was needed for capitalism to fully take hold.
2) The violent primitive accumulation of early capitalism and the concentrated industrialization of state capitalist Russia and China served similar analogous functions in the broader context of historical materialism. Private capitalism for the enrichment of individual capitalists over the centuries, state capitalism supposedly for the enrichment of society’s material base and an eventual transition to full socialism.
3) Capitalist societies have unleashed violent imperialism, mass enslavement, systemic poverty, and police states. If we’re going to bring up the disasters of isolated countries that set their aims at socialism, then we need to bring up the centuries-long disasters of not-isolated capitalist countries that have actively oppressed domestic and foreign populations of people.
4) We live in an era of material abundance aided by advanced technology and automation; any attempt at socialism in late-capitalist countries would be significantly easier than what Russia and China experienced. As such, these industrialized late-capitalist countries need to undergo social revolution and provide aid to each other and to struggling countries that would have otherwise been state capitalist.
(This answer has mainly been for the benefit of people already at least relatively sympathetic to anti-capitalism; I realize it is unlikely to sway someone so entrenched in capitalist ideology that they have no clue what socialist movements have entailed and strove for. If your analysis stops at “Russia and China were bad and that’s what socialism means and therefore it’s not worth fighting for”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. If your analysis stops at “capitalism preaches liberal individual freedom so therefore it is good”, then I don’t know what to tell ya. Dig past the ideology you’ve been spoon-fed by capitalist media and the state since childhood and recognize that you’ve been conned, all for the enrichment of the bosses and the bureaucrats.)