The entity

published Nov 01, 2011, last modified Jun 26, 2013

The most powerful delusion ever.

The overwhelming majority of people believe in a magical entity.

This entity is, for lack of a better word, invisible to every human being. Nobody can point out where the entity exists or what its shape is.

Being invisible, it needs men to carry out its commands. Prophets to write them, priests to interpret them, foot soldiers to enforce them, and an army of altar boys to carry other duties ordered by the entity. These people form a blessed caste, for whom regular social norms don't apply.

When a person dons any magical costume associated with the entity and carries out its orders, robbery, assault, maiming, kidnapping, murder and even rape, are transformed into acts that are "justified", sometimes even "good" and "necessary". This person suspends his rational ethical judgement and performs things that he would never perform in his capacity as a human being; if his victims try to appeal to his conscience, he will rationalize these acts with "I am just following orders"; if his victims resist, he will "call for backup" (which means increasing the violence available to him in order to overpower his victims). So long as this person obeys the commands of the entity, he is perceived to never do any wrong.

At this point, one might ask: why would people do this?

Well, believers claim that the entity has the ultimate power to do whatever it sees fit, even the power to define right and wrong. Some believers claim this power "trickles down" from the entity to its blessed caste; others believe that the power of the entity "emanates" from the believers themselves; most of them believe that the power of the entity is cemented, confirmed or otherwise created through specific rituals. In any case, as with any other castes, the higher the position in the caste, the more powers and privileges of the individual.

The practical consequence of this belief: anything the prophets write down, the priests interpret, and the foot soldiers bark at people, is taken as gospel and obeyed blindly by all the believers. The foot soldiers can, through sheer violence, overpower any man or group of men on the face of the Earth -- they have a monopoly in the manufacture, possession and sale of the most gruesome machines intended to tear living human beings apart. The word of the entity cannot ever be changed unless people with a grievance follow a very complicated ritual prescribed by the ancient prophets themselves, which can take years, may never happen in any person's lifetime, and may simply be ignored by the caste. Getting a letter from the blessed caste is enough to send shivers down any man's spine.

So complete is the belief in the entity among its believers, that parents send their children to camps operated by altar boys of the entity, where they are taught all about the entity and its alleged benevolence. This is, of course, obligatory -- parents who refuse to send their kids to these camps and refuse to obey the blessed caste, find themselves the targets of severe punishment and estrangement from their kids. In these camps, kids who refuse to believe in the entity or resist being held in the camps against their will, are labeled "problem kids" and "bad", sometimes even drugged to numb their natural responses and to make them more compliant and obedient.

The above circumstances practically guarantee absolute, unwavering belief in the entity. Whoever wants to survive cannot afford to stop believing in the entity (or the logical consequence of this skepticism: to stop obeying the blessed caste).

There's a lot of debate over what the entity has ordered or what the entity wants for its caste (sometimes referred to as "public servants") and its believers (sometimes referred to as its "citizens"). There's also a lot of debate over when and how the entity came into being. Some people believe that a ritual created the entity. Others believe that the entity has always existed since time immemorial. Others, convinced that the entity has gone "rogue", believe that with a murderous and gruesome ritual -- the wholesale slaughter of members of the caste -- they will make the entity vanish thus conjuring a new, more "benevolent" and more "perfect" entity. But there is one thing that is never to be debated: the existence and power ("sovereignity") of the entity; all believers must kneel before the entity, and anyone who resists its will, must be exterminated.

Interestingly, people who believe in the entity will not only swear to you that the entity exists, but they will also attest to the ultimate benevolence and necessity of the entity. In addition to that, they will attack and punish -- oftentimes very violently and brutally -- anyone who refuses to believe in the entity or dares to defy the authority of its blessed caste. They will support the caste -- that is, experience vicarious pleasure -- when the caste punishes anyone perceived to have broken any of the entity's rules.

The entity needs money, lots of it. Believers claim it has the ultimate power to decide how much of your money to take, and how violently to punish you if you disobey. The blessed caste work in an organized fashion to deprive you of about half of your efforts every year; most of them claim to be virtuous and generous since they magnanimously "allow" you to keep the rest (by "allowing you", of course, they mean that they will not punish you violently for keeping that part). If you refuse to give your money to the blessed caste, all believers will call you a "thief" and demand that you be severely punished for "robbing" the entity of what "belongs to it".

Oh, one final thing: the ultimate punishment for resisting the entity is death. Human deaths caused by people acting on their belief in the entity can be counted in the hundreds of millions of souls, and far surpass any other deaths inflicted by people.

People call this entity government.

The entity has a fearsome enemy, one whose very existence is denied by the believers of the entity, while they work feverishly and desperately to keep it out if sight. The power of this enemy is sufficient to, in time, lay waste to the entity for good and all. The power of this enemy will, sooner or later, be unleashed with full force against, and ultimately vanquish the entity. It is inevitable. It is unstoppable. The surviving shamans and zealots will weep and curse the masses for accepting the enemy of their beloved entity. It will make no difference. The enemy of the entity will eventually win. It always does.

You may have even heard of it. It's called the truth.