The Devil, in whatever form he takes, will always start by telling you that you are fantastic, a deception which works especially well with those who feel entitled, mistreated, misunderstood and deserving of more, something which is true for most of us, to varying degrees.
The second trick the Devil will use is to tell you that you need to be afraid, because things are far worse than you know and believe, and then he will point to someone weak, different and defenseless to blame, promising a change for the better if you follow his command.
The third trick of the Devil is to tell you that you and him are the same, that he understands you completely, that you are family, leading you to identify more and more with him and his followers.
The fourth trick of the Devil is to appeal to your sense of loss and to your growingly inescapable longing for things you can’t have back, for the sense of safety of your childhood, for comforting familiarity, leading you more and more to withdraw from the different, regarding them as wrong by nature, and growing more and more resentful against them.
The fifth trick of the Devil is to convince you that belief is always as good as, or even more important than, knowledge, since it is truer on a deeper, larger and more profound level, and factual truth is thus made inferior to believed plausible truths. That way his ambitious and agenda driven beliefs are established as truths and always treated as such.
The sixth trick of the Devil is to exploit our fundamental need for hope, which requires belief, by leading us to believe that there is hope only as long as we share his beliefs, making us more and more confuse belief with hope itself.
The seventh trick of the Devil is to teach you about “natural order” of things, and how we should not fight our nature but instead unleash it, teaching you that in that order no one has any value until they have proven it, while building a pyramid of carefully chosen ideals which puts him at the top as an honorable ideal for all to follow.
The eighth trick of the Devil is to tell you that the greater majority are blind and ignorant sheep and only he and you see the world as it really is, without blindfolds, and thus are the ones best equipped to change the world for the better, but will be persecuted for telling the hard “truths”, thus transforming the both of you into holy martyrs. This is a position the Devil desires; always standing as the the opposer, the challenger, the heckler and the victimized, regardless of argument, as it seemingly validates his claims and gives him power, while stealing it from actual victims.
The ninth trick of the Devil is to mix carefully chosen fragments of larger and more complex *truths with his lies and exaggerations so that it all will give off the appearance of being true or at least possibly true. Likewise, he will also steal the arguments of the opponent, but slowly twisting the original meaning and intention around, making it appear as if he too is standing up for those his opponents seek to protect, gaining their support, although he really seeks to subject and exploit them.
In the same way he will argue against his opponents, protesting against simplistic ideas and thoughts they have never even professed to, thus associating them with those false ideas before the eyes of others, making his opponents appear naïve and abnormal and presenting himself as the sensible norm to adhere to.
The tenth trick of the Devil is to offer you his wine in the smallest of cups, making it difficult for you to judge how you change before you are too drunk to care anymore.
The eleventh trick of the Devil is to teach you that doubting and questioning of his declared “simple truths” equals weakness, childish naivety and lack of comprehension, while conviction and firmness equals strength, reliability and honour, thus both silencing any oppositional thought against him, and at the same time making you less open to the thoughts of others, and more susceptible to radical action.
The Devil knows that we all believe that we at heart are good people and will go to great lengths to justify our wrongful acts, and our passivity and inactivity before those committed by others. And that we do the same with our friends and those we admire. Knowing all this, the twelfth trick of the Devil is to declare that you sometimes must set aside things you know is right for the greater good, thus convincing you to commit acts of evil out of your goodness, thereby giving you the justification you require while absolving you from the sin and doubt associated with the acts, and with time converting you to believe that even those acts in themselves are good.
The thirteenth trick of the Devil is to tell you that the solution to all problems is simple, but it requires strength and bravery from noble and honorable people, thus transforming you into a self-perceived hero and savior as you join him fighting for his proclaimed cause of good and just, completely reshaped, finally, in his infectious image.
Despite all his tricks the Devil only has the power and influence we allow him by listening or by choosing not to see. And hope lies in the fact that we all have a choice and can learn to see.