A Hike With The Devil

A Hike With The Devil

Important note: A hike with the Devil is a rather uncomfortable read. If you have conservative opinions on religion and the world, please don’t read this piece. 

An encounter with Lilith: the Devil

There was something comforting and mesmerizing about her gorgeous face. For the past several weeks, I’d been an emotional wreck drowning in the sea of doubts and confusion. But, every time I gaze at her blue eyes, I feel at home and relaxed. 

I was fascinated with her words. 

Her words are a thing of beauty, each like a potion or a magical ingredient that can be blended to create a powerful spell. 

She was a hiker in our recent hike of a cause, and a statuesque beauty, with a graceful posture and an impressive height that intimidates a lot of men. 

In my estimation, she’s at least a couple of inches taller than me and follows a vigorous fitness routine.     

She’s fit and has likely joined fun runs within the metropolis. But, the mountains are a different beast, and I was pretty sure our hike would challenge her. 

Normally, my pace goes down a few notches whenever I lead a hike for a cause full of strangers. This time, though, I was hiking and even running at my regular pace. 

Before I hit the last assault to the top of the first mountain, I took my customary 5-second break to catch my breath. 

A Hike With The Devil

From the corner of my eye, I saw her taking long strides to where I was standing. 

She introduced herself as Lilith. For some reason, I didn’t notice her earlier in the introductions. I guess my mind was so cluttered that I didn’t notice the people joining our hike. 

Suddenly, she stunned me by introducing herself as the devil. Naturally, I smiled and shrugged it off. Thinking it was just a joke, I quickly changed the topic and asked her if she felt a little pain in the first section of the hike.  

“You can endure and defeat pain if you embrace it”, said the devil. “Feared or denied, pain grows in reality and perception.” 

“I’m impressed”, I replied. “You’re too wise to be a devil. You sound quite like a philosopher. Well, philosophers are often called agnostics or atheists. I guess you really are the devil.”

Maybe”, she replied while still catching her breath. “The devil, in literature and media, is just a reflection of the brutality and savagery of your kind. Perhaps, I’m a misunderstood rebel who gets all the blame for the chaos you’ve created.” 

“You, humans, have a penchant for blaming others, when the truth is, you’re the ones creating your own problems. And, sadly, you point all your fingers at me. You made me the poster girl for sin, corruption, pain, and hatred.” 

“Was I the one who ate the forbidden fruit? Did I open Pandora’s box for you? Father wanted to test his prototypes, Adam and Even, in their nudist paradise by sending me to tempt them. And, guess what? They failed all of you.” 

“Then, I get all the criticism and blame for all your failures. And, I’m expected to make up for all your sorry mistakes. But, like you, I don’t give a fuck.” 

“We are all, after all, a villain in someone else’s story. In the eyes of your daughter, you may be Achilles, Hercules, or Superman. But, you’re also the devil and antihero in your wife’s story.”

“You seem to know a lot about me. Have you been stalking me?”

“We have so many things in common, sir. We’re both rebels and non-conformists. And, we both have troubled relationships with our fathers.” 

A Hike With The Devil

I hit the trail and quickened the pace. Although she seemed like a stalker, I felt comfortable hiking with the so-called devil. 

I’m no stranger to obsessed stalkers. At 15, I had an obsessed stalker, a young lady who was 2 years older than me. 

And, this statuesque beauty is not one of them. She felt like…family. 

“You must have been quite a busy devil these past couple of years”, I said. “I mean you’ve caused a ton of trouble. The covid stuff, the recent war, the hateful electoral campaigns, and the growing social media epidemic that I call hate.”

“On the contrary”, replied the devil. “My schedule hasn’t been this light since the Middle Ages. The truth is, I’m a lazy leader.”  

“A lazy leader is a good leader. Laziness spawns creativity, and laziness encourages you to surround yourself with top-quality people who get things done. And, your laziness, as a leader, helps develop the skills and the abilities of the people surrounding you.” 

“If you do everything, from the accounting tasks to the speeches, you’re becoming a hindrance to the growth of your team. Work smarter not harder.” 

Exactly”, the devil replied as we walked on a flat and established trail. “That’s why I love talking to nonconformists like you. You see things differently. You don’t want to become a victim of conformity, and a casualty of society.”

“And about my leadership style, I haven’t done anything since the dawn of the 21st century. Actually, I don’t have to lift a finger. You make terrible decisions because of your greed and unquenchable desire for power.

I sensed the sudden shift of her voice. I could notice the angst and agony in every word she said. I saw her face turning red, with her piercing blue eyes staring at me.

“Do you have any idea how many people are suffering at this moment? Do you know how many children are being raped and abused every day? Do you have any clue how many soldiers are forced into fighting meaningless wars?” 

“And, do you know how many sick and dying people would have been treated if humanity wasn’t greedy? How many starving people would have been fed if you would have bought sacks of rice instead of missiles?”

I stood quiet for a moment. Lilith’s words are brutally honest. 

Death, famine, destruction, calamities and wars”, she continued. “These things dominate your world, and they absolutely have nothing to do with Lilith, the devil. These things are here all because of you.” 

“You are in paradise. Here’s some breaking news: there’s no afterlife. You have everything you need to thrive and survive. You have food, water, air, and shelter. You have bountiful seas, rich farmlands, and knowledge in agriculture. But, you, humans, have an insatiable thirst for destruction.” 

“I wanted to make this world a nirvana free from cruelty, suffering, and infidelities. But, you misused your free will, and now, your species is on the verge of extinction, triggered by your inhumanity.” 

I was speechless. When I look at her, I don’t see the devil. I see a fallen angel and a daughter, who felt miserable for not living up to the expectations of her father.

“Evil isn’t a faceless stranger who lives in a distant neighborhood”, she then said. “Pure evil has a hometown, wholesome face, with an open smile and merry eyes. Trust me, evil walks among humans, wearing a mask that looks like all your faces.”   

We went on with our hike and summited the 2nd peak. There, we were treated to an awe-inspiring overlooking view of the city, the ships, the sea, and the neighboring island. 

A Hike With The Devil

I showed her all the landmarks that can be seen from above. When I pointed my finger to a place of worship, she gave me a naughty smirk. 

“What’s so funny?”, I asked. 

Religion”, she replied. “Religion, darling, is the world’s longest-running and most effective business model. Religion is selling you a product: eternal salvation. All religions have this product.”  

“But, you can only get this product in the afterlife. And, they sell this product through fear, control, and shaming. Religions will constantly tell you that it’s extremely tough to attain salvation. And, they tell you that you might not even get there.”

“What if there’s no afterlife? What would do if you knew that this is the only life you have? They will always say how beautiful eternal life is. It’s an oasis with no conflicts, hatred, and suffering. But, this world isn’t as bad as they say.”  

“Religions will also always remind you of your imperfections and the rules you’ve broken. And, in their world, the only way to reach the end goal and attain eternal bliss is to go to these places of worship, and be taught a lesson over and over again.”  

I wasn’t shocked. I already knew this piece of information. At least, someone shares my sentiments. 

The truth is, I always hated how religions use fear and guilt to control people. And, I also hate how some people respond to this fear and control structure. 

Let’s be real. A lot of people think they can earn salvation points by going to church every day. They think every church service they do, every good deed they make, and every mass they partake bring them closer to heaven. 

I remember a lady who once told me that she serves the church because she’s buying a ticket to heaven. 

I have nothing against people serving the church. In fact, I applaud and admire them. But, this lady was insincere, hateful, and a bona fide jerk. 

She judges and despises people who aren’t as religious and devoted as her. And, she thinks that she’s better than everyone else just because she prays regularly, and goes to church every day. 

“Every neighborhood has that kind of lady”, said the devil. “They’re everywhere.”

“So, you’ve read my thoughts?, I replied. 

She nodded. 

Religions are monopolistic too”,  Lilith continued. “In any religion, there’s a viewpoint that every other religion and every view on spirituality is wrong.” 

“If you’re a Roman Catholic, for instance, you’re discouraged from learning the teachings in Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism. Every religion on earth has this viewpoint. And, if you do investigate other religions, your spiritual leaders won’t consider you a true believer.”

I agree with every point she said. I think religions are pitting us against one other. Religions are not the road to salvation. 

Religions are dividing us. 

Religion is causing conflict and has led to endless wars, from the biblical ages to modern times. 

Do you believe in God, sir?”, asked Lilith, the devil. 

“I’m not religious”, I replied. “But, I’m not an atheist or an agnostic either.”

“The universe is one big mystery to me”, I replied. “I believe in multiple realities and alternate universes. Furthermore, I believe Anunakins and extraterrestrial beings reside outside our solar system.”

“Stephen Hawking believes that the universe has no boundaries, no beginning, no end, and no God. But, I think there’s one crafty engineer who’s creating all this extremely elaborate design.”

“He may not be the bearded face surrounded by choirs of cherubs that you see in Renaissance paintings. He might just be a kid playing a computer simulation game where we’re in.” 

We began our descent and made our way to the last summit. Along the way, the devil shared interesting tidbits about the world and history. 

“I really like you”, said Lilith. “You’re not a firm believer of those ancient and outdated texts written by revered people from the past and modified by leaders. And, you don’t allow external influences to dominate your opinion and mind.”

“You’re not robotic. You have the ability to act and think independently. And, judging the way you see things, you’re not fond of educational systems either.” 

“Education is important”, I replied, “But, schools mostly rob students of the ability to think freely and creatively. Schools want children to adopt the minds of others. They don’t want kids to use their minds.”

“Students are graded based on their ability to memorize information, and not on their ability to solve problems and think freely. And, the worst part is, their grading systems are the foundations of a corrupt politician.” 

“I’ve seen countless students cheat, and even buy their way to the top of their class. Their desire for medals and high marks creates unhealthy habits that will haunt the rest of the world in the future. “

“Interesting”, said the devil. “For a man who studied in a private Catholic school, you have some unorthodox thoughts. By the way, aren’t you scared? Things are about to get worse and really messy in the next few years.” 

“Not at all”, I replied. “I study philosophy. I follow the teachings of Stoicism, and recently, I’m learning Nihilism as well as the Philosophy of Absurdism by Albert Camus. And, all these teachings help me thrive and survive in a world full of chaos.” 

“The world, nowadays, doesn’t appreciate philosophy. People don’t understand philosophy. And, that’s why they turn to religion. Without religion, the world would be more chaotic than it already is.”

A Hike With The Devil

“We’re almost at the end of our journey”, I said as we approached the final summit. 

One of your journeys is about to end in October”, the devil replied. “What will happen to the cause you’ve helped build for years?” 

“I helped design that system, but I’m not the system. My family and tribe will go on without me. If God was an author, and the universe was his novel, I’m just a supporting or small character in one of the endless subplots.” 

We finally reached the 3rd summit where we were amazed by the stunning panoramic views. 

“You’re fearless”, she whispered to me. “You don’t fear death, old age, and even poverty. And, being fearless is an important skill in this world.” 

“When you fear things, you hesitate, procrastinate, and make a slew of excuses. You’ll find reasons not to move on because of your fear. But, there’s one fear that you have yet to conquer: the fear of criticism.”

“You claim that you don’t give a fuck. And, yet, you fear criticism. You’re a rebel, but you still think of pleasing people. You fear losing people who are scared of your ideas and thoughts.” 

“That’s why I write”, I replied. “The world sees a different version of me. I laugh, crack up witty jokes, and socialize with others, to forge deeper connections with human beings. But, deep inside I’m lonely.” 

“I don’t crave human interaction and face-to-face communication. I prefer to be alone. But, it’s a lonely world, when nobody understands you. And, writing is the only way I can truly be me, and channel the purest version of me.”

“Then, write, and tell everyone about our conversation”, the devil replied. “Let the world know who you are. If they hate you, then let them hate you. I’d rather be hated for what I am than be loved for the artificial elaborate mask that I put on.”

I stared at her piercing blue eyes and saw the authenticity and sincerity of her thoughts. She held my hand, to comfort my thoughts and assure me that everything was going to be alright. 

We admired the verdant hills, and jagged peaks set against the crimson sky, as we said goodbye to the setting sun.    

Aldrich Infantado is a travel junkie and a writing aficionado who loves to share amazing travel tips to his fellow travelers.

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