I was reminded today of this piece of my journal from almost twelve years ago:
A mysterious figure floats though the movie The Usual Suspects. He is almost too powerful and vicious to be believable, even the characters take him to be largely myth, yet all seem to fear him at some level. He can find out anything about anybody. People serve him everywhere, yet they usually don't know that they are serving him or how they are serving him. He seems to be involved in everything, yet no one knows his overall plan or purpose. All his activity is shrouded in lies and unwitting accomplices. Yet he seems to be able to do whatever he wants to whomever he chooses. Not surprisingly, he is identified as the devil himself. (Best line: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist.")
But all conspiracy theories seem to fall short of the reality. No matter how wide-ranging and threatening they appear, the real conspiracy is worse: "...the whole world is in the power of the evil one." (1 Jn 5.19) In any actual conspiracy we identify, the most powerful mastermind is really just an unwitting pawn in the hands of a greater mastermind that we don't see. And even the unorganized 'free agents' in the rest of society are also promoting his cause. In most cases, people really don't know what they are doing; they're just following the path that seems in their best interest. But they are being used. Again and again, we are being used. To discourage, disillusion, distract, disassociate others. To tear people apart. To press them towards despair. To confuse and frighten and destroy. If we can't see how we're doing this to others, just look at what we are experiencing from others. It's what they give and what we angrily return. And it's all working together too well to just be a coincidence―or the work of any human being.
I'd been thinking that when we respond to the wrongdoing of others and get angry and stop loving them because of it, then we've been duped too. Made into another unwitting pawn.