Dining with the Devil – What historical figure would you spend an afternoon with?

By Davis Vonk

Little Hawk Managing Editor

Art by Izaak Thompson

Millions of humans have trampled over this earth, some leaving a blemish, others leaving an inspiring beauty mark on the Earth’s face.  These impressions left by these single human beings have molded our interpretation of the world today; their influences managing to universally affect our actions, conclusions and views towards civilization.
I was asked the just the other day “What historical figure would I spend the afternoon with?” I am initially of two minds as I contemplate the choice between exposing my being to a Pandora’s box of evil, or alternatively, immersing myself into the panoramic pleasure of the pedals of a white chrysanthemum, a veil for an unadulterated relic of purity and goodness.
Which exposure would further my personal evolution towards clarity, ingenuity and wisdom? (Of course, just experiencing the necessary breaching of the space-time continuum would be a mind exploding experience on its own!) But I want to consider if and how my experience and knowledge gained could be utilized to make a positive impact in today’s world.
I’m starting with the assumptive belief that humans have capacity for both good and evil. That is, with every good deed one does, there is alternative negative action we considered before choosing to do “the right thing”. There may truly be no perfection, no true innocence in human beings, only actions with deeply hidden motives for survival, as well as culturally determined degrees of guilt. In order to take full advantage of my experience, I would want to chat with someone from each end of the spectrum.
Known as the incarnation of absolute human immorality, I would choose Adolf Hitler as my encounter with evil. With every hair on my body on full alert and chills running through my blood as if it were the Daytona 500, I would sit in the presence of a man who many consider to be the phantom of Lucifer himself.
Though not disputing the pure wickedness of his heinous actions, I would try and understand his mind set. An agent of an incredible amount of social change in a miniscule amount of historical time, Hitler does give evidence of a great intelligence (albeit placed in the hands of an immoral monster). I’m guessing that Hitler did not see himself a monster. Perhaps in his world view, he felt morally obligated to take those actions that worshiped and supported evolution; obliterating any threat to Darwinism.
Under close scrutiny, would I see a soulless, corrupt, mustached little miscreant so mentally corrupt and diseased that he was not able to feel the atrocities that he was creating for the real human flesh he was torturing? Could he have truly believed that the slaughter and torture of human beings was somehow justifiable as a benefit to humanity; the only way to advance civilization and create a higher culture?
I may question my choice of Hitler as an afternoon companion, as the reality of being in the presence of cold evil is petrifying. But, in the end, I see myself standing there, frightened as if being held over a boiling pot of human carcasses, asking my questions in a meek, trembling voice attempting to wring answers out of the harrowing sadistic genius of a man.