We can understand this saying as a remnant from a time when people imagined that the little people were responsible for all types of activity, good and evil, that were beyond their reasoning and understanding. The idea that events do not have causes is equally as bad as assigning responsibility to creatures in the spirit realm. Clearly, they did not see the contradiction, nor could they understand, that spirit world completely overpowers and controls the material realm. Over time, people stopped talking about the little people and assigned the good deeds to angels and the bad events to demons. With additional passages of time, we reach the present, where fortunate happenings are applied to the intervention of God and evil deeds are assigned to the endless machinations of Satan.
When certain people see events in the natural world (we ignore humanity for the moment) as either good or evil, we understand there are only a few steps to take before neurosis and psychosis. Events that have magical causes, it can be reasoned, can be prevented by careful conduct or proscribed behavior or magical intervention. While humans see no causality between sidewalk fissures and spinal cords, others understand a connection based wholly on their sixth sense. Normal adults give no thought to sidewalk cracks and consider such prohibitions to be childish-they have used reason to discover that no causality can exist in reality between objects as current “cracks” and future damaged “backs”.
However, a significant percentage of people have their own magical thinking regarding, not little people as one would expect, but God and Satan. One wonders if these individuals believe that God and Satan interact when humanity is not present, say on the Moon or in the depths of the oceans. The answer should be in the negative, as human salvation is not in the balance.
By adding humanity to the idea of good and evil, we are reminded of the phrase “The Devil made me do it”. Yet, I have never heard anyone acknowledging that God made them or anyone else do anything good and all good deeds are prefaced by “ I did..” This may say more about my associates than it does about my knowledge of trite sayings. It is clear that people assign bad behavior, either theirs or others, to the Devil, and this reasonably and inexplicably leads to only one conclusion and one reality: they exhibit only one behavior- they do good.
If they do not claim the Devil’s influence for their bad behavior, long and painful experience has shown that these people do not engage in any bad behavior whatsoever, although lifelong unfortunate circumstances (crisis after crisis) seem to be the norm, instead of the exception. One is tempted to state that the unending crises they experience are the result of ignoring the little people who oversee vehicles, housing and bodily health, to name just a few spheres of their influence. But as to fortune or luck, they do not claim themselves as the origin of good, but give the credit to God, that is, they are without any good qualities whatsoever.
Psychosis is defined as “a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.” Professional psychiatrist will heap coals on our heads for oversimplifying, but we will use this definition. We understand that “thought” is “impaired” and “external reality” is, we deduce, not what it appears, that is, it is influenced by God and Satan.
Due to its severity, psychosis affects relatively few people, whereas neurosis is a “relatively mild mental illness that is not caused by organic disease, involving symptoms of stress (depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, hypochondria) but not a radical loss of touch with reality”. Neurosis involves symptoms of depression (“I feel the little fire people are making my life bad.”), anxiety (“The little flesh people want me to sin.”) and obsessive behavior (“Don’t step on a crack or...”).
While it is amusing and ridiculous, to myself and most people, to assign these behaviors to unseen nymphs and tricksters of a long dismissed fantasy world, the situation is no longer humorous when we replace nymphs and tricksters with demons and devils. It then become a serious matter of eternal salvation, the salvation of the soul.