The Five People You Meet in Hell

one need not die to enter hell
therefore it is the path of least resistance

In Mitch Albom’s book The Five People You Meet in Heaven, readers encounter five characters who had significant impact on the protagonist’s life before he entered heaven. It is a book that shows the guidance and influence of the people in the main character’s life.

What differs from the book and real life, however, is that the book focuses easily on the impact of the external world — in other words, the writer focuses on the influences outsiders have had on the character, and less about how the character has impacted them. It is a book that encourages readers to be mindful about how others treat them, but it ignores how readers should treat others. The story takes away the importance of self-awareness and self-discipline as it shifts the blame entirely towards “others” rather than ‘main character’. That act of shifting blame and denial of personal accountability, in my opinion, is not someone who would be in heaven but rather in hell.

Reality is, there aren’t just five people we meet in heaven, there are also the five we meet in hell; difference is, one need not die to enter hell and therefore it is the path of least resistance. The way back from hell, however, is treacherous and torturous, which is why few return to tell the tale. Today, one tourist who explored hell from a distance without quite assimilating has shared with us some experiences.

The Five People You Meet in Hell

First, you meet The Girl. She thinks herself a woman but lacks the poise and wisdom of one who has experienced and reflected on life. She holds herself as the centre of attention by way of attire and manipulation. She does not possess the respect that those with integrity seem to receive, perhaps because she herself is void of it. To The Girl, the world revolves around her: each relationship she forms with a person is for the purpose of increasing her bank account, her social status, her chances of procreation, and multiple suitors who can satiate her greed. On the inside, she feels unworthy of love or affection, so will project her states of inadequacy on those around by putting people down and speaking lowly of others in order to feel relinquished of one’s own incompetence. She will readily tell you exactly what is wrong with you but do absolutely nothing to face up to one’s own shortfalls, then masquerade in her suit of Vanity and lie through her teeth that she is not from hell. She surrounds herself with those who, void of conscience, partake in the same hobby so that she is absolved of guilt or remorse. Many in hell are drawn to her as is the way it is with sociopaths.

Then, you meet The Boss. She thinks herself a human but lacks the empathy and compassion of one who has had their humanity rendered through stable childhoods. She possess deep feelings of abandonment dating decades back to when she was a teenager and the parents divorced, leaving her blaming herself and constantly striving for approval. Unsurprisingly enough, she rebelled, and was sent to boarding school in a far-off remote country, where instead of learning to speak her truth, she merely learned to speak a language. A language that, nonetheless, bred history’s justification for one of the most atrocious acts of narcissism one could fathom — colonisation of the English language. Despite all her meager efforts, though, she’s still never gained her parents’ approval, and more likely than not, has never approved of them either because of the divorce. As such, she channels her abandonment issues and lack of approval into starting a school where she then orders people to glorify her and destroys all those who go against her way of life. She is the embodiment of the Prince of Darkness.

After that, you meet The Man. At first, he appears with the qualities most would deem humane: a gentle and calm out-front dipped in passion and devotion. This appearance is often the face used to lure females into his arms, but once the female exerts free-will and uses the word ‘no’ then the facade falls through and the gentle calm spirit soon becomes a raging black rainstorm. The rage stems from a poor and deplorable relationship with his mother, who spent much time beating and humiliating her sons to the point where years later, one of them would still defend and approve of her aggression by way of deploying the same behaviour on his partners. Inevitably, what becomes known to others but remains unknown to him, are two truths. Firstly, he has a pathological need for women’s approval and thus each word, action, and reaction is conditioned in order to secure him a copulation partner. Secondly, when such partner is secured, his vision would shift and she would appear to him as a ‘punching bag’ where he could vent his frustrations physically and then find any rationalisation possible to validate his unjustifiable behaviour, attitudes, and misogynistic drive that allows him to unleash himself upon females he deems attractive. When confronted, he does not apologise for the wrongness of such doing but instead seeks excuse, surrounding himself with those who reinforce his narcissistic thinking.

And then, you meet The Boy. He calls himself a leader yet is anything but, for every word, action, and reaction, was taught to him somewhere along his life. He feels called to care for the meek and weak, but at every opportunity exploits their struggle. He glamorises it by organising photographic sessions, then profits money and gains popularity for capturing private images of vulnerable and marginalized parts of society. On the outside, he appears kind-hearted and devoted, but from up close he is self-centered and deluded. He is not a leader, he is a follower, following in the ways of all who abuse their power and corrupt those they seek to ‘help’. He incites his vision for society by idolising supporters and shunning those of differing opinion, regards those who endorse him yet discredits any who challenge his agenda. He embeds himself amongst those who appreciate the persona and belittles the ones who see through him, fighting for the rights of those in power using the imagery of victims and survivors. He validates adults who abuse their children by sympathising with bullies in school and working with those who caused the violence in the first place without acknowledging his part in the matter. The Boy bolsters his ego by associating with prestige, a French word that means ‘illusion’, while many around him fall spell for similar delusions and are willing to risk their livelihoods for his cause; perhaps noble, perhaps naive, but blatantly self-indulged and at the cost of the goodness he pretends to instill. His charisma garners attention that he calls ‘support’ and without publicity he is nothing, so he goes to great lengths to ensure a network that can perpetuate the image of his supposed intentions. Such is the making of a psychopath.

Finally, you meet The Selfie, the version of you that ever approved of or associated with The Girl, The Boss, The Man, The Boy. The Selfie, which encompasses an ego that deems itself noble enough to fight a cause yet is naive enough to incite ignorance upon others, deems itself qualified enough to represent the weak but is insecure enough to require endorsements of the rich. The Selfie that thinks itself honest enough to be seen in public amongst helpless victims who fall prey to glamor and illusion, to the imagery of success painted by a heteronormative paradigm that governs the minds of the unenlightened, of those who partake in such deeds of populating an overpopulated earth, polluting and already toxic wasteland of a planet, imposing ideals that exploit the foundations of what once held integrity, dignity, respect, discipline, and cultivation. The Selfie that thinks itself worthy of love yet is filled with self-loathing, thinks itself respectable yet is anything but respectful, thinks itself successful yet is hinged on external opinions. The Selfie that thinks itself an angel who walks among sinners yet reflects each quality (or rather ‘inequality’) of The Girl, The Boss, The Man, The Boy. The Selfie, which thinks itself as having been made unique in an image of a higher power, is nothing but a replica of all who had been spit out from hell and landed back on earth in the same boat as the version of you that you’re too afraid and ashamed to meet, that shame which drives your fear and landed you in hell. The Selfie, the ignorant and egotistic version of you that ever thought it acceptable to associate with The Girl, The Boss, The Man, The Boy, the five people you become in hell.

Or so says the Tourist, if you believe it, because really… what was it doing touring Hell in the first place…?


Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it.
Matthew 7

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