GOD => The Demon within...


     Κατά τον Δαίμονα αυτού                 The Demon of Socrates was a daimonion, a "divine principle or inward oracle."

Having explored all corners of the earth, we turn our curiosity to the infinity of space to enrich our knowledge and understanding of the universe. Once we come to the frontier of our understanding, we resort to that which we call God, or we develop theories since only theoretically can we approach that which is inaccessible. Interestingly enough, the word theory stems from the Greek compound of theos (god) and orein (to see); that is to say, we see God in all that is beyond our mental grasp. But man does not leave it at that - his fear of the unknown compels him to cut the inaccessible down to his measures - anthropomorphically simplifying it by producing man-like gods. In fact, the latest version (the Christian one) walked the earth in flesh and bone.

And why not? Do our bodies not accommodate particles of cosmic energy, the immortal, divine substance we call soul? And if so, do we not carry a god within our incarnate career?

Is it possible that the true god, or the conduit to the divine, is that which pre-Christian Greeks referred to as the "Demon" (Δαίμων)? The very demon that Socrates invoked for guidance in his Apology?

To clarify things, before the church distorted its meaning to mean "the god of the heathen," in order to exact the self-governing power from the individual, rendering the latter as an exploitable sheep dependent on a pastor (church), the word Demon* literally meant one's god within. In other words, one's conscience.

If this is the case, we need not pursue costly explorations of space or fall back on religious ambiguities to find answers to the inaccessible mysteries that frame our earthly existence. Nor do we need commandments to distinguish betwen right and wrong. We need merely search within to acquaint ourselves with our god - a god who is a microcosm of nature and the universe, a god who bears all the eΙements of creation. All we need to do is simply relate the natural phenomena to the oscillations of our souls to confirm this parallelism: Like nature, we are turbulently capricious, subject to periods of darkness and light, bloom (like that of Spring) and dormancy (like that of Winter); now we are lashed at by inner storms and then we are soothed by tranquility; now we walk on air through our dreams and ambitions and then we come down to earth on materializing them; our thoughts flow like rivers that irrigate the complexity of our forest-like being.

Know thyself, therefore, as urges us the Delphic Maxim. But there's the rub. How can one know this self if one does not find it first? And how can this be achieved within the distractions of so many role models peddled by our screen-addicted communities - in societies where those who search in depth are looked upon with contempt and ridicule? Might this explain the once fashionable monastic life or that of hermits who conducted the inner quest of self in seclusion?

But seclusion bears no fruit of self-knowledge. In fact, it incarcerates God even further in the impenetrable depths of the soul since in such a state of existence one minimizes the stimuli that would bring Him to the surface. Neither is it wise for one to avoid worldly contact, simply due to the fact that he will not have measures of comparison about him as to the flow of events that he should witness and analyze. Such an individual is literally an idiot, which stems from the Greek idioteia = private, withdrawn person.

The interaction of intelligent, demon-bearing beings is indispensable to one's psychic/intellectual development since he accumulates knowledge and experience through it and comes closer to self knowledge. We therefore have a human being who seeks knowledge and thus lives as a philosopher (from the Greek philos = lover and sophia = wisdom: a lover of wisdom). Besides, if humans were meant to withdraw within themselves as idiots, they would not be in need of eyes, ears, a voice or any of the senses that keep them in touch with the environment. And if we assume, as widely accepted, that harmony presides in nature and that all biological organs are integral parts of nature, then they would be doing themselves a great injustice to reject their use and would be sinning against the creator Himself, the One Who endowed them with these senses, which should be employed in their full capacity as an active form of thanksgiving.

On encountering a mystery, we are filled with wonder. The Greek word for wonder is aporia (formed from the negative prefix a- and poros, which means passing, hence port, pore, etc.). In other words, we come to an impasse - a dead end. In such a predicament the philosopher activates all his mental capacities, which have in turn been nourished by experiences and accumulated knowledge, and approaches the query from all angles until he converts theory to practical knowledge that will assist his quest further beyond. Of course, in order to achieve this, historical memory is required. However, traditions should never be accepted as indisputable practices, for one should filter them through scrutinizing study weighing their validity in relation to the present state of things and retain only the ones that contribute to a healthy human identity.

Simultaneously, we should welcome new experiences and experiment with our spiritual reactions to them. By doing so, we awaken the god within ourselves and not only do we gradually get acquainted with him, but by stimulating him we have direct access to his counsel, which guides our deeds for which he holds us absolutely responsible. We call this conscience (from the Latin con meaning together/with and sciere, meaning to know), a word whose prefix implies the existence of a second entity within, since the prefix con- presupposes more than one; that is to say, our existence and that of our God, our daemon. Mutual interaction (ours and the daemon within), therefore, begets what we call conscience.

In this way, mediating priests and postulates that control passive human masses and the strings of dangerous religious fundamentalism are rendered obsolete for the thinking person, who is not in need of external sects that dictate his/her behaviour. The thinker distinguishes between good and evil on the basis of logic and the ordinances of nature as dictated by the demon within - conscience. The study of self in relationship to a healthy natural environment sets a standard of excellence that will avert acts and habits detrimental to one's physical and mental health. Inevitably one becomes more eclectic and seeks quality in all his/her actions. Thus, accumulated experiences enrich spirituality and consequently enables one to relate to the grandeur of Godliness as it is manifested throughout the universe.

Having fulfilled all the physical and spiritual potential at our disposal during our existence, our restless life is interpreted as a form of prayer that prepares us for a peaceful death, which in turn will bring forth life. And this is where we come to the age - old question: Is there life after death? As Socrates argues in Plato's Phaedon: The universe is made up of opposites and contrasts since everything begets its opposite: day begets night, pain - relief and so on. Therefore, death must also beget its opposite, that is, life. In order for a person to understand one thing, he must thoroughly study its other side so that its cognition will be enforced by the power of contrast.

When Socrates was asked, just before his death, what his most significant revelation in life was, he uttered the phrase that will resound through the infinity of the eons, "I only know one thing - that I know nothing." On being able to admit this, he must have reached the ultimate state of completion - the fulfillment of the cycle of his inquisitive existence since something begets nothing. Keeping this in mind, to the philosopher, life is a study of death, and the more intensely and explicitly he experiences it, the smoother his approach will be to the inaccessible element of death.

We should, therefore, really seize life and lead it as philosophers, counceled by the word of God - the word of the Demon within through the conduit of our senses - as did a Greek Christ (Christ stems from chrein - to anoint, thus, Christ = the anointed one), who heeded the god inside him. This is the only way for one to save himself from the darkness of passivity.

As the Delphic Oracle once warned the Athenians on the impending Persian invasion:

Saved is the one who saves one's self.

Panagiotis Terpandros Zachariou - 1984

* demon (n)
c. 1200, from Latin daemon "spirit," from Greek daimon "deity, divine power; lesser god; guiding spirit, tutelary deity" (sometimes including souls of the dead); "one's genius, lot, or fortune;" from PIE *dai-mon- "divider, provider" (of fortunes or destinies), from root *da- "to divide" (see tide (n.)).

Used (with daimonion) in Christian Greek translations and Vulgate for "god of the heathen" and "unclean spirit." Jewish authors earlier had employed the Greek word in this sense, using it to render Shedim "lords, idols" in the Septuagint, and Matthew viii.31 has daimones, translated as deofol in Old English, fiend or devil in Middle English. Another Old English word for this was hellcniht, literally "hell-knight."

The original mythological sense is sometimes written daemon for purposes of distinction. The Demon of Socrates was a daimonion, a "divine principle or inward oracle." His accusers, and later the Church Fathers, however, represented this otherwise. The Demon Star (1895) is Algol.