Thursday, August 12, 2010

Angels & Demons: Duality & Paranormal Phenomena

I think the daimons and the realities from where they have their origin have always been with humanity and quite possibly precede us. Plato and the people who arrived on the scene after him and tried to preserve (and expand on) his teachings have left us some of their thoughts about the daimonic/magical aspect of reality. In the Timaeus, Plato thought of the individual daimon as the element of pure reason in man-a kind of intelligent and wise spirit rudder to steer the ship of one's soul by. The philosophers we call Neoplatonists (they would have thought of themselves as Platonists) expanded on Plato's ideas about reality and daimons.

Wikipedia: "The philosophers called Neoplatonists did not found a school as much as attempt to preserve the teachings of Plato...The concept of the One was not as clearly defined in Plato's Timaeus (the good above the demiurge) as it later was by Plotinus' Enneads: however the passage in Plato's Republic (509c) in which the Sun is said to symbolize The Good (or the One) can be seen as ample justification for the late Platonist's view of the One-for here Plato calls The Good, "beyond essence," especially when this is placed alongside the range of attributes denied of the One in the Parmenides. The afterlife Socrates defines in Phaedo is also different from the afterlife of the person or soul in the Enneads. The soul returns to the Monad or One in Plotinus' works. This is the highest goal of existence, reflected in the process of henosis. In both the Enneads and Phaedo there are different afterlives: one could be reincarnated, one could receive punishment, or one could to to Hades to be with the heroes of old. This last one for Socrates was the highest ideal afterlife. This is in contrast to Neoplatonism's ideal afterlife of returning to the One or Monad. However, what is said in the Phaedrus (248c-249d) reconciles these two apparently conflicting views: for Socrates in this dialogue shows that a movement from life to life (including periods in Hades) is part of a much greater cycle that culminates in perfection and a divine life."

Plotinus is a very important person in Neoplatonism. Even though his teacher, Ammonius Saccas, was said to have founded Neoplatonism, it is Plotinus' Enneads that are the primary and classical document of Neoplatonism. To Plotinus, the individual daimon wasn't anthropomorphic, but instead, a living psychological principle that dwells within us and is transcendent to us. Here Plotinus appears to be in agreement with Dr. Carl Jung's later work-that there are beings (daimons), archetypes and a psyche beyond ourselves. Here is a bit of what Jung thought about his own personal daimon Philemon: "Philemon brought home to me the critical insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which have their own life...I held conversations with him and he said things which I had not consciously thought...He said I treated thoughts as if I generate them myself but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in the room...It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche." Dr. Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp.208-209.

The Syrian Neoplatonist Iamblichus (d. 326 AD) also added greatly to the study of daimons, in fact, modern investigators of the paranormal could learn a lot from the distinctions he makes between "phasmata." "For instance, while phasmata of archangels are both "terrible and mild," their images "full of supernatural light," the phasmata of daimons are "various and dreadful." They appear at different a different form, and appear at one time great, but at another small, yet are still recognized to be the phasmata of daemons." As we have seen, this could equally well describe their personifications. Their "operations" interestingly, "appear to be more rapid than they are in reality" (an observation which might be borne in mind by ufologists)." Patrick Harpur, Daimonic Reality, p.39.

Personal daimons, for the most part, prefer two different guises to appear in. They can manifest as glowing orbs of light or take on an angelic/wise-man/woman countenance. Napoleon's daimon both counseled and protected him--it could also be seen by him as a shining sphere, which he called his star, or would visit him as a dwarf dressed in red that would warn him of danger. I agree with Patrick Harpur that the two forms are different manifestations of each other--a duality--the star as an astral guide and a red-bedecked dwarf that warns to stay out of harm's way. The reports of personal daimons/guardian angels/spirit guides are hardly the only paranormal phenomena where the same principle seems to be at work, but taking on different forms that can often be looked at from the perspective of duality--one paranormal coin with two different faces, as I hope to show in upcoming posts. The second image is a drawing Carl Jung did himself of "Philemon."

All the best to anyone stopping by! Oh- that first image- that is a pic of me with my trusty dragon - his name is Mucho Caliente Breath;-)


benjibopper said...

Really? Did you draw that dragon? It's impressive.

Re: your comment about not needing 100,000 words, so true. The great writer and thinker Neil Postman proved this point by re-writing two of his books as essays - fantastic essays.

But then again, sometimes it takes a little extra verbiage to tell a great yarn.

Devin said...

Hi Benji!
No- unfortunately my drawing is limited to stick figures -but I also thought that was a very cool image of the dragon!
I agree with your views about the amount of verbiage-and one thing that has always interested me with regard to fiction writing is how an author decides the important elements to put in his or her story- I have read wonderful short stories and novel length where the author has the skill to go on "tangents" that one would not normally think of as part of the story- but somehow the way they do it actually adds to the story.
all the best in the world to you my friend and thanks for stopping by!!

X. Dell said...

In his book The Undiscovered Self, Jung mentioned in passing a conversation he had with Freud, finding that the founding father of psychodynamics entertained notions about the external existence of psyche. Jung asked why he had never written about this. Freud repsonded that he didn't want to give any ammunition for the occult.

Of course, Freud saw the occult with the rise of Nazism, a cause that Jung at one time embraced. His viewpoint would naturally be different.

Part of what causes us to think of Fortean as aberrant is because we are still undergoing the effects of humanism (and later the Enlightenment). While this accounts for much of the logocentrism in our culture, it's also become possible for us to ignore certain phenomena--either because we lack the cultural understanding to incorporate it, or because we realize, as did Freud, that totalitarian systems often utilized the occult as a means for power (i.e., the Roman Church; Nazism, etc.).

Of course, one can point to the USSR as an example of a logocentric totalitarian regime, but that doesn't take away from the dangers inherent in embracing the outre. Still, we might be missing something. It's one of the reasons why we might perceive of something as technological or anthropological (in the case of UFOs), or psychological in terms of spectres, hobgoblins, or other things.

I have long suspected that some of the reports of "paranormal" (I don't like the term--if these things exist, they're part of normality) are interactions between human perception and external stimuli that aren't mundane. We could very well misinterpret the true nature of that stimulus (e.g., for the dearly departed, or for the gray), but what is there is real on its own terms.

X. Dell said...

BTW, maybe MCB could use a York Peppermint Patty?

Devin said...

Haha --LOL on the "Peppermint Patty" Xdell!! btw do you remember something in the 70s or 80s --some reich-wing silliness about good ole PP being a "lesbian" and part of the "gay agneda"? I could have sworn one of our Elmer Gantrys which we seem to have so much of here started some bs up about this-maybe I'm "Miss Remembering" but -don't "Miss Underestimate" me!:-) all the best to you my friend and i will see if i can add any thoughts to your excellent comment above!!

Devin said...

well first off -let me give a big bravo to you for your thoughts on the word "paranormal" ------this is a great way of looking at the huge set of multiple phenomena which DO happen and are part of our reality----in fact although i feel kind of "stuck" with it for the rest of this series- however long it may run-maybe not too much longer ---I think "Fortean" is a better word----altho to the legions of people out there telling us (those who "believe" in some of these things) that we are nutso for believing in what was Freud's thinking about it to Jung "the black mud of occultism"?

I put a lot of "stock" into the thinking that our brains filter out 90 percent more of "reality" I think in our very young years (before age 7 in particular) many of us do have access or can "see" these other realities if you will -- but enculturation etc starts telling us "what is and what isn't" real.
My mom tells me that when I was between 3 and 4 years I would talk about seeing somethings/someones I called the "Huddies"
now I dont have the slightest conscious memory of whatever these "things" were --and havent ever had to my knwoledge--she first told me about this in my memory when i was a teenager----
but apparently i thought them quite real.

people often don't understand that the Nazis had a huge interest in the "occult" --Fortean Times magazine did a wondeful article about this in an older issue-I know I have it here- maybe it would be a good "jumping off' point for a small series on the subject? and to boot (no nazi pun intended there;-) FT also did an excellent article in another issue called "How the Nazis Stole Christmas"

Jung (as I am sure you know) could tell WWII was on the way by looking into the dreams his German patients were having in the 1920s !! and also did a wonderful essay "Diagnosing the Dictators" about Hitler/Stalin---damn i wish I still had the work of his that that was in!!

you also remarked on something that has long confused me ---the degree to which Jung "embraced" Nazism --is there a good online source to look into this matter?
the reason I ask is that there was a book written by a Scott Lively called "The Pink Swastika" about homosexuality in the Nazi movement --I thought at first this would be a hugely interesting topic for research and still do (wrt Ernst Roehm and others) -but Mr Lively has a huge anti-gay agenda/belief and when i looked into his CV --i saw that even if parts of what he wrote were "true" the book itself would have very little value overall to me (i didnt buy it --think it is avail online for free) as he uses it as a kind of cudgel to promote his hatred of gay folk

haha just thought of another book - will try to find a link and exact quote --where the author does a biography of Lev D Trotsky-- now he at least deserves some kind of "kudos" i guess if that is even the right word to use as he supposedly states in the beginning that the object of his "biography" is too "Put the final icepick in Trotsky's brain for once and for all" paraphrasing here --but you get the message ---
and i think who the eff would read such a book? the supposed historians "objectivity" must be non-existent!!

Now i dont think any professional/amateur historians are "immune" from the "who do I like/not like?" meme ---but that is effin ridiculous in my non-professional opinion!!

all the best to you my friend and as always thanks so much for your hugely valuable comments and links!!

Alex Robinson said...

Devin, have just reread your last artcle & don't know how I missed or did not take this in:-
"I think most, if not all, of these phenomena live through us"
... fascinating idea & I think a very sound Devinic Theorum. Humanity does seem to be some kind of 'key' or 'key experiencer' - one thing I've noted is how important our 'attention' seems to be - our focus seems to me to be a veritable 'goldmine' to beings, entities, energies that we are hardly aware of.

Who knows, perhaps we are 'the gods', or have a godlike ability to generate life that is much sought after. Perhaps WE are the Philosophers Stone?

Thanks for your marvellous ideas !!!!!!!! & I'm hope life in Mesa is marvellous xox

Devin said...

Hiya Alex!!!!
hey this is the best place to come for your Devinic Theorems;-)!!
I was fascinated from the very first time I read about the idea of actual enitities/beings on another level of existence (altho this may "really" all be one level and our monkey-minds split it into many) that "feed" or live thru us-----this would have been in an early 1990s issue of Gnosis magazine ----where the article in it stated something to the effect (about the Archons) "How do we know our pain/anguish isn't like a well cooked steak to them?"
Thanks so much for stopping by --it is always great to hear from you!!!! I am somewhat behind on things because of tiredness lately--but I do hope to start working on the next article for this series tomorrow ---and hopefully it won't take me a week to put together!!
all the best in the world to you my underworld friend!!xxoo
ps wrt your comment--I do think that somehow/someway we "create" the world we live in---and have also been looking into the idea over the last few years that the PTB have "secret" knowledge wrt this ---and this is the reason the rest of us are kept in our matrix "cages" in a way of thinking!!

X. Dell said...

If memory serves, Plato mentions Atlantis in Timaeus. If that's so, then perhaps we should begin to see the lost continent in that light.

The way you've presented this here, I'm making this connection (historically inaccurate, of course, but metaphorically it intrigues me) between the Plato-Aristotle dichhotomy and the historical battles between mystic institutions (e.g., the Roman Catholic Church) and those based on humanistic traditions (e.g., the university). Although many could argue that these traditions have adapted to each other quite nicely (think of Trinity, the Fighting Irish, or any other Catholic school), we still see schisms (evolution vs. intelligent design, faith-based knowledge vs. secular).

What gets me is that a lot of times the mystic tradition seems to turn inward (Platonic) whereas science etc. tend to look externally from the psyche (Aristotelian).

I concede this is an overgeneralization, but there seems to be a lot of the mystic tradition in fascistic systems, characterized by repression and suppression of external knowledge (the burning of books, the banning of music, art or drama, excessive censorship). In this regard, I think I might be drawing a bead on Jung's fascination with Nazism.

Devin said...

Hey Xdell-thanks as always for your thoughtful comments!!
Very much agree that this is perhaps what fascinated Jung about Nazism
You've obviously done a lot of thinking along these lines and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts here!!
Take care and best to you my friend!!