How To Kill Demons

“You cannot imagine what sorrow and anger seize one’s whole soul when a great idea, which one has long and piously revered, is picked up by some bunglers and dragged into the street, to more fools like themselves, and one suddenly meets it in the flea market, unrecognizable, dirty, askew, absurdly presented, without proportion, without harmony, a toy for stupid children.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons

When I was a teenager, I believed deep in my soul I was going to be possessed by a dark entity. 

It all began with a friend taking out of his pocket a small bag containing what he told us was Mango Kush. He also had an apple and a lighter. We were waiting for a couple of girls at the cinema’s parking lot. We were going to watch Paranormal Activity. Why the hell did you smoke before watching that movie? You may be asking. That is a great question. 

I’m a raised catholic. My mother still goes to church, not every Sunday, but fairly often, and my sister is a missionary. It’s hard to shake off a belief when you’ve been raised with it. It never really goes away. Ask me today if I want to play Quija and I will be adamant to do so. I mean, I can’t find any logical reason for demons to exist, but being raised with that thought my entire childhood, as I said, it’s hard to shake it off. 

Anyways. I took a hard hit of the Mango-Kush-infused apple and got high as a kite. I had never in my life smoke something so strong. I couldn’t even talk. The girls arrived and we went to buy the tickets. I remember forgetting about the fact that I was going to see a terror movie because I was a bit dumbed down by the girls. I was a teenager. 

The movie began and it fulfilled its promise. I was shit scared. I wanted to get out of the theater but I was too preoccupied with what the girls and my boys were going to think of me, so I pushed through the entire movie. 

The movie was over and I arrived home. It was already late, like 11:00 pm or something like it. I went straight to my bed. I couldn’t stop thinking about the possessed girl, about the objects moving on their own and falling, making noises. I got into my bed and tucked myself in, covering my head. I didn’t sleep for a minute that night. I swore that a demon was going to grab one of my legs and drag me out of my room and unto hell. 

I have never in my life been more scared about the supernatural in my life. A raised catholic, a demon is pretty fucking scary. 

Ryckaert, David III — La ronde des Farfadets de Les Farfadets — 17th c

I’m older now.

I can watch a movie about demons and sleep, not peacefully of course, but I can manage it. 

Isn’t it super interesting? How beliefs can have such a grip on you? Even irrational ones? In my case, my family’s catholicism led me to believe incredible things, arguably healthy.

The Demons Are Real

“Man does not make his ideas; we could say that man’s ideas make him.” — Carl Jung

Demons are real, just not the way you imagine them. 

Fyodor Dostoievsky’s great work, Demons, talks about another type of demons, different from the imagined ones by Dante. These kinds of demons populate the head in the form of ideas. 

“…the possibility of an evil or alien idea coming to inhabit a person, misleading him, perverting him ontologically, driving him to crime or insanity. . .The person born of the idea may be distorted and even destroyed by it.”

Richard Pevear, Foreword to Demons

What is dangerous about these types of demons is that they are not even real to the person possessed by them. They just become another part of his psyche. Nevertheless, they still take control of him or her, they make him commit atrocities and find reason within horrible things.

“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law.”

“Ideology –that is what gives evil doing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The modern demons are ideological. They take the form of racism and irrational beliefs. Something like: 

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
George Orwell, 1984

Now, this might look like too much, but if you take a hard look at society, you’ll find similarities. Twitter is a great example. Most people there don’t know why they are following the thought train they’re following, they just identify with it, that’s identity politics. 

Ask them why and the answer will be a mix-up of what they’ve heard on several orchestrated posts. 

That’s a demon right there. An idea that makes you act in a way contrary to reason or nature. 

How To Kill Demons

It’s all in the head. 

Understanding kills demons. 

I’ve been recently taking Cognitive Behavioral therapy. I found that I had been tripping with perfection. I was tripping so hard that I couldn’t finish anything. I’d start writing an article and left it by the middle, thinking how stupid it was. I had a demon I had to kill. 

I killed it by understanding that absolutely no one is perfect and that imperfection is a perk I have to live with and let that spread in my work. Bang, a demon killed. 

How do you know that your ideas are your ideas? They’re not. Just like me, believing demons were real in my bed after watching that terrible movie, thinking that a demon was coming to get me. That was not my own idea, but a catholic old idea, just the same way many of your currents ideas are. Some may even be damaging you and society at large. 

The way you kill demons is with rationality and better ideas. 

Where can you find better ideas? Philosophy. 

The work of a philosopher is to question the shit out of an idea. What happens with all this questioning is that it strips it off of all its absurdity. 

What do you mean by this? Well, ask yourself about freedom in this time of ours; doesn’t it consist simply in the power to live as we wish? Absolutely. Tell me then, you people, do you wish to live in error? We do not. That’s right; no one is free who is in error. Do you wish to live in fear and sorrow and disturbance? Certainly not. So, no one who is fearful or sorrowful or disturbed is free, but the person who is relieved of sorrows and fears and disturbances is relieved of enslavement by the very same process.

How to be free, Epictetus

See what I mean? 

You can read the great ones, but in order to think for yourself, and kill all your demons in the process, you need to think of the new ideas entering your head, and judge why they make sense to you, and be able to answer why. 

The world is full of demons and monsters, don’t let them get into your head. 

Subscribe and receive the Askesis (practice) e-book for free to further develop your stoic practice.

Subscribe here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s