Demons and the Self

For early Greeks and Romans, daemons (an alternate spelling) were not necessarily evil but were viewed as being instilled with some divine power. Eudamonia, a word that came to reflect happiness in the Aristotelian sense, was derived from the greek word ‘Eudaemons, ’ a word whose root meaning was used to embody high intelligence.

Demons were viewed as celestial beings that carried influence over men, often granting them a power of creativity and instructing their human host away from destructive behaviour.

The philosopher Socrates was said to have been counseled by a daemon who would offer him spiritual guidance. In particular, Socrates’ daemon provided him with deep insight and served as a protector. However, even early characterizations of demons had a root in the psyche. Empedocles, the fifth-century B.C., pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, employed the term “dai-mon” in describing the psyche or soul as well as identifying it with the self.

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