Possessed by a demon? Don’t chuck him out, he may be useful!

To my children,

Back in the day, Socrates had a daemon – a sort of guardian spirit.  It didn’t keep him out of jail (actually I think it may have got him into it) but it did tell him what NOT to do.  Thusly,

…a voice is present with me, a certain agency of God, somewhat divine…Now this began with me from my childhood ; a certain voice, which always, when it comes, turns me aside from that which I am about to do, but never impels me to do anything.

So a sort of compass that tells you the direction you shouldn’t go in – and nothing else. Useful, huh?

I too have a daemon. I’m pretty sure it’s not divine – it’s probably all the neglected bits of my brain putting stuff together and going ‘hey, how about this for a theory!’ – but for what it’s worth, it’s worth listening to.

It tells me when something is NOT a good idea.  I always listen – and then I often ignore it, being the sort of person who does what they want anyway, so there!  When this ends in disaster – as it usually does – that’s how I know it was right.  It told me not to take up with Mr Cheating Bastard.  Sometimes, it stops me telling certain people things I shouldn’t – and that’s an achievement, because I normally tell everybody anything.  It tells me not to follow my friends over cliffs (or on motorbike rides, or to rave parties, or ‘who’s a chicken’ scenarios).  Sometimes, it’s a party pooper.

Still, I have learned over this half century that if I get a ‘feeling’ something’s not right, I shouldn’t discount it.  Ok, I might go ahead anyway – but I’m going to keep my eyes wide and the back door open behind me.  This may not end well.  When it doesn’t, I’ll be ready.

I bet you have this daemon too.  In fact, I think everyone does (except real idiots – I do know a few of those.  People who date serial killers and invest their life savings in pyramid schemes).  So when you hear that feeble tapping inside your brain, and a small voice calling out ‘Erm…excuse me, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up…if it’s alright with you?’ – don’t shut the door in her face and pretend you’re not home.  Pause for a minute and think.  Is this cowardice…or is this instinct?  Most of all – trust yourself.

Cowardice never killed anyone, but ignoring your instinct, well.  Of course, in Socrates’ case, it was his instinct and not cowardice that got him executed – but then, his daemon wasn’t bent on self-preservation, but on doing the Right Thing.  Now it’s getting far too complicated, so I will leave you with this thought.  Which would you rather be, good or dead?

love, mum


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4 comments

  1. Ah, doesn’t leave me much choice, does it? My guardian spirit has been asleep on the job for a very long time. Often a decade later, I’ll “get” something. Intuition is an alien word in my mouth. But how do I exact just desserts – er, rewards – this way?

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