How Would The World Be Different If We All Listened To Our Daimon
Lots of historical cultures had a version of the personal guiding spirit.
Greeks had the Daimon (or Daemon). Romans had the Genius. Egyptians had the Ka or Ba soul. The Norse had the fylgja. Christian cultures often believed each person was accompanied by a guardian angel.
Modern people seem much less inclined to believe in this sort of thing. Blame rationalism and materialism — two concepts that, for as much good as they have introduced to the world, have also robbed us of much.
But what if that weren’t so? What if we held rationalism in one hand and transcendence in the next? What if we each believed a spirit accompanied us through life, offering guidance and support? Or, if you don’t want to anthropomorphize it so much, what if we each had an internal compass that kept us to a kind of destiny; that lead us to use the skills we’ve been given to play a part in history?
I think the world would be a much different place if we all learned to believe in the daimon again. Here are 4 ways how:
- We’d each feel essential. Your family may need you. Your boss may find you useful, but when was the last time you felt essential? Like you played an important part, not just in a household or an office, but in the world? I think the concept of the daimon gives us the feeling of being essential. The idea that something “other” is invested and dedicated to keeping us on a particular path — to making sure we use our abilities to achieve specific results. Suddenly, we’re not just some person sitting on a couch that doesn’t matter — suddenly, we have a destiny.
- More joy, less pain. Joseph Campbell had a quote, “Find the place inside where there’s joy and the joy will burn out the pain. We’ve all felt pain — I don’t mean physical pain, but emotional pain. The pain of loss, the pain of unmet expectation, the pain of betrayal. Those feelings are facts of life. Do you know how you overcome them? Joy. Not happiness. Happiness is fleeting and insubstantial. Joy goes deep. Joy is internally created when you follow your bliss. Joy comes from being causative in the way that you were meant to be. You hear a lot about “flow” these days — that feeling comes from doing the thing that you are good at and love to do. You know you’re in the flow because of the rest of the world kind of disappears. Even pain. Even betrayal. Even disappointment. Learning to listen to your daimon and letting it keep you on the path of flow is a good way to create Joy.
- Guidance without bias. We all have people we turn to for advice. And we should. Advisors and mentors can be really helpful in a difficult situation. But even the best advisor or mentor comes with bias. If you ask your parents for advice, they will, likely, give you advice based on their love and concern for you. But it will come with their natural bias. Parents often don’t want their children to take risks or to do anything that might be negatively perceived by others. So that love and concern may not result in the best possible advice. If you’re religious, you may turn to a priest or rabbi for advice. And no doubt, they could have good and helpful things to say to you — but their advice is informed by their religious beliefs and it’s possible the best outcome, for you, may not fall under the umbrella of their doctrine. When we learn to listen to our daimon — that internal compass, we can be sure the only bias is internal. Our daimon’s only concern is that we effectively give our gift to the world in a form that aligns with the truest expression of who we are.
- The world gets weirder. This may not seem like a benefit to everyone. Some people think the world is weird enough — and I get that. But, like I started this piece saying, we live in a world ruled by rationalism — a world that only values what can be held in the hand and measured. And yeah, I’m a big fan of the hospitals, medicines, and communication networks that has given us. But I refuse to believe that’s all there is. There’s an expanse inside of us (and outside), that can’t be held or measured. Believing in the Daimon is one small part of that.
It would be kind of shitty for me to tell you the benefits of believing in and following your daimon without telling you how. Here are two practices you can start today — and I think, if you give them two months, you’ll experience all of the above.
- Start paying attention to your dreams — Write them down, think about them. Try to analyze them (I can show you how here: www.patreon.com/patchdrury). I believe your dreams are the primary way the daimon communicates with us. So start there.
- Double down on your interests — This one is easy. What do you love to do? What grabs your attention? Double down on that stuff. We don’t choose what to be interested in — it kind of chooses us. I believe there’s a reason for that. I believe it’s the influence of the daimon. So, dive into what you love (with particular attention paid to being causative — not what’s your preferred method of numbing yourself — but what’s your preferred method of coming alive?).