Saturday, December 25, 2021

A Holly Folly Christmas

Early in the morning and not a creature is stirring except me. O, and the Heart of the World.

1:  Prisons of finitude! Like every other being, man is born in many prisons. 

From the grilled windows of the senses each person looks out to the alien things which he will never be. 

[T]hey touch the invisible bars -- the cold glass  pane against which they hurl themselves like captive birds.

Even if his spirit could fly through the spaces of the world like a bird, he himself will never be this space, and the furrow which traces in the air vanishes immediately and leaves no lasting impression.

No one can tear down his own dungeon; no one knows who inhabits the next cell.

The mere fact of existing as an individual constitutes renunciation. 

The limpid mirror has been shattered, the infinite image has been shattered over the face of the world, the world has become a heap of fragments.

In the One Ocean the waves rise and sink; body floats past body, figures and generations, century after century are all so much foam falling prostrate on the broad beach of eternity in a most tremendous obeisance. 

2:  Then it was that God created a Heart for himself and placed it at the center of the world. 

And so the Word came into the world. Eternal life selected for itself the abode of a human Heart.

How exposed God had made himself! What folly he committed!

The divine Ocean forced into the tiny wellspring of a human Heart!

Thus does this Heart hover between heaven and earth like the narrow passage in an hourglass, and incessantly the sand of grace trickles from the upper compartment down to the earthly bottom.

Everything that had been one becomes double, and everything double becomes one.

And the two oceans crash into one another in that Heart, like fire and water, and the eternal struggle between heaven and hell is decided within that narrow battlefield.

The circulation of love begins.

3: Reverse worldward descent and cross the bridge of darkness to the father shore.

Insinuate! Now put down the apple and back away slowly, and nobody dies! 

But no body crosses the the phoenix line lest it be repossessed and amortized. 

Don't worry, it's just aphasia go through before the gnosis in your head becomes real.

O, too old, older than Abraham, younger than a babe's I AM.

Ascent you a Son, amen for a child's job! That's the New Man, we're just putting him on.

And Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion.

A Divine child, a godsend, a touch of infanity, a bloomin' Yes!

Blissfully floating before the fleeting flickering universe, stork naked in brahma daynight, worshiping in oneder in a wee cosmic womb with pew, it is finally...

Christmas! 

(Parts 1 & 2 from Balthasar's Heart of the World https://www.amazon.com/dp/0898700019/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=onecos-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=fd2e0b164c968a7a865f10a1e126c10d&creativeASIN=0898700019; no one foolish enough to take credit for part 3)

Friday, December 24, 2021

Progressivism: Chicken Soup for the Soulless

If nothing else, the principle of Original Sin prepares us to consider man's proposals and solutions (especially to the problem of man!) with great skepticism -- or without the childish naivete of the tenured snob, the woke mob, the media blob, etc. 

For we don't just predict the failure of the left, we guarantee it.    

The doctrine of original sin, which can be established on purely philosophic grounds, has an immediate bearing on the study of human nature.... [T]he fact is that no human being exhibits the excellencies which we theoretically attribute to human nature (Brennan).

On paper, man is a good idea, even very good -- if I understand correctly, a Swiss watch. Considering him from the cosmic angle, he potentially spans the entire creation, from corporeal matter to subatomic physics at one end, to philosophy, ontology, metaphysics, and mystical union at the other. 

And yet, we still screw up, every time -- at least on a collective basis; the existence of saints only rubs it in. Suffice it to say, there is no Group Saint. 

The perennial question is, why is man such a chronic underachiever? If your philosophy doesn't address this head on, you're like a child who wanders into into the middle of a movie and wants to know... 

Look, say what you want about the left, at least it's an ethos: at least they know that we are the problem, and that elimination of conservatives is the solution. I'm old enough to remember when they didn't mean that literally. 

I haven't read this entire essay by Roger Kimball, but I don't have to, because we always agree. Only the style is different, that and the substance (https://newcriterion.com/issues/2022/1/the-right-targets):

the “culture war” we have been hearing about for decades has not died down or petered out. On the contrary, it is raging with more virulence than ever. Invocations of 1858 and the advent of civil war may be exaggerated, Podhoretz grants. Nevertheless, “We’re in a war, and it’s a war to the death. Now they [the Left] actually admit it. They used to pretend. Not anymore.”

Cancellation is political assassination by other means. Indeed, the mass movement from blue states to red is a wave of asylum seekers and political refugees by another name. Except the migrants are trying  to escape from the asylums. 

Me? I'd be the first to join them if I weren't the laziest man in Los Angeles County, which places me high in the runnin' for laziest man worldwide. Nor do I find it to be exactly the County of Angels... Condado de los Diablos is more like it, albeit with strikes mixed in with the gutters until harvest time.

The woke culture of the Left seeks to destroy not only America as we know it but also the political, moral, and economic foundations upon which it rests. The conflagration is partly physical, as we saw and see on city streets throughout the country. It is also partly spiritual, as the most basic human realities and aspirations are deconstructed and politicized (ibid.).

Yup, one of those irritating situations: an all-consuming whirlpool of nihilistic self-engorgement (Kimball). 

If I'd been invited to contribute to this symposium on conservatism, I'd... only beclown the proceedings and embarrass the movement. I am a Useless Man and this is a Useless Blog. Indeed, if it had a purpose, it would be like all the others. I'm sure there must exist some other superfluous bloggers, but I haven't run into them.

Yes, I have a super power: fluousness.

The point is, this blog comes after all that -- after you've gotten your way politically and removed every obstacle to utopia, then we can get down to the real struggle. Josef Pieper asks, 

Once the means of living have been obtained, in what will this now-secure life consist? Furthermore, is it not patently absurd to say that the meaning of life consists in securing the means of livelihood? 

Yes to the second: it is absurd, a performative tautology. As to the first, "all practical activity"

serves something other than itself. And this other thing is not practical activity.... the ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation (ibid.).

Bottom line: "politics must inevitably become empty agitation if it does not aim at something that is not political." 

Which is precisely why the left has the advantage over us, because they know of no higher life, such that politics is their religion. Sure, it's a religion of empty agitation, but at least it keeps them on the streets. 

Imagine not knowing the pleasures of higher worlds! I suppose that's one of the things that keeps me here, being that these worlds are as close to California as they are to Florida, Texas, or Tennessee.   Wherever you go, there you are, and so is God.

It is requisite for the good of the human community that there should be persons who devote themselves to the life of contemplation (Thomas).

You're welcome.

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems. 

But 

It is impossible to convince the fool that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the other animals (NGD).

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The New World

I was struck by the following passage from Thomistic Psychology:

But now, with the advent of thinking processes, a completely new world is opened up to us: a universe of ideas and volitions, an immaterial expanse of creativeness, a region liberated from the probabilities of sense (Brennan).

So many extravagant bells and whistles go along with the human condition, but surely this is the most consequential, for this "new world" is the human world, precisely. If you're reading this, you're in this world, no matter how much you try to pretend otherwise.

Well, not exactly, for man is apparently free to choose to be in or out of the real world, AKA reality. As you've noticed, alternate universes not only abound, but are but a click away.

Indeed, one small click for man can be a giant leap into a parallel looniverse -- for example, from the prospect of an inconvenient cold to WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!, from a long forgotten spree of trespassing to THE DARKEST DAY IN OUR DEMOCRACY!!!, from minimal safeguards against election fraud to JIM CROW ON STEROIDS!!!

Man's freedom to inhabit fantasy worlds is one of the lessons of Genesis 3, the principle of which is still undefeated after 12,000 years or so. In short, if even your Creator has to ask Where are you? (3:9), you know you're lost in the cosmos.

Where are you? 

A quick skim suggests that it takes until Genesis 22 for man to explicitly respond, Here I am, full stop, with no evasions, excuses, or rationalizations. Finally, man and God begin seeing I to I. 

But it's only a beginning. Nevertheless, as the Poet says, In my beginning is my end, as the Aphorist says, Every beginning is an image of the Beginning; every end is an image of the End, and as the Novelist says in about a billion ways, gosh!, the end-and-beginning is at hand.

Let's get back to the demons, which make their -- or its -- first appearance rather early in the saga of man-in-the-cosmos, in the first line of Genesis 3. 

Now, they say Genesis 3 was actually written several thousand years before Genesis 1, but it appears later in the Bible, and for good reason. For if it had come first, it would imply some rather serious Manichee business, as opposed to the radical monotheism and even more radical triunity before and after that. 

Well, I got sidetracked, so that's it for now.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Weird and Revolting

I have a lot of catching up to do, because I must have been absent from class the day they covered the detection and eradication of demons. 

At any rate, the following passage, from the book Thomistic Psychology, is a good place start; I rate it somewhere between Self-Evident and Change My Mind:   

As a part of creation, man stands on the fringe of two universes: one, the world of matter and material dimensions; the other, the world of spirit, which has neither length, nor breadth, nor weight, nor any other tangible property (Brennan).

I suppose you can try to change my mind, but in order to do so you can have no recourse to your own immaterial mind, but rather, will have to rely on something concrete and tangible, like a hammer, skateboard, or SUV. Still, these latter can be quite effective, as proved by BLM. 

If, on the one hand, man

is akin to the animal, plant, and mineral, on the other, he is neighbor to the angels. Truly, he is a denizen of two worlds, a horizon and a meeting place.... He is placed between beast and angel, sharing something of the destiny of both.

I know what you're thinking: brutes and angels, left and right.

WRONG!

That is so simplistic. 

Seriously, if our political enemies consisted only of beasts, they'd be rather easy to control and defeat. Rather, in order to understand what's going on, we must distinguish between good and bad angels, for a demon is simply an angel gone rogue. 

Simply?

Analogously, think of man's physical stature, which is similarly -- and conveniently -- smack dab in between the cosmic and subatomic worlds, such that we can know both, even if science hasn't yet figured out how to reconcile the extremes. 

At any rate, you will have noticed that, although we can posit these two worlds, literally no one actually understands them; or, to paraphrase Feynman, thinking you understand quantum physics is proof you don't. The same can be said of cosmology, e.g., "what was before the Big Bang?," or "what is it banging into?," or "where did those beautiful equations come from?" 

Science cannot answer such questions. Rather, such questions only highlight the necessary and proper limits of science. Nothing wrong with that. 

But this is an example of something I alluded to yesterpost -- that no exoterism, whether religious or scientistic, is capable of an integral account of our cosmic situation. Only the philosophia and religio perennis can provide this.

Speaking for myself. Also bearing in mind that "esoteric" might not mean what you think it means, for orthodox Christianity is more than a little esoteric once you naught every I and cross every me.

What do I mean by that crack? Well, try this on for size, from a mainstream book I read yesterday called The Gift of Being: A Theology of Creation:

if we think of the emanation of creation as a great chain of being, that chain closes back on its point of origin. Thus, the symbol of the circle unites the mystery of origin and end. 

Here we see an understanding reflected in the great Summa writings of the Scholastics which begin with the discussion of God as the source of being and end with the treatment of eschatology where creation closes back on its point of origin (Hayes).

Pretty, pretty weird. But is it weird enough? 

NO!

What if... what if the circle is a river, maybe even a riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay... Like some kind of commodius vicus of recirculation, or samething.

imagine the circle to be a river. For, as we read in Eccl 1:7, the river returns to its point of origin.... (Hayes).

Okay, fact check. Here's the Biblical passage in context: 

The wind whirls in a circular motion / And returns full circle. / All rivers flow to the sea, / Yet the sea shall not be filled. / To the place where the rivers flow, / There they return again..., 

Hmm. What kind of sea can never be filled? Easy: the sea of being. Being + being does not add up to more Being. Nor, for that matter, does Creator + creation = more Creator. 

Now, is it time to admit this post is slowly going nowhere?

NO! 

Here's an intriguing point about demons:

The demons are allergic to reality, like a man who happened to be allergic to oxygen (Bonino).

Now we're getting somewhere. Does this imply that people who are allergic to reality are evidence of demonic influence? Or do you have a better explanation for progressives? 

At the very least it highlights the question of whether the things we might be tempted to attribute to demonic activity might have a more banal explanation. 

Again, animals are not demonic because they have no free will to exploit. They just do what they're hardwired to do. But man lives in an epistemological and moral phase space, and this is, I believe, where the Hostile Forces may exert influence. 

It's one reason why they say idle hands are the work of the devil. Don't even get me started on the idle minds of the tenured! 

Another important point is that demons aren't "below" us; rather, since they are angels, they are ontologically above no matter how lowdown they are. They chose their path, and they would like for us to make the same choice. But in their case, the choice is said to have been instantaneous and final, whereas for us, time takes time. Except for Jesus and Mary, it is never a straight line between here and our proper end. 

We'll conclude with this:

For God grants his creatures not only their existence but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan.

And

the closer a creature is to God -- in other words, the higher and more perfect it is in the hierarchy of beings -- the more important is its participation in the execution of the benevolent designs of providence (Bonino). 

This applies to angels and men, except that "the supernatural adventure of men" not only "unfolds in time," but was preceded by -- or possibly even sparked by -- something "instigated by the revolt of the demon, so that it is like the deleterious prolongation thereof."

Ah, another hint: demons are always revolting, in more ways than one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

With Great Slack Comes a Little Courtesy

"Do you renounce Satan, and all his works and empty promises?"

Sure... I guess so... Er, like what?

In other words, that's a three-part question. Anyone can renounce Satan, but who is he, what does he do, and what does he promise? And why is he even here?  

Let's find out! And try not to sound totally kooky along the way -- a way that will no doubt be nonlinear, because no post is ever thought out beforehand, so it's a wonder they ever cohere. 

Remember the Coon Promise: every post is freshly half-baked each morning, and primarily for my own consumption. If you find the blog interesting, it is partly because neither you nor I know where the next sentence is coming from and where it might go. 

Moreover, you probably have to deal with the nuisance of time, whereas I am privileged to roll around timelessness all day. I have nothing to do and nowhere to go, so for me everywhere is here and it's always now. 

Which may sound easy or difficult, depending on your personality style, but in any event, I've been training for this my whole life, so it suits me to the goround. Nor have I ever claimed to be normal, so don't even go there. 

Yesterday I was reflecting on something Schuon says about the legitimate need for esoterism. Not to say everyone needs it. 

Indeed, I've been known to envy the person who doesn't. I've heard people insist that the Bible is a total program for knowledge and action, an unambiguous blueprint for life, with nary a single contradiction or conundrum. I used to argue with them. 

Nevertheless, if you're the sort of irritating noodge who likes to think through every entailment right up to its necessary principle.... well, loose ends, contradictions, absurdities, trapdoors and exploding cigars are everywhere. 

And not just in religion. Rather, in science for sure. Which was the point I was cogitating. Let me first cite the relevant passage by Schuon. 

Obviously, in order to follow a religion in good faith -- without fooling oneself, AKA autopullwoolery -- one must be able to believe it. BUT

since, with the best will in the world, one can only believe what is credible, the man who knows to a sufficient degree two or more religions, and in addition has some imagination, may feel himself prevented from adhering to one of them by the fact that it presents itself dogmatically as the only legitimate and the only saving religion...

You know the type: believe this or you go to hell. But what if, no matter how hard you try, you honestly find it unbelievable? What are you supposed to do? Just pretend? You can't fool God.  

This Believe or else! is not what the Church has ever officially taught. Rather, it's a gift from God, not a threat, much less a protection racket. 

We're all familiar with St. Augustine's gag that The same thing which is now called Christian religion existed among the ancients, in various symbolic, mythic, virtual, and anticipatory forms. The Church itself "rejects nothing of what is true and holy" in other religions.

Follow the Light and assimilate the truth, and you can't go wrong. 

Back to the main point: "In fact, sapiential esoterism -- total and universal, not formalistic -- can alone satisfy every legitimate mental need" (Schuon, emphasis mine). 

And when he says "every," this again applies to science no less than religion. It is the best explanation for the whole existentialada. 

But again, it's not for everyone, nor could it ever -- God forbid -- appeal to more than an encentric Coonatic fringe, for it only speaks to those to whom it speaks, and not to anyone else. Rather, it just triggers the others, especially those who cannot leave it alone. "Spiritual masochism" comes to mind, pervert.

The point is, integral esoterism puts us in contact with the formless essence which religion clothes in doctrinal form. Indeed, the Catechism quietly expresses something similar in a different way when it says "We do not believe in formulas but in those realities they express" (emphasis mine). 

In other words, -- just as with science -- reality comes first, thoughts and words second; moreover, our thoughts, words, and dogmas terminate in the realities which they only symbolically describe. For exoterists it's often the other way around, but that's okay, especially if it keeps them out of trouble and ensures a good night's sleep.

So, just as science terminates in the real objects it describes, religious doctrines terminate in objective spiritual realities. With this in mind, it doesn't matter what you call it, so long as you acknowledge a category that is covered by the word "demonic."

I was thinking about this the other day with regard to the wild popularity of the new Spiderman movie. Why are people raving about it? I think partly because it openly deals with certain facts and realities that our secularized society tries to forget -- for example, that life is a struggle between good and evil, that parallel universes are so close they can touch us, and certainly that with great power comes great responsibility.

I could go on all day, but I have to have some respect for the timebound reader. With great slack comes a little courtesy to the reader who has only so much. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

How to Distinguish Your Friends from the Demons

By way of an appetizer before we get to the main curse (did Petey actually just say deviled eggheads?), I've been rereading Robert Brennan's Thomistic Psychology (see sidebar), which I first read a fortnight ago. Seems longer than that, but I double-checked and it was just before Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve.

In the Introduction, Mortimer Adler makes the excellent point -- and I know it's excellent because I've made the same point many times -- psychology is not yet a true science, because it is essentially pre-paradigmatic, meaning that there is no agreement on its proper object, let alone its content.

Imagine if, say, physics, were in the same primitive stage of development. Physicists would still be arguing whether the cosmos had a beginning, about the nature of the ether, if sublunar objects behave differently than celestial ones, or whether the physics department has enough people of color.

I've mentioned that back when I started grad school, there was a required course which surveyed the main schools of psychology, from behaviorism at one end to psychoanalysis at the other.  

The mere fact that there are diverse and irreconcilable schools of psychology makes the implicit point that psychology literally doesn't know what it's talking about, since any science is supposed to be about a well-defined object. But in psychology, the objects are literally in the heads of the theorists, in that -- obviously -- only one (at most) theory can be correct, or there must be a "meta-theory" capable of harmonizing them from above. 

I say, One Principle, One Logos, One Cosmos, One Anthropos, One Bios, One Physis, all the way down and back to three.  

Having said that mean stuff about the others, Thomistic psychology makes a compelling case for being the only truly scientific psychology, demons and all. For example, it clearly defines its proper object at the outset: it is the study of the soul. It also clearly defines the soul: it is the form or principle of the living body. Human psychology therefore pertains to the soul of man, which is -- or used to be -- a rational soul. Remember?

I don't want to get too far into psychology per se, rather, just make a few points to lay a foundation as we resume our discussion of the demonic. But for a psychologist to swear on the one hand that "there is no such thing as demons," and on the other, "transgenderism is perfectly normal," is not even bullshit. 

It reminds me of the top-down, bureaucratic normalization of homosexuality back in 1973, which was before my time, so don't blame me. Not only was there no debate to settle or even define the issue, the vast body of research from <1973 was magically disappeared -- as if it were no more legitimate then Soviet psychiatry (which, ironically, has made a big comeback in wokademia, as have McCarthyism, heresy hunting, and witch burning).

The larger point is that such radical discontinuity can only occur in a pre-paradigmatic science with no stable object of study. One day sexuality has a natural telos, which is to say, reproduction. The next day you're a hater for even suggesting such a monstrosity. Talk about throwing out the baby with the bongwater. 

It's the same with regard to the trannies and other misfits: one day they're pathetic weirdos, the next day they're better than you, you deplorable heteronormative bigot. The cosmically correct response is, of course, to feel sorry for them, not hostility -- unless they become activists and start frightening the children and horses.

Adler:

the moment I received the degree [of psychology] -- supposedly a competent worker in the field -- I could not tell my students, my colleagues, or myself, what psychology was about, what its fundamental principles were...

Same. Or maybe the opposite, in that I knew what psychology was about. It's just everybody else that was wrong. Indeed, my doctoral dissertation proposed a "new paradigm" for psychology, and was even published in two different professional journals. 

Interestingly, those articles still hold up, at least to the extent they can be reconciled with the deeper and more explicit principles of Thomistic psychology I've embraced since then. Turns out I was following in the footsteps of Thomas without knowing it. Indeed, if I had known it, I would have no doubt run in the opposite direction, since I was an anti-Catholic bigot at the time, like any other modern sophisticate.

Each of the diverse schools of psychology differs

from the others, not because of contrary discoveries, but because of the "point of view" which motivated its method of research and determined the restricted field of phenomena it was willing to explore (Adler). 

"Even to a sophomore, it was apparent that the psychologists had shut the front door on philosophy only to indulge in some surreptitious 'philosophizing'" through the back. 

So. Important. Especially that little word motivated. For real science is disinterested; or, interested rather in the intelligible real and nothing else. Wishes and feelings don't enter into it. Uncorrupted by passion and other psychic crosscurrents, the intellect is actually infallible; if not, then we can all fold up our seats and go home.

Infallible? Yes, literally, in the same sense that your normally functioning senses are infallible. If that potato chip tastes salty, that's because it is salty. If the tree looks green, it's because it is green. If you hear a siren in the distance, hide behind the wall with the Murphy bed, Dupree! 

Same with the intellect, which knows a thing or two about a thing or two, and with certitude:

there is no error in intellect in its simple apprehension of the essences of things.... Where error occurs in the field of intellectual cognition, it will always be discovered in judicial acts.... (Brennan, emphasis mine).

For example, most for my former colleagues judge that essences do not exist because the soul doesn't exist because God doesn't exist, etc. Poor judgment, that's all. But is it frankly demonic? Too soon to tell. More scientific data is needed. To be continued...

Sunday, December 19, 2021

I Saw Satan Fall Like Lightning in the Ratings

Most of you know that before I was a critical demonologist I was a clinical psychologist. 

Along the way, and to this day, I've maintained a flourishing pslackology practice, albeit with an exclusive clientele of one. While the patient still has occasional relapses of undudeness, I'm proud to say that these are few and far between, and that 90% of the time he abides. 

No joke: I've always been openminded about things, but the queer nature of the times we're living in demands a supra- or infra-natural explanation. 

Don't get me wrong -- by no means do I believe that demons explain everything, but then again, nor do I see how we can truly understand What's Going On without recourse to demonic influences. Denying their influence would be naive in the extreme, which is just how Satan likes it. It would be as childish as, say, the conspiracy theory that FJB legitimately won the 2020 election.

The operative word is indeed influence: for demons do not and cannot cause human actions, only influence them; which is another way of saying that man is condemned to freedom and that there's not a damn thing he can do about it, no matter how many times he votes Democrat. 

I myself reached peak naivete in perhaps 1988, when I nabbed a PhD while no one was looking. Like any other properly indoctorated product of the tenure machine, I knew that belief in angels, demons, and immaterial beings more generally was pure superstition, and that what folks used to call "devils" were now understood to be unconscious projections, i.e., projections of what are called unconscious objects.

But in the long run, everybody's at least a little stitious, because these two -- demon and unconscious object -- prove to be equivalent categories with identical content. Except that psychotherapy is much more expensive -- and lucrative -- than exorcism and more practical than freelance ghostbusting.

Indeed, what is psychotherapy but a modern form of exorcism, the only difference being that it is less effective?

The following passage by Grotstein from his Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream is one I would have endorsed as recently as 1995 or so, when I began having my doubt about doubt:

In the dazzling light of the Enlightenment, preternatural spirits, presences, angels, and demons, along with their cosmologies, were bleached into oblivion. These designations waned, and their remains were reminted in the alchemy of a newer "scientific" lexicon. 

Nevertheless the spirits that occupied their successors (i.e., "internal objects") continued to haunt our minds. 

So, people -- obviously -- continue to be as haunted and taunted as ever. However, nowadays we're far more sophisticated, so we know that the real causes of mental illness are are scientifically provable things such as Trump's mean tweets, White Privilege, the Patriarchy, and the Climate Crisis.

Let's refrain from calling them demons or objects, and instead just focus on the continuity of the phenomenology. According to the esteemed shroomhead Terence McKenna,

Whatever their status in the world, their persistence in human experience and folklore is striking. In all times and in all places, with the possible exception of Western Europe for the past two hundred years, a social commerce between human beings and various discarnate entities, or non-human intelligences, was taken for granted.

After all, it isn't difficult to believe in the Ultimate Intelligence -- indeed, it takes real effort and limitless chutzpah to not believe in a principle higher than oneself -- so how hard can it be to posit the existence of intermediate intelligences between man and O?  

Moreover, as with God, once you permit yourself to believe in them, it quickly becomes necessary to do so. Like the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, they start peeping out from behind the shrubbery, giggling and looking up your dress. 

Besides, it's fun. I say, if two ontologies are otherwise equal, why not pick the one that provides more kicks 'n giggles? 

It's also more dangerous, but that's part of what makes it fun: there's much more on the line, for as one demon put it, you stand to win everything. So, call it. I can't call it for you. It wouldn't be fair.

Here's a relevant passage from the Book of the Same Name:

Indeed, if truth were a democracy, each person from the dawn of history getting one vote, the belief in such spiritual beings populating the landscape "would unquestionably be the most firmly established truth in man's whole armamentarium." 

But truth isn't a democracy, because five tech lords with a blacklist make a majority. 

So anyway, I'm always curious about what's going on in Demonville, which is only a micron or two away, like a parallel universe only in the same universe, since there's only One Cosmos. 

With that in mind, yesterday I read a book called Angels and Demons: A Catholic Introduction, instead of monitoring diabolical activity in the usual way, which is to say, by checking out CNN or MSNBC.

To be continued...