Nebraska Paranormal Society
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Author Topic: WHAT'S IN A NAME?  (Read 2261 times)
Roger
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« on: February 15, 2011, 11:14:54 PM »

The term demon seems to be used a great deal to describe a spirit or unseen force that is hell-bent (pardon the pun) on inflicting harm or causing pain and suffering upon mankind.  The question here is; are we confusing terms?  A demon (as we understand the term) is an entity that was never human nor born but a created being.  Some refer to them as fallen angels or angels of darkness.
Is demonic activity responsible for attacks on people?  It's possible but it's also possible that violent paranormal activity could be the result of a malevolent entity whose origins differ from the classical belief in the origins of demons or angels.  We shouldn't be quick to jump to the conclusion that just because something we may experience that on the surface may seem evil is in fact demonic.  If, as some people believe spirits are earthbound remnants of departed people, isn't it just as possible then that they could be acting out at us as a result of something bad happening to them in life or the circumstances surrounding their deaths or that they were just bad people in life?  Perhaps to try and simplify things a little, here are the basics.
1. Demon (created entity, non human in origin, fallen angel.)
2. Angel (created entity, non human in origin, opposite of a demon.)
3. Malevolent Spirit (possibly of human origin, something filled with rage or deep anger due to a host of different conditions both in life or in death.)
4. Other??

Perhaps a bigger question here is; did our faith spawn the beliefs in angels and demons, in God or the devil or could it be the other way around?  Just food for thought here.
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JimS
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 11:47:18 PM »

Perhaps a bigger question here is; did our faith spawn the beliefs in angels and demons

I think that is possible. Don't get me wrong, I believe there is evil in the world; you don't need to look far to find it these days. Keep in mind, though, there are, I believe, historical precedents for theocratic leaders looking for "bad guys" to aid in keeping the flock in line and bringing in converts. They find things to scare you with, that only they can protect you from, to create a power base. What better place to look than the realm of unexplained phenomena?

Explore the Wikipedia entry for Demon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demon

In this context, they refer to "classical" as the Greek form, which "does not carry the negative connotation initially understood by implementation of the Koine (Hellenistic and New Testament Greek) δαίμονιον (daimonion)" and was "originally intended to denote a spirit or spiritual being". It seems that it was the Hebrews (or more specifically, in "the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible, informed by the mythology of the ancient Semitic religions") and, later, Christians that added all the bad stuff.

Further interesting reading here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudaimonia

Here we have the Greek word Eudaimonia or eudaemonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία), which has as part of it's etymology the word daimon/daemon. "In classical Greek, eudaimonia was used as a term for the highest human good, and so it became the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider what it really is and how it can be achieved."

A far cry from what demons look like in today's mythology....

Perhaps evil itself is purely a human condition that and those of us who are good of heart simply cannot comprehend, and we are compelled to seek outside causes as the root of human evil?

-Jim (the happy daemon in the machine)
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Roger
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 11:19:09 AM »

Thanks Jim for your input on this.  My angle on this was purely how we define or try to define the various forms of activity in the modern perspective but it's always good to include the historical origins as well.  What I think we need to do is try to point out all the possibilities as to the source of various types of activity.  One possible source I did forget to mention is "our own imaginations" as sometimes people tend to conjure things up that simply isn't there.  As children may sit around a campfire telling ghost stories and later that night become frightened of every little sound in the darkness, we sometimes do the same thing as adults.  That's not to say that something very real might be going on, we just need to be aware of the possibility that it could be our minds in overdrive.  While we have come an incredibly long way over the last 500-700 years we should not become too full of ourselves nor close minded because of all our knowledge and technology.  In my opinion we need a healthy balance between skepticism and the willingness to believe even if we're scientists.  This is merely a general observation meant for our readers.
Roger
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gaiagrrrl
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 09:43:35 AM »

So much of this is subjective.  If you don't accept demons or angels or even ghosts as being "real", then most likely, you will not have experiences with them.  You will use other explanations to account for your experiences.  I think you are right in that it takes some sort of balance to properly investigate the paranormal.  Many things have explanations, the trick is to find them.  Again this depends upon perspective.

Personally, I have a difficult time believing that anything is purely "good" or "evil".  Human beings may do good or evil things, but a person's actions do not make them wholly one way or the other. 

Dana
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Dale
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 08:11:26 AM »

Everything we know is subjective. Thank goodness we can all agree on some of the universal symbolism, like the color red is "danger" or that an octagonal shaped road sign typically means "stop." Unless, of course, you're in a country where the stop signs are round. Nuts, there it is again. OK, how about the circle with a line through it? That typically means not to do whatever the sign indicates.

Anyway, I question your "purely good or evil" comment. A person's actions clearly define who they are. We may not agree with their actions, but that doesn't make the action any less real. I think the terms "good" and "evil" are, themselves, clearly subject to interpretation. What is good in one society may be culturally taboo in another. These are questions of morality, established by government and religious leadership. If it was up to me, many of the restrictions this country has against sexuality and religious practice (for instance) would be different. I may not feel that what I do is evil, yet I would be openly accused of evil intent if practiced publicly. Especially in Kansas.

Then there's the issue of "real." As in, are angels, demons, ghosts, etc. actually 'real?' Define to me what is meant when we say the word, "real." I've known people who have little, or no interest in the paranormal, yet encounter ghostly phenomena nevertheless. Does their lack of belief make the experience any less real? A lack of belief in these events don't reduce it's influence. One of my favorite authors, Lon Milo DuQuette, has recently written a book with the wonderful sub-title: "It's All in Your Mind, You Just Don't Know How Big Your Mind Is."

Balance is the key to living within the expectations of nature on this planet. When our reality goes out of balance, things go horribly askew. Things don't necessarily go wrong, but rather they re-shift focus to correct the balance. We humans live on this planet with nature and are subject to a constant shifting of balance. If we try to live in peace, light and love all the time, which is contradictory to our nature, we go out of balance. The shadow emerges, like a Jekyll and Hyde effect. If we live in anger, hatred and negativity all the time, we go out of balance. Typically we become sick, horribly sick.

Dale
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gaiagrrrl
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 07:50:51 AM »

Maybe I should clarify what I meant a little bit.  I have an example.

I suffer from clinical depression.  The last couple months I've been experiencing a severe episode.  I started seeing a new psychiatrist.  During my initial interview at this doctor's office, I was asked if I have hallucinations.  I said, "No, I do not, but it seems like when I have an episode I tend to hear things or see things--ghosts.  I'm in NPS and I'm very interested in the effect psych meds may have on one's experience of the paranormal."  Naturally, the guy who was interviewing me raised his eyebrows and began rapidly typing away on his laptop.  I expected this because the last psychiatrist I went to several years ago insisted I was hallucinating, I disagreed and I didn't go back.  Anyway, so then the doctor comes in goes through my questionaire and my interviewer makes sure to point out that I "see things." 

I don't think I have hallucinations because I consider my experiences to be "real."  Maybe the doctors would disagree.  My theory is that when I am severely depressed, certain things are able to come through or manifest because I become obsessed with death, etc.  I think my state of mind can possibly attract them. 

For example, last Sunday I spent the day over at my mom's doing laundry and watching movies.  We watched Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones's Diary--romantic comedies, nothing creepy.  When I got home that evening and walked in to my apartment, something felt very wrong.  It felt to me like someone had been in my home.  My cats were acting strangely and I just felt creepy and slightly violated, my senses were all on high alert.  I went so far as to ask a few of my neighbors whether or not the rental company had needed to come into our apartments for any reason.  They all said no.  No one had been in the building that day.  I figured then that I had some sort of wispy visitor and burned some sage and did a basic cleansing of my apartment.  I felt loads better afterwards. 

So that's the question: Did I really have something in my room that night, or did I have a hallucination?  Either way, burning sage and saying a blessing made it better.  Does it matter if what I experienced was "real?" (meaning that something was in fact in my apartment).  Or, because I had this experience, does that make it "real?" (meaning even if I imagined it and it was all in my head, does that make the experience "less real"?)  What I'm trying to say is that regardless, I still had an experience.
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