Dysdaimonic

Tomorrow’s events:

  • Stoic Breath w/ Steve Beattie. Every Wednesday @ 7:00 AM ET. RSVP here.

  • Social Design Club w/ Freyja and Joe Edelman. Every Wednesday @ 1:30 PM ET. RSVP here. Join the club here. 90 mins.

Newly posted events:

  • The Dawn of the Metatribe w/ Tyler Alterman. October 20th @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • This Universe Calls on Us to Radically Reinvent Her w/ Howard Bloom. October 22nd @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Ephemeral Group Process w/ Forrest Landry. October 27th @ 3:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Problems with the Sensemaking Scene: Imagining Beyond the Echo Chamber. w/ Ellie Hain and Tarn Rodgers Johns. October 28th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Sex, Masculinity, God 2.0 w/ Cadell Last, Kevin Orosz & Daniel Dick. October 29th @ 10:30 AM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Traumacene w/ Eric Garza. October 29th @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • Recent Results in Ignorance Studies w/ Sarah Perry. November 2nd @ 6:30 PM ET. RSVP here.

  • The Narratives Project w/ Shaun Cammack. November 4th @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP here.

An event to get excited about:

  • Disagreeing Well w/ Justin Weinberg. October 15th @ 8:00 PM ET. RSVP by clicking the image below.

Philosopher Justin Weinberg, the editor of the epic Daily Nous, visits The Stoa to discuss the upsides of disagreement. This session seems like it will totally be our jam.

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October 13, 2020

I am so behind responding to emails, uploading videos, and posting events. I am also behind in doing other life matters. Let me be clear though, I am not complaining, even though I feel like complaining. It is really not a good look for a self-professed Stoic to complain. 

Somebody emailed me asking me about my relationship with taking time off, and he wrote: you have already pushed beyond what I thought was possible work-wise. As such, you have broken some of my intuitions about this. 

A voice just bubbled up within and said: keep watching, I am going to break some more.

I felt some darkness in this voice, so I need to be careful. I understand the word “eudaimonia” as being in the right relationship with the daemon. If one can be in the right relationship with the daemon, then one can be in the wrong relationship with the daemon.

I have experienced this before. In an April 18th entry titled “Stoicism Reborn,” I wrote: fully listening to the daemon is like being ill prepared to hold on to a fire hose, and I have never done either before. I feel the need to back off. I am becoming unpredictable, dangerous, feral. I am ready to turn my life upside down.

It is hard to put words to what fully listening to the daemon is like. It is like jumping on a rocket ship, and it is just go go go, and there is no end to the inspiration. Ideas just keep rushing in. My body could not keep up.

I searched to see if there is a word already for being in the wrong relationship with the daemon, and I found one: dysdaimonic. It is from a book from Stephen Diamond called Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil and Creativity.

From reading some reviews of the book the idea of “dysdaimonic genius” refers to somebody who becomes completely possessed by the daemon, and becomes self-destructive because they cannot handle it. 

Here is a quote I found from the book: The insight, creativity, inspiration and ecstasy of voluntary possession, can quickly deteriorate into destructive, involuntary possession, otherwise known as madness or psychosis.

This is interesting, and illuminating. This project started when COVID came online, and in my third journal entry here on March 25th I wrote: I have handed the keys over to my daemon. I went on to write: What I am doing these days does not feel like thinking: I feel as if I have not thought at all since this current meta-crisis has come online. It feels more like listening and following.

There was a point where I could not tell the difference between myself and the daemon, as we were becoming completely fused. I tracked all of this madness in my earlier entries, and this was leading me to dark energies. On April 19th, the day before I sacrificed my mind to hear the music (long story), I wrote:

A demon visited me last night. I was warned this would happen. I am holding him captive, and I sense an odd kinship with him. Can demons be saved? I am going to need all the virtue I can muster now.

In an April 21st entry that I titled “The Purification Ritual,” I wrote: When you fully listen to the daemon, he seems to take you to the knife's edge, where the demons are. The “daemon leading to the demons” theory that I came up with when I was going mad is pretty interesting.

The demon I was writing about above was real, or real enough. How I would articulate it now with normal consciousness is that it was a “demonic energy.” It was very dark, and the energy was permeating my body, and it filled my mind with intrusive thoughts. They were evil thoughts. Kanye West, who the daemon strongly speaks through, wrote a song about what seems to be his encounter with intrusive thoughts.

It is probably better to view the daemon as something amoral. It is neither a moral nor an immoral force on its own, and it could lead you to either a heavenly or hellish direction. If this is true, then it is irresponsible for me to write about emancipating the daemon without some strong caveats, or a robust wisdom gym that is open for spiritual business.

There was a silly meme I tweeted recently, that basically conveyed virtue = eudaimonia. When you become virtuous, and follow the cardinal virtues like a good Stoic or Christian (and I am both) then the right relationship with the daemon can become a reality.

This daemonic energy is wildly coursing through me now, and if my above cowboy theorizing is true, and if I listen to the daemon in a wild way again, I will meet the demons again.

I see two choices. The first choice is that I can try to put on the breaks, slow down, and focus on building virtue now, in order to fortify myself, so I will have a greater readiness for where the daemon is leading me. Alternatively, I could take a more Stoic Cowboy approach, and just follow fully, and if the daemon leads me to demons, I could use the demons as a forcing function to practice virtue.

I do like the latter option, it is bolder, and I worry that if I choose the former option I will just succumb to the Last Man Syndrome again, and instead of building virtue during my “free” time, which is hard work, I will distract myself with petty pleasures.

This all needs further reflection, and maybe a both/and approach will emerge, or maybe I will challenge the framing of this inquiry altogether. In any case, I am grateful that my life is not boring.

***

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