Sunday 23 March 2008

Johann Gottlieb Fichte's "fictional" Daemonic Encounter

I have just started reading Fichte's The Vocation of Man and came across a really fascinating section. In the introduction to book 2 (Knowledge) Fichte describes and amazing encounter between Fichte and 'a wondrous shape'. The 'shape' explains to Fichte why it is that reality is not as real as he (Fichte) believes. Now I am fully aware that 'dialogue' such as this has been used a philosophical tool since Socrates but for a second suspend belief and assume that Fichte is describing a real event. Could this not be considered a Daemonic Encounter? Indeed does this not remind you of two particular scenes in that most Itladian of movies, Vanilla Sky? ( the scene in the bar where David Aames (Tom Cruise) first encounters the 'guide' implanted in his mind to tell him that the world he thinks is real is an inwardly generated illusion, and the final scene where the 'guide' convinces Aames that everything is really an illusion and that his only option is jumping off the building):

Chagrin and anguish stung me to the heart. I cursed the returning day which called me back to an existence whose truth and significance were now involved in doubt. I awoke in the night from unquiet dreams. I sought anxiously for a ray of light that might lead me out of these mazes of uncertainty. I sought, but became only more deeply entangled in the labyrinth.

Once, at the hour of midnight, a wondrous shape appeared before me, and addressed me: -

"Poor mortal," I heard it say, "thou heapest error upon error, and fanciest thyself wise. Thou tremblest before the phantoms which thou hast thyself toiled to create. Dare to become truly wise. I bring thee no new revelation. What I can teach thee thou already knowest, and thou hast but to recall it to thy remembrance. I cannot deceive thee; for in every step thou thyself wilt acknowledge me to be in the right; and shouldst thou still be deceived, thou wilt be deceived by thyself. Take courage - listen to me, and answer my questions."

I took courage. "He appeals to my own understanding. I will make the venture. He cannot think his own thoughts into my mind; the conclusion to which I shall come must be thought out by myself; the conviction which I shall accept must be of my own creating. [356] Speak, wonderful Spirit!" I exclaimed, "whatever thou art! Speak and I will listen. Question me, and I will answer."

The Spirit. Thou believest that these objects here, and those there, are actually present before thee and out of thyself?

I. Certainly I do.

Spirit. And how dost thou know that they are actually present?

I. I see them; I would feel them were I to stretch forth my hand; I can hear the sounds they produce; they reveal themselves to me through all my senses.

Spirit. Indeed! Thou wilt perhaps by and by take back the assertion that thou seest, feelest, and hearest these objects. For the present I will speak as thou dost, as if thou didst really, by means of thy sight, touch, and hearing, perceive the real existence of objects. But observe, it is only by means of thy sight, touch, and other external senses. Or is it not so? Dost thou perceive otherwise than through thy senses? and has an object any existence for thee, otherwise than as thou seest it, hearest it, &c.?

I. By no means.

Spirit. Sensible objects, therefore, exist for thee, only in consequence of a particular determination of thy external senses: thy knowledge of them is but a result of thy knowledge of this determination of thy sight, touch, &c. Thy declaration - 'there are objects out of myself,' depends upon this other - 'I see, hear, feel, and so forth?'

This dialogue continues for some time and in the end "I" (Eidolon) is convinced by "Spirit" (Daemon) that 'reality' (Bohmian IMAX) is an illusion.

Here we have Fichte being presented with one itladian theme (the Bohmian IMAX) by a being very similar to our Daemon in a very similar set of circumstances (late in a sleepless night) to those described by Friedrich Nietzsche:

“What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine'?”

Could it be that both Nietzsche and Fichte had minds very open to their respective daemons and that these daemons gave clues to the itladian nature of reality?

(the painting at the top of this post is The Wanderer by Casper David Friedrich.


SM Kovalinsky said...

I have a volume of Nietzsche's (Ecce Homo) with that painting on its cover. Certainly I believe that Fichte and Nietzsche received communications that were daemonic, and which really do appear to be describing your Bohmian IMAX (this is why I felt you added to Nietzsche's work posthumously). When first reading your internet essay (CTF) I thought immediately of Nietzsche' poem, The Midnight Bell. This post could serve as a point of departure for an entire lecture in itself, with Kierkegaard's eternal and James' Oversoul worked in (just popped into my mind).

Anthony Peake said...

I was reading about James' 'Oversoul' only last night!

Clearly "The Wanderer" by CDF is the ultimate image linked to Nietzsche because it is the cover of my Nietzsche Reader.

Dreamer said...

This "fictional" daemonic encounter brings to mind so-called channelled works, such as the "Conversations With God" books by Neale Donald Walsch and the "Seth" books by Jane Roberts (who, incidentally, also wrote a fictional series called "Oversoul 7"). Not to mention Gary Renard's "The Disappearance of the Universe," which consists of conversations between Renard and two "ascended masters." As with Fichte's encounter, it's not clear whether the events actually occurred or whether the author is using a literary tool. (However, I think either interpretation works; it really depends on the reader -- or, more specifically, the reader's readiness).

Perhaps the channelling that took place in order to produce these books could just as accurately be described as daemonic encounters, rather than communications with other beings/entities as such. (Maybe it's all the same thing, really.)

Anthony Peake said...

Many people have suggested that I read some Neale Donald Walsch. I have clearly misunderstood exactly what his books are about. Ditto for "Seth Speaks".

I am becoming more and more amazed as to how relevent ITLAD and CTF are to so many seemingly disparate philosophies. Could it be the the Grand Universal Theory (GUT) for philosophy?

Karl Le Marcs said...

Collective Daemonic Consciousness !

ken said...

Or, Jung's Collective Unconscious. Surely the Daemon is an Archetype and, therefore, eminates from the collective unconscious. Seems to me that it may be the archetype of the Self and, therefore, our imago dei.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Well, well spoken, Ken.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Ken, I can't agree your assertion that "the Daemon in an Archetype" which by definition is "an original model or type after which other similar things are patterned."
The Daemon isn't an original model it is a secondary model (at best, given that it cannot feasibly exist during any Virgin Life) being a shadowed existenial blueprint capable of being re-moulded on subsequent replays of the BIMAX.
In a previous post somewhere on here we talked about Jung's Collective Unconscious and I jokingly referred to ITLAD as the manual of the Collective Daemonic Consciousness - which has kind of stuck.
And finally, I am a little uneasy with your "Imago Dei" line of thought as this whole "Image of God" philosophy takes ITLAD towards theology which is not an area that the book ventures into, and indeed would generate an entirely separate blog never mind post !

As Fichte himself rambled on about on occasion, the "real" God is a living God, or the God-man. "I abhor all religious conceptions," Fichte wrote, "which personify God, and regard them as unworthy of a reasonable being."
And why? Because a personal being, or a subject, does not exist without an object that limits it. True, this limitation is the work of the subject itself; but whether limited by itself or by something else, the subject is a limited being, and God cannot be conceived as such. God is the moral order of the world, the freedom which gradually realizes itself in it: he is nothing but that.
*thunder cracks*
Blimey !

SM Kovalinsky said...

I had actually thought that Ken was being wonderfully ironical or tongue-in-cheek regarding the "Imago Dei"; and I had often wondered if the Daemon might be a sort of shepherd, as Heidegger would term it, of the archetypes. And now Karl comes along, with the sharp tongue and the peevish manner, and makes everyone feel bad. But I guess we must be grateful. . .

Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie,
I didn't see any irony at all!
I do agree with you re Heidegger's Shepherd analogy to the Daemon however: but I must admit to being a tad upset by your "sharp tongue and peevish manner", neither of which are descriptive of myself nor warranted.
And it is never my intention to make anyone "feel bad", quite the reverse, and often to my own detriment.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Karl; I apologize. You're correct: my remarks weren't warranted. Please don't be saddened. It is a reflection of my own insecurity that I experience a shock when someone strongly disagrees with me. And I actually was trying to inject a little humor and affection in terms of the sharp tongue and peevish manner: I post alot on political blogs where this brand of American mud-slinging is somehow supposed to be affectionate. It's a national failing, I swear. Friends again? Remember, I humbly apologized. What more can I do?

ken said...

KARL-- I haven't time for a detailed answer right now as I am sick and must direct my limited mental abilities toward other, more pressing issues. But I have some things to say on these matters which will, hopefully, bring about some interesting conversation. So, for now, hold that thought!

ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz Gregori said...

May I interject? My daemon is an archetype, a really old one. Different types of humans have different types of daemons.

Aleister Crowley wrote about different types of Holy Guardian Angels -- Crowley's daemon was the Archetypal Rebel, Prometheus, Lucifer, which of course resulted in accusations of Satanism from Judeo-Christian society.

Different for different folks. Seems to be a matter of which pattern you emanate from or, in some cases, which daemon may be willing to take you on as a client. Hard work may get you an upgrade. :-)

When people were claiming Alexander the Great was the son of Zeus, they were debating the nature of his daemon. So too when Jeheshua ben Joseph (Jesus son of Joseph) made claim to be God's son. The pagan world wanted to know which god, for it was known that gods could and did operate as daemons. Being a son of god in and of itself wasn't that special back then.

SM Kovalinsky said...

An excellent point, Athamandia; very much to the purpose.

And Karl, I really was only kidding, and felt very badly all day today for offending you, and sent you e-mails and cards and everything. Please accept my apology, and be your wonderful darkish philosophical self with me once more. *Pleeease???*

Karl Le Marcs said...

Hi Susan Marie,

Apology accepted but not required. It's never my intention to "strongly disagree" with anyone, BUT, as I keep telling Tony, it is not healthy for the blogsite if everyone is sycophantic or in blind agreement with anything anyone says.

Ken and I have some marvellous discussions, just take a look at my previous blogs on Virgin Life and Quantum Gravity

and read the comments to see what Ken and I are like when we get into dialectical dialogues

*runs back for quick hug*

Karl Le Marcs said...

Hope you get well soon as I thoroughly welcome and embrace our dialectical discourses (Or Something), and I'm intrigued what your thoughts may be.
*just remembered I've your latest comment on my Virgin Life post to reply to as well, I'll try and get that done this hour*
Get well soon Ken, and I await further intellectual pugilism with you.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Of course you may interject, I wish you would do so more often as Tony and I would be interested to hear your input on several long discussed threads on here.
Now you know that my interests in The Master Therion runs very deeply and indeed the HGA - Aiwass ideologies have been discussed on here at some length but there is one particular line in your comment that I'd like to ask you about:
You said "Different types of humans have different types of Daemons", how does the Virgin Life thesis come into the equation (in your thoughts), or more interestingly in the thoughts of your Angel.
Indeed how would your Angel react to meeting a Virgin Lifer as by definition, there would not have ever been any previous meeting nor Akashic record of such.
I'm interested in your thoughts.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Karl; I received your replies to my e-mails; thank you for them, and for accepting my apology, although you say that none is needed. As I said, sometimes my teasing misses the mark, and of course I would never intend to sadden anyone as wonderful as the darkish philosopher. Of course I agree with healthy debate and the entire dialectical process, and look forward to hearing more exchanges and discussions among you, Ken, Athamandia, and Dreamer.

Karl Le Marcs said...

I am indeed A Dark Philosopher
And you can tease me if you like!
*pulls cloak over right arm over head and flounces off*

Liz Gregori said...

Karl, I can't follow you philosophically into Virgin Life territory.

Silence or seeming non-participation by a daemon doesn't mean lack of presence. It just may mean the daemon doesn't talk to the eidolon in the way the eidolon wishes. We as humans are bombarded with so many energies from which we enjoy protection, and because we're protected so consistently, we don't notice how much is done for us.

If there were no personal daemon, the eidolon would notice immediately, but because the daemon's always there, one may look right past it without recognition.

Karl Le Marcs said...

I'm sure you can indeed follow me into my Virgin Life philosophy as surely, being one who is actively in tune with their own Daemon, you realise that, by definition, the very existence of any such entity (be it HGA, Daemon or any of the myriad identities throughout world culture and mysticism) is in requirement of a priori existentialism (by which I simply mean a prior "run-through") and by reverse causality this ultimately leads to what Plato called "The Prime Mover".
Simply, I assert, in order for Nietzschean Eternal Returns to be experienced, there MUST initially be a Daemonically unaccompanied existence, the inital life run, which becomes the blueprint for the Daemon's existence in subsequent panoramic life reviews. This is the Virgin Life. Everyone MUST have had one.