Please allow me to introduce himself...
This was thought provoking. I'm looking forward to future installments.
Your concept seems similar on the surface at least to CS Lewis's macrobes, as described in That Hideous Strength - worth a read if you haven't yet.
One wonders if these beings might be composed of dark matter? Such entities would only be able to interact via gravitation, the weakest but most pervasive of the physical forces.
It also brought to mind Rudolf Steiner's three demons - Lucifer, Ahriman, and a third entity whose name escapes me at the moment. All three are the expression of a great No. Lucifer denies conscience and goodness, and exults in the glorification of the ego. Ahriman denies mind and soul, and insists on a world of dead matter and pure mechanism. The third is the No to everything - it seeks to destroy existence itself. Steiner saw the influence of these demons as being successive, leading from Lucifer, to Ahriman, to the third entity. One might also see them as emanations, with the final No to everything being the core attractor that draws the world toward it, first through the lure of the Luciferian face, then the Ahrimanic, and revealing its true nature only way the final stage.
Another interpretation: aliens attempting to subvert and conquer humanity via hyperspatial influence operations.
Finally, there's the question of the good egregore. I'd submit that the metaphysical body of Christ is precisely this entity.
I enjoyed this very much. Your writing is great to me! I believe Satan is real. I believe his intention is to drag as many souls to hell with him that he can and will use any means possible to achieve it. I also believe this is all meant to happen and that God is in control, but we are called to be spiritual warriors to fight against the powers and principalities of evil. This is not a flesh and blood battle but a battle for the souls of men.
Instant sub and recommendation! Eagerly awaiting all future parts.
Another angle for investigating "invisibility" may be the counterintelligence angle. In addition to being a function of their nature, there may be operational advantages to secrecy and subterfuge. Being exposed may turn out to be fatal or injurious in certain contexts like our own. And studying Satan's wiles may require the skills of a cosmic counterintelligence officer.
There's no question whatsoever in my mind that evil exists, that some of us are at war with it, and that it's an unwinnable war, in terms of being able to vanquish or extinguish it. It's equally evident to me that there are benevolent forces (I don't like to use the word "God" because I think it has lost all meaning at this point) which are on the side of those of us who resist evil. I wish I could have a real-life conversation with you, Mark Bisone. I intend to reread this essay (including the embedded one on egregores, which I skipped this time) and I'm definitely looking forward to the upcoming essays you've promised your readers. Thank you for this extraordinarily thoughtful essay.
good writing! what is evil, and what is the nature of Satan?
evil is a corrective....a magnet that draws the diseased tissue from the body politic, and then destroys itself.
the hypostasis of evil - satan - is real though relative, ie not absolute. satan is not a divine idea, but he is a very real entity for us.
the crucial analogy is with matter - also not a divine idea, matter is therefore essentially unreal (see quantum physics), but it does have a relative existence here below. matter is that which introduces entropy and inertia into the world. it is unconsciousness, and evil is also.
it does seem that evil 'takes possession of' the individual....like a parasite with its host. dostoevsky's 'the possessed'.
plotinus equates evil and matter. the price of incarnate existence is to be exposed to evil, which is unconsciousness, unconsciousness of reality. it is therefore imprisoning humanity within a false reality that is the modus operandi of evil: the matrix, the gnostic simulacrum, the spectacle.
therefore philosophy, properly speaking, is the antidote and prophylactic to evil...the intelligibility of the truth and our capacity to recognise it through our God-given nous,,,this is the truth that sets us free.
we can see how a reductively materialistic metaphysic has led to a denial of God and the intelligible reality of which he is the prime symbol...we can also see how a reductively materialistic worldview is still promulgated, even when it has become absurd,,,ie in the face of the inseparability of perceiver and perceived, esse est percipi.
objective reality belongs to the platonic forms, not the phenomenal world. a mechanistic view of reality is still promulgated because only this can be used to validate the need for social engineering, ie only reductive materialism dethrones the individual from his sovereign position vis-a-vis his experience of the world.
Very interesting article. The idea of evil entities needing attention to survive is most certainly correct, along with the various gods that man has created. Neil Gaiman touched on this topic in the book American Gods, alludes that a gods power resides in the belief humans have for them. I believe that this is the case for most things in this world, the more energy you put into thinking about things the more they will manifest within in your life, i.e. if you worry about getting sick constantly you will eventually make yourself sick. It's the reason why the powers that be spend so much time and money trying to manage the narrative, allows them to create the reality they desire on the backs of those they delude.
Mark, this was an extraordinary debut and challenging in all the very best ways. My instinctive reaction is to wonder how the egregore might relate to Jung's thinking about autonomous complexes. i.e. is the egregore being formed by the synchronisation of such a complex on a mass scale?
My hunch is that it is. [NB C.G. Jung was preoccupied by demonism. Apparently he witnessed an exorcism as a child and it inspired his interest in psychiatry.]
Even if you assume that the egregore is summoned or attracted, rather than formed, by collective emotion/ideation, it would make sense that such a force would find a collective autonomous complex (and the morbid minds that are caught up with it) a convenient host/target.
Collective insanity is nothing new, but the immersion of the current generation in dematerialised experience (thanks to digital technology) is creating ideal conditions for very poor mental health on both an individual and collective level. I'd have no trouble accepting that the collective affect of an enfeebled and dysfunctional mass is creating the conditions necessary for an episode of mass psychosis. And there is no question that there is a very sinister character to the current zeitgeist.
Finally, your idea that the egregore is summoned made me think of David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS season 3, which I'd strongly recommend in case you have not seen it. Do you see any connection between your ideas and the Lynchian cosmology/mythos?
Welcome Mark, it's lovely to see how many insightful people are taking the plunge! What you write about is dear to my heart, I think we really need fresh takes on theological questions in this day and age.
Regarding evil, I think St. Paul's theology has much to offer: for him, we live in 2 worlds at once, the world of the flesh (material world with its materialist mindset, its earthy aspirations and drives) and the world of the Spirit, which functions according to very different laws. We can transcend the material world by living in it, but functioning according to the world of the spirit, thereby aligning ourselves with Good, and, I suspect, co-creating it by so doing. It's our only chance of "defeating" evil: we move away from it, into a different reality, the world of the Spirit. However, there are many who don't have "eyes to see" and cannot pull it off, so it is up to us.
If you haven't come across them yet, you might be interested in 2 essays I wrote where I touch on some of these things:
“But to resurrect an egregore of this narrative species would take a lengthy and concerted effort, by a large number of people who not only are interested, but psychologically and spiritually invested in that result. When this happens, I think the distributed hive-mind of riders that sits atop the egregore disappears. It becomes more than just a Jungian construct of the collective unconscious, but rather a real manifestation, with a will and agency of its own. Like the market, it becomes unpredictable, and potentially very dangerous.”
How do you feel about bitcoin?
Regardless of the answer I’ll subscribe if I didn’t already. Really enjoyed this post, thanks for writing it.
Very interesting essay! I am planning on rereading it, hopefully before the next one comes up :)
I started writing a response, but it got a bit long so I will post it up on the blog instead. This is a very important topic, and I am glad to see so many people discussing it!
Just popping in to say "its the demiurge, bro".
"....But there’s a problem here: the process of corrupting individual minds within these principalities one-by-one would be both inefficient and exhausting, even for a powerful illusionist like our entity...."
Look at the strong evidence that we are living in an Electric Universe.
The movement of electric currents happen in spirals, which can be percived as cycles.
If you search for cycle theories, you will find plenty of evidence that the nature 'operates' in a cyclical way.
The history of human civilisation can also be described as a cycle. This means we are currently in a specific stage of the human cycle which is 'repeating'.
For sure this author is not the first one formulating such kind of thoughts. There were much older times with individuals thinking similar thoughts.... We are apparently in a certain stage in the 'evolution' cycle which is a kind of contraction phase when 'problems' manifest and when people are searching for explanations for the 'problems' of this particular time.
The cycle will continue for some decades more and take another direction, as all cycles do, and the 'collective mood' will change again.
Loved it, though some went over my head. I called attention to it in this article: https://heroesvsvillains.substack.com/p/why-i-changed-my-mind-about-evil
Great essay, very well written and insightful, and after reading, I had to subscribe so I don't miss future installments!
We're talking about Schrödinger's cat, right? (the cat that was never found)
So glad I found your stack this evening. While I read many, I most often visit the ones that take a more philosophical bent. You certainly do that.
I find this whole topic fascinating, very interesting and also somewhat frightening. I’m a Christian, so I’m familiar with the general outline of what you wrote, but this angle is wholly new to me; yet at the same time oddly familiar. Weird, I know. Yet true.
I’ve read a lot of articles lately about the left brain/right brain divide that is playing out in our world right now. It feels to me like this could dovetail into what you are delving into. Satan I think is very much a solely left brain creature. Is it too much to think he actually feeds off the left brain chaos the world has concocted?
God the Creator is the ultimate manifestation of a right brain of the universe. I suspect that many of us who have been found (or found our way) by/to Him are right brain type of people. Not that’s it an exclusive club. He welcomes/calls all. Paul the Apostle was probably a left brain guy, as I think of the words he wrote. But perhaps the left brain types of folks like Paul, must trod a darker path, with many kicks against the pricks of that calling.
I look forward to your future missives. I can already sense much food for thought lies ahead. Thank you so much for that!