Aquí Demogorgon está sentado
en su banco fatal, cuyo decreto
de las supremas causas es guardado
por inviolable y celestial preceto.
Las parcas y su estambre delicado
a cuyo huso el mundo está sujeto,
la fea muerte y el vivir lúcido
y el negro lago del oscuro olvido
(Libro II, estrofa 19)
I had an epiphany the other day.
It was not a high time for me, I’ll admit to that much. I was seriously hurting in the self-esteem. This is actually not that uncommon a thing for me, I depress periodically along with a score of other odd little issues; so, resulting from the empiricist mechanism that I subscribe to, I have developed a reflex action to protect me from it.
When things get so bad, below a certain threshold, I automatically step back and look at everything in the third person. I look at where I am, what I’m doing, and what I’m thinking; I think about what point “A” is, objectively, and what point “B” I’m moving toward. Then, when third-person-self has a strong comprehension of what’s going right and what’s going wrong, it makes adjustments. Wakes me up. Sets me on a more correct path, however narrow it may be.
When this reflex hit, I noticed something incredibly odd, and may have accidentally solved a millennium-old riddle. As we grow up, we take on the lessons presented to us without question. We learn what we are expected to be, and we expect as much as ourselves; habits, nurtured during an age in which we are willing to believe that the world is perfectly functional and kind.
For many, certainly for myself, these become invisible faces, staring down at us and judging our every action. They become the face of our ideal, the origin of a great deal of terror for many. I recognized that many of these things were without faces, the imagined correspondence with them simply the result of demographic systems stemming from a bad and blind economy. Others had no correspondence, mere shadows of what we expected the world to be and an equally blind determination to credit ourselves with our own disappointment.
I realized that I had heard this story before.
There was a god once named “Demogorgon“, a word meaning “Terrible Spirit”, or “Spirit of the People”. His/her earliest confirmed mentioning was in the fourth century, by the scholar Statius. A powerful and fearful spirit, associated with the underworld, the original, the primordial. The name itself was taboo for quite some time.
The catch was that before this author mentioned Demogorgon, there was no written work regarding him (or, seriously, her; for spirits of this nature that term is moot). I have never personally believed that it was meant to be taken so literally. Demogorgon, “King of Fairies“, was never real; Demogorgon did not need to be. He was the cast and crew of our imaginary audience, our judge and jury; he had power over us that was immeasurable. Best of all, he did not exist beyond our own minds, ingrained in us as a function of the mind.
Later references described the shape of Demogorgon as formless, infinitely vague, and dynamic. Suspicious. It was seriously said to be either male or female, largely dependent on the circumstances. Try looking it up on Google Images; you’ll just get a seemingly infinite number of portraits of some kind of two-headed-baboon-thing and metal bands, neither of which (needless to say) have anything at all to do with the myth.
Endless power, ascribed to something that must hold sway over us and could not exist. This is the riddle; this is my answer. This, I would imagine, is what Statius was trying to get at. I haven’t read the piece, Thebaid, myself; at least not yet. Now, I may have to, preferably with a reference to its original language (ancient Greek). Now, when I perform this reflexive fissioning of self, I can stare this dæmon in the face, and analyze it. I have a further grip on whom, and what kind of a machine, I am.
I’ve been nothing but roses ever since.