"To work it out I let them in
All the good guys and the bad guys that I've been
All the devils that disturbed me and the angels that defeated them somehow
Come together in me now"
--Paul Williams; Phantom of the Paradise, "Phantom's Theme"
I was in high school when Linda Blair was freaking the world out in The Exorcist. I saw the movie at a drive in with some friends. Not being a Catholic I didn't get what all the fuss was over. Okay, the scene where Linda Blair abuses herself with a crucifix was kind of disturbing, but I didn't go into convulsions like the press was reporting that many movie goers were after viewing the film.
Watching The Exorcist was the first time I'd ever heard about exorcism though. Since then, I've seen tons of movies and read many books in which people are possessed by demons and have had to go through an exorcism to expel the demon ( or demons depending how popular the possessed person is) from their bodies.
I don't literally believe in demonic possession. But in a metophorical sense, I believe we could all use a little daily exorcism to get rid of our demons. Or maybe we need a ritual that helps us embrace our demons. Or accept them. Or just recognize them for what they are. Because I think I have met my demons and they are me.
Now before you suggest I get fitted for a straightjacket (44 regular if you must), I'm just pointing out that instead of looking for a demon to blame all of your faults, woes, misfortunes and bad behaviour on, perhaps you can just look in a mirror and acknowledge that maybe, just maybe there is no outside source to blame. There is no devil, it's not your mother's fault, the government isn't conspiring against you and you weren't cursed for ripping those tags off the bottom of your mattress years ago.
It kind of points back to my discussion about Yin and Yang last month. What makes us "us" is that delicate balance between angels and devils. We are all good and bad. Even saints sometimes leave the toilet seat up. And I bet even devils sometimes help old ladies cross the street.
So maybe instead of a daily exorcism of our demons, we should exercise both our demons and our angels. It's the only way they can learn to play nice together.
When it became apparent that Satan himself wasn't a bad enough bad guy to blame everything on (God himself is always blameless despite the fact Satan couldn't hold a candle to the atrocities attributed to the Boss). the church piled on demons to help explain bad behaviors. and, of course, inventing a need gives you an instant market for your unique services. Thus ACME exorcism was born.
I like my demons. They keep me warm.
My mother should read this post. Of course, I would have to convince her that you're God.
I came from an upbringing that we blamed EVERYTHING on the devil. Every bad inclination was a demon whispering in our ear. Every good deed was done while under the power and working of the Holy Spirit. We took neither the blame nor the credit for any of our deeds. Its wonderful to live in a world that makes sense now. I have a much stronger connection to my identity because afterall... it's only me in here, not an assortment of personalities that drive my choices.
Excellent post Tim.
I wonder if the coyote uses ACME exorcisms, too?
I think you should tell your mother that Mickey is God. The whole concept of angels and demons does tend to prevent us from accountability. I do think a healthy approach is simply to accept who you are and take the credit. Glad you liked the post. Thanks!
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