Daemons as intermediaries between Gods and mortals.
Wednesday May 12th at 6pm BST
with a repeat on Saturday May 15th at 4pm BST
As is the case with most theological matters in Plato and his tradition, the understanding of the nature and place of daemons in the scheme of the universe is profoundly misunderstood in the modern age. In both Christianity and the modern imagination, daemons are almost always malignant - if, that is, their existence is even accepted. But in the Platonic tradition they are seen as essentially good and as playing an important role in the divine drama that is perpetually enacted throughout the manifested universe. To the modern ear talk of daemons as a reality seems outlandish, but this is because our view of science is coloured by a mechanistic worldview: the primary question has become “how?” rather than “why?” For Plato all creative action centres on intelligence contemplating purposes and paradigms; those who assist in the creative process must, therefore, share that ability in the appropriate degree: daemons, as the Symposium explains, are just such assistants for their work is -
“To transmit and to interpret to the Gods what comes from men; and to men, in like manner, what comes from the Gods; from men their petitions and their sacrifices; from the Gods in return, the revelation of their will. Thus these beings, standing in the middle rank between divine and human, fill up the vacant space, and link together all intelligent nature. Through their intervention proceeds every kind of divination, and the priestly art relating to sacrifices, and the mysteries and incantations, with the whole of divination and magic. For divinity is not mingled with man; but by means of that middle nature is carried on all converse and communication between the Gods and mortals, whether in sleep or waking.” (202e-203a)
This one-off Zoom session is a chance to explore the ancient Platonic perspective on the place of the principle of mediation in metaphysics and the nature and activities of daemons in the Cosmos, as outlined in some of the most important surviving writings of the tradition on the subject.
We have a short discussion paper as a prompt to our exploration, but the session will allow participants to follow many threads the tradition weaves around the subject, as they see fit: On daemons and the principle of mediation in the Platonic tradition
The session will begin with a short introductory talk - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.
There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email firstname.lastname@example.org