Triggered Musing

Demons. We read about or hear about or even talk about people whose troubled lives are attributed to psychological (or, some say, spiritual) demons, but what, exactly, are those so-called demons? The definitions are almost boundless; it seems everyone has a personal definition of those demons that negatively affect the lives of people who do battle with them. Here is my understanding of demons: they are troubling aspects of ourselves that we rarely, if ever, outwardly reveal or acknowledge, but that live inside us. They constantly remind us we have uncorrectable and unforgiveable flaws that almost no one else, aside from ourselves, knows. These parts of ourselves sometimes lead us to behave in ways that cause us to loathe ourselves. And we can never forget how we behaved; our recollections of who we were in those moments are photographic—we relive and regret every action we took and every thought that crossed our minds.  Though demons occasionally may lay dormant for extended periods, thereby enabling us to live relatively normal lives, they are ever-present. And they are prone to be awakened by the slightest trigger. The shame and regret and deep misgivings that arise from such awakenings cannot easily be erased because those emotions are based on reality. And they cannot easily be forgiven because decent human beings do not behave in ways that give rise to such remorse and regret.

This morning, while reading about the death of Matthew Perry, I came across several references to Perry’s “demons” over the years (which, as far as I know, had no bearing on his drowning death). I felt compassion for him and his long-term struggles with those demons. I suspect those close to him knew of and forgave him for whatever led to his ongoing encounters with his demons. But forgiving someone else is far easier than forgiving oneself; I doubt he ever forgave himself for whatever it was that led him to give demons access to his inner life…his “soul,” so to speak.


As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses.

~ Joan Baez ~

Philosophical advice is both valuable and useless.

Forgive many things in others; nothing in yourself.

~ Ausonius ~


I awoke pretty early today, but I changed my normal routine enough that my schedule is completely out of kilter. Showering, shaving, and getting dressed preceded the usual cat-feeding and blood-letting (checking my blood-glucose) and various other activities, putting this blog near the end of my to-do list for early morning. It is now almost 8, hours later than I’d like to be writing. But, looking at what I’ve written, there’s no reason to like writing. I feel a need to think philosophically, but my brain is not accommodating my desire. So I will pause for a while…either until later today or until tomorrow morning…so I might be able to attack this blog with a greater sense of intellectual relevance. Or something akin to it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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