Saturday, July 13, 2013
Spirit - Stoic Terminology
Needleman and Piazza use the words "Spirit" or "Divine Spirit" to translate the Greek daimon in Marcus Aurelius. As they note, "This is the origin of the English word 'demon,' but here it does not have a purely negative association. For the Greeks, a daimon is a lower class of deity, which could enter (or possess) a person. The most famous daimon of Greek philosophy is that of Socrates. In the Apology, Socrates says that his daimon is a sort of inner guide, which tells him only when he is not doing what he ought to. For the Stoics, it also serves as an internal guide, to whom we refuse to listen at our peril. In the Symposium, Plato describes Eros, the god of love, as a daimon because he is an intermediary between humans and gods. The Christian concept of spirit (especially the Holy Spirit) comes from a different Greek term, pneuma, which is associated with breath."