Battlestar Galactica

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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All That We Are

THIS IS NOT ALL THAT WE ARE
(Two Women are offered Mutiny.)

When religion is sufficiently large in the life of a people, you start getting into mythical micromanagement, these guardian spirits all over the place: household gods, gods of places, gods of stuff, gods for people and schools of thought. The personal spirit, somewhere between god and man, like a demigod or an angel, goes by many names: genius is one, daemon is another. Daemon is a funny word, obviously, and genius switched up on us too. But this week we're looking at daemons all over the place. You have to go way back to see where the story split, before Plato, pre-rational. Hesiod called the daemons of the dead "great and good," and talked about how various awesome historical people were turned into daemons, angels basically, by Zeus, to serve as invisible guardians. The word comes down to "full of knowledge," or "divine power," or "fate."

When the daemon is on you, you have two choices. On the Demetrius there's a girl who fought her daemon with everything she had, for a quarter-century: threw the finger at fate at every opportunity, because humans are imperfect but it only stings when it's your parents. And of all the things she burned off, in death, the most important was this bitterness, this resentment, this confusion of the pain and the glory of revelation. I want to get into this early, because I've always thought the most interesting part of the Hero's Quest is the end part, when the Hero comes back to town with magic powers, talking to birds or whatever, in contact with divinity, and everybody looks at him crazy. And the reason everybody looks at him crazy is because, by all standard measure and by all the things that make us a society and not a monstrosity: he is. He can't tie his shoes, he can't walk straight, can't balance his checkbook; he can't summon the right words to speak, because he's learned a better language. He is insane.

It's the most interesting part to me because it's where civics and sociology intersect with the person's actual, subjective, personal experience of God. It's the part where Antigone tells the lawmen to fuck off, because she loved her brother and the Gods more than whatever crack Creon's smoking. It's the part where Cassandra refuses to sit down and shut up, knowing full well she's flying blind and all alone. But she's an ace. When your daemon tells you things that can't possibly be true, your option is to follow it -- search, unbending, for Earth; wait for the day when Crazy Six Baby Math finally comes true -- or lay down before the world outside, and take the road more usually traveled, and give up your angel to fear.

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Battlestar Galactica

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