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  • Nicco Bargioni

An Introduction To Demonism

Introduction: The Nature Of The Beast

Demonism, the theory that it is necessary for an individual to commit atrocities to help, found, or save a society, so called because it describes the act of making oneself a demon, or demonising themselves. This is not to say that Demonism is simply an individual committing atrocious acts because they believe they are just, or justified. A Demonist would have to demonstrate awareness themselves towards their own evils, and recognise that what they did was wrong, but at the same time feel that their actions were prompted by necessity. In this manner, a Demonist would be perhaps “sacrificing” themselves (in this case sacrificing their morality) for the good.

Now, taking this definition, it seems obvious to compare Demonism with Consequentialism and the concept of “the end justifies the means”, and indeed the two do share certain traits. However, they are separated by a fundamental difference. Whereas Consequentialism believes that the outcome renders morally irrelevant the means, as the action’s moral judgement depends entirely on the outcome, a Demonist, on the other hand, believes that the actions taken were borne of necessity, but are not morally irrelevant, or morally excusable, being just as valid as the result.

So, having defined the two theories as different entities, this writing will be structured as such, to give the reader a clearer understanding of Demonism, and when in history it has happened, before ultimately forming an opinion (and justifying this opinion) towards Demonism’s necessity: Firstly, we will show examples of people who have acted according to Demonism’s principle. Next, we will examine why Demonism has occurred throughout history, especially recent history, why acting according to Demonism is necessary in certain situations, and, lastly, why the individual should act according to the principles of Demonism in such a situation as where Demonism could be called for.

Part 1: Demonism Throughout History

When looking back in history, especially recent history, it should be easy to spot cases of such individuals, individuals who have been forced to act out of requirement. Take Thomas Ferebee, the bombardier who dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb over Hiroshima, later saying that “it had to be done” in order to end the war. Likewise, Albert Einstein, who, despite being a pacifist, signed a letter written by Leo Szilárd to be sent to the US office that­ – reportedly – almost single-handedly made the USA enter the nuclear arms race, giving way to the Manhattan Project. Einstein himself told Linus Pauling: “I made one great mistake in my life—when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification—the danger that the Germans would make them". This idea of his wrong/evil being brought about by the necessity of stopping the Nazis (as he believed they were working on an atomic bomb, and would succeed) is key when dealing with Demonism, as Einstein recognised that what he had done had been terrible (or in this case led to terrible things), but had done it as he believed the alternative would be far worse.

A more recent example would be the Obama Administration’s (and the US army’s) controversial possible war crimes. Their drone strikes between 2009 and 2015 resulted in an estimated 380-801 civilian deaths as collateral damage to the main goal of eliminating or damaging Al-Quaeda, alongside the tortures occurring at Guantanamo Bay. This is the most recent example, and should show that, even in modern times, the concept of Demonism, though not as close to the public eye, is nowhere near to being extinguished.

On the other side, one may take the Crusades, and the Crusaders, as a key example of what Demonism is not. Though they did do many terrible things (the pillaging of towns and cities, the vast slaughter of Muslim citizens once they entered Jerusalem), for what they believed to be a good cause – liberating Jerusalem from the Muslims – they do not exhibit the most important trait of Demonism, that being an understanding, by the individual themselves, of the immorality of what they did. The Crusaders – as a whole – genuinely believed throughout the whole Crusade, that what they were doing was good, including killing citizens and children. They believed God would reward them for their actions, and thus that they were morally good, instead of morally evil. Therefore, they were not, and could not be, Demonists.

It is important to note that, at this point in this writing, the purpose of these examples is simply to show occurrences of Demonism, or of what is not Demonism. There is no justification or opinion on these actions at the moment, they are simply being used to illustrate the theory.

Part 2: Why Demonism?

Having seen, now, how Demonism has appeared in history, especially recent history, we must now turn our attention to why. What is the reasoning behind Demonism occurring? And why has it happened, most often, in recent times (within the past hundred years or so)? The answer is simple. Throughout history, war is a definite constant, from Ancient Greece, to the middle ages, and even to the present, for many reasons. Despite the “Just War” theory dating back to Ancient Egypt, in war, morals were scattered to the wind in order to defeat the enemy. Case in point, Richard The Lionheart’s execution of 2,700 Muslim prisoners, due to an inability to care for them all. These were not examples of Demonism because, as stated at the beginning with the Crusades, in most – if not all – instances the individuals genuinely did not believe anything they were doing was wrong.

But, as times changed, so too did sensitivities, especially regarding other people, at least in most cases. Enemy countries were less often regarded as “heathens”, or deserving to die, and human life was valued higher. It is evident to see in the first steps towards the abolition of slavery, with The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the United Kingdom and with The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 in the United States of America, and also in the first war treaties, such as the first Geneva Convention in 1864, and the first Hague Convention, in 1899. This is not to say that quality of life, especially in colonies, was high. Simply that the very first seeds of equality had been sown. At the same time, however, there seemed to still be an obligation, due to the political nature and political/human beliefs of each country, evidently shown by the two World Wars in the 20th century, followed by the Cold War, and, most recently, the War on Terror. These new moral standards, combined with the ever-present necessity of evil to give way to success, especially in wartime, is most likely what gave rise to greater instances of Demonism in recent (meaning the 20th century) history, especially considering how, in many instances, the Demonist’s enemies may not have the moral barriers that the Demonist does, believing that what they are doing is morally correct. These instances may still be seen even in present times, as mentioned at the beginning, with the Obama Administration.

Part 3: Our Need Of Demons

Hence, having established that Demonism has occurred throughout history, and having hypothesised as to why, we should now ask: is following the path set out by Demonism a necessity? When the situation calls for it, yes. Not always, and not by everyone, as that would render the point of Demonism moot, as no-one in the society would benefit, but still, the requisite exists. Just like all other philosophical principles, especially ones to do with morality, there is no “one” answer, at least not yet. Demonism, as it is defined, should only be used to benefit a collective, a society, a “good”, and not an individual. The situation only calls for the use of Demonism when the moral good outweighs the bad, but does not excuse the moral bad (hence the use of the word “necessity” instead of the word “justification”).

It my firm belief that a person is able to achieve anything within human reach as long as they set their morals aside, and though this action is not to be praised when done, it is needed. Take Hysterical Strength, a display of extreme strength of humans, beyond what is believed to be physically capable. Just as Hysterical Strength appears only in life-or-death situations, due to a need to survive, so too should one decide to leave morals behind temporarily, for the “good”, out of need. And, just like Hysterical Strength may result in torn muscles from the display, a Demonist must acknowledge the consequences of his moral failings, despite having committed those moral wrongs for a reason.

Therefore, by nature, the necessity of Demonism is governed by wars, or various “imperfections” in the world. In a perfect world, without issues, and determined entirely by morality, in which all the world is moral, there would be no need for Demonism. However, as can be clearly seen, the world is not perfect, and though we should strive towards a perfect world, we must also work within the confines of an imperfect one, just as foundations are placed before building a house, and scaffolding is built in order to begin construction of the house, being then torn down when the house is complete. The house is the world, or a society, and, when it is called for, Demonism is the foundations, and the scaffolding.

Part 4: Morto Per La Libertá

Having now covered society’s need of Demonism, and situational need for Demonism, we must move onto the final logical step: the worth of Demonism, or acting according to Demonism, to the individual, when Demonism is called for. At its core, this is a question of egoism vs altruism. Egoism, being the philosophy concerning oneself, states that personal benefit should be the cause for one’s actions. Altruism, being the philosophy concerning others, states that concern for benefit of others should be the cause for one’s actions.

If one is an Egoist, and is concerned only with themselves, instead of a “greater good” of society, then clearly the worth of Demonism towards them is null. Why should you destroy your morals for other people, when you do not believe in the point of helping others? However, if one is an Altruist, then, as Demonism is prompted by the need to help others, as a whole, at the expense of oneself (or one’s morals), then yes, there is an inherent worth to acting according to Demonism when it is needed, when the moral good outweighs the moral bad but does not excuse it.

Our society as a whole, being a democracy, and overall mostly concerned with the wellbeing of all, leans towards an altruistic outlook, and we also, usually, tend to see moral “good” as placing others before ourselves, the logical conclusion is that yes, an individual should follow the theory set out by Demonism when it is of necessity, when they deem that the overall moral good will outweigh the moral evil, but again, will not excuse it. This ties back into the idea of the individual seeing themselves as a ”sacrifice” of sorts. To the individual, it should be an idea about the wellness and happiness of others over the evil of themselves. This is, once again, not a justification of atrocities, as evidenced by this entire article and especially the previous sentence, nor is it a defence of atrocities.

Conclusion: The Demon

I hope that we have now managed to reach a number of logical conclusions, leading to the points made throughout the article. In this conclusion, then, we will try and sum up these points in a straightforward manner. Demonism, being the theory that it is necessary for an individual to commit atrocities to help, found, or save a society, should be necessary towards a society, due to our world being an as-of-yet imperfect one, often dominated when one lets themselves go from their own morals. Demonism should likewise be taken on by the individual, becoming a sacrifice of sorts, for the good of the people, due to much of today's world being governed by Altruism, as opposed to Egoism.

Thus, at the end of all this, there should be one question remaining, which even this article, and this writer, cannot answer: who will become the demon?

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