The Demon Philosopher - A Tale -- How Philosophy Transforms
Updated: 22 hours ago
Allow me to present to you the biggest post on the Philosocom Blog as of yet: a tale I wrote called "The Demon Philosopher", now available as a blog post. Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed the story. Enjoy!
************************************************** Though I have lived many years and experienced much, I never encountered anything like philosophy - something so vast, complex, and sometimes unsettling. Until a few weeks ago, the term and its definition were unknown to me. You may rightly say I am not a very intelligent person, and I agree. My life has been a monotonous one, that of a poor farmer, repeating the same tasks with no clear vision of the future. Pondering grand ideas in philosophy simply never crossed my mind.
In truth, I cannot even read or write. Someone else, as I speak, assists me with these difficult tasks.
Yet, before my time in this world ends, I felt compelled to record some of my thoughts. You see, I have lived a simple life, though one of great ignorance. My lord, far away in his manor, demanded wheat and fruits, and that's what I provided; that's what I did for him, his son, and his grandson. I am an old and poor man who has never seen lands beyond my lord's territory. My knowledge extends barely beyond agriculture.
Despite my limitations, I have lived a life of integrity and hard work. And while I may not understand the complexities of philosophy, I have my own wisdom, born from years of observation, and reflection. These are the thoughts I wish to leave behind, a proof to my existence and the life I have lived.
A few weeks ago, I was visited by a demon. This creature, with its horns, tail, and sharp teeth, was grotesque. Its words were in a tongue unknown, yet their meaning reached my very core. It declared me a unique individual, possessing the potential for greatness in philosophy. Despite initial skepticism, the demon's persistence enticed me. It urged me to ponder life's profound questions, the meaning of existence and the nature of reality.
Hesitant at first, I eventually yielded to the demon's demands. As I delved into these inquiries, I was surprised by my own natural talent at it. Never before had I experienced such insights into the essence of reality. It felt like awakening from a slumber, a long and deep sleep that deludes you you're awake.
The demon, pleased with my progress, proclaimed me a natural philosopher, one with the potential to rank among history's greatest thinkers. Flattered by its words, I also felt a sense of responsibility. This newfound knowledge, I realized, was meant to serve others. I had to share my insights with the world.
However, this awakening appears to have occurred years ago. Long in the past, I began experiencing what others call "hallucinations," though the line between them and daydreams blurs for me. Unexpectedly, I would be confronted by a terrifying creature, a hybrid of sorts. With immense eyes and a repulsive visage, it would fixate its blood-filled eyes on me, posing questions no one else ever dared, including myself. For some inexplicable reason, it called itself Monkrilla.
Only I could perceive this entity.
Though my family believes I've lost my mind, I discarded their criticism. I saw this abomination staring into my soul, speaking of things beyond the grasp of my aging, declining mind. It consumes me, draining my sanity with its relentless presence, indifferent to the torment it inflicts on my mentality.
The first question Monkrilla posed was: "What is the meaning of life?" What could I possibly say? My knowledge extends only to farming, my rulers, my family, and the land I cultivate. So, I countered with my own question: "Why should I care about the meaning of life?"
The creature, a disgusting, cosmic collection of iron, rotting flesh, and spikes, responded with its own question. Its voice deep, twisted, and horrific, like an otherwordly construct of sorts: "For what reason do you live?"
Frustration overwhelmed me. Why wouldn't it simply leave me be? But why should I complain? Do I possess even a shred of self-respect, an ego of any kind? I am a mere peasant, subjected to the humiliation of those more powerful than me.
This heretical, despicable demon appears to hear my very thoughts. I sensed it through the movement of its metallic, blood-and-dust-covered eyes and its massive eyebrows. I feel violated. "My name is Monkrilla," it declared slowly, "The philosopher of the underworld. Ponder the questions I have posed to you, fragile mortal. We shall meet again, another time."
With that, it vanished into nothingness, leaving me to return to my earthly reality, overwhelmed and clueless. I asked my wife, seeking confirmation of what I had witnessed, only to be dismissed as a madman. They believe I've lost my mind, yet I swear on my lord that I saw this monstrous creature. Yet, no one seems to care.
Days turned into weeks, and my family began distancing themselves. My attempts to engage them with Monkrilla's questions were met with laughter and mockery. The head of a family for three generations, reduced to a laughingstock. I've witnessed them whispering behind my back, labeling me insane as I harvest wheat and slaughter pigs.
I suppose I'm accustomed to such disrespect, having received none other throughout my life, both from others and from myself.
At times, the demon would appear in my sleep. These dreams were filled with unbearable heat, humidity, and sweat, surpassing anything I've ever endured under the scorching sun.
In this horror dimension, the atmosphere was a sickly yellow, rusty, and filled with decay. My lungs craved fresh air, but only dirt and smoke choked my breath. The giant demon sat upon a throne of earth and metal, its eyes stared upon me as if judging me for undisclosed sins.
"Fragile mortal," it spoke intensely. "Why do you live?"
I possessed no answer, but I attempted to improvise. "My lord, I exist because my parents created me, and I have survived all these years in my harsh existence."
"No, no, fragile mortal," it protessted. "That I already know from merely observing your delicate, aged body. What is the true purpose behind your existence?"
"My lord," I answered with anxiety, "my purpose is to ensure my master's satisfaction with the resources I provide."
"Is that so..." it slowly replied. "Then why do they demand even more of these resources with each passing season? Their dissatisfaction is evident in their ever-increasing requests. If that is your purpose in this universe, then you have demonstrably failed to fulfill it, tiny mortal. For what you provide, is insufficient"
"How do you know all of this? From where do you have such challenging wisdom?!" I answered with even greater feelings of anxiety fear and confusion, boiling fromwithin me. "Are you following me, or perhaps my master?"
"Insignificant mortal", he called me, an identity I readily accepted. "I possess the wisdom of countless years stored within the depths of my mind. I exist everywhere and nowhere, observing, learning, and hopelessly searching for answers to my philosophical questions. I have questioned countless mortals and gods about the meaning of existence, and they, like you, were unsure of their answers, if they even offered one. We are all bound for oblivion, as the current order will tremble under the intensity of disillusionment, anarchy and despair"
His words held no weight for me. I simply desired to be left alone.
"In an ideal yet suffocating reality," he lectured, "no mortal or immortal would abandon the pursuit of the great philosophical questions, regardless of the void they reveal. As I choose to live by this hypothetical reality, haunted as I am by these questions, I shall eternally haunt you and countless others, until the void within me is finally filled!"
For some reason, I anticipated laughter, but his expression remained far more serious than my family's disdain for me. "My lord," I inquiried, "I am a simple man. What emptiness do you speak of?"
The demon sighed deeply, the sound echoed through my very being. "Simple-minded mortals often find greater happiness than those who delve into the depths of thought. You are now my minion, mortal. Submit to my rule and swear allegiance, and I shall grant you an extended life in exchange. Refuse, and you shall suffocate under my eternal torment."
My dream took a turn for the worse, and I realized I had made a fatal mistake, one I would deeply regret. "Why should I submit to a monstrosity like you, my lord? I have submitted enough in this life. Oh, my lord, when will this slavery end? Is death the only answer? This is the first time I have considered it, but I have never known what freedom truly is. Haven't I served others enough in my long life, living as a slave? When will I have the time to be free?"
"‘Free’?" The demon mocked me, seemingly growing larger with each passing second of my terror. "There is no such thing as freedom in mortal life, except in death. Death is the liberator. Do you desire death? I wouldn't be surprised if you did. Even the wealthiest succumb to the inclinations of their existence. Submission is the natural order in a universe where the strong exploit, if not abuse, the weak. I must reiterate my question. Do you wish to die? You may not comprehend the torment of death, regardless of its duration."
"I do not understand, my lord-"
"Do you wish to die? Even an ignorant being such as yourself can understand this simple question, I believe. I am far more powerful than you, and I require a network of minions to act as my representatives in the mortal realm. Perhaps one day, you pathetic weaklings can offer me some relief from my existential suffering. You see, old man, I am an essence-consuming philosopher, and I require individuals like you to serve me as harvesters of life's essence. I need the meaning of life to survive, as does everyone who isn't practically suicidal. Minion, swear your allegiance to me, and I shall grant you a significantly extended lifespan.
I understand the look on your face, mortal. You lead a pitiful and seemingly inescapable existence. No one cares for you, not even the children your wife gave birth to. They laugh at you and shame you relentlessly. The deeper you sink into shame, the more your subconscious will torment you in compensation for your perceived meaninglessness. And the more you do that, the more of a monster you can become yourself... despite being another earthly mortal.
If you acknowledge that you are my minion by swearing your oath to me, I can prevent your inevitable decline to the monsters within you. As long as you continue to ponder the grand philosophical questions. Even mere contemplation sustains me and allows me to thrive. I will ask you one last time, minion: Do you wish to die? I can hasted your death, and it will consume you far more quickly than you anticipate. Declare your recognition of your servitude to me!"
Exhaustion overwhelmed me. I wanted death, yet for reasons I could not explain, I obeyed him and submitted with a servant's dignity to Monkrilla, the God of Wisdom and Repulsion.
"Your new lord is pleased with your obedience. Now, minion, your life will be forever changed, but I shall not reveal the specifics. You will discover them for yourself, for wisdom often arises from misery, and disillusionment suceeds momentary "'purity'".
My fatal mistake was refusing death. Instead, my lifespan was significantly extended, but at the cost of seeing my family and the lord's manor consumed by flames...
I watched from afar, now knowing the price of my sacrifice. From then on, I knew more than I ever wished to know in my previous, shameful life. I was reborn from my own fear of death, transformed from a lowly earthly servant to a minion of dark divinity. A choice I regretted and rightfully so.
Indeed, I deeply regret selling my soul to a demon, especially to one as my lord and demon philosopher, Monkrilla. Hunger tormented at me constantly, and sleep became a fleeting feature, as I wandered through the land. My journey lacked any clear direction, and my new lord offered no explanation for the tasks they expected of their minion. Yet, I felt their ever-present gaze, as though a foreign eye had taken root within me.
Forced to live as a hermit in the uncivilized wilderness, I experienced a deep isolation unlike any I had known before. Though it marked my first venture beyond the confines of my former lord's domain, I encountered no other human souls during my travels.
I climbed mountains and hills, endured the bite of winter in a desolate cave, hunted birds and fish for food, and drank from the streams that flowed through the wilderness. Yet, with every passing day, the silence grew heavier, and the absence of human connection qte my core from within. In my previous life, I had known the comfort of communal life, the friendship of working alongside others in the fields, and the simple pleasure of sharing bread with my family in our humble hut.
This enforced isolation became a form of torture, a contrast to the life I had once known. I longed for the warmth of human interaction, the comfort of a shared smile, the simple joy of conversation. Perhaps my demon master orchestrated my journey, wielding their power over the earth and my very life.
My frustration grew as I fought with the meaninglessness of my existence, aimlessly wandering the desolate lands. Though betrayal crossed my mind, the thought of facing their wrath held me back, even though I had nothing left to lose. Death, however, became an increasingly enticing option.
My age remained a mystery even to me. In my former life, I held onto the illusion of purpose, a belief that gave my life meaning. I knew the tasks expected of me – to harvest a certain amount of food and deliver it to the lord's castle, ensuring my own survival in exchange. Yet, this new existence offered no such clarity. I was mere dust compared to the vastness of my former lord's domain, and venturing beyond its familiar borders revealed the true insignificance of my existence.
The world stretched out before me, vast and infinite, a source of both wonder and loathing. I could walk for days, even weeks, without ever remembering my steps. The fear of reaching the world's edge and staring into the abyss of the underworld ever-present. Though voices whispered of a world not flat but round, they were only my own, the remnants of my sanity in the face of solitude. Since the day Monkrilla's flames consumed the manor and all within it, I had not heard a word from my master.
One day, I collapsed on the seemingly endless grasslands, overwhelmed by despair. Tears streamed down my face as I questioned my direction, my purpose. Master Monkrilla was right; the burden of thought was far heavier than the blissful ignorance of a simple life. I yearned for the days when my mind was unburdened by such complex thoughts, a time when my greatest concern was the next harvest or the well-being of my family. Despite my solitude, I became wise, yet longed for the simplicity of my past. The stream of thoughts that raced through my mind offered no comfort, only a yearning for the life I had lost, and a questioning of the life I now lead.
I lay there, a lifeless shell, my energy drained on the earth. For the first time, I felt a genuine love for my wife, despite the arranged nature of our marriage and the absence of her love. I missed my children, the ones I had taught the art of harvest and slaughter, yet never truly played with or loved. Even my former lord, a figure I had never truly known, became an object of my longing. I felt a strange urge to thank him for the shelter and purpose he had provided me.
He was a man shrouded in mystery, forever lost to the flames that devoured the manor. His death, along with everyone else's, had been a swift and brutal situation. I laughed, a hollow sound. The irony was not lost on me - a lifetime's work reduced to ashes in mere minutes. As the initial shock reduced, I found a renewed determination to continue my journey, though its end seemed as uncertain as ever.
One day, a disturbing conspiracy theory took root in my mind, a dangerous thought that could have been my undoing. Had Master Monkrilla manipulated me all along? What if he had deceived me, using the fabricated need for an "essence of meaning" as a means to simply fight off the boredom of his immortal existence? The constant feeling of being watched since leaving the manor's ruins, the absence of any meaningful discovery despite years of searching -- it all pointed towards a terrifying possibility: was I nothing more than a plaything to reduce the monotonous, immortal life of a careless cosmic God?
Ancient immortals, having seen it all, should surely know the meaning of life, or even their absence, after living so many centuries. Why then, would such a being enslave a mortal and send them on a journey they themselves had likely already undertaken countless times over their eons of existence? Immortals, needed no such entertainment, beyond the purpose of entertainment itself. And if my master was truly a god, omnipresent as they claimed, then why was I needed in the first place?
Years of wandering the barren lands, had ensured my own demise. My desire to live had only delayed the inevitable, my increasing intellect on this solitary journey of cold, hunger, thirst, and silence ultimately sealing my fate.
On my final day, I lay on the ground, sensing my life force slipping away. Exhaustion weighed heavily upon me, despite having just awoken. Hunger governed my thoughts, and my body, weakened by my ordeal, refused to obey. Unable to rise, I longed for the comforting oblivion of sleep.
When I finally opened my eyes, I found myself in the depths of Master Monkrilla's throne room, a place I had only visited in my dreams. A long silence stretched between us before the demon god spoke, his voice a rusty rasp echoing through the humid air.
"Well done, my minion," he said, his hands slowly clapping, the sound's like shockwaves. "You have discovered the meaning of life. Yes, yes, we both know the truth, my dear minion. For all living beings, mortal and immortal alike, death is the ultimate certainty. While immortals may live forever, eventually, after experiencing all that life has to offer, sanity begins to slip away. We write books, travel the world, speak with countless individuals, witness the birth and death of civilizations. But even these things eventually lose their appeal, replaced by the emptiness of boredom. You are correct, mortal. I used you, for I was bored. I have no shame in this, for I am beyond the constraints of good and evil."
"Really, master? Do you truly think you are the exception just because you are immortal, a demon, and a god?" I retorted angrily to the one who had granted me the gift of increasing and arousing intellect.
"Now, enough. Since I have grown quite attached to you and your intelligence, I feel guilty letting you live for so long. You see, my servant, I believe that the concept of overdose, regardless of its type, is dangerous and life-threatening. I am afraid that, given the fact that you are becoming wiser and wiser as the years go by in your solitude, your fragile mind may crumble due to an overdose of uncompromising, unthreatened intellect. I am evident of that phenomenon deep inside you, as I observed your thoughts with my eye, and I let my loyal historian and author, Recordptile, record each and every one of your thoughts since you left your dead lord's manor. Recordptile! Bring the books!"
A massive platform, overflowing with books and chained with iron, descended from the ceiling. It filled the entire space above, leaving me unable to see its end. With a terrifying thud of the demon's fist on his throne, the platform slowly ascended and disappeared into the darkness above. Beside the monstrous demon stood a tall, muscular reptile, carrying a sharp sword and a large black quill tucked in their pocket. They wore a knight's silver-plated armor and a spiked kettle helm, symbolizing both intellect and combat prowess.
The demon master spoke once more. "For your own safety, you should be executed. But beforehand, Recordptile shall record your final thoughts. After you have finished recording all you have to say to the next generations, you shall be mercifully killed. Recordptile, escort this proper minion and write whatever he has to say. Then, execute him."
The reptilian warrior nodded obediently. A hidden entrance burst open, revealing a dark, narrow corridor. For the first time, I witnessed Master Monkrilla's smile, as hideous as his usual expressions.
Perhaps their smile was the result of my personal success, a potential indication that my life did not go entirely to waste....