Whilst daydreaming, I wrote down these notes about what is commonly called “the demonic.” What follows are purely musings and not to be taken as a rigorously formulated doctrine. I hope you find it interesting.
All around the world and throughout time, humans have talked about and claimed to experience the “dark transcendence.” It is a type of spiritual experience that is dark or evil in essence, contrary to the typical spiritual experience of elation, comfort, love, etc. Regardless of whether or not you actually believe the dark transcendence is ontic or merely epistemic, it is an indisputable fact that all around the world and for all humanity, homo sapiens claimed to have these dark experiences. A society in which these dark experiences are frequent can be labeled as “apocalyptic societies.” Jesus was born into one of these societies, and the gospels were written in that same climate. Thus, instead of wholly dismissing these “apocalyptic” elements found in the gospel, we ought to maintain that whatever Jesus was interacting with is the same type of thing that homo sapiens have experienced until this very day. I’m not saying one needs to fully cry supernatural and label it as an invisible devil figure lurking through the astral shadows. But I do suggest taking at least an agnostic position, understanding the noumenal nature of these “dark transcendent” experiences, and try to understand Jesus in this context.
We often hear more claims about experiencing this dark transcendence during times of heightened oppression and violence. Examples include the holocaust and the Rwanda genocides. People who experienced those events often claimed to experience something they labeled “demonic.” Of course, one can debate the “true” metaphysical nature of these experiences. However, one cannot deny that people had these experiences — whatever they might have actually been. Now, considering Jesus’ context, he lived in a society in which the Roman empire was oppressing his people, even to the point of crucifying victims. Crucifixion was such a horrific, decadent, and immoral action I think most of us would agree in calling it demonic (“demonic” is actually what I think is the best term to describe such an atrocity and profanity against human dignity and the sacredness of life). If you grow up in the ghetto under the oppression and bullying of tyrants who nail tortured yet still living victims to crosses, one can reasonably assume that this would quickly develop into an “apocalyptic” society.
We may also be rational in maintaining that this “dark transcendence” is not wholly novel to homo sapiens. From what I’ve read, religious transcendent experiences of the positive kind have prototypes in other species. Perhaps this dark transcendence has prototypes as well. From all these societal testimonies and human traditions, many people have believed throughout history that this dark transcendence could be applied to non-human animals as well. And, of course, this wouldn’t be surprising. If it happens to humans, and humans are animals, it can potentially happen to other animals as well. Furthermore, we must also remember that human groups used various images and mythologies to describe these experiences. But that does not mean the experience in-itself (whatever is behind these experiences) is mythological in essence.
However, I have yet to read scientific evidence citing whether or not animals have experiences of the dark transcendence, so these are purely musings of my own.