Most people think they have an inherently good grasp on truth and objective reality, but in fact we only know a tiny fraction, based on our narrow perspective and what we choose to believe from very limited sources. The whole truth contains a multitude of other truths, even though we typically can only see one thing at a time as true. The rest appears distorted or opposite, making it seem false. We get closer to the bigger (truer) picture by seeking diverse viewpoints, and by acknowledging the many, sometimes apparently conflicting, entirely valid elements that we may not have thought of on our own. We call this prismatic perspective, referring to the way a prism receives natural light and reveals the bands of individual colors that had combined together to form that seemingly pure light.
What is soup? Is it vegetables? Water? Spices? Clearly it contains all of those, in infinite combinations. Similarly, almost every single issue that people argue about contains a prismatic spectrum of components that come together to create the overall problem, even though the people arguing act as though only one or two positions exist. They will go to astonishing lengths to reduce deeply complex systems down to two sides they can fight over. By contrast Demonkind believe, as John Cleese recently said, that “interconnectedness and complexity describe the world better than binary thinking does.”
Can we honestly call any person just good or just evil? We all “know” in theory that everyone has both good (constructive) and evil (destructive) thoughts or behaviors in them; but in spite of that knowledge, politics and religion make us talk and act as though everyone else out there has only one dimension. People charge “if you agree with so-and-so about this point, you must also agree with everything else they have ever done”; or “if you believe in X, then obviously you believe in Y, which we condemn.” But then look at the convoluted stories we tell to justify it when someone we like does something we do not like.
Many people seem incapable of seeing or admitting that all the major religions deal in guilt, fear, and brutal atrocities while at the same time providing charity, comfort, and culture to their followers. In this paradox, both things are equally true. A religion can hold noble ideals, while its most ignorant and dogmatic followers absolutely befoul those ideals by imposing poisonous interpretations on the rest of us. It defies logic to label any one religion as the most violent, or to defend another as “the religion of peace”.
Demonkind recognize that we all contain a range of such paradoxes. At the same time as our dedication to science directs us away from superstition, our compassion and our appreciation for the prismatic richness of humanity directs us to respect and protect people of all faiths, as long as they don’t try to impose anything on us. That “live and let live” clause makes a critical difference because it marks the blood-soaked dividing line between the noblest and the foulest sides of any spiritual identity, the very point where a culture or a personal experience becomes a toxic system of oppression.
Another seeming contradiction appears when a religious or ill-educated family refuses to provide medical care or vaccines to its children, and laws based on science must step in to correct them. On the one hand we want freedom from intrusive laws, but on the other hand we want to avoid public outbreaks of preventable disease. This shows the error of holding too rigid a dogma on any position, since the context and consequences can change everything dramatically. We address this further in the page about free speech policies.
Abortion, warfare, and meat-eating all require someone to die in order that someone else will thrive. Too many people draw a hard line based on reductive definitions rather than looking at the many personal and contextual factors that go into these decisions. We will make healthier choices if we acknowledge and address the truth of these prismatic facets rather than making up a simplified one-sided story to justify what we want to believe. Demonkind apply our values to the specific case, and its context, to seek the answer that leads to the greatest potential for healing; and we appreciate that the bigger picture turns on more than one difficult concept at the same time.
We also recognize the value and the beauty of having multiple perspectives, multiple flavors, multiple languages, and multiple paths. If you only see one side of a thing, you cannot know the whole thing. And you can’t see all sides of a complex issue by yourself, no matter how smart you think you are. We need to take in a plurality of views and of histories in order to grasp the situation fully.
To foster a healthy multi-facted experience, we ally ourselves with other left-hand path, pagan, ancestral, and universalist spiritual groups, even when any given one of those groups might not return the favor. We support them as fellow travelers of nonconformism, primal rites, and shadow culture.
Our words create our reality. Literally, the language we use shapes the terms in which we understand the world, and the stories we tell ourselves shape our beliefs about ourselves and about everyone else. But other people have their own realities, equally meaningful and valid, and they may use utterly different language to create and perceive the same world we also live in. We can’t assume that our own narrative and our own gaze tells us everything we need to know.
At the same time, we do not fall for the extreme end of cultural relativism, in which nobody can judge the actions of people in a different culture. Acknowledging the realities that other people experience differently from ourselves does not mean abandoning our values. But we cannot make wise choices about how to act on our values without seeking out those other perspectives. Valuing a diverse prismatic assortment of people around us, and listening carefully to them, makes our lives and our understanding much richer and deeper.
It also usually means a better variety of food and music to enjoy.