Here is a fictional example of demon possession from the children’s book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, which shows how people call demons in to possess them at moments of great vulnerability. In the story Harriet has just been rejected – deservedly –by all of her friends:
“She sat very stupidly with a blank mind until finally ‘I feel different’ came slowly into her head. … ‘Yes’, she thought, after a long pause. And then, after more time, ‘Mean, I feel mean.’
“She looked around with a mean look for everyone. Nobody saw her. She felt her face contorting. It was an impressive moment that everyone missed. It was a moment that Harriet would never forget.
“When the bell rang for lunch, it was as though she didn’t have to think any more. Everything happened as though she had planned it but she really hadn’t. For example, when the bell rang Pinky Whitehead jumped up and ran down the aisle. Harriet put her foot out and he fell flat on his face.
“A terrific wail went up from his prone body, and when he raised his face his nose was bleeding. Harriet looked extremely blank. Inside she felt a sense of very personal satisfaction.”
Note that calling a demon in unconsciously, in a thoughtless fit of undisciplined anger or self-pity, has all the consequences of conscious demon-possession (the demon won’t leave unless deliberately exorcised).
In fact, our society is founded upon demonism. The fundamentalist Christians are quite correct in their appraisal of the extent to which Satan and his minions run our society. All our closed-heartedness to one another – the hard-edged snarl that underlies most of our interactions with other people – is urged on us by demon “advisors”. The cartoon stereotype of a little angel and devil perched on the shoulders of a character alternately whispering in his ears, is 100% accurate.
Psychopaths are extreme examples of demon possession (not much humanity left there at all), but actually we’re all like that just beneath the surface, which is why we’re so fascinated by gruesome news stories: that’s us. We’re all allowing ourselves to be swayed by the blandishments of demons all the time, even if we’re not actually possessed by them, and the psychos we see on the news are just acting it out openly for everyone else.
For example, when we are driving and another driver cuts in right ahead of us and we beep the horn in anger, that’s in fact an exchange between that guy’s demons and our own. Our anger is like a little snack to the demons who hover around us constantly like mosquitoes waiting for a little dart of anger, fear, etc. they can suck.
Only people who are completely at peace in their own hearts are not supplying fodder to the demons who coinhabit our sphere and live off of the seething emotions generated by the frustration and despair which living in an unjust society (such as ours) produces. In a just society people are happy, and therefore produce little demon-food; and as a result such societies are not run by or bothered by demons. This whole “problem of evil” jazz can be easily sidestepped just by not harboring evil intentions in our hearts, and by treating other people in the same way that we’d prefer they treated us.