The daimonic is an Ancient Greek term that was originally used to refer to a power which came upon man from without – a spirit or intermediary between the gods and humans. Rollo May re-conceptualized the daimonic in modern psychological terms and defined it as “any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person.” (Rollo May, Love and Will) Sex, love, anger, rage, and the desire for power are all daimonic passions which have the power to possess us and override our conscious faculties. They are powerful instinctive drives which push amorally towards their fulfillment and hence can potentially enliven or harm us. While the benefits of the daimonic passions such as sex and love are obvious, as a result of cultural conditioning most people are unaware of the constructive side of anger. “Our culture”, writes May, “requires that we repress most of our anger, and therefore, we are repressing most of our creativity.” (Rollo May, Rollo May: Man and Philosopher)
The need to be creative is not limited to artists or certain personality types, rather, the necessity to be creative is called forth within us all whenever inner or out conflicts and chaos manifest in our life. The presence of conflict and chaos signifies the need for some sort of shift in our worldview or change in our character or environment. When we are creative, rather than responding to chaos and conflict with passivity and powerlessness, we react in a proactive manner by transforming our mind or giving form to some component in the external world to help us make sense of the chaos, cope with it, and ultimately transcend it. “The creative process”, writes the poet Brewster Ghiselin, “is a process of change, of development, of evolution, in the organization of subjective life.” (Brewster Ghiselin, The Creative Process) Given the role of creativity in transforming chaos and conflict into order and form and feelings of powerlessness into power, the lack of a sufficient creative outlet in our life is a prime culprit for many of our personal problems.