Thursday, October 26, 2006

Daemonology for beginners: who's this 'hippo' character, then ?


Hippo acronymus
*
Apologies dear friends: am having formatting problems. Daemon (or daemons) at work ?
*
Devotees of this blog from across the world have been clamouring to know more about the hippo character who keeps popping up from time to time with his unhelpful remarks.
*
"Devotees from across the world", my left foot. You mean that friend of your wife who phoned on Monday evening.
*
And in case you hadn't noticed, hippo's comments always appear in a delightful er, Malteser shade of brown. In fact I sometimes think his brain has much in common with the interior of said confectionery too. A sort of foam of trapped air bubbles.
But joking aside, as you see, hippo and I have a frank, candid, mutually joshing, on-going, give-and-take kind of relationship........
*
When I can get a word in edgeways that is. Notice that he's already getting into his windbag mode . When the multiple adjectives start piling up, then you know it's time to take cover.
Anyway, as the graphic indicates, hippo is of course an acronym :
*
Hypercritical Incubus: Philip Pullman Offshoot
*
Of course, I'm sure that the cognoscenti among you, well versed in daemonlore, knew that already.
For newcomers to this shadowy genre, here's a brief glossary that may help you better understand the nature of my constant companion hippo.
*
Hypercritical:
Overcritical - especially of small faults, inclined to judge too severely, carping, nit-picking, pedantic, faultfinding
*

Incubus
1. (Modern meanings):
A nightmare. An oppressive thought like a nightmare, or a situation resembling a terrifying dream. Someone who depresses or worries others .....
*
2. (Historical meaning) :

A male demon, fiend, or lascivious spirit, believed to lie on sleeping persons and to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women.

Whilst hippo has been known to fantasise about life in bygone days - he's a free spirit moving in both time and space - his current job description refers strictly and exclusively to the modern-day meaning. (I append that comment for the benefit of my wife, who may be reading this site.)
Philip Pullman: Author, best known for "His Dark Materials " trilogy, in which each character has his or her 'daemon' In adults, the daemon is a particular animal - eg; a leopard, monkey. The situation with children ( eg the main character, Lyra) is more complex: their daemons can take different forms, but are still animals).
But I haven't said yet what is meant by the term "daemon". That's a tricky one, but cannot be avoided, given that the blog is called "Dreams and Daemons".
Daemon
Here's a selection of definitions off the internet:

1. The word daemon is Greek for "spirit or soul."

2. A dæmon in the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials, is a physical manifestation of the soul of a conscious human.

3. A guardian spirit or guardian angel often associated with the communication of advice and inspiration.
*
4. Again, a guardian spirit; the inspiring or indwelling spirit of a place or thing; an entity or intelligence of a particular force; an artificial elemental created by a person or group for a specific purpose or force.
*
5. The words daemon and daimon (also spelled dæmon) are distinctive Greek spellings of demon used purposely today to distinguish the daemons of Greek mythology, good or malevolent "supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes", from the Judeo-Christian usage demon, "a malignant spirit that can possess humans". ...
*
Jesus, who writes this stuff ?
*
6. In computing: A daemon is a program that is left running in the background, waiting for a particular set of circumstances (such as a request) to trigger it into action.
*
Uh uh, the inner geek is back. What possible relevance can computing daemons have in the present context ?
*
Regrettably, I have to say that no single one of these definitions can be said perfectly to encapsulate the meaning of daemon on this site. Think of it, then, as a composite: a disagreeable inner presence (well, on occasions), an incubus that may haunt its owner, yet is at the same time a guardian spirit (though often not apparent, and slow to adopt that role).
*
"Perfectly to encapsulate" ? ! Who do you think you are ? Lord William Rees-Mogg ?
*
Others characteristics, not mentioned here, could emerge from time to time, depending on environmental triggers, provocation etc.
There may be some among you, out there in the blogosphere, who are asking themselves this: am I, the writer, someone of this planet, Man in other words, who needed to think up an animal identity for his daemon, who having hit upon 'hippo' (the big mouth seeming appropriate) then had retrospectively to devise a plausible-sounding acronym that might pass muster in the world of grown-ups ?
Or is he is fact Superman, not of this planet, who did things the other way round ?
The answer to that my friends, is that I really don't know. You see, it's like this: two heads are better than one. But I only know what's in my head. I don't know what's in hippo's, assuming it's more than just Malteser centres..
*
That's a cop-out, if there ever was. Come on, tell it the way it is. What came first ? Hippo the beast or HIPPO the acronym ? Oh, and one other thing: being your guardian spirit is NOT in my job description.
Apologies once again for the layout and formatting problems

6 comments:

richard of orléans said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Colin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Colin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
richard of orléans said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

This thread remained up for a few days, but has now been deleted. Three comments were from an individual with whom I(and others) have frequently crossed swords in Another Place. In other words, baggage from the past. The other two were mine.

I reserve the right to delete any comment that I consider to be aggressively abusive. Residents of that other place were offered email copies of the thread in question, so they could judge for themselves whether or not my blue pencil was justified, but none has, in fact, availed themselves of the offer. I cannot say as I'm surprised. The ferocity of the individual in question is well known.