Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Book by Károly Ákos

Az ördög
The woman of the Apocalypse
Albrecht Dürer, Nürnberg
(Page from Károly Ákos's book)

Károly Ákos used to visit to András Pető's flat, to dine and to talk. One of Károly's interests at the time was 'the Devil', and a posting about a short article that he published on this in 1961 has attracted a bit of attention here on Conductive World:

Emma McDowell has written to me, with a perspective on this that could come only from a Magyar steeped in that period –

...Pető's 'angels-fixation' may root in his belief in theophany... I don't have any further 'proof', only my recollections of long conversations with the Ákoses, and also what my other main source, Ida (original conductor with Pető, and a favourite of his) told me about Pető's often rambling on about theophany. And, last but not least, Pető's poetry. But then, 'angels' are much used - symbolically, or as a great subject, in poetry and literature....

Now I have very interesting article about the origins of the idea of the Devil. No mention of angels, but a thorough review of the religious (Christian) historic, ethnographical and psychological approaches to the Devil, from the original communities of primitive humans right up to a 1930s critical study (and its apologetic, Nazi-type foreword by the Hungarian translator), plus a 1960 book of historic-materialistic (Marxist) based study, emphasised as 'correct'. This article, hoerver, is aimed to call attention to the complexities of the ever-present 'Devil' (Satan, demons, etc.) ideology through the ages. It leads very clearly through the existing, and quoted, literature. I made notes.

Yes, I am sure Ákos had lots of conversations about it all with Pető, who probably called his attention to the literature referred to. As usual, Pető only talked, Ákos analysed and published....

What is (politically) significant about  the whole article is the date of publishing. In 1960 it was already tolerated publicly and properly to discuss something connected with religion, by Marxist-materialism relegated to nonsense, opium of the people etc.

Adrienn Oravecz has written to tell me that in 1964 Károly Ákos published a substantial book on the topic of the Devil – Az ördög:

As mentioned in the previous posting, Károly wrote among other things for the popularisation of science. This was directed particularly towards young people, and its orientation was very much in the materialist tradition. At over two-hundred pages this was a hefty read for a serious youngster! The content of the book included chapters and sections on –

the human brain
brain and consciousness
the brain and the two-signal system
inner speech and consciousness
language and imagination
demons and magic
the fallen devil

What a world they lived in...


Ákos, K (1964) Az ördög, Budapest, Móra Ferenc Könyvkiadó  Könyvkiadó

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