Father Maximos explains that logismoi (literally “false reasoning” in Greek) are the means by which Satan assaults the hearts and minds of believers. They are thoughts of special power and intensity: they are both a symptom and a manifestation of our distance from God since the Fall.
“When negative logismoi manage to enter your spiritual bloodstream they can affect you in the same way that a needle, full of poison, penetrates you and spreads the deadly substance throughout your body. Your spiritual world becomes contaminated and you are affected on a very deep, fundamental level. Your entire spiritual edifice can be shaken from its very foundation. Sometimes the intensity of a single logismos is so great that the human beings under its spell may feel totally helpless. They may employ all of their powers to defend themselves against such intruders but to no avail.” (Mountain of Silence, 119)
Father Maximos describes the stages of development of the logismos.
1. The Assault
A thought enters our mind in the form of a suggestion urging us to do something.
We begin a dialogue with the logismos. When a logismos urges you to steal, for example, you begin to wonder “Should I or should I not?”. At this stage, although the dialogue is risky and dangerous, there is no accountability on the part of the individual. No sin is committed as yet. The person can examine such a logismos and consider several options without being accountable. But if the person is weak by temperament, then defeat may be the most likely outcome of that exposure to the logismos.
You consent to commit what the logismos urges you to do, in this particular case to steal money. You have made a decision. That is when guilt and accountability start to emerge. the logismos is still confined to thought. There has been no action and the spiritual war is still on the mental level. In such a case, if a person manages to invoke the name of God and to confess, they can avoid the next stage. It is still possible, through God’s providential intervention and love, to liberate oneself from the stage of consent.
The person become hostage to the logismos. The moment the person succumbs, the next time around the logismos returns with greater force. It is much more difficult to resist then.
5. Passion or Obsession
The logismos has become an entrenched reality within the consciousness of the person. The person becomes a captive of obsessive logismoi, leading to ongoing destructive acts to oneself and others.
They may be healed through the Grace of the Holy Spirit