The common trend among mass shooters

The way I see it, there is a distinct trend connecting so many of the people in America who decide to go out and murder scores of people with a firearm. In order to solve the issue, I believe it is more important and of greater necessity to examine this trend rather than to try and pinpoint the thing Americans are supposed to be banning, thinking it will solve the problem.

To that end, I’m going to go through 10 examples of American mass shooters, some perhaps more infamous than others, in order to examine what drove them to commit the atrocities that they committed, in order to try and establish a common trend between them.

 

Kip Kinkel

I think people far too often forget that Kip even existed, let alone murdered his own parents and some of his fellow students. But he did, and in a rampage that pre-dated the Columbine massacre by only a year. Unlike the Columbine shooters, however, Kip didn’t kill himself afterwards, which not only means that he was arrested and punished for his crime but also that the police were able to extract a motivation from him through interrogation, which is sadly never the case in the majority of these incidents.

Kip was interviewed by detective Al Warthen in May 21st 1998, he told the detective that he was aware that his mind “wasn’t right” and he knew that it was considered wrong to bring a gun to school but did it anyway. He told the detective that he was ashamed of having done something wrong, and that he killed his father because he loved him but was also “fucked up in the head”. After Kip’s arrest, some writings were found detailing his state of mind around the time of the Thurston High shooting. He seems to have wallowed in a desire to end his own life, he saw himself as profoundly disturbed or abnormal and as a consistently destructive influence to the world around. He claimed to hear voices in his head telling him to kill and was full of rage and hatred towards mankind. He also mentions a woman who he was seeing, but apparently broke up with him, which caused him to feel like his heart has broken, which he doesn’t even think is possible because he didn’t think he even had a heart. During Kip’s trial, Dr. Orin Bolstad testified that he had been hearing voices since he was 12 years old, and had experienced hallucinations, and that he told him that the voices in his head might have come from either “the devil” or a chip put into his head by the government. He stated that these were the signs of psychotic thinking, a manic phase of bipolar disorder, extreme depression and schizophrenia, as well as a consistent state of delusion. He was also said to have an obsession with violence, and to have exacted “revenge” on people who he perceives as having crossed him, whether his perceptions were accurate or not. Kip was on anti-depressant medications for a period time before eventually being taken off of it when it appeared he was showing positive results. After he was taken off the medication, however, his mental health began deteriorating again. It’s very clear that Kip was profoundly, extremely disturbed, and guided by delusions.

 

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

Perhaps the most infamous school shooters in American history, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for the Columbine massacre, which is now etched into the memory of the collective American consciousness. Many people attempted to find scapegoats in guns, heavy metal and gothic music and the first-person shooter genre of video games (which back then was a rising star of PC gaming, home to such titles as DOOM, Quake, Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein). However, the diaries of the shooters were uncovered not long after the massacre, and they offer insight into their motivations.

Eric Harris wrote in his journal about how he believed that everyone around him was irredeemably stupid and robotic, incapable of thinking for themselves, that only he and his friend possessed what he called “self-awareness”, and that he wants nothing to do with society except to kill those he deems unfit to exist. He believes that human society is best run by a principle of “NATURAL SELECTION”, which for him entails as the murder of the disabled, the “rich snotty toadies”, fat people, people of low intelligence and people with “brain fuck ups” (presumably with the exception of himself and Dylan, if you get me). He believes that the human race is not worth saving, only destroying. Dylan’s journal suggests that he may have been extremely depressed and self-loathing, but like Dylan he also viewed himself as a literal God compared to most people, who he viewed as just zombies. Apparently they both felt pushed to the edge by, of all things, getting busted for breaking into a van and stealing things from it. They agreed to participate in a diversionary program in exchange for the juvenile officers expunging their criminal records, and they performed so well that they were let off early, but they still treated this is as the moment they became the “bad guys” with no going back. If you read it, you’ll find it to be a textbook case of extreme pathological narcissism and aggressiveness. Strangely enough, they say their parents raised them fine.

 

Randy Stair

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This man’s story was widely covered on the Internet, with many details emerging outside of the mainstream media’s analysis. Stair happened to be a transsexual individual, in this case a young man who believed himself to be a woman (or a “female soul”) trapped in a man’s body, and it is because of this fact that he felt separated from the rest of society. He was a self-confessed racist and misanthropist, who simultaneously hated the human race as a whole and everyone who isn’t white, and he especially hated men, both straight and gay people (though he did go on record as a homophobe). He seemed to be a deeply confused, highly irrational and extremely depressed individual, carrying around a combination of self-loathing, gender confusion, personal identity crisis, solipsistic tendencies, depression and intense irrational hatred for various groups of people and humanity in general.

He was also the creator of a cartoon series on YouTube called Ember’s Ghost Squad, which seems to be based off of a character named Ember from the children’s cartoon series Danny Phantom, who Stair claimed “brought out the girl in him”. The show centers around an all-female cast of ghosts who recruit lost souls into their army by having them killed in some way. That all the souls in the squadron are female, with no males, can be related to his own belief that he is a female soul, and a female spiritual presence that, in his own words, “puts [you] where you need to be”. The final episode of this show before Stair’s crime and death was a high school shooting, in the vein of the Columbine massacre, taking place at a high school committed by a character named Andrew Blaze, who seems to Stair’s alter ego, along with members of the ghost squad with the aim of killing innocent students and ultimately himself. The episode in question was released around the same time as the Weis Market massacre wherein Stair killed 3 people and himself.

Cursory research into Ember’s Ghost Squad can offer significant into the profound mental instability that Stair was suffering. While some have assumed that Stair had been radicalized by intersectional feminist (or social justice) ideology, the reality is much less simplisitic. For one thing, I haven’t seen evidence of him having operated on any radical feminist, Marxist or generally leftist websites – if anything, he was a brony.  I think he happened to embrace basic bitch social justice ideology as something to latch onto whilst he rationalized his disturbed psyche to the wider world and justified his future actions.

 

Adam Lanza

On the face of it, there is no conclusive motivation that would explain why Adam Lanza carried out the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. However, I think there are clues that might help to explain what he was thinking before he did it. He was often described as a profoundly autistic individual, and according to his father he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of thirteen. However, autism campaigners have objected to this description by pointing out that most autistic people do not have the kind of aggressive and strongly isolationist tendencies that Lanza exhibited. According to a team of Yale researchers, Lanza was prescribed a behavior-based treatment program and an anti-depressant called Celexa, but his parents discontinued the treatment after they noticed that Lanza “was unable to raise his own arm” and attributed this as a side-effect of the treatment. The parents could not be convinced otherwise. As he grew older, he became much more isolationist and socially rigid with his youth, and increasingly obsessed with mass shooters. He was also active on a now (presumably) defunct online forum called Shocked Beyond Belief, under the username “Smiggles”, which was a forum in which people talked about the Columbine killers and a video game based on them entitled “Super Columbine RPG”. Dr. Peter Langman has written a report about Lanza’s mental tendencies and has concluded that Lanza suffered from deeply psychotic personality tendencies, and suggests that his mentality was very similar to many other mass shooters in not just psychotic personality but also in the sense that he went through similar failures in life.

Apparently, in 2014, a radio clip has emerged of what is supposedly Adam Lanza speaking to an anarchist/primitivist anti-civilization radio show called Anarchy Radio. He talked about a chimpanzee named Travis, a pet chimpanzee and animal actor who in 2009 attacked a woman and was shot to death by police, trying to articulate that Travis’ violent behavior was ultimately a reaction to civilization, which he thinks conditions people away from their instinctive nature. Some of his postings on Shocked Beyond Belief indicate that he had great sympathy for the dead chimpanzee, and he felt that after his death Travis was now free of the “rape” of civilization.

 

 

Elliot Rodger

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Elliot killed six people in Isla Vista, California, and injured 14 others before ultimately killing himself. Before the shooting, Elliot Rodger released a 141-page journal on the Internet, in which he recounts his life in excessive detail as well as his belief that he is akin to a god in human flesh, entitled to whatever he thinks is deserving of him especially the company of women, and sent to rid the world of those he deems impure. For all his godly pretenses, however, he also complains that he was jealous of other men for attaining pleasures that he did not and feels his life to be pathetic in comparison. His YouTube channel consists of videos where he talks about how he views the world as fundamentally unjust and unfair because he is incapable of finding a romantic or sexual partner.

His father, Peter Rodger, was an unsuccessful filmmaker most recognized as a second unit director for The Hunger Games. His own film, a documentary called Oh My God?, was a failure, scoring terrible reviews among film critics. If Elliot’s manifesto is to be believed, Peter invested all of his money in the film, kept talking about how it make him loads of money, and in the end it lost him money to be the point that he claims the film bankrupted him.

Many progressives and feminists used Rodger as a symbol of their conception of “toxic masculinity”, basically grandstanding for their ideology on the corpses of the people he killed. They propped him up as a political point about how they view all men in general as fundamentally suffering the same sickness as Elliott Rodger, when in truth most men aren’t actually like him. Elliott viewed himself as the greatest man in the universe, a god among men, and not the sad, narcissistic and possibly somewhat spoiled individual that really was. That’s all he was. He was a textbook narcissist, who was constantly disappointed with the world for supposedly denying him that which he believed, and the primary motivation seems to be that of “punishing” women for not having sex with him, as well as other men for having sex with women instead of him, coupled with his developed hatred for mankind as a whole, whom he blames for his internal anguish. His father believes that he was just the sweetest boy who was kind to everyone and wouldn’t hurt a flea, but the truth is that he was a profoundly egocentric individual who was obsessed with sex because he never had the company of a woman and who was consumed with loathing, desperation and hatred of mankind, which might have enabled him to separate himself from Man and negate any sense of value of the life of his fellow Man, not least because he felt himself to be above human life. It is possible that he may not have learned how to cope with failure and disappointment, and never accrued the characteristics associated with maturity and what it means to become a man before he died.

 

James Eagan Holmes

James killed 12 people at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado. In his notebook he diagnoses himself with dysphoric mania, social anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, schizophrenia, body dysmorhpic disorder, psychosis and several other mental disorders. He justifies this self-diagnosis by describing numerous symptoms such as catatonia, excessive fatigue and isolationism. He believed that the reason for life is fundamentally arbitrary and thus life should not exist. According to Dr. Raquel Gur, an expert on schizophrenia, Holmes’ writings suggest that he was intelligent, capable of tackling deep subjects that most people don’t typically think about, but also incredibly delusional, noting that very intelligent people are also capable of generating more bizarre delusions. She compares his level of delusion-crafting to that of the “Unabomber” serial killer Ted Kaczynski, who also happened to be a professor of mathematics at Harvard University. She also says that Holmes did not feel wronged by anyone and was not motivated by a desire for revenge, and the last straw is instead cited to be him believing himself to have failed his neuroscience program. According to his defense attorney, Holmes was a schizophrenic and suffered mental illness for years before eventually succumbing to a violent delusion. Prosecutors note that he was aware of what he was doing and planned every aspect of his attack in advance and in detail within his notebook.

 

Jared Lee Loughner

Jared was responsible for a 2011 shooting in Tuscon, Arizona, in which he intended to kill Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and ended up killing six other people before being arrested. Before the shooting in question, he released a video claiming that Pima Community College was a “genocide school” that tortured its students. Incidentally, he was suspended from Pima Community College following the release of the video. According to TIME, he showed multiple signs of mental illness, including disorganized speech and writing, paranoia and an inability to function in social situations. According to a friend he also frequently used drugs, including marijuana, magic mushrooms, LSD, salvia divinorum, and even cocaine. Loughnor had been diagnosed with schizophrenia by experts who interviewed him. However, in an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Langman offers a different diagnosis. He instead suggests that Loughnor’s illness is closer to paranoid personality disorder, on the grounds that he read the idea of secret meetings into his encounter with Gabrielle Giffords which may have led to the development of grudge between him and Giffords, and that he did not seem to think that everyone was specifically against him.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Loughnor’s alleged political motivations, possibly due to the fact that he targeted an elected representative; namely Gabrielle Giffords. Although many in the media have taken to painting him as an expressly far-right Tea Party partisan, Loughnor himself was an Independent voter and according to a friend of his he was neither left-wing nor right-wing. Another classmate describes him as very left-wing. He was apparently interested in conspiracy theories, and was active on a web forum called AboveTopSecret which specialized in conspiracy theories and similar subjects, and he was particularly interested in the idea that the world would end in 2012. He also happened to be interested in the 2007 film Zeitgeist, which can be seen as distant from the ideals of the Tea Party. He talked about refusing to pay in any currency not backed by gold and silver, and yet far from being a gold standard advocate he advocated theories of “an infinite source of currency“. Much of the idea that he is strictly a right-winger comes from the Southern Poverty Law Centre, who it must be noted are so thoroughly couched in leftist ideological bias that they have more recently declared people like Maajid Nawaz (a liberal Muslim) to be “anti-Muslim extremists”. In general, Loughnor can accurately described as an enthusiast of fringe politics in general, without necessarily aligning with the left or the right. Some people even blamed Sarah Palin for inspiring the shooting simply because of her use of a target symbol in an electoral map. Needless to say, this was a stretch.

 

Dylann Roof

At face value, it would seem fairly obvious that Dylann Roof’s massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel AE Church was an act of pure radical white nationalist ideology and nothing else. I am, of course, not going to contest the idea that he was motivated by extreme racist ideology – after all, the evidence for his ideological persuasion is clear as day – but I submit that there is another motive at work, one that may be decidedly less obvious compared to his ideological persuasion.

If you read his manifesto you find will find, perched alongside the ideological material,  an obvious signifier of profound narcissism. As expected from a militant white supremacist, he believed that black people presented a threat to American society and needed to gotten rid of, but towards the end of the last page of the manifesto he proclaims that no one is doing anything about it other than talking on the Internet, and so he states that “Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”. This to me is Dylann positioning himself as the lone savior of the white race. For him, only he can save America from racial impurity. Not to mention, the idea that he had some kind of “racial awakening” to me harks back to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s concept of “self-awareness” – a profound “knowledge” of the world around them that no one else had. He claims he attained this “awakening” after Googling black on white crime following the George Zimmerman verdict, and he claimed to have become “completely racially aware” after checking out the website for a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens and looking up black on white murders in America and Europe. I can’t help but think, based on that, that he was the kind of person who either saw things in the world that have been spun by radical ideology and not necessarily reflective of the truth, or simply did not look at the larger picture of things and focused on very small details.

Other than that, recently released documents introduce the element of Dylann’s possible mental abnormality. They suggest that Dylann had suffered a combination of social anxiety disorder, schizoid personality disorder, mixed substance abuse disorder, possible autism and a history of depression. It is suggested that Dylann suffered from various symptoms associated with autism that may have cast doubt on his mental competency to stand trial, and that he had a high IQ that was compromised by an inability to process information and a poor working memory. They also entail that it was revealed in an investigation that Dylann was extremely socially isolationistic, pre-occupied with fallacious health concerns, used narcotics, possessed firearms and believed his life was falling apart. However, Dylann was deemed by the court to be mentally competent enough to stand trial and he chose to represent himself, apparently to block his legal team from presenting evidence of his mental health issues. His reasoning for this may have something to do with the fact that he viewed his reputation, rather than his actions themselves, as the most important thing, which one would argue is a fruitless endeavor considering that almost no one holds him in high esteem for his actions.

 

Seung-Hui Cho

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One of a number of individuals who is claimed to be part of an alleged current of right-wing terrorism in the United States of America, Cho was born in South Korea before emigrating to the United States. He was responsible for the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, in which he killed 33 people (including himself) at the campus of the Virginia Tech university. He sent a “manifesto” of sorts to MSNBC before the shooting, in which he outlines his motivations for what would become the Viriginia Tech shooting. In the “manifesto”, he lambastes the people he sees as “the rich kids”, accusing them of being sadistic, debaucherous, hedonistic, and fraudulent and of being rapists and lovers of terrorism, and he views himself as being abused by the world around him whilst positioning himself as the savior of the “Weak and Defenceless”. There are also multiple religious references in the manifesto in question, particularly towards Christianity. He also viewed Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers, as martyrs who laid down their lives in order to claim vengeance from what he calls the “Apostles of Sin”. Some even thought Cho was a Muslim because he identified himself as Ax Ismail, Ismail being the Arabic name for the Biblical figure known as Ishmael. Despite the religious tone of manifesto, however, Cho himself apparently hated his parents’ sense of religiosity, and when asked if he had religious beliefs his answer seemed to be no.

Cho had undergone psychiatric evaluation by court order after he was deemed to be a danger to himself and others. A report that was produced on Cho’s mental health concluded that he suffered from extreme social anxiety, depression, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, aggressive personality tendencies, and the loss of positive influences (including coordination between his school, therapist and psychiatrist) that had in his school years. Apparently the campus authorities at Virginia Tech were warned about his mental instability, but it seemed the warnings had gone unheeded. It is also possible that he was motivated by a sense of jealousy and rage sparked by his romantic advances towards a woman named Emily Hilscher having been turned down. To me, he also comes off as somewhat narcissistic; after all, how exaggerated must your sense of self-importance be for you to position yourself as the savior of the weak, helpless and downtrodden when in reality you’re a terminally depressed loner or something? Still, in his manifesto he makes it sound like he was raped by his friends in some kind of orgy, and I have to wonder what the hell inspired his writings, if not for a kind of pre-existing insanity or mental instability.

 

Charles Andrew Williams

Dr. Langman notes that the case of Charles is replete with contradictory information, particularly as some of Charles’ own statements are contradicted by other statements he made. It doesn’t help that it has recently come to light that Charles views himself as an “awesome liar”. It has been widely reported in the media that Charles was a good and wholesome kid who was pushed into becoming a serial killer by bullies. However, it had also emerged that Charles was actually a troublesome kid who was cocky, disregarded authority and delighted in breaking social norms through mischief. He apparently abused drugs, started fires (though Charles himself has no recollection of this), solicited the theft of alcohol, stole drugs and hung around with other delinquents who would later grow up to be criminals. Despite this, however, he managed to make it seem to others like he was a good kid. Whenever he was questioned about trying to “pull a Columbine”, he laughed. When he was taken into custody after the attack, he appeared to be calm, cold and nonchalant, demonstrating a lack of remorse for his actions. It is likely, therefore, that Charles was pretty much a psychopath, one with a history of delinquent behavior rather than simply having been bullied into becoming a monster. Furthermore, Charles has claimed to have been egged on into committing the attack by friends, but it appears to be more likely that he just shifted the blame for the massacre onto other people.

 

Conclusion

There are many more mass shooters besides the ten presented in this post, but what is clear is that all ten of these seemed to have suffered from various mental issues. Many were extremely depressed, some were clearly psychopathic, a number of them have expressed a deep seated hatred of humankind, some were schizophrenic, some were narcissistic enough to view themselves as gods or saviors who would bring salvation or judgement down upon us in a hail of bullets, and there was a tendency among them to feel isolated, hopeless and desperate. In the case of some of them their mental health problems were known to parents and experts and it was given treatment for a while, until the parents took them off the treatment, either because it they thought they no longer needed it or because they thought it produced unwelcome side-effects. In the case of some others, their mental health problems were never known to their parents or some of their peers. But all of the shooters had profound problems with their psyche, and had severe psychological problems before they resorted to mass violence. And it is likely that they weren’t driven by one single problem either. The shooters had multiple profound issues and problems that guided their respective personalities. Personally, in doing the research for this post, I have also come to the opinion that these people generally don’t just snap out of the blue, but rather that their problems develop for years before they finally kill scores of people.

Of course it should be noted that not all mentally ill are violent, and many mentally ill people may nonetheless not be driven to commit atrocities. However, there are enough murderers who are profoundly mentally disturbed to suggest that there is problem with mental health in the United States. In fact, it is no secret that there is a problem with mental health in the United States. There is a researcher at Yale that, I think, makes a very salient point in one of the articles I linked here:  he says “When mental illness is well-treated in society, patients are not necessarily more violent. But when they go untreated and they are allowed to become severely ill, then we’re seeing a larger share of violence being committed by mentally-ill individuals. That violence is different in nature, because it’s often unpredictable — it’s often based on delusions.”. I wonder, just how well are the mentally ill being treated in America?

 

Please don’t burn reason

So this week something terrible happened in the Kensington district London. On Wednesday, a fire broke out in the Grenfell Tower flat complex, resulting in the deaths of about 30 people and counting, with the final death toll as yet uncertain at the time of this writing, and the destruction of Grenfell Tower, with 76 people missing and feared dead. It is a national tragedy.

And it didn’t take long for the event to politicized. Many people took to protesting the government for its perceived inaction regarding the event, with Prime Minister Theresa May criticized for not visiting the victims. It is worth noting that May did visit the fireman in order to talk with them, presumably in order to try and assess the situation. Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile spent half an hour at a church hugging people, and then used the issue to advocate for the wholesale confiscation of private property in order to house those displaced by the fire.

Worse still, people are seriously trying to proclaim that the Grenfell fire was a crime – either the result of criminal negligence or an act of deliberate corporate malfeasance – without any evidence to suggest this and without an inquiry to produce any evidence of the kind. Labour MP David Lammy was a vociferous cheerleader of such a rush to judgement, advocating that arrests should be made and powerful people should be put in the dock for “corporate manslaughter”, without offering satisfactory evidence of course. Sadiq Khan, a man usually known for his inaction in the face of tragedy, is actually calling for “action and justice” in response to this whole thing. There is actually a movement now titled “”Justice for Grenfell” operating in the vein that this was indeed an act of criminal negligence and corporate malfeasance, and I’m just baffled because I’m not confident that we have any evidence yet that this is the case. Yet here I find people storming the Kensington town hall in what looked like an angry mob, demanding satisfaction, and some people claiming that the government is actively hiding the truth from the people, all without direct evidence. Are we going to start seeing Grenfell truthers soon?

More crucially, are we truly going to be allowed to give into mob mentality like this, rushing to judgement based only on reactionary whims? I know this must be horrible for the people in Kensington, and you can hardly blame them for having an intense emotional reaction to what is, by all accounts, a tragedy. But there is a danger that too little patience is being exercised for the government. It will take time to find all the answers, and a full inquiry will likely be a pretty slow process. In the meantime, there should be focus not just on gathering the facts in a calm and rational manner but also on recovery as people will need to find new homes, preferably in a manner that doesn’t entail full blown socialist confiscation of private property. I sincerely hope we don’t throw our sense of reason into the fire as well.

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A photograph taken of Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire

issues in Satanism

Summer Thunder’s response post to my Satanic zeitgeist post.

Summer Thunder

This post is in response to my friend Aleph’s excellent piece on his place in “the Satanic zeitgeist”.

There are many kinds of Satanists, and a number of different types of Satanism discernible nowadays, not to mention a near unlimited number of individual variations (given the minimalist individualism of Satanic philosophy), but it is good for us to look at what has grown, and where we find ourselves in it, 50 odd years on from the proper genesis of modern Satanism, courtesy of Anton LaVey. I consider modern Satanism to have antecedents (notably in Crowley’s Thelema from my point of view), but the emergence of a movement consciously self-identified as “Satanist” dates back to LaVey most clearly*. I look upon this as the emergence of a spiritual stream that actually goes deeper and broader than “what it says on the tin” of LaVey’s Church or Bible.

So without further ado…

View original post 2,063 more words

Done with my third year at university

This next post is just a quick update on my part in what’s going on for me personally, as I have some relatively important news. As of June 9th, I am officially done with my third year at university. And by officially, I mean that we’re done with the game showcase we were doing and my program director flat out told me that there’s nothing more to do and there’s no real point in sticking around after that point until the next academic year. For me this means there is nothing to do other than prepare for my fourth year, wherein I undertake the Masters course. Because I’ve signed on to an integrated Masters degree continuing directly from third year, I don’t actually have a graduation ceremony until next year.

So what does this mean for me? Well, I’m probably going to be looking for a part-time job for the next few months and find some activities for myself so I don’t get bored. A summer break can be very long for me, and the last two breaks I didn’t get up to much. I will definitely need to spend some time planning my next project for university, particularly as one of the tutors wants me to submit a few ideas to him.

The program director has offered me an interesting avenue of exploration for the coming year: he identifies one of my greatest strengths on the course as my written work – that is reports, dissertation, any kind of written academic analysis – to the point that he considers me more of an academic than a designer. It’s an interesting if slightly disappointing assessment, considering that being a good designer is what I’ve wanted to be the whole time. But, I do believe him all the same. He told me that I should consider working towards being a game design academic within the fourth year, because that would meaning working towards my strengths, which he says will be more practical and successful for me in the long run than spending the fourth year trying to build up skills that I have struggled with before. I am still considering what I want to do, but I may well take that offer.

All in all, I’m not sure if it’s been a good third year or not: I like to think I’ve done well and I have improved in some regard, but I also think some of my efforts have been wasted, and I feel like I have fallen into some counter-productive habits. I took the project I was working on very seriously, and the fact that we were all supposed to be working as an organized team effort. When the other team members weren’t living up to expectations or they were acting like idiots, I always resented it, and over time that resentment built more and more especially when those kinds of fools were telling I was in the wrong, even if they were right. And eventually this, coupled with the project becoming more and more like, made me feel bitter and detached from the project, whilst at the same time there were still the attachments that developed towards the conduct of others because it had affected my morale. I don’t think I was all in. That’s why I decided to something new, separate from my old team. I’ve wanted to do it for months now, and I think I will be free of the attachments and the bitterness. I’ll hopefully be refreshed, all in, and pushing what I do further than before. For now though, let’s just make the best of a good summer.

The 2017 UK general election results

Well, I know it’s late, but now that the dust has settled I think I’ve gathered my thoughts and I can safely say that this election has been a clusterfuck. I didn’t comment on the announcement of the general election as part of a rule I imposed on myself to not comment on current events and politics during the spring holidays so I can concentrate on down time and my plans for the blog, but now the time is right and I can offer my thoughts on the events.

First of all I’ll say straight up: this election was completely pointless. Prime Minister Theresa May called the election in April 18th out of nowhere, and I don’t think many people asked for it. May claimed at the time that she called the election in order to secure the ultimate democratic mandate for Brexit. However, as I saw it, we already had the mandate in every possible sense of the word. In case you don’t know, back in 2015 the Conservatives under David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union, and the British people gave them a parliamentary majority, thereby giving the Tories the democratic mandate to hold that referendum. Then, last year, we held that referendum, as was promised to us by the Tories, and the majority of the British public voted Leave. This was the basic democratic mandate that we needed in order to invoke Article 50 and leave the Union, but time and again Parliament insisted that we couldn’t leave without giving the Parliament a say, even though it was not their place to vote on the issue. Parliament voted on the Brexit issue three times, and each time they voted in favor of triggering Article 50. So despite all the bullshit from the British political establishment, we had the democratic mandate already. I always suspected that the election was a response on May’s part to the constant whining from Remoaners (the term we Brits use to refer to pro-EU people who constantly whine about the referendum) who always refused to accept the democratic mandate of Brexit and refused to accept the legimitacy of Theresa May as Prime Minister because she was unelected, having been appointed via a leadership contest following Cameron’s resignation immediately after the Brexit vote. What irony then that we could have Gordon Brown as our unelected Prime Minister in 2007 following Tony Blair’s resignation and we’d hear ne’ery a word about the democratic legitimacy of his rule.

But anyways, in order to achieve this “ultimate democratic mandate”, she called the snap election to strengthen the Conservative Brexiter support in parliament and weaken the opposition. At first, it seemed like things were going very well for the Tories. They seemed to be the party that was going to support Brexit, and the other Eurosceptic party, UKIP, was becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, we had local elections a month before the general election, and the Tories absolutely dominated the polls, with Labour crashed and UKIP annihilated. All the Tories had to do was not fuck up.

And then, they actually released their manifesto.

And just like that, the Tories instantly became more reviled than ever. They announced plans to introduce more control over the Internet by the state, peppered with some nice Orwellian language to prop it up (“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree”). That alone, i think, instantly drove young and tech-oriented people away from the Tories, leading straight into Labour simply because they were the second largest party and weren’t the Tories. Oh but that’s not all. They also came out in support of fox hunting, despite that most of the country doesn’t want fox hunting to come back. They introduced a set of social care proposals that came to be collectively known as the “dementia tax” and the death tax (which is basically the same kind of idea that harmed Gordon Brown’s campaign), which was widely condemned as being directly harmful to the elderly, only for Theresa May to back-peddle on that policy almost immediately. She also apparently planned to scrap free school meals. Before the manifesto, she could have done nothing but endlessly repeat Brexit sound bites on a loop and she would have won the majority.

And that wasn’t the end for May’s woes. When it came time for the leaders’ debates, she almost never showed up to represent her party to debate the other leaders. From what I’ve seen of her she is a capable public speaker, and I think she could have defeated Corbyn in the debates. But no. She didn’t. For some reason she thought that getting into debates with the other leaders was pointless. This cowardice made her the subject of ridicule, for she was seen as incapable of defending her own policy ideas. Oh, and then there’s that questionable moment when she said “if human rights laws get in the way of stopping terrorism then I will change them”, which quickly became translated into “I will rip up human rights” by everyone else.

All of that served to give a black eye to the Tory party, to the point that in my thoroughly honest opinion it’s a miracle that the Tories managed to win more seats than they did. To their credit, the Tories managed to weaken the SNP’s hold over Scotland, and that’s no small potatoes: had they failed to break the absolute dominion the SNP had in Scotland, we would probably be forced to enter into a coalition with the SNP, maybe even with Labour being the larger party instead of the Tories. Not to mention, had the SNP performed worse, the Tories might have won an overall majority after all. But in many respects, they failed to achieve what they set out to achieve. They failed to win Wales for the first time, where Labour maintained their 100-year long hold over the region, they failed to achieve the decisive majority nationwide and they may well have alienated large sections of people that might otherwise have supported them. Far from strengthening their democratic mandate as May had hoped, the Tories had actually weakened it. And it was all down to Theresa May’s booming hubris and delusion. May thought that she was unstoppable, that she could do anything she wanted, propose anything she wanted no matter how stupid and awful, and the British public would still support the Tories in droves. But she was wrong, and now she looks set to pay the price for her arrogance.

And then there’s the Labour Party. Apparently Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are delusional enough to believe that they have claimed victory yesterday, when in objective reality all they have “won” is a hung parliament in which they still gained 56 seats less than the Conservatives. He hasn’t really won anything, yet Corbyn talks about how he’s ready to launch his “new program”, while his supporters and the media make the election result out to be some kind of massive victory for Labour when all they did is lose to the worst Tory campaign ever. It’s like Kim Jong-un losing a game of soccer and the North Korean papers declaring he won somehow. Corbyn wasn’t alone either. Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats joined him in claiming that this was some kind of golden opportunity for them and defeat for the Tories, even though they only won 12 seats. Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP did it as well. In fact, when a reporter questioned her about the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum, she dodged the question as thought trying to deny that her referendum might not be possible.

And let’s talk about Corbyn himself for a moment. I personally find it baffling how the youth could ever support the Labour Party, let alone under Jeremy Corbyn. This is a man whose central economic proposals echo the old kind of socialism that Labour believed in before their historic defeat by Margaret Thatcher. Corbyn wanted to nationalize the railways and the energy industry, raise the corporate tax to 26%, raise income tax everyone earning not £100,000, not £200,000, not £1,000,000, but £80,000, grant extra powers to HMRC to prosecute whose who avoid paying taxes, and create a Ministry of Labour in order to grant more power to trade unions. The last time the unions had any power, they almost take over the government during the 1970’s. Before the 1980’s, everything was nationalized and the British government eventually began running out of money to pay for it. Corbyn himself is nothing more than a well-meaning moron, with often confused stances on key issues. He refused to say anything about immigration other than he would impose no cap on migration. He said nothing about Brexit other than he doesn’t want a second referendum. And when asked about whether of not he would retaliate in the event of nuclear strike, he repeatedly dodged the question and fumbled all over the place. He is also a relic of perhaps more radical times during the 1970’s and 80’s, which goes a long way towards explaining why his links with Sinn Fein and far-left movements, not to mention past involvement with violent extremist movements, has come to the far, which we’ll explore further later on.

The Labour party itself, it must be said, is still not a party of the working class as I see it, much as they would claim otherwise. Before Corbyn, it was the party of Tony Blair, New Labour and their corporate masters. Now it’s the party of Marxism, socialism and the middle class twatwaffles who actually support it, even though it doesn’t quite work the way they think it does. That said, they did still manage to gain a considerable amount seats across the nation (other than Northern Ireland). And most shockingly of all, Diane Abbot – perhaps the least competent MP Labour has to offer -, a noted anti-white racist and apologist for Mao Tse Tung’s regime, actually managed to increase her majority in Hackney North and Stoke Newington by around 9,000 votes and effectively winning in a landslide. All-in-all, I am glad that Labour didn’t win this one. Given not just Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, but also the presence of John McDonnell –  an avowed Marxist – and Seumas Milne – a communist apologist – in the party, I really don’t want to see those kinds of people in my government. Sadly, because Labour managed to do better in this election than they did last time and made out like heroes even though they won nothing, I don’t think the Marxists are going away, and it looks like they might actually influence British politics for the next few years. This is the Labour we have to live with now.

In the day of the vote and the day of after, I swear that the left, particularly the Corbynites, have been proving themselves to be very anti-democratic if not borderline or outright fascistic, if you’ll pardon the fairly liberal use of the term. The Corbynites actually went out of their way to buy tons of right-wing newspapers such as The Sun or The Daily Mail and burned every copy they bought, because they are apparently so confident about their candidate they just couldn’t stand media outlets talking shit about him. It’s basically the same thing as Christians burning Beatles’ records because they said they were bigger than Jesus: all you’ve gone and done is give the people you hate more money, and you look like literal Nazis. And on social media, I saw Corbynites come out virtue signalling about the importance of democracy and voting, only to bemoan to the public for voting against them and accusing them of ruining the country, with at least one even proclaiming that all Tory MPs should be jailed. And just like with Brexit, they’re supporting petitions calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government so that their Dear Leader can become Prime Minister instead.

What really grinds my gears is simply this: how can young people justify voting Labour in order to oppose the Tories in order to save the Internet from Tory regulation, without any guarantee that Labour actually cares about Internet freedom? I’m not kidding. I haven’t seen any evidence that Labour has come out in support of internet freedom, not even after the release of the Conservative manifesto. In fact, Jeremy Corbyn has come out in support of passing laws that would crack down on what he deems “sexist hate speech”. In fact, it was the Labour Party (albeit before Jeremy Corbyn became leader) who promised to introduce a mandatory version of the Internet filters proposed by the Conservatives to block websites based on age verification. So all these people are doing is replacing one form of Internet regulation and control with another. The only difference, of course, is that in this election the Tories were more arrogant and in your face, openly proclaiming that they want control of the Internet, whereas Corbyn and the left use sneaky terms like “hate speech” and “misogyny” to justify regulating how people speak online. In short, the young people who were outraged by the Tories would have been better off if they voted for neither the Tories or Labour, and instead voted for literally any other party. And yet Labour managed to capture the youth, sometimes in the most cringeworthy way possible. Jeremy Corbyn may as well be Pastor Jim Colerick, and my generation ate it up just like that!

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that can be counted as something of a victory for Labour after all.

We haven’t even addressed the other major part of this result yet. Because the Tories failed to win an overall majority, they will have to form a coalition for the second time this decade. The Liberal Democrats will not be forming the role of the smaller party, having already done that in 2010 and thus having no desire to repeat that outcome. Believe me, I wouldn’t want to see that either. Instead, that role goes to the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, who won 10 seats (which, for the UK as a whole, is less than the Liberal Democrats, but in Northern Ireland amounts to over half of all seats, making them the majority party). The DUP is a socially conservative party that was founded by a Protestant Christian preacher named Ian Paisley, who was apparently known for his staunch opposition to Catholicism, republicanism and homosexuality. Looking at them, they don’t seem to be as horribly evil as the salt-bearing Twitterati make them out to be, but they’re not that good a party. They are strident opponents of gay marriage, and the party has actively blocked the legalization of gay marriage in Northern Ireland. They are also known in Northern Ireland for having supported a campaign in 1977 to oppose the decriminalization of homosexuality.  And when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, the DUP were apparently the only major party to oppose it. It is, then, somewhat understandable why the DUP are treated with contempt, which leads me to wonder how they managed to achieve a majority in Northern Ireland. A lot of the anger I have seen directed at them comes from things their MPs have said rather than recent actions, but it’s not like the DUP were such a good party.

The DUP are also reviled by some sections of the media because they are accused of being sympathetic to Northern Irish terrorists, specifically a group called the Ulster Defense Association – a Loyalist paramilitary group that opposed Republicanism and wants Northern Ireland to remain in the UK. The group made headlines recently for shooting a man named Colin Horner in front of his child in broad daylight. DUP has recently stated that they do not accept endorsements from UDA, and I haven’t actually found any explicit links between the UDA and DUP other than the fact that the party’s leader, Arlene Foster, met with the UDA chief recently – by an unfortunate coincidence, that meeting took place 2 days after the murder of Colin Horner. But despite the vagueness of this connection, the left seems to be using the DUP and the UDA to smear Theresa May and the new government. To me, it seems that the same people who would’ve have defended Jeremy Corbyn, and by proxy the Labour Party as a whole, from accusations that he is sympathetic to the IRA – the Republican paramilitary who wanted Northern Ireland to be unified with the rest of Ireland – are now scaremongering about how our government is entering with the DUP because they are apparently supported by terrorists. And that’s strange to me. I have whereas I have little links between DUP and the UDA, in fact the DUP has outright condemned the DUP and other paramilitary groups, Jeremy Corbyn has not only refused to condemn the IRA on multiple occasions, but has also not just talked to Irish terrorists, he’s even invited IRA-linked individuals into Parliament, had tea with terrorists and opposed anti-terror legislation. Unlike the DUP, Corbyn has found himself in situations where he got involved with the side of terrorists, several times. Clearly, it seems that the left is playing the terrorism card where it suits them by, as is characteristic of them, creating false equivalencies.

I feel like I should be clear: I do not support the DUP in any meaningful way other than they were only realistic option for a Tory-led coalition. Like I said earlier, the Liberal Democrats outright rejected a new coalition with the Tories, and I don’t see the SNP forming a coalition with them either. Not to mention, both of them aren’t exactly pro-Brexit. And while I don’t support the Tories either, I want my government to carry on with the Brexit. And since the DUP at least wants some kind of Brexit, coupled with the fact that they had enough seats to actually prop up the Tories as a coalition partner, I simply don’t see any other coalition that would work. The alternative, to me, is a Tory-SNP coalition where the SNP grinds the Tory government to a halt on Brexit and could pressure them to give them what they want by using the threat of a second independence referendum as a bargaining chip. Oh, and I reject the idea of a Labour-led coalition with minor progressive parties. Not only is it mathematically impossible because none of those parties would have enough seats combined to make an overall majority, but it would also make for an unstable minority government without proper democratic legitimacy. Not to mention, Alex Salmond of the SNP suggested pretty much the same idea when it was called the “rainbow coalition” in 2010, and it would’ve been impractical for the same reason.

Of course the main issue for me is Brexit. Contrary to what you might expect from a party as traditionally right-wing as DUP, the party is actually soft on Brexit. They don’t want a “hard” Brexit – that is we leave the European Union full stop, including the single market and customs union – because they fear it would create a hard border between the UK and Ireland. Theresa May, by contrast, has been pursuing full departure from the European Union and believes that getting no deal from Brussels is better than getting a bad deal. This had led to concerns that the Brexit pursued by Theresa May will end up being watered down in order to keep the coalition together.

I know this has gone on for quite a while, but at this point I need to mention UKIP. Because I voted to Leave in the EU membership referendum, my choice was between either the Conservatives or UKIP – all the other main parties were pro-EU, and thus could not be trusted. For a while, I wasn’t totally sure who to go with, but then the local election results came (I didn’t vote in those, by the way, because all the local candidates in my town were leftists) and UKIP were resoundingly crushed. Because of that I felt I had no choice but to support the Conservatives in order to see Brexit go through. And then, when they released their manifesto, I just couldn’t reconcile their ideas with my own views or principles, so I considered either voting UKIP or spoiling my ballot in protest. Either reading the main points of UKIP’s manifesto, however, I decided it was better than the Tories – and that they can’t possibly fuck up worse than the Tories did – so I decided to vote for them, even though I knew the party was done for. And sure enough, UKIP tanked in the general election, winning no seats and taking an 11% drop in the vote share, which led the party leader, Paul Nuttal, to resign after only six months in office. However, some are suggesting that UKIP may yet become the benefactor of this disastrous general election, as former leader Nigel Farage has hinted that he may return to politics and to UKIP if he thinks the current government will compromise our exit from the European Union. Given the options available to me in today’s political climate, if this turns out to be true, I would be happy to support Farage and UKIP for the foreseeable future.

Overall, this election was an unfortunate one for everyone: neither Labour nor the Tories won, the other parties suffered significant losses (including the Liberal Democrats, whose former leader Nick Clegg famously lost his seat), and we are about to enter into what is technically a minority government propped up by the DUP, with an emboldened left-wing opposition, and a tumultous political climate where progress on Brexit is in danger of being pushed back. There is even talk of Theresa May being “done for”, with her being expected to resign within the remainder of this year and a new Tory leadership contest down the line is already being speculated. Whatever your views on either of the parties, or on Brexit for that matter, this will most likely go down in history as a major failure for the Tories, and May will come to be seen as a uniquely terrible Tory leader and arrogant Prime Minister. And all the while, I suspect that my country is not heading in a good direction regarding liberty, and perhaps would not have fared much better in that regard whether you voted left or right.

Pictured: the only sensible conclusion

My place in the Satanic zeitgeist

And now, Part 4 of the big project I have about Satanism, this one concerning my own recent sense of tension about Satanism in recent months. This will not be too much like the last four posts as it’s more of a personal piece rather than an attempt on my part to unpack a subject intellectually. I will be elaborating on my tensions, dilemmas, issues and questions, or just general thoughts on the subject, through various subjects and dichotomies, so that I can get it out to my Satanic or Luciferian buddies for further discussion.

 

Egoism vs egotism vs altruism

If I’m being entirely honest, this has been influenced by high-profile events of last year, the reaction surrounding them, and how I feel they reflect on society as it is now. I remember when the Pulse nightclub massacre took place in Orlando, Flordia, wherein 50 people were murdered at said nightclub by a self-loathing Muslim who hated gay people and hated himself because he was gay. In the aftermath, I saw an interview with Guardian columnist Owen Jones which ended with him leaving the set and pouting like a child because they kept talking about any subject other than the fact that the victims happened to be gay and he “as a gay man” wanted to talk about it so badly. Basically, he took a 50 people getting murdered and made it all about himself and the fact that he himself is gay. That to me was inexcusable. Not only did he seem intent on obfuscating the true impetus behind the massacre, but he did it out of an identitarian sense of narcissism. For some reason I never got round to talking about that particular issue until today, but haven’t forgotten about it.

For all my egoism, at least within the context of my spiritual philosophy, I have grown tired of some individuals who care for nothing but themselves. Especially in the political sphere of things. There’s too many people who care only about themselves with regards to their vision of the country or the world, and they don’t care what anyone thinks because if they disagree with them they can ignore their concerns and impose their will on them anyway, even if they don’t like it and even if it’s only the people doing the imposing who believe it to be a good thing. Likewise, I have recently expressed sorrow over doing some things in my life solely for my own advancement, that is for the benefit of advancing to high position in a career and perhaps receiving a high enough salary from it.

And then there is something to be said of the issue of principle. Even though, as a Satanist, I might be expected to put any sense of principle to the side in favor of self-interest, and I have talked to other Satanists on this subject before over the years, but I find I am more likely to consider an outcome based on the success of a principle. For instance, I would rather be poor and free than live in a rich country in which we have no real liberty. I am sure that to some other Satanists, this is questionable. In a rich country I at least have the chance to pursue a better quality of life if I keep my mouth shut, so to speak, but in a poor country I might have less options and less money. But I would rather that if it meant I would live in a free country because I would prefer that the principle of liberty is alive. And not just for myself either: I don’t live in a free society unless the people in general share that liberty. Otherwise, there is only one person who has (or the few who have) license or permission to do what he/she wants (or they want), but there is not liberty for the all people. Is that truly freedom? Michael W. Ford, for instance, says that every deed is selfish, but I find myself questioning that at times. If I tend to put principle over other matters in certain instances, to what extent can that truly be called purely selfish? Or what about love? Emotional love I mean not simply sexual attraction. How much of love can truly be labelled a purely selfish thing?

 

Morality/ethics

Morality is a funny thing. I’ve always had it at the back of my mind at least, never totally gone without concern for it. In fact, I will probably write a post eventually on the subject of a conception of personal morality that I deliberate on and will plan to apply to myself consistently for the foreseeable future. But in general, the idea of any sense of moral understanding is never something I have had no interest in. In my day I have been shown examples of behavior that, by my own standards, I can’t describe as anything other than ethically or morally wrong. But then, the notion of objective morality is tricky. I don’t think I can argue that my moral principles are the absolute. For me I have had a question on my mind? What if we understood morals and ethics as something that we can base on the world around us, but that changes with our understanding of that world, and therefore it is possible consider perceiving morality similar to understanding the laws of nature, our understanding of which changes over time as we gain knowledge of the universe? Does it still make for subjective morality, or does it make for the possibility of at least barely objective morality? What I assume, though, is that it is clearly not valueless solely because it isn’t a physical thing. At which point, in any case, the real question then is the value of morality.

That said, I hate the label moralist often because it is always attached to people who wish to turn their moral compass into a code of law for all men and women to follow regardless of their own personal compass. Not to mention, the attachment to such stifling moral principles as the kind of religious values of Christianity, or at least the kind of Christianity provided conservatively religious Christians. If all moralist meant was someone who placed value on moral or ethical principles, who knows maybe I would be called that. But it’s got more baggage than that. I hate the progressive view of morality too. They think it’s either utterly malleable to the whims of some grand, immaculate, millenarian conception of social progress – that is, something is morally correct because “IT’S THE CURRENT YEAR GUYS!!” – or it’s based on almost the same religiosity and sensitivity as the kind provided by the Mary Whitehouses of both yore and modernity.

 

Self-preservation vs self-transformation

This is a fairly recent question, but it touches upon a key difference between Satanism and Luciferianism. Satanism is the philosophy that places emphasis on self-preservation, while Luciferianism talks about self-transformation. I have thought about it at some point, and I don’t think I have fully answered it, but there is still the question: what is ultimately more important to me? As much I have often felt that there is probably something core and essential to my personal being, and as insistent as I often tended to be only a few years ago, how much of me is really the same throughout the entirety of my life? Perhaps I haven’t discarded what is essential to me, at least as I see it, but there can be no denying that I have evolved throughout my life. I value self-preservation in the sense of preserving the characteristics that I consider integral to my personal sense of identity, but at the same time, is it not true that the self is a thing that grows and grows, constantly, ideally towards a better form? At which point, isn’t the better ideal to pursue the growth, evolution and transformation of the self into the best form that it could possibly attain?

Another main difference between Satanism and Luciferianism is that Luciferianism advocates the pursuit of a higher self. Michael W. Ford’s literature on the subject speaks of the Daemon, which is equated with the concept of the higher self. I’ve often associated the term ego with self because of the fact that the word ego literally means self. But is that all to the self though? Perhaps Lilith Aquino of the Temple of Set I think illustrates this point adequately in The Pagan Library (if that is really Lilith Aquino):

Glorification of the ego is not enough; it is the COMPLETE psyche, the entire Self or soul, which must be recognized, appreciated, and actualized.

 

God, and the gods

Although I am an apathetic agnostic and I don’t have much investment in the God vs No God debate, I do sometimes think about the concept of God, or the possible lack of one, from time to time. I still have yet to answer the question of deities vs deific masks and need to read more. That said, I think deific masks may be the likely view I take on rather than literal theism due to my issues with the idea of literal theism. In the end, I would value myself and my fellow Man above the rule of a literal God. Most literal deities probably want your worship more than anything else anyway. And with God, like I said some time before, I don’t care if God is real because I will probably not worship a literal God.

Although the Left Hand Path tends to be all about self-deification, I’m often at a point where I don’t like to take godhood too literally. I think I’ve often said that when LHP traditions say you ought be your own God it simply means you ought to be the master of your own life. Is a way of interpreting this, then, not self-mastery, spiritual autonomy? I suppose demi-godhood is simply the metaphor.

 

Hedonism vs eudaimonism

Hedonism is the doctrine that the primary value in life regarding happiness is the pursuit of pleasure, and the goal of life to maximize pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This can involve emphasis on the avoidance of negative or unpleasant experiences. Eudaimonism, by contrast, views the cultivation of happiness as dependent on self-realization and the practicing and cultivation of virtue. This can involve the development of personal strengths or emphasizing meaning and purpose as valuable to life. Both of them put the happiness and well-being of the individual at the core of their set of priorities, but differ in their conception of what happiness means for the individual.

The reason I mention this is because I have been doing some thinking on them. I feel I have seen a problem with at least certain aspects of hedonism regarding today’s social justice types. If hedonism at its root is the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and negative experiences, then what else do we call this attitude wherein the primary desire of life is to live in a world where they need not hear of anything bad? Where no inkling of negativity may penetrate the minds of today’s youth? Where the desire not to be divested of a comfortable life outweighs all other values? At the very least it could certainly be described as hedonism gone mad. I worry that such an attitude my result in my generation remaining as a generation of lotophagi – those who eat of the lotus of blissful ignorance, rather than the apple of the knowledge of good and evil that would otherwise spawn true freedom and virtue. Not only that, but I have been thinking that it is the desire for self-development and meaning that, for me, outweighs temporal pleasure, just that I think the enjoyment of temporal pleasure can be a positive thing. Perhaps that’s the issue of balance, that can answered by eudaimonism and epicurianism. Still, part of me thinks that a sense of value creates happiness in people that pleasure in the hedonistic sense can’t provide.

 

Revenge

An eye for an eye, lex talionis, if a man hits you on the cheek smash him on the other. For a while, this has been a troubling thing for me. It’s based on the idea of “do unto others as they have done onto you”. But I have been running into a constant theme when discussing arguments: is it right to do something to others that you think they have done to yourself or others, when you are opposed to the very idea of that thing being done to you as a principle. Like doxing. The argument against doxing is based on the premise that individuals should have the right to privacy, and not have to worry about being harassed or threatened by people who gain their information. If you are doxed or someone you care about doxed, isn’t it then wrong to dox them? If you think it’s wrong to bully people as a general rule, is it right to bully someone who bullied you? If you got raped, and you are obviously against rape, what then?

 

Those are all the dilemmas I have for now that are pressing and relevant at the moment. Hope I can get some comments from my LHP buddies. Peace out.

Mythological Spotlight #8 Part 2 – Lucifer

Constantino Corti’s depiction of Lucifer

Description

The light bringer, the representation of the morning star. In popular imagination he is typically seen as synonymous with Satan, due to his identification with the myth of the fall from Heaven. Over the years the character of Lucifer has acquired traits associated with adversarial figures because of the role of the light bringer’s concordance with other traditions and stories, and the way they interpreted the bringing of light and the ascension of the morning star. Depending on who you ask, he is either a benevolent figure, a trickster, an evil king of demons or somewhat more ambivalent; an angel, a demon or a man.

 

History

The name Lucifer means “light-bringer” or “morning star”, and seems to be a personification or deification of the morning star.

The earliest appearance of a morning star deity is generally found in the ancient Canaanite deity Attar (also known as Athtar or Ashtar). Attar is mainly known for a Canaanite myth wherein he attempts to take over the throne Baal (aka Hadad), the deity of storms and fertility, with the support of Asherah while he is killed by his rival Mot, the deity of death, but proves to be unworthy of the throne. He is identified with the planet Venus, much like the goddesses Ishtar and Aphrodite. In fact, it is believed by some scholars that Attar may have been a male equivalent of the goddess Athtart or Astarte, or even started out as a male form of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. The Arabians also worshiped Attar not just as a male deity of the planet Venus, but as a weather deity responsible for rain and thunderstorms, as well as a fertility deity whose fertility is dispensed through rain thus symbolizing the power of the sky as a generative force. The Arabians may also have been recognized him as a war deity. These characteristics mark him as a similar deity to Baal, and it is even suggested that Attar may have been overtaken in Ugarit and Canaan as the warrior deity of fertility and bringer of rain.

Attar may also have been associated with another deity: Chemosh; known to the Hebrew Bible as the Abomination of Moab. Chemosh may have been an important rival of the Jewish deity Yahweh (later YHWH), and at one point the two deities were pretty similar to each other. Both Yahweh and Chemosh were war deities and the deities of a specific tribe or nation (Chemosh for the Moabites, Yahweh for the Israelites), but Yahweh eventually became angrier. Chemosh was also worshiped alongside Ashtar as a syncretic deity called Ashtar-Chemosh. It is important to note that Chemosh might have been identified with the morning star through his syncretism with Attar/Ashtar, but there is little that suggests Chemosh himself is intrinsically linked with the morning star.

The morning star appears in the Bible, specifically the Book of Isaiah, where refers to someone who has supposedly fallen from the grace of God.

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” – Isaiah 14:12

The term “morning star”, or Helel ben Shahar, is often substituted for the name Lucifer, and the Isaiah verse is used to link Satan with Lucifer in Biblical tradition. The problem: who is the morning star in this instance? Morning star, and by extension Lucifer, is used as an epithet in the Bible, rather than a name proper, similar to how Satan is used as a title in Judaism. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus identifies himself as the morning star.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Is Jesus, then, Lucifer? And if Lucifer is supposed to be the same as Satan, what does that make Jesus then? What does it make Satan? Not to mention, the title of Lucifer has apparently even been applied to John the Baptist. So what about him? Instead, the morning star of Isaiah is typically identified as a human, more specifically a king of Babylon who is struck down. The king in question is usually named Nebuchadnezzar II. He is known as the king who ordered the construction of the famous Ishtar Gate as well as the purported Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the walls of Babylon which were famous for the fact that they were so broad that you could race chariots on them. He is also known for leading the expansion of the Babylonian empire through the conquest of the Scythians, Cimmerians, Arameans and Israelites and the defeat of the Assyrians and the Egyptians. He made Babylon one of the largest and most powerful cities of the ancient world, and . He is however portrayed negatively in the Bible, perhaps because he was also responsible for Jews being held captive in and later exiled from Babylon, as well as the destruction of the original Temple of Solomon in 587 BC. Of course, that is one speculation. It is said that the title Lucifer could’ve been applied to any other king. Chapter 14 of the Book of Isaiah is intended to be a prophecy regarding a king who was then mighty but will seen face defeat and fall from glory. Indeed, the king is accused of holding in his heart ambitions of ascent to godhood.

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” – Isaiah 14:13-14

The epithet of the morning star, with its brilliance, is supposed to signify how great the king was or believed himself to be, in order to stress the magnitude of his fall. Lucifer, here, was the title of a human; a human who stood against the Israelites in his quest to expand Babylon and thus he was seen as standing against YHWH himself.

Speaking of Helel ben Shahar, there was an Ugaritic deity named Shahar associated with the dawn. He has a twin brother named Shalim, who is considered a deity of the dusk. Both of them are sons of the sky father El. They are called upon in an Ugaritic hymn to protect the fields and their harvest. Some sources speak of a deity named Helel, who it is claimed tried to usurp the throne of El/Elyon but was defeated by , and they claim that this myth is the precursor to the prophecy of the king of Babylon in Isaiah. However, not much is known about this pre-Isaiah myth.

It is often said that the earliest instance of the name Lucifer being There is another Biblical story that is used to link another Lucifer figure with the idea of a fallen angel. The Book of Ezekiel recounts another prophecy against an ancient king, this time against a king of Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city which was sieged by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II between 586 and 573 BC. Ithobaal III is said to have ruled Tyre between 590 and 573 BC. The prophecy states that, like the king of Babylon, the king of Tyre viewed himself as a living deity, who had grown proud because of the wealth that he had purportedly amassed through his skill in trading and his wisdom, and that the “Sovereign Lord” will send barbarians against the king in order to kill him. There then follows a lamentation from the “Sovereign Lord” in which the king is compared to an unnamed cherub, who was the “seal of perfection” in the garden of Eden, adorned with all manner of precious stones, but was driven from the mount of God for having being filled with pride, desecrating sanctuaries and trading dishonestly, thereby having sinned against YHWH. Again, there is no implicit attachment to Satan found within the prophecy itself, and the prophecy refers to a human character, with the comparison. There is also no direct reference to the morning star, just that the theme is similar to that of the prophecy in the Book of Isaiah.

The idea of Lucifer as a demonic fallen angel crystallizes in the Middle Ages, replete with infernal artwork depicting him as a horned, animalistic devil. This is no doubt due to the identification of Lucifer with the Satan whom Jesus beheld falling from heaven according to the Gospel of Luke, and of course the pantheon of pre-Christian deities who were used to create the visage of Satan. By this time, there is also the influence of Dante’s Inferno to consider, which had a powerful effect on the Christian, not to mention collective, cultural imagination. In it, Satan is trapped waist-deep in a lake of ice in resentment for the crime of having betrayed God. By this point, Lucifer had already been linked to Satan by the Church and Christian tradition, with the pride and his self-deification of earthly kings identified with the morning star being used to explain the fall of Satan. The seven deadly sins were already codified into Catholic tradition by Pope Gregory I well before the Middle Ages, and in the 15th century these sins were related to specific demons. In the case of Lucifer, it is probably not an accident that the sin related to him is pride.

The closest thing to an actual deity named Lucifer is the Greek deity named Eosphoros (aka Phosphorus, Heosphorus). Eosphoros was the Greek deity of the morning star, which was the planet Venus as it appeared during the day. His name meant “dawn-bringer”. His counterpart, Hesperus, represented the evening star. Both Eosphoros and Hesperus are associated with the planet Venus, and they seem to represent different phases of the morning star. They are also depicted as bearers of light or torches. The two deities are generally accepted as synonymous with or complimentary towards each other, because the morning and evening star are both references to Venus, or rather Venus in certain phases.

This theme may not necessarily have been new to the Greeks. Paul Collins suggests that, in Mesopotamia, Attar and Ishtar may well have represented male and female aspects of the planet Venus, with Attar representing the morning star and Ishtar representing the evening star, and one aspect representing war and the other representing love and sex.

Phosphoros is also a title given to Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and the moon. In Rome, this has resulted in the name Diana Lucifer, depicting the goddess Diana as the bringer of light.

The name Lucifer also appears as in a positive context within, of all religions, Christianity. In the Middle Ages, there existed heretical sect of Christianity known as Luciferianism – not to be confused with the modern spiritual movement known as Luciferianism. The medieval Luciferians believed that Lucifer was the actual creator of the world and mankind who was once in heaven before being unjustly expelled by the Christian God, who is seen as the true evil deity, along with his host of angels. They believed that one day Lucifer would eventually overthrow the Christian God. Because they believed the Christian god to be evil, they did all they could to displease him so that they may be worthy of joining with Lucifer in the afterlife. It was basically an inversion of the Christian doctrine concerning good and evil. The sect was, naturally, persecuted by the Catholic Church, with many adherents burning for their beliefs. There is also an older sect of Christians who were known as Luciferians in the 4th century, but they did not worship a being named Lucifer in any capacity. They were rather named after a Roman Christian bishop who happened to be named Lucifer Calaritanus (aka Lucifer of Cagliari), who staunchly defended Catholic orthodoxy and opposed the doctrine of Arianism – a sect that rejected the notion of the Holy Trinity and held that Jesus was created by and indistinct from God. The sect was dedicated to his views on early church doctrine and to the deposing of Arian clerics and excommunication of Arian bishops. Some Gnositcs, consider Lucifer to be a messenger of the true and unknowable God, or an opponent of the Demiurge, even going so far as to identify him with the serpent of Eden. This is, of course, an alternative interpretation of the Genesis account, which tells of the serpent as just a talking serpent. Some Gnostics also believe that Lucifer is identical to the Greek Prometheus.

Lucifer is very often compared to Prometheus, based on the premise that Prometheus stole fire from the gods (or more specifically Zeus) so that he could give it to mankind, thus imparting knowledge. This is unsurprising, given the nature of the Lucifer myth. Lucifer is seen as having gone against the heavens themselves, defying either God or the gods either because he disagreed with their position on how to run the cosmos or simply because he prized the throne of heaven for himself. Either way he was cast down. Prometheus, whether he liked it or not, betrayed the gods so that he might bring the fire of Olympus to mankind, and for this he was chained to a rock until eventually being rescued by Hercules. It’s easy to see how one might draw similarities between the two. Beyond that, however, there is no obvious connection between the two (for one thing, Prometheus has nothing to do with the morning star). Some of this connection stems from the premise that Lucifer and the serpent of Genesis are the same being. According to the Genesis account, however, the serpent has nothing to do with Lucifer, or Satan for that matter. It’s just a clever talking serpent. I suppose the main connection drawn between the two is in the role they play, being dispensers of a kind of forbidden knowledge after all (the knowledge of fire vs the knowledge of good and evil). That said, I think a stronger case can be made between Prometheus and the Grigori – the angels in the Book of Enoch who became attracted to human women, were cast out of heaven and decided to gave the forbidden knowledge of the angels to Man.

Over the years Lucifer has had many roles in newer spiritual or occult traditions before the 21st century. The Anthroposophists considered Lucifer to be the embodiment of the side of Man that is imaginative, creative, artistic, spiritual and idealistic, as opposed to Ahriman who represented the rational, materialistic side of Man. Helena Blavatsky considered Lucifer to be “the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought” who guides the intellectual progress of humanity and sparked the initial awakening of the soul of Man within the bodies created by Jehovah. The Process Church of the Final Judgement views Lucifer to be one of the four “Great Gods of the Universe” alongside Satan, Jehovah and Jesus. They consider Lucifer to be a deity of light, love and sex responsible for the creation of women. Eliphas Levi considered Lucifer to be the name of a force that he claims was identified by the Hebrews as Samael and Satan by “other easterns” (an identification which, as we’ve established, the historical evidence does not support), and he believes that the “Lucifer of the Kabbalah” is not an evil being but rather “the angel who enlightens, who regenerates by fire”. He has also stated that Lucifer is an angel who shunned heaven so that he may illuminate the “unworked fields of light”, but would not recognize him as an angel of light unless he submitted to “the eternal order”. In his description of the pentagram, he also seems to hint Lucifer as a force of light, in contrast to a force of dusk and darkness, and yet seemingly two sides of the same coin. Albert Pike of the Freemasons has given praise to a figure named Lucifer, which may have led him and his organization to be accused of worshiping Lucifer or rather of worshiping Satan, but it is unlikely that this figure actually is Satan in any way. His views on God and Lucifer were the subject of an infamous hoax by Leo Taxil intended to smear to the Freemasons. Gregor A. Gregorius considered him to be a brother of Christ, while his organization Fraternitas Saturni was of the view that Lucifer is a higher “octave” of the principle of Saturn (with Satan being the lower, implying that the two are two different phases of the same concept), associated with the Logos. Manly P. Hall is said to have praised Lucifer as “the individual intellect and will which rebels against the domination of Nature”. Aleister Crowley at one point identified Aiwass, the spirit Crowley claimed to have heard, with Lucifer, whom he considered to be a solar and phallic force. The Gnostic interpretation of Lucifer found new genesis through the ideas of Ben Kadosh (real name: Carl William Hansen), who views Lucifer as the rebel who gives Man secrets that were forbidden by the Christian church. He also equates him with the Greek deity Pan, and the alchemical element of gold.

In the modern era, Lucifer as an icon found his own spiritual movement, drawing from aspects of the philosophy of Satanism. Luciferianism is a movement with multiple manifestations and more than one organization representing a form of Luciferian philosophy. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Assembly of Light Bearers, formerly known as the Greater Church of Lucifer, based primarily on the ideas of contemporary Left Hand Path occultists Michael W. Ford and Jeremy Crow. Lucifer, for this brand of Luciferianism, is an adversarial figure associated with pride, intelligence and self-liberation, and a desire to climb ever higher on the path of personal evolution towards a maximization of personal potential (a kind of “apotheosis” if you will), and an opponent of blind faith and restrictive religious dogma. His historical attachment to the planet Venus is very much accounted for, but he takes on some adversarial characteristics associated with beings like Satan, Samael, Ahriman or Azazel. He is mostly treated as an archetype, whose qualities are to be applied to any individual who desires to follow the Luciferian path, but some adherents take a more theistic approach. Another organization is the Neo-Luciferian Church, founded by Michael Bertiaux and Bjarne Salling Pedersen. This organization takes a more Gnostic approach to Luciferianism, apparently influenced by Western esoteric tradtion, Gnosticism, Voodoo and the works of Ben Kadosh. They view Lucifer as basically the light-bringer in the original sense, alien to Christianity and having nothing to do with Satan. In fact, there seem to be many Luciferian groups out there today, with their own take on Lucifer and Luciferian philosophy.

 

Conclusion

To summarize again: Lucifer begins in Mesopotamia or Canaan as a deity of war, fertility and the planet Venus named Attar, who sought the throne of Heaven. The morning star was symbolized as other deities as well, one of whom may well have rebelled against El. In Greece he was a non-violent deity who simply brought the light of the morning star, an archetype that gradually metastasized into the concept of bringing the light of knowledge and enlightenment. He also came to be associated with powerful men who may have been seen as godlike, and who in their apparent actions towards the Israelites came to be seen as enemies of YHWH. He became attached to the ideal of Man seeking divinity, which may have linked him to a rather humanistic mythological ideal of the knowledge of the gods being spread to humans by beings who, in doing so, betray the gods. This was Satanic, adversarial, to the Christians who stressed that faith in God was key to salvation, and the idea that Man can grasp the divine on his own was the height of hubris, of sinful pride. This is perhaps how Lucifer transformed from merely the morning star, to the Satanic rebel against God. Like Satan, then, Lucifer is a concept that has evolved throughout the ages, probably for considerably longer than Satan considering that the deification of the morning star originates in Mesopotamian polytheism while the concept of Satan (not more broadly the principle of cosmic evil) evolved from Judaism. Lucifer became the epitome of the ideal of Man seeking the throne of heaven that he may sit upon it, through his own exertion, and through like the morning star or perhaps the Promethean archetype he spreads the light of the morning star, or of fire, to shine on Man. To me, thinking about it on my own, it seems fairly obvious how Lucifer came to be as he is. That the morning star is also the evening star, by virtue of the both of them being Venus, can be very easily interpreted as Lucifer, as a Venus-based archetype, containing both light of day and the darkness of light; or, the archetypal quantities of light and darkness. Perhaps this is what Michael W. Ford is hitting on.