Shin Megami Tensei: The Chaos alignment and Satanism

Louis Cypher and the demons of Chaos in a promo artwork for the Playstation release of Shin Megami Tensei II

Back in June, I was sifting through stuff about the Chaos alignment, mainly from Raidou Kuzunoha versus King Abaddon. I found that the Chaos alignment’s general espousal of personal power, the freedom of desire, and free will in general, alongside general emphasis on Satan and the demons, does strike accord with Satanism.

Chaos in general seems to be based on the twin credos of “live freely” and “live for yourself”. It advocates against living your life in service of others, and advocates for living by your desires, being true to yourself, living out your feelings, and following your heart or living as your heart desires. It encourages that you act in accordance with your own feelings and personal identity, and doing good because you want to and not out of any sense of duty, and it stresses you remain true to yourself. This philosophy actually is much like Satanism as a philosophy, or LaVeyan Satanism, which is based on the idea of living life for yourself and living by your desires without considering it a sin.

And what of the might-make-right that it is accused of? That might just be a bastardization of the idealization of personal power, coupled with its basis on the classic myth of a world where we aren’t chained by rulers. Though in fairness, there is something of a might-makes-right flair, as the Chaos faction definitely does not value weakness, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering they value strength, and the ability to exert one’s will upon the world (whether by physical strength, magic, or otherworldly power, any means). This is in itself still has the Satanist spirit.

The Cult of Gaia in Shin Megami Tensei IV

But wait, if the Chaos alignment is basically Satanism, why are there deities from Hinduism, Buddhism, and East Asian mythology backing it? Hell, the image of the Cult of Gaia above implies Buddhist monks (just like in the original SMT games). Well, many of those deities are deities associated with combat or war in some way, and also protector deities. This is probably a manifestation of the ideal of personal power. Some local Japanese deities feature, probably to reflect the idea of the gods of old as espoused by the Cult of Gaia (the recurring Chaos faction in the Shin Megami Tensei series). Those often appear as Kunitsukami, gods of the land who fought the rule of the gods of heaven. That smacks of the Chaos ideal of opposing the external rule in heaven, as well as a earthly freedom as opposed to heavenly order. You could say this about the earth mothers, with earthly values of Chaos opposing the oppression of “God”.

I think, then, that the Chaos alignment is Satanism with a layer of Hindu, Buddhist, and Oriental myth and religion, mixed with pagan thought and a degree of religiosity. Which is, actually, pretty fucking cool, and a source of inspiration for me.

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2 responses to “Shin Megami Tensei: The Chaos alignment and Satanism

  1. Most cultures have a duality of Chaos represented by a monster such as a dragon, and a culture hero representing Order such as St George who slew the dragon. The Satanist might be on secure ground in walking in the understanding that nature is dualistic and acting accordingly.

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