Imagine the following if you will: Madness. Injustice. Terror. Instability. Social decay. The prevalence of corruption. The general disintegration of the bonds that hold people together. Brother turning against brother, sister against sister and so forth. Complete disorder and mayhem. Rampant violence. Riots, looting, and senseless destruction. The vices of mob mentality, or even mob rule. The woe sown by dictatorships. The bloodshed of a massacre. A world ruled by malice, hatred, and hostility, with no room for love, reason, or any of Man’s brighter qualities. The general feeling experienced by an individual when he/she loses control of everything around him, particularly through circumstances or actions that send his/her life in the wrong direction. The state of living in the constant fear that you will die for no good reason. A kind of disharmony which threatens the lives of human beings (and lifeforms, for that matter).
For many people, all this is what is normally referred to as “chaos”. But chaos can be a nebulous concept. Is it that woeful plague of disharmony and terror? Or is it primordial chasm, sea or abyss before creation as spoken of in many mythologies? Or is it that force of primordial power that motivates all of existence as I once thought of it? To be fair though, I may not necessarily refer to the last one as Chaos any more now that I recognize the force I described in the Nietzschean concept of Will to Power, the Setian and Luciferian concept of the Black Flame, the force of vital existence as described by Anton LaVey, or rather the power of the Adversary as described by Michael W. Ford (which is why I have a significant interest in Luciferian and Adversarial magick and particularly in the way Ford describes it). Back in August, a friend of mine and fellow blogger named G. B. Marian discussed three terms from Egyptian mythology that refer to three different kinds of “chaos”, albeit whilst discussing a mutual appreciation of the band Black Sabbath. For him, there was Nun, Kheper/Xeper, and Isfet. Nun was the primordial state of inertia from which all things originated. Kheper was the power of transforming, becoming, and being, and was associated with the creation of the cosmos – the modern concept of Xeper is also an important part of the beliefs of the Temple of Set, referring to the power of self-awareness, freedom, and isolate intelligence. Isfet was the concept of the dissolution of harmony and the bonds forged between human beings, a state of disorder that lead the cosmos back into the inertia of Nun if left unchecked. It’s the third concept that most people would identify as “chaos”, and the concept that is part of the focus of this blog post.
Isfet also seems to refer to the concept of uncreation. This is important to remember because destruction, or what is sometimes called “chaos” can be a good thing or be carried out in service of the order of the cosmos (or Ma’at). Such constructive chaos is famously embodied in deities such as Sekhmet and Set, particularly Set who was the original protector of Ra who hacked the being known as Apep with his weapon. Speaking of Apep, the concept of Isfet as uncreation could safely be said to be embodied by Apep, for he sought the annihilation of the cosmos – with no real motivation other than for the evulz as far as I can tell. By seeking to undo everything that existed and embodying annihilation, Apep was uncreation. Apep was sort of an embodiment of Isfet.
Sometimes Isfet is seen as synonymous with another concept, evil. But evil can be a loaded term, moreso than chaos. Generally it refers to everything bad for the mind, soul, ethics, and life of the human being and the community at large. It’s also very loaded because the religious have always presented their own notions of “good” and “evil”, and everything outside of their dictated morality was almost always denounced as “evil”. In the Jewish and Christian mythos, Beelzebub’s only real crime was simply being a popular deity worshiped instead of Yahweh/Jehovah. Satan’s only real crime was embodying the fleshly instincts of human beings, and their ego. The only reason Lucifer was supposedly cast from heaven was that he didn’t want to ruled by Yahweh/Jehovah, and who the hell would want to be ruled by him? Most of the devils are only “evil” because they’re devils or embody certain “sins”, but I can’t think of most of them being really malevolent beyond the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic point of view.
When I originally embraced Satanism back in around June 2013, I did so based on my own instincts which I found the philosophy in alignment with. And even though Satanism doesn’t really embrace concepts like “good and evil”, and it’s purely an egoistic philosophy, I never abandoned any sort of ethical/moral concern and still felt there were some things that were simply wrong, and others were right. At least I recognized this was from a mostly subjective perspective. But I also view morality/ethics as a human desire, as much a desire as any of our other desires. I believe that out of our selfish or egoistic nature can arise a kind of natural morality – a morality not dictated as mores and commands from on high that we are compelled to obey for no good reason of our own, but rather a morality that is based on one’s own desires, own feelings, own determination of right and wrong based on both one’s own nature or drives and on human reason. And I think that most in people’s morals, the madness that makes up the concept of Isfet would be intolerable for a number of reasons, the opposing of Isfet, or that which leads to it, would be ethical and quite natural for another number of reasons. On the Left Hand Path, good and evil are usually treated as abstract concepts, specifically abstract concepts that serve only to be dogmatic, restrictive and conducive of slave mentality. It’s certainly true that the morals dictated by the outside can be that way, and often are. But I feel that in the Left Hand Path, there is room for practitioners to pursue their own kind of natural morality, to follow our own moral instincts and beliefs that arise from our own nature, for they are just as . Defying the norms, mores, rules, and Gods who we deem are unjust, we carve a path of freedom where we are responsible unto ourselves, and smite those who would threaten our life and liberty and that of those we care about (and who, in a way, embody Isfet in the process). In a sense we follow the examples of Set, Satan, Lucifer, and the other lords of the Left Hand Path.
Modern Setian tradition holds Set is either the bringer of individuated consciousness (or isolate intelligence) or the embodiment of it. He is also believed to be the Dark Lord behind the notion of Satan, thereby the oldest mythological symbol of such a concept. They both are believed represent the individuated consciousness of Man and its nature. Set shows us the power of a strong will and individuated soul or consciousness triumphing over uncreation, carrying forth the light of the sun. He may point to the individual’s struggle for survival, for personal power, for the future. Of course, that’s just one interpretation. It’s also interesting to me that Set is in some way linked to storms, and that Christian Satan (from my point of view) has links to at least one storm deity (that would be Ba’al). Satan, as Man’s egoistic self embodied in myth, and Lucifer, the Lightbringer, oppose a “God” in whom they see a new force of uncreation, a ghoul who stands against life, accomplish, and self-worth. I believe that in the Satanic, and Luciferian, traditions, we defeat the nihilisms that degrade our perception of the world and send us into retreat and embrace life, and we fight for our authentic selfhood against the doubts sent our way by the world or our fellow Man. We live as authentic, strong individuals, free men and women, pushing back the uncreation and that which we consider to be evil or a threat, just as Set does. And in our hearts, we carry forth our light of creation, as Set helps the light of Ra travel through the underworld.