Remember last month when I complained about YouTube shadowbanning Jeremy Crow’s videos, and in that post I pointed out how YouTube’s quest for censorship is nonsensical and serves no purpose other than to make YouTube look good to potential advertisers? Weeeeeelll, it appears YouTube has hit a major snag in that department.
For all the fuss that was generated over “extremist” video content, which mostly was just a way of saying they’re going to try to suppress politically incorrect content, YouTube didn’t count on what really fucked their brand this weekend: pedophiles. Or, more specifically, the presence of videos depicting real children appearing in suggestive situations for pedophiles to masturbate to, or the presence of pedophiles chortling to the comments sections of home videos featuring children in which they express their desire to have sex with them. According to an investigation from The Times this is being financially supported by ads from major corporations, including Amazon, eBay, BT and TalkTalk, appearing on those videos. This has resulted in overwhelming backlash from advertisers, who have been pulling their YouTube ads and expressing doubt over YouTube’s commercial viability.
So let’s just get this straight: YouTube, in a desperate bid to sanitize their platform by chasing the alt-right bogeymen away, left out the large numbers of pedophiles who are on their website, and searching for videos of scantily clad children so that they can leer at those children, and now that this has come to light it is hurting their brand, when they thought all they had to worry about was some Nazis ranting about Jews and the Holocaust. Good job YouTube. You’ve demonstrated once again how much of a farce your censorious policies are proving to be.
I’m sure YouTube are going to clean this up in the light of such a major boycott from advertisers – this is their bottom line we’re talking about – but, if you defended YouTube for removing content it doesn’t deem advertiser friendly before, are you now beginning to see a problem with this position? Apparently it’s not OK to shitpost or express opinions that the company deems offensive or disposable, but it is OK for pedophiles to lurk on your website for lord knows how long and leer at people’s prepubescent daughters. It is increasingly impossible defend YouTube, and by proxy its parent company Google, over its plans to regulate the content and information that appears on its platform when such scandals, and more, spread like wildfire so easily, and can be shown without much difficulty for the farce that they are. I sincerely hope that more people come to realize this as time goes by.
Well, it’s that time of year, again. It is officially the anniversary of my Heretical Domain, and I’ve now been running this blog for five years. I kind of worried this blog would be dead by now, given how much things have slowed down this year. But no, I think I’ll still be writing for this for some time. And since this is the 5th anniversary of the blog, I would like to do something special for you readers: I’m going to look back on how I became a Satanist, from my current perspective.
Now, while I officially became a Satanist in 2013, while I was still a college student, there is something to say about my “religious life” before that point. When I was a boy, I used to be loosely part of the Christian faith in that I was brought to believe in Jesus on the basic level. I was never a devout Christian in the sense that I read the Bible back then and was a consistent church-goer (in fact, my parents were liberal enough that they allowed me to not go to church for some reason), but I did believe in Jesus, was scared of going to hell like many kids were, and I was naive enough back in the day to pray to him to stop the rainforests from being bulldozed to death (because hey, I cared a lot about stuff like that as a kid). At the very least I would have been culturally Christian back then. As I got older, I was more reluctant about this religious belief, and there was one time when a learning support assistant I worked with talked about whether or not I was Christian, I was asked if I believed in the god of the Bible and his son and nervously said yes. I say nervously, I was worried that I’d be judged if I said no. That was about a decade ago, I think was at least 12 years old at the time, and I can never be certain if those concerns were rational.
At some point in my early teens I discovered the writings of an atheist named Ebon Musings on the Internet, specifically writings concerning about the nature of the god of the Bible. How he was an evil, tyrannical deity who kept his hold over the hearts of his believers by threatening to destroy them for all eternity, and who goes about murdering countless people in the Old Testament. I also used to watch some programs hosted by Richard Dawkins, where he would explain his similar views about Christianity and God, as well as religion in general. Somehow I never really became an atheist after that (though I do have my leanings in some cases), I guess even after absorbing those ideas part of me still wanted a spiritual side, but I did abandon Christianity, never to return. After that I was inspired to look at all kinds of religions. In that sense, looking back, it seems like I did what a lot of people did when they lose their faith. I always looked to either Eastern religions or some forms of paganism, and I was very interested in earth and fertility goddesses for some reason. There was a time when I did a random prayer to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, because I found the deity interesting. At some point, I discovered the Shin Megami Tensei games, which brazenly showed me a world filled with demons, angels and Gods, nearly all derived from existing religions, traditions and mythologies, and pitted them in a world that presented a philosophical choice for the player, which for most of the games can often be boiled down to a the dilemma of “order/security vs freedom and self-direction”. Looking up the series, and the entities featured in the games, exposed me to a whole world of myths, characters and beliefs that until then I didn’t know existed. At the time, I still wasn’t emotionally ready to embrace Satanism yet, but for a while I got thinking and I leaned a lot to the side that happened to be backed by demons and fearsome deities (though, as a teenager, I had a tendency to be swing back and forth with different positions). It also kind of find into my interest in real world mythologies evolving from concern with goddesses and Hinduism, to also incorporating chthonic beings like the Cabiri and the Yaksha, and representations of primordial chaos like Tiamat.
For years until 2013, I was just a kooky agnostic who hated Christianity and admired paganism and Eastern religions. That was probably the closest to a consistent religious identity I had for a while. You could probably tell from a lot of my earliest blog posts. Even after I became a Satanist, aspects of that persisted for about a year or so, but we’ll get to that later on. I think it was by around 2011 or 2012, when I was still active on Yahoo Answers, I met a Luciferian occultist from America who followed me and gave me his opinion in answer to several questions of mine, even regarding things non-related to religion and philosophy. I used to chat with him a lot, he would frequently indulge my curiosities about Satanism, the Left Hand Path and the occult, as well as talk to me about a world of other things, and before long we became friends. Sometimes, I even referred to him as a brother of sorts, despite not actually being tied by flesh and blood. I haven’t spoken to him since at least 2015, sadly, but I will always remember him by his handle: The Desolate One. After talking to him, as well as watching interviews of King Diamond while I was getting into heavy metal, I began thinking more about Satanism, and more specifically what I wanted.
As much as nowadays I complain about the pretentiousness that is, somewhat stereotypically, associated with art students, I think that my time in art college was useful. For one thing I probably couldn’t have gotten into university without it, because I needed to earn a further education degree in art in order to get into the game design course I now do, but in a broader sense it was an opportunity to express myself creatively with wild abandon, even if I’m not convinced what I did was as good as many of the other things that other students made. Whenever I had the freedom to do so, I would express a lot of leaning that would probably be considered proto-Satanist in a personal sense, sometimes expressing ideas that learned from The Desolate One, but mostly expressing aspects of my own personality. At the time, I was pretty rebellious, which I guess is sort of typical for someone who was still basically a teenager, but introverted as merry fuck on top of that. Before the beginnings of summer in 2013, my leanings and thoughts came together, and I saw Satanism as the perfect fit to what I was looking for: I wanted freedom, self-direction, affirmation of life, a spiritual system that embraced pretty much everything that mainstream religion hated. That was how I understood Satanism. Theism or atheism, it didn’t matter to me, and it still doesn’t matter to me that much. I don’t care if you are an atheistic or theistic Satanist; I care if you are a Satanist. If you embrace the fundamental philosophy of Satanism on a basic level, the God debate is irrelevant because then you are still a Satanist with or without the literal Satan.
Ever since then, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go through changes. When I was younger for instance, I tried vainly to mix that Satanism with Hindu and Buddhist teachings, but it didn’t work out. Now I don’t do that as much, although I am still interested in reading about the Tantric teachings to learn from them. Also, in the past, I was still pretty emotionally immature, and this has often lead to me doing some really stupid things that ended friendships and even potential relationships. Nowadays, I guess you could say I’ve “grown up”, but I’m still a pretty eccentric individual with some of my historical desires and drives remaining; call it what you will: an act of the hidden Will preserving those things, or what Nietzsche called some granite of “spiritual fatum”, or just genes I guess. But that’s the look I’m looking at. And in 2015 I learned more about Luciferianism, at least the kind expounded by Michael Ford and Jeremy Crow, and I really liked the philosophy they put forward in Wisdom of Eosphoros and have since incorporated many aspects of it into my own worldview. But for now, I mostly think of myself as a Satanist first, but with a sort of Luciferian framework layered on top of it. And I guess I’m a sect unto myself now, as of some months ago.
And that, I suppose, is how I became a Satanist. If my philosophy is strong enough, I will probably remain a Satanist for the foreseeable future. I can’t imagine how much that will play into the rest of my life after I leave university, but hey; nowadays I’m almost less worried about people knowing I’m a Satanist and more worried about people getting to know my politics and my appreciation for good memes (not that this should throw me off guard). Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed reading that and I kind of hope to still be posting on this blog for a couple more years.
This is one of quite a few posts I intended to write much earlier, but got sidetracked by my coursework. If my post from the beginning of September is any indiciation, I did say this was going to happen. Still, I’ve managed to put this together, and there’s something I have planned for Wednesday as well – I think you know why if you’ve followed me for long enough. Anyway, here’s the post.
Recently I watched a 3-part video series on the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and gained a few insights that seemed particularly useful and relevant to me. Since then I gained an interest in the book itself, and for this post I want to go through two specific laws that hit right home when I was first paying attention, alongside some other ideas that I became aware of with time.
One such law is the law of planning all the way to the end.
Plan All the Way to the End
The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible
consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.
The point of this law is straightforward: think of the outcome you want to achieve, and pay attention every possible outcome looming in the horizon so that you can outmaneuver them. Honestly, I feel like this is part of the point of me constantly being taught about planning ahead in game design at university: there is no game project without a plan underlying it. Otherwise, the project becomes consumed by a multiplicity of setbacks, some late ideas that people try to add on and a lot of stress due to the fact that you’d inevitably be forced to improvise all the way to the last minute, resulting in a shitty game that no one would want to play.
Greene gives a very good reason for this law in the book:
Most men are ruled by the heart, not the head. Their plans are vague, and when they meet obstacles they improvise. But improvisation will only bring you as far as the next crisis, and is never a substitute for thinking several steps ahead and planning to the end.
And I think that’s generally true: people are mostly ruled by emotions. In a way, nearly all of us are to some extent. It’s why lots of people get drawn into mass outrage over small things, because it pokes at specific emotions. It’s also a major reason why humans have a proclivity towards the consumption of false hopes, because the fantasy provides solace.
What struck me is the analogy to the Greek gods found in the book, which goes as follows:
According to the cosmology of the ancient Greeks, the gods were thought to have complete vision into the future. They saw everything to come, right down to the intricate details. Men, on the other hand, were seen as victims of fate, trapped in the moment and their emotions, unable to see beyond imminent dangers. Those heroes, such as Odysseus, who were able to look beyond the present and plan several steps ahead, seemed to defy fate, to approximate the gods in their ability to determine the future. The comparison is still valid – those among us who think further ahead and patiently bring their plans to fruition seem to have a godlike power. Because most people are too imprisoned in the moment to plan with this kind of foresight, the ability to ignore immediate dangers and pleasures translates into power. It is the power of being able to overcome the natural human tendency to react to things as they happen, and instead to train oneself to step back, imagining the larger things taking shape beyond one’s immediate vision. Most people think that they are in fact aware of the future, that they are planning and thinking ahead. They are usually deluded: what they are really doing is succumbing to their desires, to what they want the future to be. Their plans are vague, based on imaginations rather than reality. They may believe that they are thinking all the way to the end, but they are really focusing only on the happy ending, and deluding themselves by the strength of their desire.
I should probably read more Hellenic literature, so as to study this phenomenon further whenever I get the chance. Beyond that, I see a way of relating to the Left Hand Path. To be godlike is to have complete control, or as close an approximation as possible, of your own destiny. It’s not hard to recognize that you are not going to be in control of anything if you consistently allow yourself to be ruled by the present moment, the changing seasons of the day, and your emotions. You certainly won’t be in control of your own destiny if you can’t plan it out. You will either remain a limited creature, subject to the whims of “fate”, or you will surpass that through your capacity to sit back, observe the circumstances and be able to maneuver them and approximate wisdom of the gods in Olympus. I’m sure the analogy is understood.
And speaking of divine analogies, we see another in the introduction to the book…
Related to mastering your emotions is the ability to distance yourself from the present moment and think objectively about the present moment. Like Janus, the double-faced Roman deity and guardian of all gates and doorways, you must be able to look in both directions at once, the better to handle danger from wherever it comes. Such is the face you must create for yourself – one face looking continuously towards the future and the other to the past.
In other words, eat shit people who relentlessly quote Siddhartha Gautama about living in the moment to justify some air-headed and carefree view of the world!
I jest (well, mostly), but the point is easy enough to grasp: if you want to control your own destiny, and control your own emotions, step outside of the moment and look at it from that position, with objectivity. Much as a deity might step outside of his or her creation, looking down upon its inhabitants and observing things as they are, assuming we’re dealing with a rational deity of course.
The other law I want to talk about is the law of concentrating your forces.
Concentrate Your Forces
Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another—intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.
Various websites offer the following interpretation of this law, which I can’t seem to find in the book itself:
Are you in a state of total distraction and diffusion, hardly able to keep your mind in one direction before you are pulled in a thousand others? The modern world’s level of conflict is higher than ever and you internalize it in your life.
The solution is a form of retreat inside yourself to the past, to more concentrated forms of thought and action.
1. Single-mindedness of purpose.
2. Total concentration on the goal.
3. Then use these qualities against people less focused.
Such an arrow will find its mark every time and overwhelm the enemy. This is what happened to ancient Athens, which lusted for the faraway island of Sicily and ended up losing its empire. The Romans stretched the boundaries of their empire to encompass vast territories; in doing so they increased their vulnerability, and the chances of invasion from yet another barbarian tribe. Their useless expansion led their empire into oblivion.
The text in question is related to the book, specifically page 174, where it talks of how the modern world is more divided than ever, in terms of individuals, families and political groups, there is more social conflict than before, and that this external state of things is internalized by humans resulting in a constantly distracted state of mind for the majority of the population. Keep in mind, the book was written during the mid-1990’s and published in 1998, but if you look at the modern world of 2017 I think you will find that not much has changed from his day except for the fact that social media is now an all-encompassing aspect of life, which can only entail more distraction for many people. If anything, it kind of feels like the conflict and division in the modern world has been getting worse, or at least that’s the case in America which is now more polarized than ever, but even here in the UK I think we are starting to become polarized in the same way as the Americans.
But going back to the point, I’ve often felt like I get distracted a lot. I do my coursework, and sometimes find myself staring at the screen before promptly eyeing another stimulation. It’s something that I struggle with throughout. I’ve written a schedule to try and order things, and I think I keep to for the most part but I suspect that I sometimes flout it unintentionally. I also sometimes feel like I have multiple ideas for what I want to do with myself and take a long time to settle on just one goal. A good example is with my guitar. I have thought about actually making music with it at some point in the future, and the reality of career expectations notwithstanding I have envisioned a few directions for my style to go in (all of them some form of metal though, let’s be fair) and I have yet to pick one over the other. Sometimes, I find myself to be pretty all over the place in many aspects, having a lot of things I want to do and not focusing on one thing nearly enough.
When I heard that law, for some reason I thought of an idea that I came across earlier from Friedrich Nietzsche which is referred to as “the organizing idea”, which seems to be traced to the book Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is, which incidentally was the last book he wrote in the years leading up to his fall from sanity.
Meanwhile, the organizing idea that is destined to rule keeps growing deep down – it begins to command, slowly it leads us back from side roads and wrong roads; it prepares single qualities and fitnesses that will one day prove to be indispensable as a means toward a whole – one by one, it trains all subservient capacities before giving any hint of the dominant task, “goal,” “aim,” or “meaning.”
This idea was apparently something that he proposed as a way coordinating and ordering an entire multiplicitous structure of desires, drives and forces within the psyche or self: one overriding drive or ideation to rule as lord of the psyche, to grant the individual the ability to live his or her life with single-minded devotion towards a source of meaning in that life. This idea is said either to be attained through self-creation, the fashioning of an ordered, harmonious and unitary self out of the multiple elements of the self in the sculptor’s vein, or discovered over the course of the individual’s life, revealing itself to the individual at points, leaving the individual to seek out the organizing idea. I wonder if Luciferians relate this to the concept of the True Will, in reference to the Azal’ucel or the Holy Guardian Angel in Michael W. Ford’s work, in which case the True Will would be the organizing idea that the individual has to seek out, attain an understanding of or transform into in order to organize the self. On a slight tangent, Ford’s Luciferianism can be seen as pursuing essentially the kind of the journey that Nietzsche advocated – to descend into the depths, to bore the foundations, in order to explore the psyche in a journey true self-knowledge – and for Ford this journey is largely undertaken either through bare bones self-exploration or through the pursuit of occultism.
I thought of the organizing idea as something to concentrate forces behind, often in a personal and spiritual sense. A guiding force at the center of a life path, your activity. I don’t know if it’s apt, but I think it’s an approach worth thinking about.
So why did I talk about these ideas? Well, because they convince me more than ever of the value of an internalized sense of order, and of structure. They show me these things as paths to power, strength, wisdom, self-direction and the enlightenment of the Left Hand Path. Together it gives me a really good crystallization of the path I would take: not to join the kingdom of light, but to rule a kingdom of shadows, the dark kingdom of the soul. To step back, see with a detached set of eyes and take control of one’s fate through the human capacity to order the world around him. To transcend one’s own limitations. That last part is also important for the following reason: increasingly I find myself more and more aware of the fact that most humans are limited creatures: most of us favor group-think to some extent, most of us think we are rational when really, while not totally ignorant, we are only partly rational and often subject to delusion and ignorance, most of us are weak in the sense that we give into emotions such as fear with ease, and most of us are not capable of facing the darkness. Rare is the man who wants to make the journey to the underworld.
Some of you may have noticed, but I took a break from blogging this summer. Among other things, I signed up for an introductory summer school course in Tibetan Buddhism at the University of California, Berkeley. Since I have only familiarized myself with Japanese Buddhism thus far, this was a great opportunity to broaden my perspective and go back to Buddhist basics. At the same time, I learned about Tibet, for me an unknown region with a fascinating history, culture, language and – of course – religion.
Buddhist teacher Padmasambhava in sexual embrace with consort. – Tibetan painting on post card, original at Asian Art Museum San Francisco
Since the focus was mostly on Tibet, Japan was not mentioned very often during my class, but the notorious “Tachikawa-ryū” (lit. school of Tachikawa) was repeatedly brought up by several authors in their account on the dispersion of Tantrism in Far East Asia…