Death, the lust for life, and the survival of the spirit

Lately I came across another bullshit article touting the prospect physical immortality, yet another one based on the idea of transferring (or rather copying) consciousness onto a machine. It’s the same shit I wrote about earlier, only without any connection to Humai. I brought up my usual point on physical “immortality” – it’s pointless, it’s non-existent, the body will be destroyed anyway, all while we forget what it is to live. A friend of mine also pointed out that, apparently, the physical body will one day be destroyed before the planet would even end, citing that someone once estimated (not sure who) that an “immortal” body, even if not susceptible to death by disease or old age, would last about 1,000 years before an accident or violent act would damage that body beyond repair. Added to that, he points out that being physically immortal usually means becoming weary of a long and endless lifespan. Suffice it say, I’m not sure even the lust for life would do much to prevent the weariness that would come with remaining in the physical world for hundreds or thousands of years. Perhaps this is because life on Earth is meaningless without the possibility of death, and without the possibility of living a worthwhile life before you die – something that I guarantee people would not do if they could keep a physical body in the material realm forever.

As a Satanist, I say it’s better just to live your mortal life to the fullest. I reject the attempts at physical immortality as an exercise in futility (for the reasons above and more), and embrace the possibility of spiritual immortality. In the Left Hand Path generally, this is one of the primary goals of spiritual or magickal practice. And for the Satanist, the path to the survival and immortality of the spirit is by cultivating a strong self or ego and vital existence. For Anton LaVey, only the person who has remained vital throughout his life and fought to the end for his existence will cultivate a self strong enough to survive death. For me, this doesn’t seem like a purely materialistic worldview, but rather it implies the role of the self as being something like a soul, the component traditionally held to survive death. Whether or not LaVey held such as thing as spiritual or purely material is something that can be debated.

In other words, why leave the flesh when it is possible that the flesh is the house of the soul, the pathway to spiritual actualization found in vital existence on earth (and perhaps through some magick) rather than the denial of material life. It is through this that you’ll find immortality through the gates of death, not through the meager attempts of humans achieve physical immortality through “transferring” of consciousness and other hogwash. Stay vital.

Life after death through fulfillment of the ego

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The self

The thing about all religions regarding the self is that they want you to surrender to them. They don’t want you to be yourself. They want you to either bow down to their deity and make your self subject to it, or to surrender yourself entirely. In the latter case it is either in pursuit of being one and indistinct with everything thinking that the self and the cosmos are the same, or in pursuit of the idea that there is no self. Even in contemporary or new age form, mainstream religion and spirituality divides the self into an “inner voice” and an “ego”. They speak of being yourself, but that’s not what they want you to be. When they speak of the “true self”, they speak of a consciousness that supposedly pervades the universe but is not your own, so you are not being yourself, you are just exchanging your self for something else, rendering your will as that of the universe. Even in Thelema, you give your self to be a conduit for someone else’s will (in this case Babalon).

If there is God, and God is involved in the formation of the self, the will, and our desires, then it makes no sense that God would allow us to have selfhood, individuality, and our own desires simply so we could give it up in God’s name, rather God would want us to express ourselves as wholesomely and truthfully as we were meant to as human beings. But sadly, this concept of God is not found in any kind of religious thought, and so we have either a tyrant in heaven or a consciousness that wants others to fuse with it.

No religion gives a damn about the concept of the I. It doesn’t give a damn about individuality and individual thought or will unless it can be made to serve their idea of God or some higher consciousness. No religion wants you to have your own self, not even the Asian faiths. It’s foolish to think they will free you, when they in fact want to alter your state of being outside of your own. You can only do this outside of religion, or in attachment to certain philosophical frameworks (like Satanism, or possibly Luciferianism), though it is often best to go your own way even if that means going without them. And as for this idea of ego versus the inner voice, isn’t ego the Latin pronoun for self? When did it become a byword for an invalid, false, or immoral state of being? (To be honest though, I might like a better word for what people refer to as “ego”, in case ego as a word becomes inconvenient)

I believe in the I, the self, and its spiritual merit. If anything, the true falsehood is the confusion of self and body (which I have to admit, some of the belief systems I’ve criticized at least addressed) and the true foolishness is people going with the flow of society and religion instead of following themselves, their own path, their own self. Not just carnal desires either. That is only one part of our self. Follow the spirit in ourselves, our reason, our ethics, our morals and ideals which we will decide upon ourselves instead of blindly obeying anyone else’s. Be true to yourself, be who are you are and not what religions and herds want you to be, and be truthful, strong, and brave in your path. Do this, and your life, your will, your creation, you yourself will be your own, and heaven will be all yours, your heaven and your creation.

Chaos, Satanism, and balance

I’ve come to an interesting thought lately. I can be heavily individualistic and egoistic, and a Satanist, while respecting the idea of balance somewhere. Why does this matter? Because for a while I’ve had respect for the idea of balance in some way.

We humans are egoistic beings, and desire, ambition, ego, power, and will make us, the world, and the universe go round (in the universe’s case, that would have to be energy), but this doesn’t mean there’s not a down side to that.

There is nothing inherently wrong or evil with pride, but sometimes people obscure their judgement just for pride or stoop to the level of being real assholes. There is nothing inherently wrong with lust, but sometimes people can do horrible things to fulfill or express it. There is nothing inherently wrong with the pursuit of material goods, wealth, fortune and pleasure, but greedy people can sometimes use their wealth for evil purposes or maintain it by evil means. Power on its own is not evil, but it can be used by evil people for evil goals and purposes, and in the end, power is a tool, like any weapon, that can be used for any purpose by anyone.

It’s because of this general reality that I think there is a place for balance. I think some idea of balance can exist in a personal ideology oriented toward freedom, personal power, individualism, and selfhood. This balance involves taking charge. It involves seeing that our instincts are an important part of us and it’s natural to fulfill them, but we must take care that we don’t do too much harm or cross over into evil. Hedonism, personal power, and selfishness are not the same as evil, even if Western society thinks so, but it can be taken in evil directions. And remember that you are not the only one with the right to personal power and happiness, and don’t think you can trample all over others thinking otherwise. You are not the only one with freedom, self, and power. Do what you will, but beware of what you do, and don’t expect everything you do to go unopposed because actions do have consequences. And remember, nothing justifies stupidity.

In Shin Megami Tensei terms, it’s the ideology of the Chaos alignment with some Neutral tendencies or just respect for balance. In a certain way I feel this kind of balance, or my respect for the idea of balance, can be reflected in my liking of the colors red and purple. Red implies my affinity towards freedom, power, individualism, and Chaos, while purple represents balance or the respect towards it. Interestingly enough, purple is a mixture where red is more dominant than blue, so the purple could be said to be Neutral with a Chaos flair. Ultimately, I consider red and purple to be representative of that Chaos is the dominant ideology in my case, but I respect the idea of balance and some other Neutral tendencies (despite what I have previously said about Neutral, which still stands), or that I advocate Chaos, freedom, individualism, and personal power, but also a kind of balance. This balance, by the way, is not a reconciliation of order and chaos, but more to do with morality and dealing with the excess and evil that we sometimes led ourselves and our desires to, which even the Satanist would recognize.

I find a similar expression of this in my musical tastes. I like heavy metal (including traditional heavy metal), thrash metal, hard rock, but also some electronic stuff, mainly the techno in some video games, but there are good electronic songs not from video games (none of that modern dance or dubstep crap), especially if they have a certain feel. Because of this I like electronic and industrial rock because it’s like hard or heavy rock with the electronic feel. You could say something similar about industrial metal, another genre I like. I also like a bit of alternative if it’s good enough for me but that’s besides the point.

Going back to the actual point, by applying a kind of balance, we prevent ourselves from slipping into evil and corruption, losing too much control, and/or becoming major assholes. Temptation, lust, pride, rage, and all expressions of ego and desire are all OK, but we can often take these into the direction of evil or general douchebaggery. So it is up to us to as individuals to apply balance to prevent ourselves from potentially becoming assholes and to deliver ourselves from evil., and punish injustice, oppression, and evil when it happens. It’s also up to us to realize that, while power isn’t bad, it is important to be able to control that power, rather be controlled or blinded. If you are weak, then you will be corrupted by it.

I get the impression many people don’t seem to realize this. My sister has proven to me a disgusting and even terrifying example of anger, energy, fury, and rage that is directed or used in a morally reprehensible manner or attitude, and also of pride that is unfounded, misplaced, and allowed to cloud the mind. She shouts at her infant son a lot, and when she wants him asleep or away from one of the living rooms, she shouts at him, sometimes aggressively, and sometimes swears at him and tells him to shut up. Never does it occur to her when he wakes up to gently put him back to sleep, or employ any parenting that isn’t aggressive or designed only as an easy route to raising a child. That’s what you get for getting knocked up at age 20 and not having an abortion while it was still a mass of cells. She’s also generally mean-spirited and bossy, and won’t listen to anyone, not even our mother. Two days ago, I remember my sister shouting a lot at her son very frequently, and when our mom was approaching she barked aggressively at her, telling her to go away, and all the while never wanting to hear or accept the fact she’s just a horrible person and bad parent who got knocked up too young. We’re dealing with a young woman who will not listen to criticism and will not allow herself to realize she was wrong. Thus we have an example of someone who lets her pride obscure her and directs her rage and fury for all the wrong reasons.

That aside, ultimately, my philosophy is much the same as ever and I’m still a Satanist and Left Hand Path thinker, but there is no reason Left Hand Path philosophies can’t find some way to include balance in some way (though not necessarily between RHP and LHP ideals).

Aleister Crowley was just another Right Hand Path thinker

The so-called “Wickedest Man in the World”, Aleister Crowley has the image of being a Satanist and The Great Beast, which is mainly made by the Christian media (not the left-wing media, not the right-wing media, the Christian media). I actually briefly got interested in him because I heard from an article by Vadge Moore that he believed he was responsible for ushering in a new era of rebellion, paganism, and promiscuity. That sounded exciting to me, but, disappointingly, that’s not the real Crowley. (Incidentally though, you can read the article here; it’s still great).

See, Crowley called himself the Great Beast and 666, just to scare and shock Christians, probably because he liked to mock them and simply taking the moral high ground against them wasn’t enough. His actual beliefs are not only not Satanic, they’re not even related to actual Satanism, or even the Left Hand Path.

In Crowley’s system, a “Brother of the Left Hand Path”, or “Black Brother”, means two things. One who failed to attain the rank of Magister Templi, and one who did not destroy his ego while crossing the Abyss. In his system, called Thelema, when the adept crosses the abyss, he must surrender everything, including his self and his Holy Guardian Angel, and leap into the Abyss, and if his ego or self is completely destroyed, he becomes a “babe of the abyss”. If he does not destroy his ego, then he is referred to as a “Brother of the Left Hand Path”, who will eventually be broken up and disintegrated against his own will.

Ego-destruction is not a left hand path idea, and Crowley clearly viewed Left Hand Path as a bad thing. And while yes, he vilified celibacy in the form of The Virgin Mary, and sexuality seems to be a thing in his system, in the end, it’s meaningless compared to the final goal of destroying the ego to merge yourself as a “babe of the abyss”.

Ultimately, he was nothing more than a dark Right Hand Path thinker, whose beliefs and system often pass off as Left Hand Path.

The only good role model is your self

In our society, we often try to give our children external role models to try and mold their character a certain way. These include familial figures (like parents), but especially celebrities. You know, athletes, actors/actresses, musicians, community workers, politicians, and other famous individuals. I find this to be a faulty cultural practice which bases itself on the molding of individuals by having them emulate other people.

I think that the best role model can have is one’s own character, ones own individually discerned values, and one’s own alter ego, an ideal of oneself, based ultimately on oneself, its goals, and its highest potential. Instead of trying to emulate some idealized, and ultimately fake, personality, or trying to live your life based on some celebrity who probably doesn’t care about you, or even your parents, you should guide your own life, by your own individually discerned virtues, personality, character, and its potential. Instead of manufacturing role models for our children, we should teach them to find the greatest role model in themselves. And let’s face it, any external role model you set up for yourself and your children, even if it’s parents, those role models are going to betray your expectations, and thus betray you. That’s because they’re not perfect, but we paint these role models to be perfect, let alone by a certain standard that is not our own, but has been made for us. Hell, celebrity culture exists solely to create fake personalities and package them as role models for people designed for them to emulate.

It’s OK to be inspired by other people, and it’s OK to have people you consider to be mentors, since inspiration and learning from others is different from the pursuit of emulating other peoples, molding your character into something you are not, and trying to be someone else, let alone a fake personality.

The problem with altruism

Jesus, a cultural symbol of the idea of self-sacrifice.

Just to be clear, this post is concerned with philsophical altruism, or the philosophy of altruism, not acts of generosity and kindness. Also, I may reference Objectivism in some way, but don’t confuse me for a genuine Objectivist, because I’m not, though I probably respect or agree with some of their ideas. In the end, I have my own philosophy.

Altruism is defined as the discipline and/or elimination of self-centered desire and the practice of a life devoted to the good and welfare of others and selfless love and devotion to society and the good of all. Esssentially, in altruism, you don’t live for your own sake, but for others. You can bet I have problems with this.

The problem as I see it is that altruism values serving others over yourself, or living for the good of all as opposed to your own. This effectively devalues any life that is lived for oneself. It devalues any existence that is not devoted primarily to the well-being of others, or the community. Its two most fundamental values are community and self-sacrifice, but especially self-sacrifice and self-denial (in the sense of a devaluing of the self), the denial of the value of the self. Altruism doesn’t give you a right to exist for your own sake, or live your life for yourself, but rather expects your existense to be based around the well-being of other people, because in that philosophy self-sacrifice is the highest ideal. It doesn’t even recognize the notion that people can be really kind or nice based on selfish desires or thinking for one’s own benefit. Nor does it value actual accomplishment, or creation, for there is nothing about it that involves creation.

For some reason, most if not all religions promote altruism as an important moral value and have an altruistic morality (or do they?). Notable examples include Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism (that is assuming Hinduism has altruism as its defining value, like the others on this list). Keep in mind, however, these are religions have the pattern of having a defined doctrine (except for Hinduism, which tends to encompass a wide variety of beliefs and doctrines), so vernacular or pagan belief systems probably aren’t about this sort of thing. Regardless, I guess the reason for religion’s relentless promotion of altruism is related to the devaluing of the self and living life for yourself on the part of altruism and religion, and those without self are easier to control and manipulate, which is what religion has all too often been shown to do.

Though I’ve never read it, the book Anthem paints a picture of a society characterized by collectivism and goal of eradicating individuality and individualistic thought, to the point that people are even burned at the stake for saying the words “I”, “Me”, “Myself”, or “Ego”. It is a totalitarian dystopia, founded on the idea of the selfless devotion to the lives of others over thinking for your own sake. The book was of course written by Ayn Rand, and as I said earlier I am not a flat out bona fide Objectivist, I just happen to agree with some of their ideas, such as their promotion of individualism, their opposition to collectivism, and their valuing of the self.

Now even though I’ve laid out my problems with altruism, I am not devaluing acts of kindness, generosity, or charity, since those can actually benefit yourself, and are linked to the desire to be treated nicely, which in itself is still a selfish desire because it pertains to how it benefits you. Sometimes you can even be nice because you just feel like it (not the same as altruistic thought, which advocates serving other purely out of selfless thought). Who said the desire for social contact isn’t selfish? Or that it’s bad because it’s selfish? Selfishness, self-centered though, or selfish desire has both good, bad, or neutral fruits, but it’s not bad on its own.

Spirituality does not need submission, or sublimation

I never liked spiritualites that involved the dissolution and sublimation of the ego and the self, and submission to a higher thing. So why is that kind of spirituality so common, or at least in most religions, especially the theistic kind? Submission to a god or detachment from self or ego is often a given.

Why must it be? And why self-mortification too?

Perhaps, this kind of spirituality is so embraced in religions because serene and gentle individuals without self are easier to control and manipulate because they see no need to fight for or defend their individuality and freedom.

My ideal spirituality, on the other hand, is different. I say break away from submission, take the power to make your own road, have no masters, you are the king of your own world and your life, get to know primal chaos, and know your inner flame. I hope for a spirituality where desire is a joy, not something to be sublimated.