Is individualism going out of fashion for people these days?

You know, it seems to me that in our “society” we are decreasingly valuing the moral, social and political worth of the individual and our instead opting to focus on a wider collective force. From the neo-progressive idea that humans are objects of a mythical “structural oppression” to the idea that people generally aren’t capable of making their own choices as conscious beings, it’s as though our culture is increasingly embrace an anti-individualist outlook.

When crime in general is committed, it’s society’s fault rather than that of the person who committed the crime. This may also extend to businesses and corporations as well – businesses do terrible things but it’s not their fault because capitalism. When mass shooting occurs, a lot of people instinctively try to blame guns, video games, music, movies, anything and everything except the person using the gun. They probably just can’t accept the idea that a human being can choose to do bad things – no, better that he was simply the object. In particularly American culture, there’s a tradition in the revolutionary (in their dreams) leftists (the kind you see who fawn over the likes of Anonymous) who are convinced that people cannot live and work as citizens in a democratic society with any kind of moral agency because in their eyes they’re actually participating in modern day slavery. You’re thoughts and lives are not your own because you live in a capitalist system, and if you disagree with the people who tell you this then that’s just because you’re a thought-slave! And if Allum Bokhari is right, the very idea of individualism seems to be under attack by academics. Not to mention there’s something I found out about the reaction to the Brussells’ terror attacks from two months ago. Specifically, how The Independent basically decided that the attacks that happened in Brussels were Belgium’s fault, rather than obviously the fault of Belgium rather than the fault of the people who – possibly out of either a desire to either not criticize Muslims or the fear of tarring all Muslims with the same brush.

I can’t help but wonder if it’s indicative of a direction that humans are opting to take, and how much trust people have in themselves compared to collectives or authorities. It’s telling that there’s a lot of people are sick of the government, sick of what they perceive as excessive corporate influence on the government, and yet they put their trust in guys like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn who would expand the government. Probably because the Anonymous-types are into them as well.

Is it any wonder Anonymous are such a fun bunch of people?

 

 

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On the opening of the Greater Church of Lucifer

On Halloween in Old Town Spring in Texas, the Greater Church of Lucifer has opened a building for the first time, thus facilitating a public physical venue for people to explore the Luciferian belief system. I may be late in saying this, but I would really like to offer my congratulations to the Greater Church of Lucifer for their successful opening of their first building, particularly for carrying on as planned after being greeted with hate-filled Christian protest and vandalism. I also offer respect and praise to the neighbours of the GCOL who do not agree with their teachings but still respect their right to exist and to spread their teachings to those willing to listen.

An image of the GCOL building in Old Town Spring, Texas.

This development represents not just the potential success of the Greater Church of Lucifer as an organization, but the hope that Left Hand Path philosophy will break the domination of Right Hand Path philosophy on a wider level. As fantastic as this all is, it’s also part of why it’s frustrating to hear that the GCOL have apparently been vandalized again.

Haven’t we had enough of people’s childish hatred of other belief systems, and their equally childish delusions of the God-given superiority or natural ordinance their own belief systems, making a mockery of the notion of freedom of religion and civil rights? Is it too much to ask that anyone other than Christians or members of other mainstream religions can set up their own organization and physical buildings in peace and liberty? And the funny thing is, I haven’t heard of Christians hatefully vandalizing buildings from other religions, not even mosques. I know The Satanic Temple has received death threats for their Satan statue, but pretty no actual vandalism (though that might be because of the security and privacy of their unveiling).

My best wishes to the Greater Church of Lucifer, and all I can say is good luck and keep up the thick skin, because I’m worried that more struggles await and that people are going to keep vandalizing the GCOL building either because they have no understanding of what they are doing wish to keep playing childish games or because they’re just jerks looking to derive gratification through hooliganism and see the non-conformists as acceptable targets (you know, the same kind of people who killed one Sophie Lancaster for kicks). Other than that, I would say that I hope somebody starts vandalizing these fundamentalist Christian churches just to show them who’s boss, but the danger to that is that it would only lead them to feel confirmed in their persecution complex.

Group blaming and academic hardship

As of yesterday September has officially begun, and that means time is running out for me before I start university. In fact, I start my second year on September 28th. There are quite a few anxieties I can feel as I draw closer to this date and I can absolutely expect things to be harder for me in this coming academic year, but if there’s one thing I am looking forward to the least, it’s the prospect of group blaming. Seriously, nowhere else have I encountered an environment were the whole group can be put at fault for the incompetence of the few, or when the few who don’t commit atrocious actions can be viewed as just as bad of those who do, especially after one of the students slips up and says something stupid about another. Although I recognize this would not happen in all university courses, and would be likely to happen only in courses where group work is a certainty, I swear it feels like it can only happen in university.

Let me try to give you a concise description of the group blaming I’ve experienced at my course during my first year, or at least how bad it can be: For the first year, I studied in a class of 12 people (we briefly had one person transfer to our course, which made it a class of 13 for a while, but it didn’t last long and I never heard from that person again), which after Christmas became a class of 10 (one person dropped out and the other was probably kicked off for frequent lack of attendance), and by the end is now a class of 8 (one of the students dropped out right before the end of year presentations and the other basically failed). Before the end of the first semester (first out of two, each one consisting of each half of the academic year) we got into to teams did two main projects for two of the modules. After the group presentations at the end of the first semester , it was deemed that the two projects were handled poorly for various reasons, and for the second semester we all worked as one group on a single main project spanning three modules. For this project, we decided to combine elements of the previous two projects and put them into one new project. It was quite a shake-up, and we had to decide what elements of the background, game world, character design, and level design we wanted to keep or introduce and we all had to come to an agreement, and it didn’t come easily or quickly. In fact, about three weeks in, we all had an argument that I remember started with a discussion about designing the two main characters we were creating, and unfortunately that discussion escalated into a rather nasty argument that eventually devolved into people slinging insults and words of discord at each other in typical Internet fashion, but I began distancing myself from the conversation early on in order avoid becoming part of a petty argument, let alone a degrading mess. One student even tried to end the argument by shouting down everyone, but that just made things worse because he also called one or more people a “bitch”. The argument lasted a couple of days and eventually died down, but one student soon began to feel like quitting because she began to feel intimidated what she felt was a hostile atmosphere, and the tutors could not allow that to happen. So one day our usual lecture became devoted to the whole sordid mess, and it was a disaster. We all got chewed out, except myself and at least two other students who did not involved, and the tutors were trying to get to the bottom of who started the argument and who were the main belligerents. There was even concern about abuse and cyber-harassment, which would have led to expulsions, so they wanted to figure if anyone was hurling abuse as well, and they made it very clear that the university does not look kindly of such conduct, and neither would pretty much all potential employers. Despite my lack of involvement in the whole debacle I feared the worst would come and one of us would be expelled from the university for being, but thankfully it did not come to that. However, this foul business was not forgotten, certainly not by the tutors, who made it clear that this was the only year in which such a state of affairs had to be dealt with and (as I recall) expressed the possibility of monitoring conversations on Facebook (which as I recall has since not come to pass, but if it did and I became aware of it, I would probably leave the course because such actions, regardless of intent, conflict with my moral/ethical views because I would definitely view them as a form of policing conversations that previously happened independently). What I remember is that I was present in the whole chewing out, despite my lack of involvement in the affairs, and even though my lack of involvement was acknowledged, I felt like I was part of this mess, and it was a disgrace. Months later, about a week before the end of year presentations, one of us slipped up and referred to three students as “vanishers”, in reference to their frequent absence and their association with each other, and then the tutors began to tell us that we were all in the same lot as them, and that during the arguments those who were not involved were just as bad as everyone who was for not doing anything to try and stop the argument, which was insulting to me because this included me and devalued my sense of good judgment, all without any satisfying modicum of reason and good ethical sense behind it in my eyes. Nowadays, I come to a point where I feel like it’s entirely possible I could have stopped the argument or led it to cool down sooner, but let me tell you; that’s NOT how it should happen! I shouldn’t be forced to come to any conclusion regarding my role in things, no matter how sound, based on guilt or group blaming. Good work should be rewarded and failure should be punished, but that must be based entirely on individual actions and merit, meaning no one must be blamed for the actions or words of the incompetent and malicious but the individuals who proved incompetent or malicious by said actions or words. In my opinion at least, a situation/environment where people who are good or competent find themselves punished or put at fault for the actions of the few who were malicious or incompetent, regardless of their own actions, is morally (and logically) inexcusable!

Anyways, alongside all that, I just know that the course is going to get harder, for reasons I have described before, but one of the reasons I’ve already mentioned smells a little rotten as well. Basically, from what I have been told by the tutors, from the coming academic year and onwards we will all have to hand in assignments before we break up for the Christmas and Easter seasons respectively, and given the time in which we start. However, the reason this is happening is because there has been a problem with students not doing any work whatsoever during the holidays, and then trying do three weeks of work that could, and should, have been done sooner during the last few weeks before the deadline, resulting in students handing in poor-quality (often unfinished) assignments, as has happened in the end of our first semester. But I was not one of those students, I spent time over the winter and spring holidays doing some work, and I can bet a good number of fellow students were in the same position. Once again, I find that an entire group of people is now put at fault for the poor efforts of the incompetent, and sharing in the fruits of their mediocrity. But this time it doesn’t just apply to my class, but if I’m correct it could apply to everyone, including the first-year students, and now this means everyone is bearing the fruits of the incompetence of students from my class, which in my opinion is simply wrong, illogical, and unjustifiable. I am now in a position where I feel that, even if I finally graduate and earn a career in the games industry, if I find that the games industry generally abides by this pattern, I would give up on being a games designer completely because I can’t continue to participate in such practice and call still myself an honorable man who abides by his principles in spite all odds and perceptions. Not to mention, as the course gets harder, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before we all argue again, and I will be expected to stop it, but I feel even if I try, it could easily get out of hand and with the distinct possibility that I will simply get tired of it, with the result that before long we’ll all be chewed out for it again, and I will receive blame for the things I did not do or endorse, which will substantially demoralize me.

Through all this, I want to continue the course and do as much of the rest of it as possible, quitting only when I am fully demoralized about my course and never at the end or beginning of each year, but I’m not sure I’m going to survive this course, and even if I do survive the second-year It’s likely that the best I can definitely hope for is that I don’t have my first heart attack and/or die from stress, but that’s quite a morbid thought for the rest of what is still my summer break. All’s I know is I don’t have long, because once I complete the second year and transition to the third year, I feel it will be too late as there will be little point in quitting as I will be at the peak of my course.

Elaborating on the principle of Chaos

I have been meaning to elaborate more on the principle of Chaos I mentioned earlier.

In past blog entries I have primarily described Chaos a primordial force in the universe, but now I feel ever closer like Chaos is an individual principle. It is inspired by the Shin Megami Tensei faction, as you would already expect, and as I imagine Chaos is the principle of freedom, individual, will, and primal nature. It is the principle in which individuality trumps collectivism and we make our own order for ourselves. It is the principle where freedom is more important than social order, and no rules, laws, and codes should harm freedom or stand in the way of the liberty of human beings. It is the principle where if doing the right thing must cause upheaval, than let it be done. It is the principle that espouses raw ethics, derived from the inner self, as espoused to externally espoused ethics, and where the only rule is to follow yourself and think for yourself rather than obey other people. It is the principle of being yourself, following your own desires, even if you are despised or unpopular for it, and expressing yourself freely even if others consider it indulgent and selfish. It is the principle where we create our paradise, rather than accept any false paradise laid before us. It is the principle where we embrace our primal nature, and work with it.

That is Chaos. That is what Chaos is to me. That is why it’s the philosophy for me.

An unconscious Satanist?

Reflecting on my past since discovering the Shin Megami Tensei series of video games (when I was 15 or 16), I cannot help but look back and think I might have in some way been a Satanist without even realizing it, knowing about Satanism, or even taking an interest in Satanism.

The reason I say this is because, for as long as I can remember, I have been against the idea of handing myself over to same higher power, or being one with some global consciousness, or the idea of an external force telling me what to do and ruling the world. I never liked the idea that my desires should be oppressed or extinguished. I was an individualist as soon as I learned about the philosophy and understood it was right for me, or more or less accepted it as truth.

But remember, when I was about 15 or 16 I didn’t have much awareness of many of the ideas that I do now, and my understanding of what I believe or am interested in wasn’t as refined as it is now.

Detachment from the Hindu philosophy

I’ve been doing some research and some thinking, and I am realizing that there isn’t any hope for me and Hindu philosophy. I have had trouble reconciling Hinduism with individualism, and I think the reason for this is because individualism is simply not present in Hindu philosophy.

The first reason for this is because of the obvious values of devotion to God and self-abnegation or self-sacrifice. Individualistic philosophies place emphasis on the individual, and thus the self. Hindu philosophy, meanwhile, values the surrender of the self to God, the abandoning of desire and want, and the cessation of the self and the idea of the individual, and Hindu rishis often describe individualism as a path that leads nowhere, thus marking what is actually anti-individualism. I find that Hinduism’s emphasis on this idea of self-surrender inescapable, as is their emphasis on God, and I can’t find any hope of bringing individualism into it.

Then you have the concept of Dharma. If Hinduism is not a religion, then it is a way of life based on this concept of Dharma, which is about duty (which I have traditionally seen as an artificial moral obligation imposed by others), drawing close to the family and family traditions, and thus family values (which I see as little more than social conservatism), and sacrifice. Again, I find this easily contradicts the spirit of individualism, since individualism is about you, yourself, and your freedom to walk your own path, as opposed to following society, thus it goes against any communal attitudes. I don’t follow the traditions of my family, I follow what I believe and for myself.

The fact is, individualism isn’t very big in Indian philosophy, or that matter many Eastern societies. In the West, we are quite familiar with individualism as a philosophy which values the individual as free to walk his own path (though this is not to say Western society has always valued the individual, or even honestly values the individual today), but many Eastern societies such as India and China valued family and clan more than the individual (China in particular traditionally values social harmony over the individual). In Indian society, there was much importance given to family and the group, only rarely did the individual take centre stage.

I still love Hindu mythology, lore, symbols, gods, and art, and still adore the force known to their culture as Shakti (which I find is related to the horned force, or the raw primal force, or Chaos), but I cannot subscribe to the Hindu philosophy and I cannot identify as Hindu. Ultimately I am a Satanist, and a pagan, because that is where my beliefs and philosophy lie, all I can do is venerate Hindu gods my own way, or in a much more pagan sense. And I like to think I still have a connection to the lore but not the philosophy. Although, I still have some interest in Tantra, and I have no major beef with Carvaka, despite its atheism and materialism (which I find to be rather dull especially for Indian philosophy).

Of course, it could be possible that those who wish to surrender themselves to a higher force simply have the wrong idea of how to approach the force of Shakti, as a dear friend of mine tells me.

Me and black metal

Emperor, a symphonic black metal band

Recently I’m developing a more positive attitude towards black metal, and that’s mostly because of what I’ve learned about it. Particularly, black metal in Norway.

It’s mostly ideological persuasion though. I have come to understand the Norwegian scene as an expression of individualism in opposition to the ways of Norwegian society. By the time the black metal scene was forming, Norway was quite the socially democratic state, and group mentality and traditional social roles were encouraged. Not to mention, the Christian church had a powerful role in Norwegian society. The black metal scene in Norway was started by young musicians who disliked Norwegian social norms and wanted to rebel against that, and they saw Satanism and their music as a way of rebelling against the establishment. Since then a series of church burnings struck Norway in the 90’s and many black metal artists were attributed to them (some artists did burn churches, some didn’t), and they were also attributed to a few killings.

The Fantoft stave church in Norway burning to the ground (taken in 1992).

The church burnings, in my opinion, were a protest against the Christian establishment and the “power” of the church, but it’s not just in the Satanic spirit. Some black metal artists prefer to operate under the banner of paganism, particularly Scandinavian paganism, as opposed to Satanism and the occult, as they feel it works much better for them. And these days, many black metal artists sing about life and nature, particularly winter, which would tie in well with their aesthetic style. Whatever suits them and their raw style.

To be honest though, I’m not gonna go crazy here. It’s still the occasional black metal I like for whatever reason, and I still can’t get into the aesthetic style, but I do sympathise with black metal’s idea in some way.