Order, the organizing idea and self-mastery

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 listened to a 2-part reading of 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.

Law 29
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.

Scene from Jason and the Argonauts (1963) in which the gods watch Jason from Mount Olympus.

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.

Law 23
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.

Shiva and his host of chthonic, “demonic” attendants (the ganas and bhutas).

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The Demiurge

I sometimes see in Satanic and Luciferian circles the idea of a Demiugre, whether it’s a literal or symbolic one, that has created the material world and kept Mankind as prisoner. When people talk about the Demiurge they are most likely referring to the Gnostic Christian concept of the Demiurge, the being that creates the world and imprisons the spirit of Man in its creation, who is usually identified as Yaldaboath. The Gnostic premise is the the Demiurge refers to a creator deity or creative being separate from the true God – the unknowable supreme spirit, the source of creation (sometimes referred to as Bythos). This Demiurge is usually treated as a malevolent and tyrannical being who created mankind as a way of keeping the soul, or souls, bound to the world and subject to the sufferings of life. For the Gnostics, not only is matter inferior to spirit but the world is also evil because it is created by an unjust deity. They also identified their Demiurge with YHWH as he is depicted in the Old Testament – that is, they are treated as the same being. The Demiurge often goes by the name Yaldabaoth, but has also been named Samael, which is the same name as a certain fallen angel from Jewish and Christian lore who is often viewed synonymously with the conventional Satan (in fact, it’s possible that Samael was originally the closest thing to evil incarnate in Jewish lore).

The Gnostic conception of the Demiurge as the creator of the material world may have its origins in the Platonic conception of the Demiurge. For Plato, the term “demiurge” referred simply an entity that fashioned the world, or the cosmos, as described in the Timaeus, his dialogue on the creation of the universe. The word itself simply means “craftsman” or “artisan”, thus in Plato’s Timaeus the Demiurge is a celestial artisan responsible for the creating of the universe. The Timaeus, it should be noted, is not a religious text, but rather a philosophical text entailing what Plato himself only considered to be a likely explanation for how the universe came into being. The Platonic Demiurge would generate the cosmos by imposing order on the chaos that came before it by imitating a pre-existing eternal model of creation, in contrast to the Gnostic Demiurge who is often considered to be either bumbling and incompetent or entirely malevolent.

In substance, the Gnostic Demiurge is essentially taking Plato’s conception of the Demiurge and sort of demonizing it whilst interpreting it, or identifying it, as Yahweh, the deity of the Old Testament and the deity commonly perceived as the “God of the Bible”, which they in turn equate with the demon named Samael. The clear takeaway is that the creator of the world, within the Gnostic framework, is evil and so is his creation. It seems baffling to me, then, that a Satanist or a Luciferian would embrace that idea because Satanists, by contrast, don’t see the world as evil and neither do Luciferians. We, ultimately, embrace this world, we embrace life and we intend to derive fulfillment from it. To me, at least, a Satanist who believes that the world is created by an evil Demiurge and believes that he/she must seek to transcend the evils of the world and of matter is not much different from the Christian rebuking Satan, the lord of this world, because according to the Gnostic teachings this is what it is in practice. The only difference between the Gnostic and the mainstream Christian is that that the Gnostics believe that Satan is actually Jehovah/Yahweh.

Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic demiurge

Yaldabaoth, the Gnostic demiurge

We all need to calm down

What I am going to ask of everyone who reads this is something that will probably be impossible for the vast majority of people on Earth, particularly as we draw close to the end of the US election cycle, but I think it needs to be said. Calm down. Just calm down.

I know it’s hard. There are good reasons to be on edge – democracy itself may well be on the line, the values of a free society that we in the West cherish are under attack from a new rise in collectivism masqueraded as righteousness, governments are likely to face popular resistance for certain plans that they have, we could be facing an increase in war in this world and there’s the possibility that it may involve nuclear weapons, and in general it feels like the world we live in will never be the same again. But we must not lose sight of our sanity, and more importantly, our personal values. I am talking of course about we who travel the Left Hand Path, in whatever form we choose to do so.

Make no mistake, big things are coming no matter who wins in November 8th. Not immediately, but give it time and we may yet see whether or not they actually manifest. We should not fear the collapse of the old order of the world, for there is no immortality afforded to it. That old order will die, and it will be replaced by a new one. The only thing left to our imagination is what shape that new order will take, and whether or not it’ll end in the desolation of civilization itself as some of the more fearful individuals may believe. I think there will be many foolish individuals who cling to what the media or their social cliques tell them without any critical thinking and they will believe that by following the crowd and practicing the virtue of the peacock then they will prove themselves to be good and saintly people who will have preserved the old order. But they will fail, and be shocked to see that it does not last forever. I think those of us who favor rebellion and despise conformity should embrace the thought of our current societal paradigm getting a good kick in the ass, at least if it’s in a direction that will result in the renewal or expansion of liberty or won’t end in bloody purges.

No matter what happens though, we must keep ourselves in order. We must not give in to the forces of collectivism, fear and stupidity, we must try to be consistent in acting and thinking as rational actors, at least to some extent, and we must make sure our commitments to our principles is strong. We should be on guard and canvas the world around us, and think about what we see very carefully and clearly. This is what we whose minds we expect to be free from tyranny should consider doing. We cannot otherize those whose oppose our values completely, or we give in to the forces that we should be fighting against. To do so is to reject the universalism of the value of individuality, and before long we will wind up rejecting the humanity of everyone and our own values in the process. Is that truly what we wish to do? Go mad with the rest?

In the meantime, at least consider this proposition: if you decide to follow the aftermath of the US election, make sure to have some popcorn or some snacks with you. You’ll see why in Wednesday.

For now, I think this clip from the Simpsons should lighten the mood in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek fashion.

Elitism

One concept that’s often associated with Left Hand Path traditions is the concept of elitism. I’m not sure if it’s a universal tradition among the Left Hand Path. Some Left Hand Path traditions seem to, or at least some claim to be associated with the Left Hand Path – the irony of course being that some of these “Left Hand Path” traditions actually embrace a kind of collectivism, in terms of the acceptance of an in-group and shunning an out-group – case in point, the Order of the Nine Angles, which is sometimes seen as embracing elitist concepts and spirituality, and also embraces the notion of the in-group versus the out-group (the in-group being anyone in the ONA, and the out-group being the “mundanes”, which refers to anyone who’s not a member of the ONA).

In his book Lords of the Left Hand Path, Stephen Flowers seems to refer to the Temple of Set as elitist. There is some truth to this, as there are a category of people – which, of course, consists of very few people – who are identified as “Elect”, referring to individuals within the Temple of Set who have attained the second degree or higher or have been selected by the Prince of Darkness after realizing their separation from the objective universe and its natural order.

And then there’s Peter Gilmore, personality cult leader current head of the Church of Satan, who wrote this:

[Satanism is] a religion of elitism and Social Darwinism that seeks to re-establish the reign of the able over the idiotic, of swift justice over sluggish injustice, and for a wholesale rejection of egalitarianism as a myth that has crippled the advancement of the human species for the last two thousand years. Is that something to fear? If you’re one of the majority of human mediocrities merely existing as a media-besotted drone, you bet it is!

– from Satanism: The Feared Religion by Peter Gilmore

Honestly, if Satanism really is a strongly elitist religious tradition, then that’s an aspect of Satanism that I don’t think I’ve looked into a lot (though the Book of Fire in the Satanic Bible contains verses that could be interpreted as supporting Social Darwinism and elitism). That, or I just say that because the Satanism I follow is basically a non-elitist interpretation of Satanism.

You also have individuals such as Augustus Sol Invictus (who you may remember from this year’s International Left Hand Path Consortium in Atlanta, USA), who have been associated with the Left Hand Path and espouse some kind of elitism, to the point where they are actually trying to blend LHP belief with fascist ideology. In the case of Augustus Sol Invictus, he has come out in support of eugenics programs and criticized the United States federal government for not having them in its policy because he believed that the government favored “decadent” ideology which he claimed “rejected the beauty of strength and demands the exponential growth of the weakest, least intelligent, and most diseased.” He also believes that the “strong” should govern and rule over the “weak”, which would definitely entail elitism in some form.

The dictionary definition of elitism reads as follows:

  1.  leadership or rule by an elite

  2. the selectivity of the elite; especiallysnobbery <elitism in choosing new members>

  3. consciousness of being or belonging to an elite

– from Merriam-Webster

In general, the Left Hand Path is supposed to embrace individualism above all else, which means the rejection of collectivism and collectivist ideals. But elitism, by its very definition, is preferential towards a group of people over another (or others), and its premise is actually errs towards collectivism. In collectivism, humans are divided into two key groups: one of them is the in-group, the other is the out-group. The in-group is the group that the majority or a given individual may identify with, while the out-group is the group that said majority or said given individual does not identify with. In collectivism, the in-group is given preferential status, power and the rights that those things entail, while the out-group treated as the inferior party and does not have the same rights, and there are no individual rights, only group rights. Consequently, the application of elitism would have results that I think a Left Hand Path practitioner such as myself would not find very agreeable. Going back to Peter Gilmore when he described Satanism, the irony is egregious. Satanism is a religion that espouses individualism as one of the core tenets. Elitism, put into practice, contradicts individualism and instead operate on a collectivist mindset.

In fairness though, it’s not as though every Left Hand Path individual or organization believes that the external world should follow an elitist social order. Again, I’m not sure if it’s a universal tradition in the Left Hand Path, so I can’t be sure if most Left Hand Path practitioners agree with such a premise and I certainly can’t speak for everyone – only really myself. Also, the Temple of Set is not especially egregious in its apparent elitist worldview given that they only practice anything close to elitism a hierarchy that only applies to those who join the Temple of Set. As far I know, they do not seek to impose any kind of elitism on the external world, and they don’t think that the non-elites should actually be ruled by the elites. This post is more targeted to those who an elitist social worldview.

But I cannot stress enough that, in my opinion, the application of elitism on the external world tends to only go one way – down. In the Western world today, I have been taking notice of a significant divide between the political establishment/the media and the common people, and in my opinion this divide is only getting more exposure with some key political events – namely this year’s US presidential elections and the looming EU referendum in the UK. In America, there are two populist presidential candidates you can easily point to. One of them is an old socialist, and the other is Donald Trump. Both of them seem to come from outside the political establishment and both are gunning for the power of the elite, but Donald Trump has clearly been the most successful of those two. The main reason for Donald Trump’s success is simple – he has successfully appealed to a large section of the American people who, quite frankly, are tired of feeling excluded from the political process. And that section of people happens to be a large portion of the working class.

For a long time now, the so-called liberals (I prefer the term progressives, actually) have done a good job of lording their supposed political superiority over everyone else in American culture, and even Facebook has gone out of its way to suppress people with more conservative opinions. In addition, the Obama administration proved to be a disappointment to many people, with the change promised by Obama himself not coming to pass for the most part, and you still couldn’t criticize progressivism without facing some ostracism from your liberal friends, who now doubt make a point of virtue-signalling and express their conformity through lame memes. Don’t forget the media with its glowing pro-establishment biases. Around the same time, you had political correctness gone mad, as embodied by not just the progressive/liberal establishment but also the feminist establishment, as well as a movement of young Marxists popularly referred to as social justice warriors, all demanding obedience to progressive dogma whilst considering themselves to be ideologically and morally superior to everyone else.

Naturally, a large section of people feel have had enough, and they see Trump as the antidote. The media have been falling over themselves repeatedly trying to understand Trump’s rise, and the only thing progressives seem to do is denounce Trump’s voters as racist and go out of their way to not just unfollow or block Trump supporters, but actively encourage their friends to do so as well because they’ve decided Trump supporters at large lack compassion and empathy for other human beings, little realizing that it’s exactly this intolerance to the point of illiberalism that’s spurred Trump’s voters on in the first place. It’s so bad now in the American media, that Trump’s presidency is treated as an extinction-level event, but of course some of us know what this all really means – that the establishment actually feels threatened by Donald Trump and they want him gone. We even have David Harsanyi from the The Federalist write in The Washington Post calling for the “weeding out” of ignorant Americans from the electorate. Even though the article doesn’t mention Trump at all, I have a feeling that this is establishment media butthurt stemming from Trump’s success. But the fact is, this suggestion is elitist at its core. Why? Because the author suggest that America excludes citizens from voting on the basis of intelligence, even though the right to vote is supposed to be universal – applying to literally everyone – in any democracy. Frankly, I hear stuff like this and just feel disgusted.

In the UK, we have been a part of the European Union since 1973 (back when it was called the European Economic Commission), and we voted to be a part of the single market in 1975, but the British people have had no real say as to whether or not they want to be a part of the European Union until recently, and now there’s a chance we may leave. Now the European Union is about as elitist as it gets barring actual fascism. They impose their own will on member states, and the people of member states fall out of line (like in Ireland, France, and Holland for instance) they will denounce them as xenophobic. The European Union generally does not have much respect for ordinary people at large. And as a matter of fact, neither do pro-EU politicians, like Pat Glass who referred to a voter as a “horrible racist”. And this attitude seems to be reflected in everyone else who supports the EU. In the British media, you have a cultured establishment media that is divorced from the common people (The Guardian being a perfect example) versus a more populist but less informative media that most people wind up reading (The Daily Mail being a perfect example), and if you’re a Eurosceptic you can be mistakenly denounced as racist and right-wing. Lots of people are keen on staying on the “right” side by virtue-signalling and shunning opposing viewpoints. The referendum presents an opportunity for populist backlash in this country, if all goes well at least.

Elsewhere in Europe, we see another recent example of the divide between the establishment and the people. Just two days ago, Austria almost elected Norbert Hofer, leader of a right-wing populist party called the Freedom Party. They captured the working class votes that were previously the domain of Social Democrats because they didn’t take the working class seriously enough, and they captured the conservative vote from the People’s Party – both parties represented a more centrist political establishment, and the EU had felt threatened by the rise of the Freedom Party. Other countries in Europe have had far right populist movements threaten the political establishment – France for instance has the Front National, Italy has Lega Nord, the Netherlands has the Party for Freedom, Greece has the Golden Dawn, and here in the UK we have UKIP. Some of this backlash is tied with the migrant crisis, and Europe’s response. Generally in popular culture you’re expected to just blindly support mass migration, and if you dare to question the impact that might have on your community then you’re vilified as being an anti-immigration racist. That ostracism will no doubt provide fuel for some seeking to attack the political establishment. Especially in Germany, after authorities tried to cover up the mass sexual assaults that happened on New Year’s Eve. In the UK, we also had a culture of political correctness which left authorities largely powerless to deal with the spread of radical forms of Islam and often prevented police from taking decisive action against criminals who happened to be Muslim (such as in the infamous Rotherham scandal), prompting the rise of the EDL and similar, more extreme groups.

The reason I wrote in great length about Europe and America in this post is because what’s happening there and generally in the Western world illustrates a simple truth that is becoming self-evident – when you culturally exclude a group of people deemed morally inferior in civil life instead of treating them as basically equals, it’s only a matter of time before the established order faces the prospect of populist backlash. In our world, we should be viewing our fellow citizens as morally autonomous adults or at least presume that they are – regardless of their beliefs, gender, or race – and try to engage with their ideas in order to understand and even challenge them to the best of our ability, whatever chance we get. However, it seems a lot of people decide not to do this, and instead just unfairly vilify the other side without any notion of intellectual humility, or even integrity if you think about it. When “polite society”, the establishment, the media and everyone who offers obedience to it,  people will become fed up and rise against the demand for conformity. When a political establishment becomes too divorced from the people and from reality, such a disconnect will eventually become obvious. Put simply, impose elitism on the outer world, and the people will have none of it. They will want to go for the throats of the elite, and watch their establishment burn.

Satan, Set, Isfet, evil, and morality in the Left Hand Path

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.

By defeating Apep, Set drove back the forces of Isfet – the forces of uncreation, disorder, and disintegration.

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.

The Lovecraftian character Nyarlathotep as depicted Persona 2. Something like that only less humanoid would represent Apep and Isfet quite nicely in my books.

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.

The lord of consciousness and the destroyers of consciousness

I watched a video from Thomas LeRoy, who you may recognize as the founder of a Left Hand Path organization known as the Sect of the Horned God, and in the video he talked about how he felt the Hindu deity Shiva was the best representation of the Left Hand Path in general. He feels that Shiva represents the consciousness of the individual (which he equates to the concept of Atman), in contrast to Vishnu’s connection with the consciousness of the universe (which he identifies as the concept of Brahman), and as the traditions of the Left Hand Path highly stress the importance of the consciousness of the individual, .

If you want, you can see the full video below.

In a sense, Atman referring to the individual consciousness can be a way of interpreting the concept of Atman, but while Atman is viewed as referring to the essential self, in Hindu tradition that same essential self is viewed as identical with Brahman, the consciousness of the universe. Shiva being the lord of individual consciousness in a Left Hand Path context is still an interesting way to elevate the individual consciousness and its importance in a Hindu context, and it definitely keeps Shiva interesting. In fact, it might be part of why my interest in him has stuck.

I don’t think I could come to dislike him.

This interpretation also brings to my mind a Buddhist myth concerning Shiva. Shiva does appear in the Buddhist tradition as Mahakala, but that’s not his only iteration within Buddhist lore. There’s a story in Buddhist scriptures where Shiva appears as Maheshvara (one of his names which he often goes by) and is defeated by a bodhisattva named Vajrapani. In the story, the cosmic Buddha Vairocana wants to construct a mandala and requests Vajrapani to generate his adamantine family in order to do so, but Vajrapani refuses to cooperate with Vairocana because of Maheshvara “deluding beings with deceitful doctrines and engaging in criminal activity”. In response Vajrapani’s complaint, Vairocana permits him to bring Maheshvara and his entourage to Mount Meru in order to force them to comply with the doctrines of the Buddha Gautama. Vajrapani uses a mantra to drag Maheshvara and company to Mount Meru, and orders all of them submit to the Buddhist teachings, to which all of them comply except Maheshvara, who refers to Vajrapani as a “pathetic tree spirit”. The two challenge each other in magical combat, and after a series of battles Maheshvara eventually defeated by Vajrapani, and along with his wife Uma (clearly a reference to the goddess Parvati) he is tread upon by Vajrapani after his defeat. After Vajrapani’s victory, all of Maheshvara’s entourage submit to the teachings of Buddhism and become a part of Vairocana’s mandala, except for Maheshvara, who is killed, but he is reborn in another realm as a Buddha named Bhasmesvara Nirghosa, who is described as “Soundless Lord of Ashes”.

In Japanese Buddhism, there is a similar myth centering around Gozanze Myo-O (aka Trailokyavijaya), one of the Five Wisdom Kings (a powerful group of wrathful emanations of the Five Buddhas of Wisdom, intended to represent the overcoming of passions and all threats to the Buddhist faith). In Japan, Gozanze Myo-O is the one who subjugates Maheshvara (known in Japan as Daijizaiten) and his wife Uma, thus they are depicted as trampled beneath Gozanze Myo-O’s feet in representations of him. But rather than killing Maheshvara, as Vajrapani did, Gozanze Myo-O converts him and Uma into protectors of the Buddhist faith.

A representation of Gozanze Myo-O.

The story of Maheshvara’s defeat and/or subjugation is obviously a way of illustrating the purported superiority of Buddhism next to Hinduism, and thus the superiority of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas over the Hindu pantheon of deities, but I feel that if we are to consider Shiva as a deity representing individuated consciousness, then beings like Vajrapani and Gozanze Myo-O, in the act of killing or subjugating Maheshvara, become the destroyers of individuated consciousness. This of course ties in to the fact that the goal of Buddhist practice is, ultimately, the extinction of individuated consciousness.

It’s a shame too, because I don’t really look at beings like these the same way after thinking about it that way. The wrathful beings of Buddhist come across to me as expressions of powerful will and strength, so it is a shame when that becomes directed against individuated consciousness in support of religious doctrine.