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.

Evil

It might be noticeable that, even as a Satanist, I still talk a lot about honor, morality, ethics, right and wrong and some such. For some, this might be at odds with Satanic philosophy, since it is common for the Satanist to view good and evil as illusory concepts (perhaps in close following with Anton LaVey’s form of Satanism).

I don’t want to be evil. In fact, I think mankind has just got the definition of evil screwed up for the worse. The only reason I feel I might be falsely tied to evil is because whatever I like is judged by the world I live in as evil. Sex is seen as evil or disgusting and degrading, when it should be seen as natural. Heavy metal is seen as evil music just because the lyrics flirt with the dark side a lot of times, but the actual music is among the most positive influences you could have in your life (or at least in my opinion it is). The occult is seen as strange and therefore evil, when in reality the occult has barely anything to do with the pursuit of evil. If you like Satan, you’re seen as evil, even though the actual Satan has killed no one in any mythological references he has been recorded in, and let’s not forget the fact that in Christian tradition it is their god who judges and “punishes” your soul and sends you to hell in the first place and not Satan. I am not in the camp of evil just because the masses have no idea what true evil is outside their spoon-fed beliefs. I just want to live as I please and conduct my life with passion, honor, rightness, self-honesty, and self-liberty. I don’t think it alienates me from Satanic philosophy, and I certainly don’t think my personal interests make me evil. If anything, I’m probably a more idealistic Satanist than many, but only because a sense of right an honor to be just as part of the fabric of my being as the forces of desire and lust, and I think I have always felt this way.

Do you want to know what true evil is? How about oppression, harassment, and manipulation of the people by those who are supposed to lead and/or protect them. Selling out your own family and friends for some kind of reward or even for religious faith. The idea that someone can claim possession over the body and soul of another human being. Defrauding people. Abuse and coercion of others. The pursuit of robbing people of their right to life and liberty. The exploitation of sexuality to produce herd conformity. The oppression of sexuality and freedom of choice for the sake of baseless political causes and false morals. Making people feel isolate, depressed, and lonely for being different, bullying them for it, or worse still making them feel like psychopaths for it when they aren’t. Leading people into lives of slavery. Killing innocent people. Killing people who are non-believers because they are non-believers. Scapegoating human beings and media because you can’t own up to your own weakness, ignorance, or twisted state of mind. The allowance of injustice and evil acts to go on unpunished. Branding children with beliefs and ideas that they did not choose and before they could make up their own minds, and making them fear eternal damnation if they don’t agree. And of course, the exploitation of innocent children for either demented pleasures or some twisted moral cause, especially to spread panic and division among the masses (a recent example of such behavior was described in detail by my good friend satanicviews).

The fact is, if you think about it, you can sense what real evil is, and it’s not sex, or Satan, or violent media, or the dark side of the force. Evil encompasses the unjust and immoral actions committed by humans, and possibly whatever sickening state of being inspires it. But do we draw our attention to the true evil? No! We make panics based on ignorance and false morals, we focus on the “evils” of sexual expression, pornography, and human sexual urges, and we do nothing but strengthen our own ignorance in service of false morals instead of fighting true evil.

The ethical Satanist

This post isn’t about me. It’s about a possibility within the Satanic path that can be pursued by the Satanist. I don’t know if somebody’s already coined it or not, but this is my perspective on what Ethical Satanist might mean.

The ethical Satanist recognizes virtue and ethics as a vital part of the self and the nature of man just as much as our carnal desires are a part of our nature, is concerned with ideas of virtue, ethicality, and honor alongside generally Satanic beliefs, and bases his/her association with Satanism on ethics or morality. From ethically Satanic perspective, the ideals of Satanism are far more morally worthwhile than the ideals espoused by other religions, and any path of herd mentality and surrender of the individual self to some notion of a higher consciousness would be morally contemptible.

For the ethical Satanist, it is morals and a sense of right and wrong that leads him/her to become a Satanist. Good and evil are often seen by Satanists as non-existence to not exist, though this refers to the Christian idea of the cosmic good and the cosmic evil. Even without the cosmic good and evil, there are still the sense of right and wrong for the individual, and it would be that which leads to the Satanic path if ones moral ideals are basically those of Satanism as well. It is not about conformity to any common sense of ethics, but about virtue and the individual sense of right and wrong.

That’s my perspective anyway. Other Satanists might have a different viewpoint.

Dealing in absolutes

It’s been said that only a Sith deals in absolutes, but Star Wars philosophy aside there are times when you actually can apply absolutes. For instance, I feel there are moral judgement that you can make absolutely depending on your perspective, and I value the making of strong decisions free of doubt. However often times we apply absolutes in the wrong places, especially in the form of dichotomies (“if you’re not with me, then you are against me”), not working with any shades or subtleties, not even making strong decisions informed by them.

It’s also a bad idea to deal in absolutes regarding tastes, and simplifying your ideas and tastes too much is bound to create some personal unhappiness. For a while I was overconfident regarding my tastes regarding the opposite gender when I analyzed said tastes, and felt I was in danger of losing a sense of diversity that I felt I had before, and that’s never a good thing. In a different area, I believe a while ago I mentioned the dangers of trying to simplify ones own aesthetic tastes, especially to suit a goal. It narrows down the sense of diversity one has and limits one’s tastes and interests to a specific area. That’s never a good thing.

An ethical question, or two, for fellow Satanists

I would like to pose an ethical question to my fellow Satanists, without the intention to incriminate of course.

My question is as follows: let’s say in a future society a religion such as Christianity has gained greater authority and directly influences the state and its laws, you are offered a high position in the government. You would surely know that by accepting that position you would be supporting the power of religion to control the lives of all humans, a major threat to individuality and liberty, but the position you are offered promises increased status and a generous salary. You would surely also know that since your religion is against the ruling religion in that environment, then resisting that religion let alone revealing your religious identity would put you at extreme risk. If you find yourself in that situation, unlikely as it may be, you must choose between ethicality and desire for wealth. Would you uphold principles in defiance of that society, or embrace a high position within it just to gain greater privileges in life?

And if that’s a little too much of a weak scenario for you, then here’s another: You are working for a big company which you learn makes additional profits by exploiting innocent people or the environment around you. By choosing to stay in employment for that company and drawing a salary from them, you would be making your money by supporting a company that exploits human life, but by leaving you would be rejecting exploitation at the cost of your salary. What do you choose in that scenario?

In general, there may come times when you have to choose between standing up for your own principles and immediate fulfillment of self-interest. In those circumstances, what do you do?

Satanic ethicality

Good, evil, and morality are not usually stressed in the Satanist viewpoint. In fact, Satanism generally rejects the notion of morality as defined in traditional/conventional terms and focuses on personal gratification and ethics-neutral self-empowerment. But ethics is an important concept not only for me, but for my own strand of Satanism.

If you think about it, Satanism is an ethical code that simply tells you not to be a slave to any kind of external authority figure or device, and stresses that you are the only master unto yourself. If ethicality means to be ethical, to uphold any kind of ethic, principles, or morality, then there is no reason the Satanist should not hold this trait so long as he bases his sense of ethics on his own feelings, rather than any inflated idea of a common idea of morality and right or wrong. Ethicality at its heart means attention to any kind of principles, you don’t need to be a religious or sheepish person to uphold any sense of virtue.

If the Satanist is his own master, logically then he/she is free to have ethics as well, but his/her ethics that spring from himself and not from any mind mass of society. All you need to do is define your virtues and morality for yourself and try not to impose it on others.

If God changes the rules…

Here’s a thought: If God in the traditional sense existed, how do we know he’s not changing the rules every thousand years or so, maybe more maybe less? That would basically mean that God has seen the world change and his attitudes may have changed, and thus he changed the rules accordingly, which would leave the religious fundamentalists being among those who didn’t get the message.

But then here’s the thing; why does he only tell one or two people, who would later be regarded as prophets, and rely on them to spread the word? Why not simply inform everyone, who would need to know?Come to think of it, why is it that, whenever God has something to say or rules to lay down, he only tells one or two people and relies on them to spread the word? Why when it would be so much easier for him to tell everyone, which would actually be substantial proof of his existence?

And when he does change the rules, if he does at all, what does it mean for those who were already judged as sinners condemned to Hell? Do they get redeemed, or is it too late for them? It probably is too late considering, if the Bible’s right, when God judges you then your fate is eternal.

Not that any of this matters anyway…