My place in the Satanic zeitgeist

And now, Part 4 of the big project I have about Satanism, this one concerning my own recent sense of tension about Satanism in recent months. This will not be too much like the last four posts as it’s more of a personal piece rather than an attempt on my part to unpack a subject intellectually. I will be elaborating on my tensions, dilemmas, issues and questions, or just general thoughts on the subject, through various subjects and dichotomies, so that I can get it out to my Satanic or Luciferian buddies for further discussion.

 

Egoism vs egotism vs altruism

If I’m being entirely honest, this has been influenced by high-profile events of last year, the reaction surrounding them, and how I feel they reflect on society as it is now. I remember when the Pulse nightclub massacre took place in Orlando, Flordia, wherein 50 people were murdered at said nightclub by a self-loathing Muslim who hated gay people and hated himself because he was gay. In the aftermath, I saw an interview with Guardian columnist Owen Jones which ended with him leaving the set and pouting like a child because they kept talking about any subject other than the fact that the victims happened to be gay and he “as a gay man” wanted to talk about it so badly. Basically, he took a 50 people getting murdered and made it all about himself and the fact that he himself is gay. That to me was inexcusable. Not only did he seem intent on obfuscating the true impetus behind the massacre, but he did it out of an identitarian sense of narcissism. For some reason I never got round to talking about that particular issue until today, but haven’t forgotten about it.

For all my egoism, at least within the context of my spiritual philosophy, I have grown tired of some individuals who care for nothing but themselves. Especially in the political sphere of things. There’s too many people who care only about themselves with regards to their vision of the country or the world, and they don’t care what anyone thinks because if they disagree with them they can ignore their concerns and impose their will on them anyway, even if they don’t like it and even if it’s only the people doing the imposing who believe it to be a good thing. Likewise, I have recently expressed sorrow over doing some things in my life solely for my own advancement, that is for the benefit of advancing to high position in a career and perhaps receiving a high enough salary from it.

And then there is something to be said of the issue of principle. Even though, as a Satanist, I might be expected to put any sense of principle to the side in favor of self-interest, and I have talked to other Satanists on this subject before over the years, but I find I am more likely to consider an outcome based on the success of a principle. For instance, I would rather be poor and free than live in a rich country in which we have no real liberty. I am sure that to some other Satanists, this is questionable. In a rich country I at least have the chance to pursue a better quality of life if I keep my mouth shut, so to speak, but in a poor country I might have less options and less money. But I would rather that if it meant I would live in a free country because I would prefer that the principle of liberty is alive. And not just for myself either: I don’t live in a free society unless the people in general share that liberty. Otherwise, there is only one person who has (or the few who have) license or permission to do what he/she wants (or they want), but there is not liberty for the all people. Is that truly freedom? Michael W. Ford, for instance, says that every deed is selfish, but I find myself questioning that at times. If I tend to put principle over other matters in certain instances, to what extent can that truly be called purely selfish? Or what about love? Emotional love I mean not simply sexual attraction. How much of love can truly be labelled a purely selfish thing?

 

Morality/ethics

Morality is a funny thing. I’ve always had it at the back of my mind at least, never totally gone without concern for it. In fact, I will probably write a post eventually on the subject of a conception of personal morality that I deliberate on and will plan to apply to myself consistently for the foreseeable future. But in general, the idea of any sense of moral understanding is never something I have had no interest in. In my day I have been shown examples of behavior that, by my own standards, I can’t describe as anything other than ethically or morally wrong. But then, the notion of objective morality is tricky. I don’t think I can argue that my moral principles are the absolute. For me I have had a question on my mind? What if we understood morals and ethics as something that we can base on the world around us, but that changes with our understanding of that world, and therefore it is possible consider perceiving morality similar to understanding the laws of nature, our understanding of which changes over time as we gain knowledge of the universe? Does it still make for subjective morality, or does it make for the possibility of at least barely objective morality? What I assume, though, is that it is clearly not valueless solely because it isn’t a physical thing. At which point, in any case, the real question then is the value of morality.

That said, I hate the label moralist often because it is always attached to people who wish to turn their moral compass into a code of law for all men and women to follow regardless of their own personal compass. Not to mention, the attachment to such stifling moral principles as the kind of religious values of Christianity, or at least the kind of Christianity provided conservatively religious Christians. If all moralist meant was someone who placed value on moral or ethical principles, who knows maybe I would be called that. But it’s got more baggage than that. I hate the progressive view of morality too. They think it’s either utterly malleable to the whims of some grand, immaculate, millenarian conception of social progress – that is, something is morally correct because “IT’S THE CURRENT YEAR GUYS!!” – or it’s based on almost the same religiosity and sensitivity as the kind provided by the Mary Whitehouses of both yore and modernity.

 

Self-preservation vs self-transformation

This is a fairly recent question, but it touches upon a key difference between Satanism and Luciferianism. Satanism is the philosophy that places emphasis on self-preservation, while Luciferianism talks about self-transformation. I have thought about it at some point, and I don’t think I have fully answered it, but there is still the question: what is ultimately more important to me? As much I have often felt that there is probably something core and essential to my personal being, and as insistent as I often tended to be only a few years ago, how much of me is really the same throughout the entirety of my life? Perhaps I haven’t discarded what is essential to me, at least as I see it, but there can be no denying that I have evolved throughout my life. I value self-preservation in the sense of preserving the characteristics that I consider integral to my personal sense of identity, but at the same time, is it not true that the self is a thing that grows and grows, constantly, ideally towards a better form? At which point, isn’t the better ideal to pursue the growth, evolution and transformation of the self into the best form that it could possibly attain?

Another main difference between Satanism and Luciferianism is that Luciferianism advocates the pursuit of a higher self. Michael W. Ford’s literature on the subject speaks of the Daemon, which is equated with the concept of the higher self. I’ve often associated the term ego with self because of the fact that the word ego literally means self. But is that all to the self though? Perhaps Lilith Aquino of the Temple of Set I think illustrates this point adequately in The Pagan Library (if that is really Lilith Aquino):

Glorification of the ego is not enough; it is the COMPLETE psyche, the entire Self or soul, which must be recognized, appreciated, and actualized.

 

God, and the gods

Although I am an apathetic agnostic and I don’t have much investment in the God vs No God debate, I do sometimes think about the concept of God, or the possible lack of one, from time to time. I still have yet to answer the question of deities vs deific masks and need to read more. That said, I think deific masks may be the likely view I take on rather than literal theism due to my issues with the idea of literal theism. In the end, I would value myself and my fellow Man above the rule of a literal God. Most literal deities probably want your worship more than anything else anyway. And with God, like I said some time before, I don’t care if God is real because I will probably not worship a literal God.

Although the Left Hand Path tends to be all about self-deification, I’m often at a point where I don’t like to take godhood too literally. I think I’ve often said that when LHP traditions say you ought be your own God it simply means you ought to be the master of your own life. Is a way of interpreting this, then, not self-mastery, spiritual autonomy? I suppose demi-godhood is simply the metaphor.

 

Hedonism vs eudaimonism

Hedonism is the doctrine that the primary value in life regarding happiness is the pursuit of pleasure, and the goal of life to maximize pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This can involve emphasis on the avoidance of negative or unpleasant experiences. Eudaimonism, by contrast, views the cultivation of happiness as dependent on self-realization and the practicing and cultivation of virtue. This can involve the development of personal strengths or emphasizing meaning and purpose as valuable to life. Both of them put the happiness and well-being of the individual at the core of their set of priorities, but differ in their conception of what happiness means for the individual.

The reason I mention this is because I have been doing some thinking on them. I feel I have seen a problem with at least certain aspects of hedonism regarding today’s social justice types. If hedonism at its root is the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and negative experiences, then what else do we call this attitude wherein the primary desire of life is to live in a world where they need not hear of anything bad? Where no inkling of negativity may penetrate the minds of today’s youth? Where the desire not to be divested of a comfortable life outweighs all other values? At the very least it could certainly be described as hedonism gone mad. I worry that such an attitude my result in my generation remaining as a generation of lotophagi – those who eat of the lotus of blissful ignorance, rather than the apple of the knowledge of good and evil that would otherwise spawn true freedom and virtue. Not only that, but I have been thinking that it is the desire for self-development and meaning that, for me, outweighs temporal pleasure, just that I think the enjoyment of temporal pleasure can be a positive thing. Perhaps that’s the issue of balance, that can answered by eudaimonism and epicurianism. Still, part of me thinks that a sense of value creates happiness in people that pleasure in the hedonistic sense can’t provide.

 

Revenge

An eye for an eye, lex talionis, if a man hits you on the cheek smash him on the other. For a while, this has been a troubling thing for me. It’s based on the idea of “do unto others as they have done onto you”. But I have been running into a constant theme when discussing arguments: is it right to do something to others that you think they have done to yourself or others, when you are opposed to the very idea of that thing being done to you as a principle. Like doxing. The argument against doxing is based on the premise that individuals should have the right to privacy, and not have to worry about being harassed or threatened by people who gain their information. If you are doxed or someone you care about doxed, isn’t it then wrong to dox them? If you think it’s wrong to bully people as a general rule, is it right to bully someone who bullied you? If you got raped, and you are obviously against rape, what then?

 

Those are all the dilemmas I have for now that are pressing and relevant at the moment. Hope I can get some comments from my LHP buddies. Peace out.

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.