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 watched a 3-part video series on 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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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.

The orderly impulse and the need for balance

With just one more week before I return to university and begin my third year of academic study as a game design student, there is something that hit me. I have been on summer break for about four months. That is a lot of time to potentially do nothing – I mean besides write more blog posts, spend time on my guitar and play video games, of course. And there was no plan, no structure to it all. Why would there be? I had way too much time. A fool might even tell me “you have all the time in the world”.

But now I find that I resent this. I had too much time on my hands. I now think that there was basically no order to it. It always weirds me out when I think about how I often say I like “Chaos” at least to a certain degree, and in particular how I used to gas on about it when I was in college and during the early years of this blog. On reflection, I feel reminded how I have what might be called an orderly impulse, or a desire for some order, that exists alongside my more “chaotic” instincts. I guess it might just be then when I’m trying to do some things, like work, I just like having some structure to work with and then run with it. I also have a desire for more control and discipline, and the lack of this has been the cause of some woes. Part of me thinks it might actually have something to do with being autistic, due to one of the things typically associated with people on the autistic spectrum is a tendency to prefer predictability, structure and order. But then how come I always tend to favor freedom at least when talking about my views, or my worldview. I tend to think that people should generally be free to make their own choices and follow their own inclinations (at least without causing harm to other people), and I always thought that putting order above freedom made such a thing impossible.

Point is, as I may have written about before, actually, the part of myself that wants some kind of order and structure is there. At the very least, the discussions I had with student support on the matter were a good reminder of that, and of balance because I also know that certain impulses or desires, or even values, I would think of as “chaotic” are still there, and still a big part of who I am. This is probably why Luciferianism appeals to me, if I think about it – because both of what we call order and chaos are very much viewed as part of the self , if not generally seen as two sides of the same coin. It’s also why I put Varuna on the “deities” list (speaking of which, I should really think about deities vs deific masks at some point, perhaps after reading enough of Michael W. Ford’s literature).

At any rate, I should stress that I’m not the kind of person who prefers order for order’s sake. In fact, if you forced me to chose between a totalitarian state and either rebellion or living in the wilderness, I would probably pick the either of the latter two. But in life that dichotomy is usually not present, particularly not in the Western society in which I live – at least for now.

The ballad of order and chaos

Over the course of the week I’ve been feeling a peculiar thing. I’ve recently begun reading Don Webb’s The Seven Faces of Darkness to find out about what he refers to as the Typhonian Current, and on one of the early pages, I read about Don Webb outlining two approaches towards magick he encountered: the practical occultists who prefer simply to use magick and want to explore and manipulate the world around them but eschew research, logic, or precision, and the scholarly occultists who love research and value logic and reason while remaining reluctant to put into practice the theories they discover. Webb felt that a synthesis of the two is possible. This reminded me of what good game design should be, as outlined by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings in Fundamentals of Game Design. Some people think game design is an artistic process, predicated principally on imagination and creativity, and game designers are thus artists seeking raw aesthetic and creative expression, while others think game design is only a kind of engineering, predicated principally on methodology and the implementation of rules for play rather than creativity or aesthetic expression, but in actuality game design is neither art nor pure engineering, but a craft that must bring together both creativity and careful planning and combine aesthetic and functional elements to create a well-functioning and enjoyable game, with the goal of entertainment in mind. Thus, a synthesis of two approaches, or rather two disciplines, is required of good game design. And I can’t help thinking that the more I think of that idea of game design the more I might find ways of applying that far outside that, which I suppose might serve as a decent contingency for if game design at university doesn’t work out for me.

The idea of this kind of synthesis seems familiar to me, and I relate it to the themes of Order (or Law) and Chaos. For the camps described by Don Webb, the practical occultists seem like a more chaotic approach at the expense of precision or research of theory, while the scholarly occultists seem like a more orderly approach at the expense of practice. For game design, the element of creativity and artistic expression seems like it can be related to the chaotic principle, while the implementation of rules of play and the presence of methodology and careful planning clearly represents a contrasting orderly principle. And game design and magick doesn’t feel like the only area where this synthesis could be noticed in areas of my life and personal interests, as I think many of my personal interests and tastes are not solely chaotic. For instance, metal. While I don’t claim to know much about music theory, but I have feeling there is more to the metal music I love than just raw and liberating chaotic expression and sonic aggression. Part of me suspects that it feels chaotic, but at the same time that force is brought out by technique and good musicianship. And although not all metal music is particularly technical, I think it requires at least more sophistication than punk rock music, or for that matter your average mainstream rock hit. In my own world as a creator, I think I have organized my creation in some way before, and how it might be, though this may be partly because I had making my own video game in mind a lot for a while, and when I create my world I have often put it in the context of making of game at least in my mind. I believe in freedom, but I also recognize that in our world freedom tends to be best preserved in systems that are built upon the premise of preserving liberty. I usually lean towards the belief that this requires a meritocratic system (due to the frequent failure of democracy by virtue of its vulnerability to mob mentality and unbalanced avarice), one in which leaders and officials are elected on the basis of their talent, ability, virtue, and strength of character, which would invariably require a certain amount of organization and order. Such a world would need whose who are fit to lead to inspire order, but it should also allow people to grow and influence that system by their own talents and self-belief, their own capacity to disseminate order as well as, invariably, their own desire to stake their own claim in the world and fulfill their own desires, so it would be a dynamic world order.

Not to mention, even though I’ve proudly proclaimed Chaos as a glorious thing, I have been thinking I want some structure in my life, especially now that I’m a second year university student who has not only various interests and desires, but also commitments and the obligation to study and/or do coursework. In my mind this is particularly true for me while I’m doing game design because we’re expected to do a lot of planning. It’s not just about making assets and going into engine, it’s about managing your time properly. It’s not just about doing the work, but how you intend to go about it and how much time you spend on it. I’m told that in industry you’re less likely to be hired for a masterpiece of an asset that took weeks to create than for something you can do in days, because in industry time is money and neither time nor money are limitless. Not to mention, particularly outside the course, there’s things I like to do or want to do but I haven’t been making much time for in the past few weeks or even more than the past month. Things like drawing, art-making, reading, gaming, guitar practice, etc. Part of me feels that, although chaos is a wonderful thing, it has its ups and downs. Chaos is wonderful because there’s no restrictions imposed by others, that means you’re never forced to do anything, but it might also mean there’s no guarantee of any motivation to do things beyond your desires, and your desires aren’t always very productive if you think about it. But of course, that at least hinges on the premise that you aren’t going to give yourself any direction without any kind of push. For a project to succeed, or even to achieve your goals in life, you need personal investment towards a goal, the will to achieve, but you also need direction, sometimes even a good kick in the ass if need be, to get things going.

This may seem strange, but I have this feeling recently that my life as I have lived it may have in some way been leading up to the completion of a realization that hinges on the dissolution of the boundaries between order and chaos, through which I understand not only the self, but the true nature of that life force I would have previously referred to principally as Chaos. Currently I see structure on an individual level as an aspect of will and imagination, and light and darkness as, though possessing distinct characteristics, shades of each other or of the same kind of force. And I remember talking about the dissolution of the boundaries between intelligence and emotion. Now, I would think of this as being predicated on much the same thing. I don’t believe in Order as in strict adherence the laws and rules set out by others, with no self-interest or freedom to bend the rules, but I do believe in the Self creating its own order, and in your own world you’re preserving the way it’s arranged. In a way, these are very much aspects of the self, and at the middle of the polarity, perhaps the full, raw (yet elegant), empowering and enrapturing power and life force of the self, the will, and of imagination; perhaps, the Black Flame in its truest form, defined not by light and darkness, or the power of just Chaos. And all in all, it’s important to remember the ultimate importance of the Self in the grand scheme of things. That’s the Luciferian way (and I guess the Satanic way as well) as I see it, and I think it’s also my way.

This all spawns more from reflection than ritual, but I think ritual might lead this been taking to a whole other level under the right conditions. I think art would help a lot too, and I have a series of paintings I wish to create along this theme.

Baphomet, a symbol of the synthesis of light and darkness, and order and chaos.

The willingness to create structure

There was a lecture I had in university yesterday morning about game design theory, and an interesting thought occurred along the way. A lot is made of how in the game industry you as a designer will end up working for a client of some kind, with specific ideas of what they might want (not sure if that’s completely true in the world of indie games but that’s besides the point), about the need to meet the demands of consumers, and how creativity can only account for so much. But it’s important to remember you can’t make a game for everyone, and I did learn that if you have an idea for a game, it’s entirely possible to find a demographic for your game and hone in on it. Not only that, but if you focus on that niche, you may in fact be more likely to succeed than if you tried to have something for everyone. Like putting something from Battlefield in a game that isn’t Battlefield for any of its competitors, for instance: the result is something that’s just half of Battlefield in a game that’s supposed to be completely different.

And along the way it occurred to me that maybe, if you do all the planning, the market research, and the consideration for who’s going to receive your game idea as soon as you plan the idea, which would be somewhere in very early stage the game, likely before the pre-production stage, then you might just be free to explore the creation and production of what you really want to make, knowing that you’re making it for people who might actually want to play it. And that takes thought, consideration, and planning, specifically coming up with a plan for what you’re making. And I thought that maybe that planning and that consideration is what frees the creator in the world of game design, rather than having an idea and just expecting it to get through on the sole basis of it being your fondest creative vision.

I think it takes a certain faculty within the human self: the willingness to embrace and create structure to benefit your own personal goals or to fulfill your own desires. Order or structure is ultimately a product of the will, so the power to create it is another expression of the self, its will, and its potential, rather than as necessarily being detrimental to the imagination, or at least not if applied in tandem with creativity and/or flexibility in the case of game design. With that in mind I feel something about my attitude towards order and chaos might be changing, as I hope to explore in a future blog post.

The death that awaits establishment

Thinking about my time in university leads me to another train of thought as well: I read a post from Summer Thunder, a blog from a friend and fellow Satanist Mo, and I read about how bounded groups are losing the authority they once claimed they had to dictate spirituality and losing the monopoly that they had over the right to interpret belief and practice, and how independent spirituality seems set to claim a new world for itself and leave the old order of things (at least, that’s how I felt reading it). I got a very clear sense in my head that the age of dogmatic forms of authority and order were dying, and it didn’t seem unreasonable to me that this might apply to all manner of cultural structures besides religion and occultism. To me, the world of tightly wound norms is slowly dying, and only base ignorance stands in the way of the end of the old order of human beings.

One question I have when I think about it, though is why does academia still hold on to notions of restrictive and bounded up order? In the world today it feels to me like going through the traditional pathways to academia is the way to success and to prove your talent, and I don’t think I hear much about people learning on their own without going through any expectations and rules. Not to mention, academia seems like it’s more about getting you into a job than about making you great and talented, which is weird considering in academia you have freedoms (and restrictions) that from what I’m told do not necessarily apply in the career world. How often you will have to conform to the standards put to you in academia in the world of work. And I certainly don’t see you writing dissertations and following rigorous rules for doing so outside of university. Sometimes it feels like we think little of people rising from almost literally nothing, achieving their dreams without following any rules as to how, and I always think about how in the world of metal, and the old days of game design, you had to do without the established channels and you could still be successful if you applied yourself.

Also, in general, there are other questions I have about the world. Why do we hold on to this idea that in order to prove yourself in the world and advance yourself in terms of having a career and a name you have go through institutions that ultimately have you go through sets of unwritten rules? Why is it that in our world people always follow patterns? Why do we confine each other to roles and limitations that we don’t really want to observe? Why do we gravitate towards idols and call upon them to save us? Why do we value numbers over the individual? Why do we always try to put each other in boxes? And why is it that this is all at the expense of the human spirit when we do it?

I have a feeling that the world of numbers and putting people in boxes and assigned roles will be around for a long time, long after the time when I leave this world. If we’re not chaining people down with organized religion, we’ll still be doing it with politics, and we’ll also do it with memetic popular culture, with technology, with science, and even with relationships. But I can’t abide by it, because the world I believe in is different.

The world I dream of is a world ruled by freedom, a world where truly we live by our own feelings, passions, desires, and values over the expectations of others, uncorrupted by ignorance; a world where we remember we have a choice and never succumbing to patterns set before us, nay where there are no patterns set before us that we blindly follow; a world where people can put imagination and creativity over any rules except the ones they devise, and not even the need to survive and compete, or the need for structure, would stop that; a world where fear and ignorance are always defeated by a noble and powerful spirit, no matter how much they rise and grow; a world where humans don’t ever become cogs in a much larger wheel, peas in a much larger pod, or anything like that other than individuals act as themselves and operate on their own will and that which propels their lives; a world where freedom is immortal, and dies for no one, no God, no fear, and no other ideals, not even the desires in people’s hearts and minds; a world where there’s always some reason to have fun without being obnoxious about it. Truly, this is not a world for everyone, truly this world is too good for humans in our world. As such, this is probably a world I would deem as my vision of heaven, and as a vision that I suppose lies chiefly in my mind, and perhaps that means I won’t really be separate from it either.

A world without patterns, a world without a wheel to turn the people, a world with no boxes to put people in, a world where human life is principally characterized by choice, freedom, imagination, creativity, and our desires and passions. Most people might have a word for this vision: Chaos. And I suppose, I would embrace that term, because that’s perhaps where the meaning of Chaos really lies: it’s about the vision for the world at large, something that runs deep in me ever since my initial enchantment and enamorment the Megami Tensei series of games. At the very least, how gratifying this Chaos feels to envision and imagine. I know there’s a value to structure and order in our lives, but most of the time we have to but don’t want to, because we have some semblance of order and pattern crammed down our throats or attached to us, and we kill ourselves to conform to it. Besides, when I think about it, all forms of order and structure, at least in human terms, are derived from the imagination, will, and the capacity of the mind, not from some great laws ordained by the outer world or by any great Logos embedded in humanity. In a sense, it’s probably true when we think of the formation of order out of chaos, not order out of order.

I am Chaos by Followers-of-Eris on Deviantart; something I kind of feel like as I write this.

In a weird way, I sort of feel like I know where my roots are when I think about this, and perhaps with a slightly better understanding to go with it, or it just relates to some of the things I really want in life. That’s why even if it seems radical I can picture myself shouting “Holy Chaos, death to Order” (and then that’s pretty because it sounds like the start of Holy Hell), and if I say that I would salute the death of establishment and the reign of freedom and the chaos of the human spirit.

Organization

Just this morning something surprising happened. I met with my group mates in class who were working on a project, they told me they didn’t really do anything the last week, and then, I told them off. I took charge when no one else would. During my time in university I have had to work in groups, and in one particular module (where we learn how to manage projects) I have often had to work with people who tend not to deliver. In the early days I had no idea what to do, so I relied on someone who I felt knew what he was doing to guide me. But eventually, he and others began to stop pulling their weight and doing their part to organize, and then I was the one who had to be a pain in the ass to them to get them to think about what we as a group are doing so that I can know what I’m doing and pull my weight. I HATE being the guy who has to push other people, I HATE being the person who might be percieved as a pushy, stuck-up guy, and I don’t like being too tight, but what I do in the group has to be done! Otherwise, the other members tend to be lazy, and then the project just falls apart and stagnates where it is. And at times they ignore me anyway and just do nothing. And I began to think not only that the person I relied on was no better than I, but, just now, I realized something else, something familiar to me: there’s nothing wrong with keeping the incompetent in line when you have to if you’re in the situation when you have to. It’s part of being confident.

I want to be wild, free-spirited, and relaxed, at least that’s my idea of the kind of life I want to live, not worrying a whole lot about structure. But there’s nothing wrong with having order too. In fact, there’s times when I feel somewhat enchanted with the order element of things. When you create a world for yourself, are you not creating an order of your own? It’s my tagline: in chaos I will create my own order. Surely that’s enough to remind me that its OK to introduce some kind of order into your life, and that I feel this way. And it should certainly be OK for me take charge in my life and let people know I’m not OK with the sloth and bad attitude of others when they are hampering both the efforts of the group and keeping me in the dark. There’s nothing wrong with taking control when you feel you have to, even if the slothful think less of you. It’s also OK to make your own order for yourself, if you desire it and it’s in your nature.