This is a response of my friend and fellow LHPer, Aleph, who posted My place in the Satanic zeitgeist a few weeks back.
Lately, through certain social media groups and exposition to forums and such, I’ve now gotten a better understanding of what “Satanism” means to other Satanists beside myself. I’ve now just realized how secluded and individual my practice is, to the point that I was quite surprised to discover what some (many!) Satanists (not reverse christians) do and say that for me, is not very Satanic, nor LHP for that matter. I live in a small town, so getting in touch with other practitioners in person is not really possible. (The estimated satanic population here in France is of about 1500 people, scattered across the country, but present enough in the capital area).
I’ve learned to dissect these online communities and take part in mostly unfruitful discussions. These groups are mostly sharing goth-dark themed photos and some highly questionable philosophical material, which I promptly respond to, debunking any fallacies that may appear, usually getting the approval of other members, or the response of the original poster. There sometimes is a seemingly competent Satanist here and there in these groups, but like me, they tend to keep to themselves. Thanks to this experience I think I can formulate an intelligent post on what my place is on the Satanic metaphorical panoramic photograph.
Satan: Father vs Master vs Archetype vs God(s) vs Whatever
I think this is what left me the most perplexed when exploring the beliefs of other Satanists. Some Satanists (alarmingly many) see Satan as an authority, for the most part under the fatherly figure, probably people coming from a Joy of Satan background (like me, but I grew out of it pretty fast). The judeo-christian fatherly God comes to mind, rather than a rebellious fallen angel (for those who believe Satan IS Lucifer, such as me) or some kind of deity of undefiled wisdom and curiosity. Satan is NOT a protective entity, he is for me a teacher of sorts, whose only lesson is love for oneself, and one’s ideas. The rest of the Satanic philosophia is derived from that. Monotheistic in nature, yet a strong belief in demons (again, JoS-like), and practice.
In this same kind of mentality, comes the Satan=Master mindset, which again, goes against most Satanic teachings, which say we are one’s only master (or god). I cannot think of anything more RHP than selling your soul to an entity in exchange of salvation, or in this case, protection and power. That’s what the catholic church does! How can you not see it? This part of the perceived Satanic community almost always hasn’t come in contact with any Satanic literature, and if they did they just chose to ignore the most important part of it: freedom of will! Usually purely monotheistic, sometimes soft polytheism, beliefs in demons is there but they see them as slaves/servants of Satan.
Then come the few LaVeyans who find themselves in mainly theistic groups because why the hell not and they just go “oh I’m not theistic so your argument means nothing to me”. They aren’t able to debate in ANY other terms than the ones they impose. At least they are the most down-to earth. That’s cool. Atheistic. Some Agnostics. Witchcraft not out of the question for some.
Hard polytheists like me are scarce in these groups, dominated by the first three groups. But the few of us that are clearly polytheistic, are divided amongst “clans”. The first clan is the one that believes that Satan is a multi-facetical entity (usually composed of four of the following: Asmodeus, Lucifer, Leviathan, Behemoth, Baphomet, Beelzebub), while the other one is just “the rest” (I’m in here) with highly eclectic or “personalised” beliefs, everyone’s a little different, a little the same. I’m in this category.
Also there are the guys who believe Satan is an alien who gave us technology and stuff.
Optimism vs Pessimism
What the hell is wrong with some of these people? Always saying depressive and pessimistic stuff? When did Satanic groups become a hiding place for 2004 emo kids who never really grew up? Posting half-naked, black dyed hair, super skinny chicks, cutting their veins? I’m serious. What the hell? Or people who do some ritual and literally commenting afterwards “I am a true pessimist, life is shit and nothing will come out of it” THEN WHY ARE YOU DOING A FRIGGING RITUAL THEN? Hey, magic is not that hard: Do some stuff > expect it it to succeed > success OR Do some stuff > expect it to fail > fail.
Rant over. Satanism is about optimism and positivity in regards to the outcome of any action. It is illogical to act with a negative outcome in mind. Also worrying about general positivity or negativity of stuff is overly manicheist and should be avoided. Nothing is entirely positive or negative, and without a way to measure it, it is pointless to debate what action is “more” positive than another.
Dogma vs Dynamic Morals©
Yes, I invented the term Dynamic Morals©. It is mine now.
Anyhow, Satanism is all but dogmatic. On the contrary, Satanism is about analysing every situation independently, chose a possible outcome, and act accordingly. Having a dogma is restraining and can put you in complicated situations in which you either break your dogma or you act against your own well-being.
Well some people have created a “Satanic” Dogma, inspired heavily by LaVey’s Rules of the Earth and Sins, which basically a more strict and stiff version of those rules. No interpretation allowed.
I practice what I call Dynamic Morals© which basically one fundamental rule (that is inherently Satanic for me) and then the rest is up to interpretation for each individual situation.
This rule is: “Your well-being is of ultimate importance”.
It can be applied to any situation. If the basis of the reasoning is this motto, the reasoning is for me inherently Satanic.
I don’t think there is”wrong or right” in Satanism, other than at an individual level. And even for me, when it comes to non-mathematical situations, there is no right or wrong, but just an arbitrary choice that was made after a period of analysis and reasoning. Unless the choice is factually wrong, like trying to put out fire with gasoline. Yeah that’s definitely wrong.
I would now like to address some of what my friend Aleph said in his post:
Satanism is the philosophy that places emphasis on self-preservation
That might be true for LaVeyan Satanism, but for most forms of Theistic Satanism (specially spiritual Satanism) the elevation of the soul, reaching god-hood, and all that is placed extremely high in the Satanic priority list.
Another main difference between Satanism and Luciferianism is that Luciferianism advocates the pursuit of a higher self.
Same as above. The pursuit of a higher self is predominant in Theistic Satanism.
If hedonism at its root is the maximization of pleasure and the avoidance of pain and negative experiences.
I’d argue that Satanic hedonism would never put pleasure before truth, meaning Satanic hedonism would NOT prefer a pleasurable lie to a harsh truth. To avoid negative experiences doesn’t mean denying them or their existence. Also a negative experience doesn’t need to be avoided when it can lead to further pleasure and well-being. It is a trade to be made. Any true hedonist knows that without pain there’s no pleasure. What we avoid is unecessary pain.
is it right to do something to others that you think they have done to yourself or others
The problem here is dogmatism/stiff morals. Linking an action to a right vs wrong mindset independently of the situation is what creates this dilemma. Nothing is inherently wrong or right until the action has been carried out and the victims/perpetrator roles have been handed out. Then you can make out what is, FOR YOU right or wrong. Once it is time to take revenge, if the same action that was made against you seems the appropriate punishment for the person, then the roles are inverted and you are free to qualifiy however you want the same action.
They think I’m an Atheist!
I “came out of the broom closet” recently, and changed some things on social networks, not to announce, but just to put the truth in the description thingies. There wasn’t any reaction to it, thankfully.
Then I started being more open and voiced more my opinions on certain subjects in a more honest, less politically correct way. Of course, people saw this as a change (though I’ve always been like this). This raised some questions in a few of them, who decided to check my profile. Among them, one of my Evangelist aunt.
I glad she bit the bait, honestly, as we are always having friendly discussion about topics. However, this is religion, so she took it a bit more seriously this time. However, funny thing, she misunderstood something. She thinks I’m a LaVeyan Satanist (even though it says Theistic Satanist on facebook…), and that I’m Atheistic at the core. So she sent me a Christian site with questions for Atheists/Materialists. I post it here:
What if the cosmos is all there is?
Before telling her I’m theist (at which point she went totally nuts and stopped talking to me since), I answered the questions from an Atheist standpoint. It wasn’t hard, I was an Atheist before anyway. Here are my answers:
1. “If all of life is meaningless, and ultimately absurd , why bother to march straight forward, why stand in the queue as though life as a whole makes sense?” —Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There
Because life is full of fun and experiences that are worth living for. I don’t march because life “makes sense”, I do it because I want to.
2. If everyone completely passes out of existence when they die, what ultimate meaning has life? Even if a man’s life is important because of his influence on others or by his effect on the course of history, of what ultimate significance is that if there is no immortality and all other lives, events, and even history itself is ultimately meaningless?
History has a purpose. That purpose is not making the same mistakes as our predecessors. There is no such thing as ultimate significance in life, nor an afterlife, so I might as well enjoy life to it’s fullest while it lasts.
3. Suppose the universe had never existed. Apart form God, what ultimate difference would that make?
We would not exist.
4. In a universe without God or immortality, how is mankind ultimately different from a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs?
We are not. We are a swarm of humans leeching on every other lifeform, and a barnyard of people prancing and playing in the mud with our brethren.
5. What viable basis exists for justice or law if man is nothing but a sophisticated, programmed machine?
The basis for justice and for life is simply an utility for society. Justice was created in order to keep people from doing things that could be detrimental to society as a whole. Social behavior does this not only in humans, but in every other species that has a societal system, specially mammals, like apes, wolves, and dolphins. Law is something we devised to, as a society, be more coordinated and synchronized. That way conflict is less likely. Conflict inside a society is detrimental. Conflict between societies can be useful for some.
6. Why does research, discovery, diplomacy, art, music, sacrifice, compassion, feelings of love, or affectionate and caring relationships mean anything if it all ultimately comes to naught anyway?
Why does it come to naught? People don’t do things so they can say “look at what I did, God!”. People do things because they like doing it, or make sacrifices because they think it will make someone they love live better. What does it mean to feel love? Can you even avoid falling in love? We do all of this to enjoy and get the most juice out of life.
7. Without absolute morals, what ultimate difference is there between Saddam Hussein and Billy Graham?
None, they both did what they wanted to do.
8. If there is no immortality, why shouldn’t all things be permitted?(Dostoyevsky)
All things ARE permitted. But our justice system prevents us from doing things detrimental to society.
9. If morality is only a relative social construct, on what basis could or should anyone ever move to interfere with cultures that practice apartheid, female circumcision, cannibalism, or ethnic cleansing?
Whoever has the biggest stick, or gun. If cannibalistic groups were better armed than everyone else, and wanted other cultures to adopt their customs, we sure as hell would be forced to. How is it any different in the other way?
10. If there is no God, on what basis is there any meaning or hope for fairness, comfort, or better times?
The meaning for this is whether you want it or not. Some people want fairness, some comfort. If you fight for what you want, you might get it.
11. Without a personal Creator-God, how are you anything other than the coincidental, purposeless miscarriage of nature, spinning round and round on a lonely planet in the blackness of space for just a little while before you and all memory of your futile, pointless, meaningless life finally blinks out forever in the endless darkness?
I am not. So I better enjoy while I can.
Feel free to ask my anything on this subject! Comments are more than welcome.