Philosophical Differences: Altruism, Ego & Balance


Introduction
Altruism
Ego
Suppression of Weakness
Clarity & Rationalism
Honesty
Balance
Health and Lifestyle
Psychological Issues
Children and Animals as Innocents
Likeness to Animals
Social Darwinism
Chaos, Destruction, Misanthropism and the 'Anti-Cosmic'

Last Updated: 21 May 2014  

Introduction

This section was originally part of the Left Hand and Right Hand Path article, examining some of the conceptual differences in philsophical and psychological terms between the two. Some of these are examined on the LHP page but the majority have been split into their own page here, as they are more general in nature.  

Altruism

Some people argue that morality does not exist. Whatever you do, you do to fulfill your own needs. This is said to include altruism, unconditional love and a genuine desire to help others (as much as possible). Are these activities simply fulfilling the need to contribute beyond oneself? A list of fundamental human needs can be found in the psychology section.

Or perhaps through a sense of guilt or obligation, according to our religious theology and understanding of 'our duties'? If one is simply helping others for the latter reasons, is one really a good person? Or is one fooling oneself? And merely ticking boxes so one can increase one's self esteem and sense of purpose? If it is the latter, then perhaps the motivation to keep performing random acts of kindness may disappear once we have felt good again, and are only performed again perhaps when we start to feel 'bad' about ourselves. As described in the Psychology Section, random acts of kindness actually boost the giver's immune system and result in increased levels of serotonin. If indeed people who help others occasionally are only doing so to make themselves feel good, then surely altruism is in a sense a Left-Hand Path? In those who want to do it and enjoy doing it? And don't need to motivate themselves to do it? Anything that produces serotonin and makes the person feel great and engages their senses in a pleasurable manner is surely hedonism on some level? Are feelings of commonality and unity, such as brotherly or sisterly love strictly Right-Handed? Can one not feel this, but in a Self-frame of reference? If something feels good, then is it not good for the self as well as good for others? It is often said that by loving yourself you can love others or be of help to others, and by not loving yourself or respecting yourself, you cannot respect others as you will be a hollow, damaged shell. In this sense, then, one's primary duty to oneself and the world is to simply be oneself and treat oneself properly and look after oneself properly. After that, then it is up to the individual how much he wishes to love others, to fulfil his own emotional needs. Of course, the motivation for adopting love and respect for the self may be altruistic (i.e. goal-oriented) or it may indeed be self-oriented. And indeed the reason may affect the spirit in which it is undertaken and expressed/experienced to a large extent. It should be noted that very few adherents of the Left-Hand Path are ever actually totally Left-Handed, as they in some capacity help others, love others (unconditionally or almost unconditionally) and contribute to others, for example, their children or spouse. They may not admit this of course as it may be considered 'weak', depending on the internal consistency of the Left-Hand Path, e.g. Satanism is frequently overly 'strong' and 'macho' and does not like to entertain or admit weakness, even though it is often there on some level and maintained. Some forms of witchcraft, e.g. White Magic, may be Left-Handed in method, but Right-Handed (i.e. Altruistic) in intention.

So if you are doing a good deed, do you only do it because it makes you feel good or that you want to control the other person to make them how you want to see them - that might be in their interest or an archetype according to your moral/spiritual beliefs? And that if you are selfless, you only do it as you know someone will return the favour to you in the future or so you can be seen to be doing good demonstratively as it makes you feel important or gives you kudos? Or perhaps receiving thanks is part of the acknowledgement or approval you are seeking to give you a sense of certainty about yourself? Expecting thanks is a conditional act of altruism and hardly altruism at all. It is a form of ego trip.

Selfless and unconditional and anonymous acts of kindness are deemed to be truly 'good' and what the Bible teaches. If one does a good deed and does not expect anything in return, this is the principle of treating your neighbour as yourself. This is the idea of karma, you spread something good around, and it spreads. You do something aggressive or selfish or cruel, and it spreads also like a virus, and influences others around you to 'go kick someone else so they can feel better'. One small action has a thousand repercussions. If one is selfish and takes what one wants all the time, then clearly one is doing it to satisfy certain needs of the ego. So the argument is that whatever you do, you do it for yourself, to satisfy one or more of your core psychological values. So is being a good Christian or a good person just an ego trip? Are Christians only trying to be 'good' as they know they will get a carrot at the end (ticket to heaven)? Would they still do it if they knew they wouldn't get in or if heaven and God didn't exist? The truly good (Christian) person would do it anyway regardless. As soon as the going gets tough for some shallow and self-interested Christians (only in it as they want to go to 'heaven'), they give up.

What is a good deed? It could perhaps be defined as an act that has no direct benefit to the giver but that the receiver is receiving something that makes them feel good or that they really need (that they either acknowledge they really need or that they realise after they've received it). If the recipient does not want it, or the giver has an agenda (e.g. trying to convert homeless people who are being given food) then clearly it is not strictly unconditional altruism, but the altruism is a pretext for an agenda or manipulation (which may be perceived as in the person's best interests!) The fundamental human needs explored in the Psychology section include contributing to others. This could be altruism as above or perhaps assisting someone in their path to self-actualisation. Or a satisfying past time on a higher level. Like a higher, soul enriching form of entertainment, a win win situation - a way to feel your own heart and help others at the same time. Or even educating others for no benefit to yourself (or perhaps you want the world to be easier for 'people like you'). It could be helping a stranger you will never see again, who is prepared to accept your help and listen if he is seeking advice or encouragement.

Is conditional altruism really altruism? How much value does it really have? If you are giving or helping another but only on the understanding or expectation that you will get some acknowledgement or validation of the effort you have made, then is this really a good deed? Examples may include letting a car in/out in traffic, when you expect the thank you wave. Getting the thank you wave back for many is an ego trip, whereby the giver can feel smug about having given. However, if the thank you wave is not given, then the giver may feel immediately hostile towards the other person. It is an annoyance connected with not being appreciated, making one think one wished one hadn't bothered. Of course, appreciation is not always verbal or gesticular, and silence does not always obviate appreciation. Some people are too busy driving to lift a hand from the wheel, or feel they don't have to wave every single time someone waits for them (when it is their priority anyway but when the other driver could have chanced it and gone through ahead of them). There are clearly issues to do with expectation and gratitute on both parts. The Bible teaches us that to only love those who love you back is not a sign of good character, as everyone does that. Well, most people! However, to unconditionally helpful people every single time, not really when they need it, but to spoil them so they are not inconvenienced (e.g. on the road or otherwise), is perhaps taking this out of context and a step too far. We should perhaps question our motivations and reactions when it comes to day to day acts of consideration as there are many ego traps here. Altruism is meant to make the giver feel good, not smug! And altruism is meant to mean something, and not just be reserved for 'good manners' or 'being polite' when one does nothing to really help the needy. Sometimes being overly polite to others on the road (when it is your own priority and the other driver is a considerable way off) is a sign of addictive self-deprecation rather than genuine desire for altruism. Often the two are tied together. Self-deprecation feeds the ego, albeit in the reverse way we are accustomed to. Of course, if we are talking about genuine acts of help or altruism rather than road manners related gestures, then if one tires of helping a certain person as however much we give, they just take and make no effort to help themselves, then it is a different story when it comes to giving up helping that person as it serves no purpose.

Altruism can be examined in the context of certain healing therapies, for example Bio-Energy Healing or Quantum Touch. In these therapies, the idea is to benefit both yourself and the other person, by raising your own level of vibration and feeling energy 'flow' through you from the outside environment into you (and into the other person). This is a win-win situation. If performed incorrectly, however, you can drain your own energy reserves and simply redirect them to the other person, which benefits them but really drains the practitioner. I have made this mistake myself when trying to practice these techniques with no level of instruction and has been left feeling totally drained and mentally exhausted. Perhaps one can make parallels here to other types of altruistic activity. If it is not a win-win situation, then one could question the purpose of the act at all, emergency situations aside.

In most cases altruistic acts that benefit both parties (win-win situation) are more directly and immediately benefitting the recipient than the giver, where the benefit is secondary and only there (to the full extent) if you view the whole interraction in the right light. It is certainly of secondary benefit compared with doing something directly for your own benefit, that you really need to do. An example could be dedicating time to yourself each week for personal development. Some might see this as self-absorbed or selfish, but a secondary effect of this might be benefit to others on other days of the week when you are more focussed as a person. For example, performing visualisation techniques and brainstorming your negative beliefs and replacing them with positive beliefs could be seen as more directly beneficial to you than a sense of satisfaction, sometimes a smug one, of doing someone a minor good turn. The former is meeting more of your emotional needs. Clearly the altruistic act meets slightly different needs, and they all need meeting, but some are more pressing than others. A miserable person is little help to anyone else. Some therefore say that you have to love yourself FIRST in order to love others SECOND. If you reverse the order, it doesn't work very well. If the giver is an emotional mess, then it doesn't make receiver feel particularly good about it, and may make them feel bad, guilty or awkward! What a great gift!

If everytime one gave someone a gift, one was guaranteed two gifts in return, surpassing the value of the original gift, then everyone would be doing it - as there would be immediate financial gain from doing so. Every chancer on ebay would be giving away their goods! However, the reward from giving is less immediate and physical, and so many do not recognise that it exists at all. Seeing joy in others is not a reward for some people. Some people believe that they do not care. Perhaps in such cases where a person regards altruism with disgust, that engaging in altruistic behaviour might be a 'truer' form of altruism. However, such a person who most likely eventually understand the nature of the reward and open their heart to it (and drop the ego). This is why many adults enjoying giving gifts to their children, as you enjoy that their children are so happy with their presents. This is why children are often reluctant to give presents, but are mainly focussed on receiving presents as they cannot see the reward and cannot often look past their own noses. Perhaps those who dislike altruism as it is 'false' are a little like this.

Some recipients of unconditional altruism may use the situation to exert power over the giver to make themselves feel better and less like losers. In other words to either turn the situation more to their advantage to try to rip off the giver or even mug them, or perhaps even to verbally abuse them or threaten them with violence. Or both! Take what they can then verbally abuse or threaten the giver. An act of altruism for some individuals with an elevated sense of pride may be seen as an insult, and they would not want to accept gifts or charity, as they work hard for what they have, and anyone trying to interfere with these values of theirs, of their property, may be threatening their ego-self. A giver can brush off such behaviour as examples of the few bad apples amongst the masses, or may view it as why one should not bother with charity in general!

One could view the desire to self-empower others but not actually offer them charity as another form of altruism. For some altruism has to mean charity, giving hand outs, rather than giving someone something that they can reuse and something that they can use to in turn empower and help others. One can view foreign aid or charity donations in this way. Some prefer to simply throw significant sums of money at a problem, hoping that it will either go away or to a large enough extent that everyone feels good about themselves. Whilst this may provide some relief in the short term, and directly help others, it can create a culture of dependency and remove the will to take responsibility for one's own destiny. Equally it does not to invest in others or a country, in terms of helping it becoem self-reliant for the future. It depends if one is focussed on short term relief or long term gain. Some people object to charity on the basis that it reinforces the very problem it seeks to alleviate, but that is not to say that they do not care, but may prefer to put their efforts into empowering others through coaching or other forms of community support. Those in the healing profession can thus provide healing to people (usually at a cost) or teach people how to heal themselves where the person does not keep coming back for more 'top ups'.

A similar take on the above might be the notion of fighting for the rights of the individual, for human rights, and the freedom of the individual to be themselves and to achieve their potential, whilst essentially leaving it up to the individual as to whether he takes up this new found freedom and makes an effort to be oneself. It is therefore possible to fight for the rights of others but also have very little interest in what others do with their lives, unless they choose to do something particularly noteworthy with it. Is this altruism? It is clearly helping others in some capacity. Some may reduce the scope of this philosophy and only fight for their own rights and ignore the rights of everyone else as that is their own problem and responsibility! The concept of altruism therefore in some way is tied to the concept of responsibility.

One could also take the view that shattering the illusion of a stranger and pointing to/offering knowledge of the objective reality of a situation and offering a person perspective in light of illusory based and annoying behaviour is also an act of altruism. It may not be popular or appreciated at the time - depends on the person. Sometimes people are so unable to see how their own psychological patterns are and their own shadow, that someone needs to actually directly tell them and give concrete examples (rather than just a flippant response), and point out an alternative if it is not obvious. If one's 'friends' are too polite to ever say anything, does that really make them 'friends' at all? If they do not care about one's own personal growth? Or at least only when it is easy to do so and does not involve opening each other's 'vaults' - maintaining a closeness of friendship but also aloofness and sense of isolation of separateness or denial in the friendship. Sometimes one's 'enemies' can be better friends than one's 'friends'! However, the motivations of strangers are not always benevolent but harsh in this respect and often there may be a large degree of egotism and desire to put the other person down, including some shadow truth, pointing out an error, but a large degree of exaggeration designed to try to make the recipient of the abuse feel as lousy about themselves as possible, to amplify the importance of the 'rights' or viewpoint of the giver of the abuse, as if the whole world revolved around them.

One could also view it as self-interest, in that one is only doing it as one does not want to have to put up with the confused/antisocial behaviour any longer! One may also find it annoying when someone uses poor technique, so correction may be an ego choice.

Altruism could also be seen as a PR exercise, done to project the outward image that one has good intentions and is benevolent, painting all one's activities with this rose coloured brush, whereas the reality may not may not reflect this at all, or may even be quite the opposite. Or perhaps to distract attention away from what one is really doing, which normally would be frowned upon. Some view some corporate sponsored charity work in this manner, or even Freemasonry. It is however sound business sense, depending on the nature of the cause and what sector one is in. Some argue that Freemasons do charity work for their own self-actualisation and to reach higher levels of consciousness. Others still argue that it is a genuine desire to help one's brother man. Presumably however, this altruism and care for humanity should be seen in other activities if it is indeed genuine, and in documented cases this is not so - but clearly it depends on which branch/lodge one is talking about.

Emerson believed that it was a beautiful thing that altruism and giving to others provided the giver with a natural reward. This seems to be a natural principle. You cannot separate a gift from its reward any more than one can separate the day from the night and just have one without the other. Why do some people object to the laws of the mind? It is basic psychology. Why not complain about the law of attraction, specifically regarding focus - focussing on what you don't want bringing you into a situation where more of that occurs. It is a law of nature. Natural selection and kinship altruism plays as important a role in Natural Selection as Survival of the Fittest. Many LHP adherents are interested in embodying the laws of nature - perhaps in a selective manner in many cases - only the macho ones!

What is the big deal with a 'win win' situation? Why not object to any form of relationship, as often one would not embark on it if it was not mutual and one was not getting something back in return? Otherwise it would be deemed a humanitarian 'project'. Life is full of 'win win' situations - objecting to all of them would be perhaps ridiculous and too much like hard work, denying fundamental principles of existence, dependency and mutuality present in human beings. Humans are social creatures. No man is an island. 

The Ego

LaVey Satanism brings an interesting concept of one's relationship with one's ego to the fore. It is interesting to read some of tenets of Satanism and how they apply to daily life. The concept the relationship between one's ego and one's consciousness is a complex one. It is something that religions and philosophers have been struggling with for thousands of years. To totally embrace the ego in its entirety without exercising any control over it would be unwise - this would result in the consciousness becoming a passenger to the ego, with the ego seeking to control the whole of conscious experience, taking the credit for it and seeking to reinforce its position. Nor woud it be so wise to try to regard the ego as 'evil' and to try to completely suppress it in all activities and areas of life. The ego is our body's evolutionary natural defence mechanism, allowing us to interact with the world and function. However, it often allowed to exist in a manner at the detriment of our innate consciousness and ability to 'feel'. The ego is in many ways a left brain entity and is to a large extent a conditioned psychological response.

To what extent should one embrace the ego, and to what extent should one try to suppress it or shut it up? These are tough questions. By following our desires in all things we may find it difficult to develop any sense of self-discipline, and it may be impossible to cultivate any stillness of mind. By entertaining our ego at all times, we may not be able to silence the constant stream of 'desires (for pleasure and/or power), fears, stress, guilt, judgements, analysis, self-loathing, self-criticism, rationalising, attempts to control, attempts to take credit' nor to trust our instincts and truly feel, in the consciousness sense, without the intervention and controlling actions of the ego. This is not even mentioning a possible susceptibility to mood swings and inability to control one's anger or emotions. By calming the ego, it is possible to achieve greater stillness and a sense of inner peace. This is something that many Eastern religions and philosophies have attempted to address, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism (see the Mainstream Religions page for more information), e.g. stillness through 'no mind'. Some religions may conceptually give some advice on the ego, but may not really assist in actual practical methods of calming the ego and the mind, but rather just rely on 'faith' to achieve this, e.g. Christianity. Whilst this may work with some people, with others, it may not, and the ego may continue with many of its ridiculous activities and in addition get involved in judgements, guilt and rationalising of one's spiritual experience and that of others, rather than allowing the mind to be clear and calm. In the latter case it may end up with trying to excessively rely on rational concepts of the 'rules' and what you should be doing and what others 'should' be doing, and disappointing and upsetting your ego when you don't get things the way your ego was expecting. This is not generally a very fulfilling way to live one's life. The ego may have merely shifted its pattern of control from one area to another (before and after conversion), and still be an obstacle in your spiritual life.

There are clearly many ways of exploring the senses to the full and to be fully in tune with one's body and experiences. There are different ways of engaging the ego in these activities. One may enter into activities with 'no mind', i.e. with the ego not engaged, but relying on one's instincts and trusting one's subsconscious and neurological system to just get on with it (rather than trying to control it through the ego and through 'rationalisation'). Many sports people find this the way to achieve the best results and if they 'try' too hard (i.e. excessive ego control) they often perform much worse. In this state of mind one may often lose one's perception of time. One may alternatively choose to enter into an experience of sensation from the perspective of titillating the ego (or rather titillating a set of beliefs and values, perhaps of a perverse or reactionary nature), where the ego may be in control of the experience (this approach is perhaps slightly anally retentive); Or one may choose to enter into an experience in a more balanced manner, engaging the ego to an extent, and engaging and referring to various positive beliefs and pieces of technical information but not try to gain any sense of power, but also trusting one's consciousness and instincts (not reverting to too much personal criticism regarding mistakes and performance), feeling calm minded and free, at the same time - the exact nature of the balance of this mode of experience may indeed vary and change, like a yo-yo, during an experience - one may achieve a good balance for a while, and then totally lose it later on - it clearly varies moment to moment and individual to individual. Lastly one may try to enter into an experience trying to control everything and not trusting one's instincts or innate ability to do something, whereby one will probably not feel anything or be aware of what happened at all as one was too busy rationalising it and trying to get as much from it as possible (ironically getting the least from the experience!)

One may argue whether excessive titillating of the ego (and certain negative beliefs and world/global views) in the way we sense and experience things is psychologically healthy and to what extent it results in reinforcing the ego's dominant position and certain negative beliefs. This is up to the individual to figure out, but if one is not prepared to experience sensation in other ways (at all or enough), then one may well be fooling oneself about the nature of experience and ultimately about one's innate consciousness.

There is clearly a time and a place for different approaches, for example, different points in learning a new technique, or day to day routine experience which does not require any rationalisation and which one may benefit from trying to connect more with one's surroundings and not going around on 'auto-pilot' and missing everything. There is a time and place to indulge oneself in an activity, enjoy the playfulness, chaos and sense of euphoria, be carefree and irresponsible; and times to be creative; times to work hard; and there are times to be responsible; and also times to help and assist others. Of course many people as they get older get into a routine and are really incapable of letting go and being crazy and spontaneous unless they are totally drunk or on drugs. This is clearly not a positive way to live one's life. One should savour the moment as much as possible, whatever one is doing, as each moment doesn't come back and is lost forever. Just how one goes about achieving this balance is up to the individual. I feel that LaVey Satanism in some respects puts too much focus on titillating the ego and ego domination, at the expense of mental calmness and trusting one's consciousness and instincts.

The concept of do whatever you like as long as you don't mess with/harm anyone else is the main theme of Satanism, which also appeals to punks, drug users and teenagers. This is perhaps why many insecure teenagers are attracted to the COS. And Marilyn Manson (who I agree with on many matters it should be stated) is really doing his best to bring them in too. However, if you really do what you like, you behaviour will inevitably have an effect on other people. Of course it depends on the exact behaviour you are talking about. Each person is different and has a different idea of what tickles them. Selfish behaviour is usually anti-social in nature however. Serving the ego solely can be a lonely job, and may alienate you from friendships or connections with people you might otherwise enjoy. Our actions echo in eternity. However, if you believe your actions are justified or righteous for you and your cause, then you may view the result as good, but others may not! It's like if you are into drugs, and abuse yourself in any way you like to feel good, you will likely encourage others to get into it as well. And to get into the lifestyle or beliefs you are into. If you know any drug users, do they ever have an impact on their family and friends? Hell yes! I can peel off a list of people's lives I have influenced in a very negative manner, and I held the tenet of doing your own thing and personal freedom, and not impinging on others as a virtual religious belief. Obsession with power and the temptation of power without humility rots the soul. This is why many politicians are corrupt. Mental illness spreads like a disease. Emotional suppression spreads like a disease from one person to another. Society is interconnected and people are closely spiritually connected. Nothing is without consequence.

Many people are attracted to LaVey Satanism and other Left-Hand Paths as it is seen as a way to justify or to further nuture excessive ego and anti-social behaviour. The attraction with being 'dark' is also a strong lure. Instead of a path of illumination, it is often a path of accentuating one's personal flaws. It seems that the whole philosophy of strength and might is right often predisposes adherents to the idea that they are the 'strongest', 'most powerful', 'cleverer than everyone else' and the 'sharpest'. This often leads to playground bickering, course and vulgar behaviour, less than intelligent behaviour, bragging about power/sexual exploits/one's body, excessive ego trips, childish and insecure demonstrations of power, showing off and excessive elitism, with no real sense of purpose. Clearly one can indulge in these pursuits without having an 'intelligent philosophy' behind it!

Please see the Personal Evolution page for a summary of Dr David Hawkins' concept of Ego and Levels of Consciousness, which is a from a New Age RHP perspective.  

Suppression of Weakness

The laws and principles of the CoS show a tendency to suppress any 'weakness' or the softer side of the emotions (e.g. love, whether brotherly, parental or romantic, affection) and as such display a lack of understanding of the fundamental human needs as described elsewhere on this site. Clearly some degree of affection is tolerated between parents and children, but how much affection is one 'allowed' or 'supposed' to give to others. Only to the deserving? With children, when they are badly behaved, it is often then that one should be supportive rather than scolding or reprimanding. One can understand why frustrated teenagers can relate to these laws and tenets. Indeed, following these rules may give participants a false sense of confidence, self-power and independence; to gain a sense of empowerment; but comes from a place of insecurity about the self and a lack of self-knowledge, by suppressing certain emotions. There is a time and place for everything, and at certain times teenagers may come to terms with traumatic experiences or unhealthy family or other situations by adopting such a mindset. However, this is hardly a long term, balanced strategy. Ignoring certain Fundamental Human Needs (c/f Glassner/Maslow) will not lead to fulfilment, less so as one gets older and these needs go unmet for increasing periods of time. Every situation is different, and freedom is the right to decide to do what feels best at any given moment, rather than simply following a set of rules.

As mentioned elsewhere, any qualities that are seen as weakness may be regarded with disdain by many Satanist peers. Strength is encouraged, as long as it embodies strength and fostering the Will in a direction that is acceptable within the rules and framework of Satanism and indeed the finnickity aesthetics and personal biases of Satanists within a given peer group. For example, in some Satanic circles, if one has the strength to not conform like the others (the 'herd') and reject pressure to adopt gothic/teutonic style clothing, to listen to Black Metal or Industrial etc., to adopt a highly unfashionable aesthetic sense or to express open homosexuality, then one is not generally respected for them and may be held back in occult orders or in the Satanic social scene as a result. However, undesirable but 'tough' characteristics, such as a predisposition to Neo-Nazism, racism or terrorist claims, may gain one kudos as one is viewed as a hard man, even if the views are not particularly acceptable to the peer group. It is respected or condoned. This is examined on the Satanism and the Far Right page.  

Clarity & Rationalism

One some level, LaVey Satanists regard Satanism as a state of mind of clarity, stripping away all mental confusion and unnecessary feelings and adherences, with all other religions being confusion and clouding people's minds. To some extent, one can relate to this philosophy and understand where it is coming from. The state of clarity is however also the state of mind that is claimed to be experienced by adherents of many other belief systems and faiths, and is certainly a state of mind that I have felt to the fullest extent when he first became a Christian. Clarity it could be argued is a psychological state where one's beliefs are aligned and in accord, rather than conflicting and 'putting on the brakes'. It generally happens that LHP adherents can attain more clarity and freedom from many social conventions that your average Christian, but that they perhaps both have levels of clarity in different areas - and it ultimately depends on which you believe has the more value. Satanists often have a black hole in their own self aware of their own mindstate (lack of perspective), but then Christians are often extremely brainwashed by their own faith; and ironically it is Satanists who are often more educated about the history of the Christian religion than the Christians themselves who cannot separate the word of the Bible from modern Western Christian literature and traditions, which are all assumed to be 'holy'.

I like the rationalism of LHP adherents and lack of pretentiousness, which he finds extremely refreshing. However, in some cases I do not regard it as a pure form of rationalism, as it is often tainted with a 'knee jerk' feeling towards RHP faiths and indeed some Eastern faiths. Anything regarded as 'dogmatic'...except of course that many LHP beliefs or views may be their own type of dogma or narrow in their remit in some cases. I have noticed some levels of rationalism in neo-paganism in general, although to a lesser extent than the LHP. As with the LHP, there seems to be a similar 'knee jerk' response to certain ends of the religious spectrum and in other areas (like Capitalism), and a 'dark-bias' although to a lesser extent than the LHP. I take what I like from the LHP but do not take what I regards as lacking in rationalism, to nurture his own form of rationalism, or a purer form of philosophical thought (in my opinion). 

Honesty

It should be noted that there is no mention of 'honesty' mentioned in the laws of LaVey Satanism. Does this imply that it is acceptable to lie publicly but also to one's friends and colleagues? To what extent are people who frequently lie (with ease, to varying degrees) honest with themselves? This would presumably break the rule of 'self deceipt'. Is it acceptable then to lie about anything you like as long as you don't believe your own lies or deceive yourself? This surely isn't very helpful and is unlikely to gain you respect from your peers or friends.

I have conversed with a number of Satanists and adherents of various variants of the Left Hand Path. He has in generally found them to be open and no nonsense in their approach, and usually quite honest. Of course, with many such people one often gets the impression that they are only forthcoming about that which they want to be forthcoming about, or are prepared to be open about. As long as one sticks within that remit and does not probe too deeply about the emotions (emotional content often being absent in such direct, no nonsense interactions) then one can enjoy a refreshing air of honesty free of the usual social inhibitions and conventions.

Of course RHP religions such as the Judeo-Abrahamic religions emphasise honesty in their texts too. However, whether this is real emotional honesty with the self or not in all areas is a matter of debate. Most evangelical Christians tend to be very honest and law abiding, almost to the point of being 'snitches' - trying to be the model citizen - but the level of response one receives is often in terms of the person's own religious beliefs which may not be what one was after, depending on the context. 

Balance

As described elsewhere, it is easy to be dark or cynical as it is kinder on the ego and does not challenge the ego in certain respects, even if it does challenge certain types of conditioning in an immediate manner. Indeed, if one only associates with such people, one may lose perspective and forget that looking relaxed and joking and smiling regularly is actually quite normal (not normal in the conformist sense, but in the natural aspect of our being sense). If you are surrounded by intense looking people all the time, then that's what you consider normal, and you all reinforce each other. The amount of anger and knee-jerk behaviour or expression may also arguably be a reflection of being less spiritually evolved, rather than 'wiser' and 'more spiritually evolved' by embracing both lower forms of intelligence (i.e. the strength and baser, primeval instincts of Satan) and higher forms of intelligence (Christ, Buddha, Lucifer etc.) In such groups, there is perhaps too much 'Satan' and not enough 'Buddha' or 'Christ'. No one ever said the balance should be 50/50, but in spiritual terms it seems to be more 90/10 or 95/5. Of course different groups have different cultures, and suit different temperaments and personality types, and different philosophies - and it depends who is around - you often get a lot of idiots and posers joining internet forums in general too.

Another thing to consider is to not judge a philosophy, religion or group of people by those one comes across on the internet. One could argue that by default, anyone who is on internet forums regularly is in some ways by default not a balanced person, or they would not be on the computer in the first place, but in the real world and interacting with it, with friends in person, with the natural environment and enjoying its challenges, vitality and diversity. People in internet communities, especially the regulars, are there to escape their lives and often have something missing in their lives or a major illness, adverse physical conditon, or psychology issue; or perhaps just a little anally retentive. This goes for all types of forums, not just Gnostic Luciferian forums, and it is something we should acknowledge and be honest about. And indeed people who create large personal web sites ;-) The mind is geared to receive intonation, body language, smells and soul! Not just text divorced from these qualities from anonymous icons. Clearly life is too short, and spending more of it on the computer means less time for all those 'proper' and actual pursuits, rather than virtual ones! This is after all wisdom.

Indeed, the concept of indulgence, abstinence and balance is all well and good, but some things are never really good when indulged in, when done in moderation or even occasionally. For example, drug abuse or drug consumption is a rather pointless exercise and participated by those who either lack self knowledge or have issues relating to their low self-esteem and negative self and global beliefs (which reflects in one's ability to have fun, be playful, let go, enjoy life, feel relaxed and enjoy the company of others. Sure, some things are good in moderation, but others are by definition always going to be bad and/or a waste of time. Balance is sometimes a poor excuse used by people who ironically have no balance, but are ruled by addictive thought patterns, addictive patterns of behaviour and psychological dependence on something. Sure, one can learn from a period of drug abuse, and use it to give you strength of conviction, but equally, many individuals were more clued up to start with and can reach the end goal of wisdom and maturity without having to waste 'x' numbers of years being stoner or drug addict - one may of course have had a few good times in between the bad, but equally one could have had more good times if one had been more focussed and more oneself.

One could argue that the sense of 'balance' is not present in the fullest sense in any/many of the religions or philosophies that inspire many Gnostic Luciferians, but this could well be where the LHP seeks to provide an overall framework of approach, seeking to unite a set of extremes within without becoming a slave to any particular one. It could be that trying to achieve this style of balance is like having one's cake and eating it, and that perhaps one cannot excel at anything by simply dabbling a little and in the next moment doing something that contradicts it, but then again, perhaps this is more conducive to individuation and uniting of the psyche. Like the Golden Dawn Tradition that GL was inspired by, seeking to master so many different systems is the work of several lifetimes. To be oneself one has to feel truly free and authentic, independent of crude approximations of the spiritual experience in one-size-fits all form.

How does one know if one has got the balance right in one's life? Many Luciferians I come across talk about balance and believe they are indeed fairly clued up on spiritual and psychological matters but as is often the case have certain holes in their psyche where they are ruled by limiting behaviours and beliefs that seem patently obvious to the next person, but which they cannot see as it is in their blind spot. Many Luciferians I come across seem ruled by their political beliefs such that they almost become slaves. This doesn't strike me as particularly LHP - whilst what they want is a situation where LHP practitioners can be freer, in the process, they are enslaving themselves.

One consciousness can easily to ruled and dominated by the ego and restrictive thought patterns, negative beliefs and thought patterns and addictive patterns of behaviour. Over-familiarisation and lack of perspective/appreciation/gratitude can set it, and one can lose one's vitality, one's sense of here and now. Unless one makes a conscious effort to cultivate and reinforce positive beliefs, to interrupt one's focus when one is in a negative 'zone', on a regular basis, then it is easy to lose that vitality, balance and positivity. In GL, one could perhaps focus too much on the 'darker' side of the system, as it is more pleasing to the ego in many respects and one can deny one's softer side, letting it out occasionally. The mind tends towards the negative and dark by itself if left to its own devices. We are not our mind or thoughts, we are in a sense the consciousness observing what the mind does and are dragged around by it. Have you noticed how it is easy to notice a blemish or stain on an othewise clean garment? Does our mind focus on what wonderful the rest of the garment is? Or is our eye drawn to that blemish? Is this why the ego tends to predominate in Left-Hand Path adherents, when in theory it should not?

Sometimes, people use the concept of embodying both 'light and dark' qualities to avoid self-reflection. Perhaps there is an element of wanting to gain acceptance from all different ends of the spectrum, not wishing to alienate themselves from anyone or anything (being a 'yes' person or looking to please others), to feel that one has 'ticked all the boxes' and thus embodied 'wisdom'. For some, the pursuit of 'balance' may be based on insecurity or a lack of self-knowledge - not knowing what their true path is, so by ticking the boxes at different ends of the spectrum, one feels one has represented the 'self', even if one does not know what that true self really is. It is perhaps more the case however that individuals dabble in several areas within the context of the LHP and as they grow older, their focus and interests shift towards perhaps more the areas that really describe or suit their personality better, perhaps as a result of gaining self-knowledge from their practices or realising what isn't them with enough time, but maybe partly due to just living life in general.

Perhaps this is a drive towards conformity, to conform to all modes available. In some young adults, torn between the 'teenage sense of irresponsibility and partying' and the demands of professional society, education and employment, to try to 'tick both boxes', pursuing their career and becoming domesticated, whilst trying to keep their 'young and anarchic spirit alive'. Is this self deception? Or genuine balance and wisdom? Many Gnostic Luciferians are keen to point out how anarchic they are, and how much they don't care, but at the same time, how intelligent they are, and how rational their line of enquiry is and how well versed they are in the classics and how they contribute to society in a professional capacity (in terms of doing what they want professionally rather than anything altruistic for the sake of it). Do some choose the 'dark' path, having come from a place of 'normality' or being an 'average conditioned consumer' or even a place of light or non-self (or someone else controlling that self for you!), because they genuinely want to explore that 'darker' side of the psyche? Or is it an excuse for the ego to distract one from one's overall growth? Or is it because one wishes to 'break' psychological conditioning that one has allowed into one's brain over many years? Feeling that all truth is but half truth, and that to see the whole of the truth one must embrace a number of different philosophies and truths, including demonology (goetia) as well as theurgy (divine/ceremonial magic); one may end up in a place where one feels that one is oneself. Or one may alternatively end up in a place where one has no clue who one really is or what one really believes, and that one is in a constant state of confusion, inaction and disorientation, going from one line of thinking to another, depending on who or what one is talking about. The self shifts from one place to another without ever feeling that it is at home anywhere. Is the pursuit of knowledge empowering or disempowering in this sense - if one defines knowledge in these terms? Or is over-intellectualisation and the potential encouragement of the ego to take over most of one's waking consciousness or denial of physical existence's value merely a major stumbling block to one's intellectual and 'spiritual' growth/illumination? These types of issues are also explored in more detail on the Left-Hand Path page.

One could argue that Afro-Americans and 3rd generation Jamaican immigrants in the UK are more comfortable with the idea of balance of light and dark, of hedonism, aesthetics, a natural 'groove', having 'soul', sensuality, style, sense of mischief and also Christian values than many of the 'white caucasian' disposition. 'Black' people in this sense are often more comfortable and congruent within themselves and seem less 'awkward' than many 'white' people, who struggle to embody all these values and compartmentalise their values, beliefs and behaviour more. This is often why 'white' culture has seeked to copy 'black' culture. This of course isn't universally true and even whilst perhaps being more comfortable with Christianity, it will still have various psychological effects on these individuals, and will impede their ability to develop their sense of self in many respects. It could be argued that most adherents of Gnostic Luciferianism are 'white' as they are the people who struggle most with this sense of balance and self-expression. Does one really need to formalise some of the above qualities into 'Lucifers' or divine qualities or 'advisors' or can one just be it?

If one compartmentalises the emotions and different syncretic belief systems, do they work whilst residing temporarily in 'other compartments'? Do Gnostic Luciferians have problems feeling congruent? Are the 're-written' or 'reinterpreted' religious convictions compatible in this sense or is there still conflict? Can one feel congruent or does one have to swap from one 'mode' to the next when dealing with different situations? How connected are these 'modes' or compartments? Can one feel two different belief systems together in one moment? Or does one end up totally confused? Does one go from one extreme to the other, alternating, like a yo-yo, and experiencing only momentary fleeting glimpses of real balance? This is an issue for all occultists, and indeed many non-occultists. Clearly it depends on the individual to some extent.

Many people start to self-actualise on a low level (e.g. some Satanists, knee-jerk rebellious teenagers, drug users) before they are mature and are able to actualise on a higher level. However, it could be argued that if one is able to self-actualise on a high level day to day in one's life, for example, being who one wants to be, achieving what one wants to be, having a high level of self-awareness, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and one is able to create what one wants for oneself and others around one, for example, in one's job or profession (working on things on loves) or family life, then do you then have any real need to self-actualise on a low level? Some might argue that one has 'passed through' that phase in one's life and has no need to return there. Others may argue that one needs to reguarly 'return there' to keep balance and perspective, despite having 'flogged the dead horse' with this in the past - or perhaps the horse wasn't flogged enough back then, which is why they are compensating for it now.

A RHP practitioner could view that the idea of balance in Gnostic Luciferianism is just being selfish. It is acting from what you feel you need or want at any one particular time, for example, you feel like helping someone or you feel like looking after yourself or being hedonistic. It all comes from what you want at the time. This is clearly a reflection of the Self, which is what the Left-Hand Path is all about, after all! If one is not approaching life from the position of the self, who exactly is one doing it for? No one gets any prizes for not being themselves. Whether one wants to call it selfish or not or just Self is a philosophical matter and dependent on the situation and context. However, it is easy to get into an ego trap and ignore one's various fundamental human needs, by focussing narrowly on just a few. Whether this is a high form of intelligence and evolved spirituality, or several steps backwards in spiritual terms is a matter for the individual to decide!

Some may argue that when people only look "heavenward" in their ascetic pursuits to move on spiritually, they are only grounding themselves further to this material creation via their refusal to acknowledge the entirety of the human experience; by learning to ignore these 'demons', refusing to acknowledge that one could possibly have such thoughts and feelings. One can argue that until one accepts these things as a part of one, that one can render them powerless, even harness their power to be used in a more productive/creative manner.

In some sense I believe that stigmatising and being hateful of the concept of creation, the physical world and the concept of a creator is reflective of a 'chip on one's shoulder' and that seed of hate or anger may prevent someone from moving forward in terms of wisdom.

One may consider Gnostic Luciferianism and related philosophies, as a 'phase' that one goes through in order to learn about oneself and discover oneself. Satanism (in its various forms) could also be considered in this manner, and indeed is considered by many Gnostic Luciferians and Luciferians as a stepping stone to higher wisdom and knowledge, but not a sensible or rational final destination. Satanism and the darker forms of Gnostic Luciferianism (basically Satanism) could in a sense be considered to be an inversion of one's previous values, or a 'knee jerk reaction' to one's past values and psychological issues. Perhaps pursuing the self and the ego is considered a panacea to years of mental 'self-mutilation' and guilt. In some ways, it could be considered to be a 'zig-zag' path to the true self. Those who do not really know who they are may go from one philosophy to the next, in a 'zig-zag' manner, some perhaps eventually hitting the 'target' of their true self, and others never quite hitting it (i.e. never quite getting a feel for where the target is). Those who know what they want to be and who have discovered who they are, but need the leverage to get there, may use various techniques and empowering and positive beliefs to aim straight for the target with the minimum of 'messing about' and going from one extreme to another, but choosing the middle path and specifically targetting those negative beliefs that are clearly blocking one's path to that target. If one is consciously going into an inverted phase in order to 'rid oneself' of one's previous psychological baggage, and one believes one is doing so consciously and in a controlled manner, then one may indeed ask oneself why one is doing this in the first place and not just going for the target directly. Arguably Luciferianism as a whole is a more 'mature' or 'complete' philosophy than Satanism, but it depends on the individual as to what their emotional needs are as they grow older, and indeed some may argue that anyone who strays off the LHP has 'lost it' rather than become more mature, has chosen to focus on other human needs for a while, or have more self-knowledge than before.

One may perhaps view that one has not gone through certain phases in one's life in one's search for self-expression, and that one wants to experience a certain kind of freedom or craziness before becoming more balanced. This may of course be a response to years of self-restriction, a kind of release. For example, a part of growing up. Going through a late adolescence that one never experienced fully in the first place. Perhaps these are just crude substitutes for the 'real thing' i.e. meeting a true life companion, love, self-actualising on a high level. Who is to say. That is up to the individual to figure out! One could however conclude that if one believes one is in control going into a 'destructive' or 'dark' phase, as described above, then one will be the same or similar person on the way out; indeed the person who is on the inside may be a totally different person than the one first going in. And thus it won't be you making the decisions to move and try something else, it will be another person. And that other person might not make such a decision. Also, that person on the inside may be groomed or conditioned with certain core beliefs that are hard to shake off when one feels they have served their 'purpose' and that one wants to move on to something else. These beliefs or 'a force' may prevent you or at least try its best to prevent you from letting go and moving on, when part of you is ready to do so (if you allow youself to acknowledge this). Clearly, any extreme phase that one goes through in one's life has a profound effect on one's personality and not always for the better. Sure, different experiences are useful in life, but sometimes all an experience will yield is associations of various types of psychic or spiritual pain rather than any kind of wisdom as such. It of course depends on the individual to some extent. But one could argue that certain experiences are invariably of a certain (negative) quality. 

Health and Lifestyle

If Gnostic Luciferian groups or Left-Hand Path groups claim to represent an interest in wisdom, knowledge, science and self-improvement and development, then I believe that they should be more grounded and show more interest in areas of health and nutrition. These are generally considered a little more 'boring' to most. Opinion is divided also in terms of whom one chooses to believe regarding diet and health, and people have their biases even if they believe they are indeed interested in health. Many members I've come across either tend to be to lazy or unmotivated to take an interest in this area, as they simply adopt a minor variation of the average Western consumer diet; or they are too interested in hedonism and getting drunk or wasted and studying the occult to reel back their ego slightly, and pay proper attention to their body - to desist from short term pleasure based treatment of their body and work with the body for better results in general for the long term. Or otherwise, members can be very 'brainwashed' in western scientific values when it comes to nutrition, and adopt the medical establishment's and food industry's beliefs about nutrition, diet and food, which is in general very unscientific and selective in its acknowledgement of the facts. To adopt a 'straight man's scientific inclination'. To me, this is not reflective of a desire for wisdom and to learn the entirety of 'hidden or 'occult' scientific/metaphysical knowledge, or true Luciferianism. To me, not being dedicated to pursuit of truth in this area is a huge whole in a person's quest for truth and self-knowledge. I consider the cutting edge of holistic science behind biochemistry and nutrition (science-based not just 'new age') to be a form of mysterious 'hidden knowledge' from the vast majority of the population, and thus could be considered as 'the occult' in the literal meaning of the term! So in some ways, I am ironically much 'wiser and more highly versed' than most Gnostic Luciferians in 'the occult'! However, my knowledge in other areas is still very limited, and I am not pretending to be 'wiser' and more 'knowledgeable' than everyone else as a whole. But important things first. Most Gnostics or those who fancy themselves as a little Gnostic may not be so interested in matters of cellular health as they perhaps see the body as 'a prison' and not part of them, which to me is partly true but partly moronic thinking. If one's body is indeed a form of 'earthly prison' then by abusing it or letting it be abused by your ego and society as a whole is simply making the prison more uncomfortable and more of a prison!

For some, perhaps the ultimate irony is that by being fixated on 'deprogramming' Judao-Christian conditioning by often arguably childish inverted practices, and adopting hedonism, often at the expense of one's health, it overlooks the ultimate act of Satanic defiance, which is the empowerment on the lowest, most basic level - that of creating a physical body that is as powerful and energetic as possible, able to best live out a life to the full; and the act of cleansing the body of toxins accumulated by that dogmatic society and its food, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries - detoxifying the body - is the ultimate act of defiance against such a society and its physical dogma against the Self. Yet few Satanists embrace this philosophy to the full.

Most followers of the LHP are not that bothered about their physical bodies, as they are simply regarded as a means to an end, and that may involve over dietary imbalance and indulgence and drink/drug abuse, which is counterproductive in the long term (and arguably the short term as well!) to serve the excesses of the mind and the ego. This could perhaps be said of many adherents of the RHP to varying degrees, who are often credulous and believe everything advertising and modern consumerism influences them to do and eat/drink. However, some consider that the mind and body are really the same thing, the soul/spirit being essentially the body whilst it is housed in the body during one's life. As discussed in the Course in Miracles on the Psychology Bibliography page, an unfettered and focussed mind results in a healthier body that is impervious to external sources of damage or harm. This is belief resulting in the actual effect rather than the cause always resulting in the effect. The is also related to The Law of Attraction. If the mind is in tune with the body, i.e. one's mind is in tune with one's goals, true Will/nature, and belief in the self and good health, then the mind/body is deemed to be capable of so much more, and not dragged down by negative beliefs, limitations and fear of the shadow, nor subject to the limitations and stale psychology and yo-yo-ing that accompanies regular drug use and greedy diet management. Consumption of processed and modern foods of a 'low vibration' may well result in a body and mind of a low vibration, with less nutritional input and indeed less energy. However, these factors are only deemed to affect the body when the mind is of a 'low vibration' to start with. The low vibrational state is thus deemed to be a vicious circle, and breaking out to higher vibration is considered much more difficult. Energetic blockages are seen to cause disease. It is thus believed that if the mind is strong enough (in whatever sense one wishes to interpret that), then it is able to unblock energetic blockages and essentially the body is able to cope with any garbage that is thrown at it, and be much more resistant to highly poisonous substances. This higher mind and strong will is able to raise the energetic vibration of the body. This higher mind state can also be equated to those who can fire walk or perform similar feats (buried alive etc.) The body is thus considered as a perception.

I think this is true to a significant extent, although it depends on how well strong and well balanced energetically, and how healthy an immune system, one really wants. The body definitely needs a physical helping hand in many respects to get it working properly, in addition to working on the psychological/energetic side, including dietary changes, intensive nutrition input, nutritious plant extracts, organ support and/or targeted supplements, and perhaps detoxification support and avoiding excessive detrimental environmental factors. These elements are found in Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda as well as modern Naturopathy, and it would be unwise to ignore them in my opinion.

Diet and nutrition are areas that are very much neglected in modern Western Christianity, which seem to have embraced consumerism and its associated family dietary values where relevant. There is very little knowledge amongst most contemporary Christians that I've come across of diet, nutrition and even cellular health. This could be said about the average member of the population too. Emotionally comforting foods and drinks are often served at Church functions and at home groups, the latter which seem to be the worst with respect to serving cakes and such like. Seventh Day Adventists however are the exception and in this respect are hugely more progressive.

Regarding the types of emotions that are healing for the body, one should consider an emotional hierarchy that is often cited, putting love at the top, but balance this against what one's real deep rooted emotional and psychological needs are - which is often neglected by many RHP practitioners in the belief that they some of the deep rooted issues will go away (likely be displaced or shifted to another form - addressing one set of needs but perhaps creating another set of needs or issues) by one's relationship with xyz God.

As discussed in the Psychology section, if one associates with negative people, the nature tendency is for the negative people to pull the other person down to their level, so they feel less threatened or more comfortable seeing like in others. The same principle may apply with energy states or levels of vibration also. A low level of vibration in one person may bring down the higher level of vibration in another if they are in close proximity or interract for any significant length of time. This may manifest as a more deflated, 'bummed' or depressed mood, or perhaps physical symptoms such as a headache or fatigue etc. If the person with the higher level of vibration is highly grounded in their level of vibration, then it is also possible that the person at the lower level of vibration may be lifted up closer to the other person's level. This is achieved partly by resonance, the way women's periods in a house house may harmonise and occur simultaneously. They are also some of the principles of Hermeticism, and underlying philosophy to most systems of magic.

Of course, maintaining a happy mood constantly is hard work and is actually energetically draining (from a TCM perspective). Oriental medicine believes that extremes of an emotion, even a particular positive emotion, causes energetic imbalance. Therefore, when we talk of a higher level of vibration, it may take the form of a calm mind or 'no mind' (the 'zen' state). So a high level of vibration can be in the form of no emotion at all (a Tao/Zen state of mind) or in the form of positive and empowering emotional states; and also in the form of a strong Will or a deep connection and understanding of the self (who one really is). However, how do these interrelate? Are they in contradiction? Western philosophy gives much weight to emotion whereas Eastern philosophy tends more towards negating the addictions and yo-yoing of the emotions to reach higher and calmer mental states.

Clearly the concept of 'higher vibration' and 'lower vibration' is not just a simple scale or one dimensional concept. There are clearly other aspects to it and it must interrelate with the body's own energetic (qi) systems as well as the spirit. To some degree, the level of one's vibration goes up and down according to one's moods, emotional states and level of calmness/no mind (i.e. being tuned in) and the strength of one's Will or harmony with oneself/embodiment of one's true self to a lesser extent. If the Chinese are right, then positive emotion alone (i.e. excitement, love, confidence, happiness) cannot be the sole source of high vibration - or that high vibration cannot be maintained all the time, and that the qi system in some capacity is more important or rather a more important aspect of it. Or perhaps the exact opposite, that mind states are just one part of the overall qi system. 

Psychological Issues

One could argue that focussing and dwelling on oneself all the time is psychologically unhealthy and is inevitably going to pander to the ego and narcissism to some degree. Focussing on onself alone may also result in an excessive tendency to rely on one's left brain thinking, rationalising and controlling, rather than trusting and going with one's instincts. This of couse does not necessarily have to be the case. Many Left-Handed Paths draw heavily on Taoism and Buddhism. It is perhaps important to understand the relationship and also difference between the Self and the Ego. One can consider the True Self or Will to be one's core personality type, spirit or perception and consciousness of these things. It is often said that by losing oneself and one's ego, one can find oneself. Perhaps the Left-Handed Paths rely more on quieting the ego and losing the sense of self than they would like to admit. Perhaps quietening the ego is seen as a path towards the Self, in the same way that Buddhists view quietening the ego is a way to losing the self. Clearly some of the practices of Taoism and Buddhism can be used for different purposes and with a slightly different intention behind them. We are of course talking about principles and techniques rather than necessarily belief systems in their entireties.

In the same way, the state of 'bliss' or that feeling of being 'high' that some Right-Hand Path adherents experience could be considered to a sensory experience that is far superior and pleasurable to just gratifying the senses, which may become staid and boring after a time. In this sense, experiencing a spiritual state of bliss or enlightenment may be 'Left-Handed'. It depends on whether you believe it comes to you from a divine source, an understanding of divinity or Nirvana, and/or a relationship with God, or whether it comes to you from self-discipline and you making the effort to feel good and to connect to this spiritual source, energy and/or to maintain and be responsible for this relationship yourself. Depending on how you look at it, it could be considered Left-Handed or Right-Handed. If the actual reason why you are feeling good and enlightened or illuminated is just a concept, but the net result is very similar, then are we splitting hairs over whether it is Left-Handed or Right-Handed. Clearly the ways of getting there may be radically different. But there are no doubt many areas of overlap that people would not like to admit. Are enlightenment and illumination completely different and diametrically opposed concepts in all cases? In many cases and religious systems they are very similar if not identical.

Some people believe that the Left-Hand Path offers the only true path to the true self and against the conditioning of mainstream religion and society. However, it should be noted that many occultists are simply representing their own conditioning or inverted response to this and expressing this in their occult biases. For example, white magicians may simply be expressing their Christian conditioning. Or 'black' magicians may simply be expressing their child state from school where they were picked on and their retrospective desire to 'lash out against bullies'. One's occult world is often thus just a reflection of one's physical world and one's conditioning therein, and often occultism does not really present anything different. It depends on how 'dark' one sees the dark elements, whether they are simply neutral or actually 'dark' or 'malevolent' towards others. Dark can be seen as simply the absence of light, and that the absence of good does not necessarily mean conscious decisions towards malevolent action. Occult groups seem to reflect the same hierarchies and character flaws present in wider society also. There are some leaders, who creat their own magic, whilst most follow. Hierarchies are used by some to massage the ego and to feel self-important. Many enjoy the elitism. Much as people do in other clubs, societies and on the greasy pole of the corporate ladder. If magical practice is so 'deprogramming and liberating', then why is this? Of course everyone should tread their own path, and hierarchies may be functional rather than for massaging the ego, but all self-development thought teaches us that we are all leaders or rather, we follow our own path and own purpose. If this is so, then magical groups and their philosophies don't seem to be cutting it in many instances, not liberating people from the sheep mentality of wider society.

Some occultists and philosophers believe that the LHP is the panacea, the answer to all their problems. Their current psychological problems they feel can be overcome but trying to adhere more rigidly to the LHP and to follow it's practices to achieve one's Will. However, as noted, the LHP may be somewhat narrow in its remit, and some practitioners appear to be seeking to fulfil some of their unmet Human Needs including love and connection. Softer emotions are often discouraged or ridiculed by peers who follow the LHP, and I have observed some followers of the LHP who seem to be reaching out and really want to share a close connection with others, and no doubt to be loved or feel loved. They try to reach out but no one seems to be really listening or if they do communicate with others on this path, there may be philosophical discussion and banter, but on an emotional level there is often very little there - and certainly very little if any love. Such individuals may be destined to remain depressed and unsatisfied if they insist on their social circles and this rigid philosophy. One could perhaps say in general that followers of the LHP dislike 'brotherly' or 'sisterly' associations with their peers, as they find that such feels inspire weakness and assure one's own demise on account of the flaws of others. This is not universally true, and depends on which LHP group one is referring to, but it seems to be present to some extent in all groups. Some embody this philosophy more than others of course. Those that follow the LHP should be aware of the teachings of Tantra upon which it is based, the whole of the Tantra, and not just the parts that are 'LHP'. Tantra holds that LHP and RHP type approaches are equally valid, but that the LHP is inherently more dangerous, requiring a great deal of discipline. Not many people seem to acknowledge this and regard the pursuit of the self as a form of undisciplined occult hedonism, or rather discpline when one is in the mood, and undisciplined the rest of the time - not exactly the embodiment of Vamachara.

It is possible that certain personality types are drawn towards the LHP more than others, or at least those who are seeking to develop a certain personality trait as it has been underutilised or underdeveloped (i.e. imbalanced personality type). The personality type that is desired to be promoted could be deemed to be the Red personality type. Please see the Personality Types page in the psychology section for more information.

For every LHP person who seems emotionally vulnerable, repressed and hopeless, I come across one who has a high level of self-knowledge and a cool head with deep philosophical understanding, almost to the point of being surgical/clinical. 

Children and Animals as Innocents

This section was originally part of an article on the Church of Satan and examining its rules and tenets.

Some may argue that a low self esteem, not being sufficiently interested in one's own wellbeing and developing one's own interests, and self-denial in general, may often result in an accentuated projected concern for that external to oneself, expressed sometimes as a concern for animals and children (anything small, cute and 'innocent') and the environment (an innocent 'party'); like a projection of one's personal problems and conflicts onto the world around one. Whilst these may well be good causes, the excessive focus on these grateful recipients for one's attention is perhaps a sign of imbalance. An accentuated concern in one area often results in a lack of interest in other areas (or slightly suppressed interest). As stated above, this may be concern for oneself (e.g. 'it doesn't matter if animals are suffering') or reduced concern for human rights issues (because animals get all the attention). However, it may clear affect people in different ways and degrees.

The CoS seems to put animal lives almost above human lives - animals being innocent and not worthy of vengeance, cruelty or being destroyed like humans are in certain circumstances. Clearly if animals are no different from humans then there should be no difference - and cannibalism should be acceptable also (when food is required)? If not, then clearly human life is more valuable or revered than animal life. The CoS refers to sex as 'mating', a 'lair' as one's one, and to humans as animals perhaps in a sense to say that we are no different from animals, as we are governed by animalistic instincts. This may be true in certain respects, but it is clearly emphasising the point that sexual interraction should always be just 'mating'. Referring to one's home as one's lair is surely a little pretentious? As we know, there are certain similarities between humans and animals, such as the ego, animal instincts etc., but there are of course certain key differences. Animals do not have a rulebook or follow rules. Animals do not have the moral code of LaVey Satanism nor of wider society, and may well engage in acts of territorial violence, violence to establish one's rank in a group, and the 'murder' of other animals. Animals do not necessary kill other animals in the least painful way possible, but are more pragmatic about it. Sometimes it is performed in a painful and cruel way. Should citizens also share these non-values? e.g. when an unwelcome guest is in one's neighbourhood, one should viciously attack them and leave them for dead? Some animals eat their children when they are starving? Should we do the same?

Animals on the whole have no concept of sacrifice for the greater good (in a more abstract sense). Humans do have such values, which is why people try to save the lives of others (e.g. rescue situations, police officers preventing a murder or rape, defending your country against invasion, etc.) Should people not bother with such values, and simply take their freedom and liberty for granted and take as much as they can? Do LaVey Satanists often contribute anything positive or of value to wider society - besides art or parties? It depends how you define 'positive' or 'value'. Humanity has inherited its moral framework and moral values from monotheistic religions in a historical sense. Prior and in parallel to an extent of monotheism (over the last 4000 years), human kind was pagan. Human sacrifice was not unusual. The concepts of self-determinism that LaVey Satanism preaches do not come from nature necessarily (although some may to an extent) nor from millennia of atheism (secular atheism is a modern, post-enlightenment philosophy by large), but are the result of the Protestant Reformation, which led to modern concepts of democracy, capitalism, individualism and self-determinism. LaVey Satanism is unlikely to acknowledge this cultural legacy however.

Children appear to be given elevated status, as one is instructed not to harm 'little' children. Is this being overly childish? Are all children by default innocent? Are all adults by default 'guilty' in some way and their lives not worth as much? Or is the implication that toddlers and say under 5s are 'innocent' and slowly when children are not 'little' anymore that they are more guilty somehow? Or perhaps this is reading too much into it. Many teenagers and indeed people in the 18-30 bracket are often still 'children' in some capacity and in many cases still quite clueless about who they are and naive about life. Although physically adults, adulthood really only starts in the late 20s and early 30s for many. Some people never really 'grow up' or shall we say become emotionally mature (we are not talking about becoming boring, just being wiser and childish in one's response to others behaviour and situations, having a better understanding of life and relationships, and oneself). To what extent are these 'childish' people of various ages innocent and to what extent are they guilty? Is this not a philosophical or subjective matter? Some cultures (for example in the Asian sub-continent) regard adult lives as being worth more than a child's as the child has not lived very long, has not developed a full personality and memories yet.

On the subject of not harming small children, if LaVey Satanism clearly values innocence or innocent life, then why does it not embrace innocence and in fact embrace darkness and deny innocence completely? One can regard new activities as fun and enjoyable when one is a kid or when one is adult as they are a new experience, and one engages in them with a sense of wonder and innocence. If one is too 'cynical', then this detracts from the natural joy one can gain from a new experience. We need to distinguish between being 'naive' (easy prey and foolish) and innocence, which are not the same thing. One can be clued up, streetwise, yet maintain a sense of innocence on many levels - assuming one wanted to. There are many 'unfashionable' religions out there that try to cultivate innocence and stillness, such as Christianity, Buddhism, andTaoism, in of course different ways. If one is to be wise, then one would try to objectively analyse what it is that we liked about being kids and what types of things/feelings we really enjoyed; and what made it a real adventure. Clearly when children are being selfish, cruel and nasty, then this is not something that we deep down enjoyed nor the recipient of this behaviour did either. We enjoyed the adventurous and innocent parts. You may want to analyse how you would really like to be and try to cultivate these qualities in yourself, rather than denying some that you would really benefit from and enjoy.

It appears that many modern Satanists do have their 'soft spots', like even Anton LaVey himself, who allegedly cared enough for his son to force his beliefs onto him and to even try to allegedly kidnap him as an adult. There is considerable controversy over Jess LaVey, the alleged son of Anton LaVey, who escaped from the CoS but was later kidnapped (he claims) and forced to partake in Theistic Satanic rituals. He did not want to be associated with his father's movement and became an evangelical Christian preacher. The CoS later denied he was actually Anton's son at all.

It would appear that many modern Satanists compartmentalise their Satanic beliefs with their other moral codes and beliefs, even if they are not strictly compatible, but that they each serve their function psychologically. Going through all the rules, the one that seems to be an odd one out is the fact that you shouldn't harm a child. Why is this? At what age is a child no longer a child? Are all children really innocent of their actions and are all adults really fully aware of what they are doing, and fully educated on the consequences of their actions? Are all adults adult? And are children child-like? Are child crack dealers innocent of their actions? Whilst making lots of money? And are adult crack dealers all guilty? Regardless of how emotionally stunted or child-like/childish they are? Where is the line drawn? Why is it ok to harm an adult? But not a child?

One could argue that children still in development as individuals and their will is not fully formed, or perhaps they have a will but do not know enough about their environment, themselves or their emotions and thus it is a parent's duty and responsibility to ensure they are raised in a non-abusive environment until a time when they are considered an adult when it is each person for himself. Of course, this explanation of why children should not be mistreated or excessively punished if they do wrong is not quite the same as that put forward by LaVey, but it may be held by some Satanists. However, it does not explain about the feelings towards animals. Surely that is emotional on some level. If humans are considered to be the highest evolution of the animal species, then to what extent should one preserve the life of animals. How far down the evolutionary chain does one go? Insects? If children are partially socialised, then animals are for the large part much less so - household pets having some degree of socialisation and wild animals having none - at least not in the terms of human society. However, are animals really innocent? Anton LaVey made much of Darwin and the wild nature of animals, where in the law of the jungle, the strong prevail and the weak die. However, this 'barbaric' jungle of the wild, where killing is not given much though, or excessive cruelty does occur, does this really make animals innocent? Is pure instinct always innocent in the absence of rational decision? It strikes me that there is some conceptual confusion here.

This rule about animals and children strikes me as emotional and soft! Could it be a 'Christian' trait or moral code? Rather than merely a rationalist or scientific view? A Christian hangover of values from the last 2000 years? Much like Marilyn's love of his brother man? 

Likeness to Animals

This section was originally part of an article on the Church of Satan and examining its rules and tenets.

Much is made of the likeness of humans to animals in the tenets listed above, with numerous animal metaphors. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether humans have a similar concept of indulgence to animals and vice versa. Modern humans in westernised countries live in an abstract and specialised society, where our basic hunter gather and survival instincts often have little place or we do not understand how to apply them. This is why most people's greatest fear is of public speaking, rather than an actual life threatening situation. This is also why people suffer from stress, which is rarely related to any survival situation but abstract situations and demands on the person, values they are trying to uphold and embody and expectations they are trying to meet; and trying to do 'everything' in this limited free time. This is why humans have different indulgence requirements to animals. Humans in many cases need to listen to music and 'party'. Animals have no concept of a party as they don't need one! They don't necessarily separate out their normal day to day survival, feeding and movement, and sexual activity into compartments. They just act according to instinct on the whole, in a short sighted manner often, and in a minimalist manner. Animals don't rush around trying to fill their time with as many pleasurable activities as possible. They have to expend effort to find food and eat it, and when they have down time, depending on the species, may rest or do very little. Herbivores may just feed as it requires so much feeding time to get enough food. Apes and gorillas may just relax and sit around scratching each other. Lions may sit around and chill as their meals last them for many days. Human society encourages compartmentalisation. This is particularly accentuated when people do 'non-adventurous' jobs. Is this psychology healthy and balanced? Humans abstract, and have a need for intellectual stimulation, unlike animals.

Do animals actually enjoy sex? Some would argue that they do at the time, but that they follow their instincts and only attempt to mate when the female is most likely to be fertile, when 'in season' or 'on heat' (i.e. according to menstrual cycle and season of the year). Not many animals simply have as much sex as possible, all year around, with the odd exception of dolphins. Some people often regard dolphins as highly intelligent and a role model for how humans should live their lives, as they are 'free'. Dolphins form highly evolved social units and communicate in a complex manner with clicks. They are reputedly the only animals that enjoy sex to the extent that they have sex for fun and not just because of the reproductive urge. And they often have more than enough fish to eat. Yet dolphins are known to be extremely territorial and aggressive against other 'gangs', much like gangbangers in human society, and not infrequently attack and kill members of the other group. Is this something humans should copy? Clearly gang members already are displaying similar behaviour, the only difference is that the dolphins are not doing it for financial gain! Should Satanists similarly kill other humans for simply belonging to another group, gang or circle of friends? Which animal in particular is displaying the concept of idealised animal-like behaviour?Humans may feel guilt about killing in many cases (but not sociopaths and psychopaths who lack the correct psychological childhood emotional formation and may be subject to inappropriate conditioning) but animals are in the here and now and don't sit around feeling guilty. Once they kill, they forget about it. They have no rules or morals but just physiologically learn not to get into certain bad situations or do certain things as they result in pain. However, even then, the minimal effort is used, for example, a bird or mouse will only move the minimal safe distance away from a predator before it stops and relaxes again. It moves based purely on instinct and learned perception of danger. Then it could be somewhere else, until the predator moves closer, and then the animal acts on instinct to move a little further away again (minimal distance). The animal only breaks the pattern if a perceived threat keeps coming towards them upon which it may go slightly further away the next time. This is not in keeping with the Satanic premise of revenge, destroying someone, showing no mercy, etc.

Not all animals are devoid of feelings of love and affection either. The mother will of course protect their young offspring in a large number of mammal species. Groups of animals often groom each other, e.g. Gorillas - is this just pragmatism, or is it also a show of affection to other members of the group? I suspect the latter. Elephants for example are sometimes seen to touch the bones of dead elephants, be they their offspring or siblings, as if they miss them. Pack animals show a love and respect for their leader, as long as that leader shows his authority when needed, e.g. wolves, domestic dogs, sleddogs etc. Animals are social by nature and often tend to stick together, for safety but also for social reasons. Higher mammals do not just operate in isolation in a soley chaotic manner but follow certain social rules.

Satanism has the rule of not harming animals unless a threat or for food. However, not all animals as stated share these 'values'. A domestic cat for example is fed by its owner with off cuts of slaughtered animals, and one who buys cat food is subsidising the meat industry. However, the cat is genetically designed to be a killing machine, being a pure carnivore. It cannot subsist on vegetables as it will grow weak and thin and will eventually die if it does. Cats therefore hunt and kill other animals even when they are not hungry. It is instinctive. They may sometimes leave dead birds and rats/mice near their owners door to show off how clever they have been. One may argue that this is an unnatural state of affairs as wild cats (the few that are left) hunt for food. However, does this also apply to omnivores? Probably not. When cats kill, they don't just kill, they like to torture their victims to death. They enjoy this, as it is a game. Much like a serial killer may enjoy the sense of power of sexual abuse or torture and slow death of his victim. Cats like to stun their victims and play with them, scaring them to death and eventually actually killing them if they are not already dead. Cats are very popular in modern, western nations as they are 'cute'. Because of the large number of cats (a result of the popularity of cats and the large number of people in urban and suburban areas), local bird populations are decimated and hugely affected. It is a massive slaughter! The Mammal Society has estimated that domestic cats kill 300 million animals and birds a year in the UK, which is about 165,000 every 2 days. The vast majority of these 300 million to 450 million animals and birds that are killed by domestic cats in the UK alone each year are tortured to death for fun. And virtually none are actually eaten. There are 9-10 million domestic cats in the UK. Each cat kills/tortures to death about 40 animals and birds a year. All these animals are fed by predominantly factory farmed animal produced pet food, where one could consider these animals to be 'tortured' in rather dubious and unhygienic conditions. Approximately 2.8 million animals a year are killed by vivisection in the UK, which could be classified as torturing animals to death (100 times less than the numbers of animals tortured and killed by domestic cats). This is not however for fun, but results in testing for cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Whether these products could be tested without animal testing is another matter entirely. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 foxes are killed each year in the UK by foxhunts, approximately 0.15% of the number of animals killed each year in the UK in factory farming. Approximately 1000 million animals are killed each year in factory farming in the UK to produce food for people and pets (not including fish numbers from trawling). Whilst this is often cruel and inhumane, it is not torture for the sake of it. It produces food at the end of it. So perhaps those pagans and Satanists, and indeed everyone else, who has a cat (or cats) may want to think about this. Indeed, those who want to be more like animals may want to think about the reality rather than a rose-tinted romantic notion!

It should also be noted that animals do not worship anything, do not have ego trips based on abstracting their consciousness in a 'dark manner', nor do they dress in black, wear make up or engage in rituals or occult practices. Animals do not massage their own ego by indulging their senses from a dark, abstract focus. They exist in the here and now, in a minimalist fashion. Pagans who view themselves as part of nature may want to remember this. Nature of course does not worship itself, that would be abstract and annally retentive of animals to do so! They intuitively exist and just 'are', in the here and now. So why do pagans worship it? Presumably they could just 'be' nature instead? Are pagans, being intellectual and self-conscious beings, thus priviledged to worship the Gods of nature? But are they being distinctly 'unnatural' as no other living creature does this and rationalises in such a manner? The Taoists and Buddhists of China actually studied animals and their effortless, relaxed, graceful but powerful movements in the 1000 years before and 1500 years after Christ. Martial arts were devised based on these principles, of using the body's weight and structure to gain maximum leverage and power but with minimal effort.

Surely if one wants to be more 'animal-like', to embody the spirit of 'Satan', then surely one should dispense with concern for other's wellbeing altogether and just exist on instinct alone, free of any intellectualisation and abstraction? Like a wild animal? After all, animals are chiefly concerned with the here and now and their offspring (until they are old enough to fend for themselves when they are subsequently ignored). The logical extension of this animal state and of LaVey Satanism and perhaps Theistic Satanism is surely to dispense with a moral code altogether (other than not harming one's friends and family in normal circumstances)? To become nihilistic in some sense. This would be more consistent - after all, 'the universe doesn't care'. But perhaps followers don't have the stomach for this. Clearly not all those who follow LaVey Satanism or Theistic Satanism, or indeed literal Biblical Devil Worship follow all the rules or precepts and their sense of morality may vary considerably. Some may not be too bothered about killing other people or having people killed on their behalf. This is probably a very tiny minority, but I am sure such people do exist. In the same way that some serial killers or war criminals may well be nominal Christians or Hindu for example, and compartmentalise their killing. For some, however, compartmentalisation may not be necessary as their ideology and philosophy is in synch with their actions. However, one would have to be very cold blooded and sick to be like this.

Animals do not abstract on the whole, and their brains are not slaves to abstract thoughts, rationalisation, addictive thought patterns (and their resulting addictive behaviours), thoughts of self-judgement and endless streams of garbage (which tends to fill the undisciplined and chaotic minds of the majority of humanity). Animals work on the basis of an empty mind, a state which Buddhists and Taoists strive to achieve. Is Satanism claiming to be the original, animal-like state, but also taking certain post-enlightenment Christian values whenever it suits it? Is it actually in self-denial? Is it really possible to be a 'Satanist' and be emotionally balanced and completely honest with oneself? Or is it a case of being a philosophy one applies some of the time, and which one has to put on the shelf in order to satisfy one's other emotional needs that it does not fulfill? Are those that apply it to the fullest actually healthy, balanced individuals with no suppression of their emotions?  

The Influence of Social Darwinism on LaVey Satanism and the LHP

It is clear that Ragnar Redbeard's Might is Right, and its vision of Social Darwinism, was a major influence on Anton LaVey. Indeed, it has been popular with many Edwardian intellectuals, Nazism, modern pagans, soldiers, unscrupulous capitalists, gangsters, Satanists and white supremacist groups to varying degrees.

Ragnar Redbeard's book Might is Right was a controversial look at an animalistic and brutal form of Social Darwinism, disposing of arbitrary morality and religion, and embodying the 'survival of the fittest' and rationalist ethic. Anton LaVey has been accused of plagiarism of Ragnar Redbeard's book Might is Right, and certain parts of both Might is Right and the Satanic Bible are virtually identical. See the article below and also an extract from Might is Right at the second link.

www.dpjs.co.uk/criticism/smulo.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Might_is_Right

Ironically Friedrich Nietzsche, another major influence on LaVey, was opposed to the Darwin's concept of natural selection and its application to Social Darwinism. He believed that the Will to Power and strength could come from those that on the surface might appear to be weak physically etc. The criteria for who is weak and who is strong, and what definitions to use are clearly highly flawed and not always scientific or logical, but more emotional - some cases are more clear cut than others. It appears that LaVey was slightly torn between opposing views regarding Natural Selection and its application to Social Darwinism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism

Many of the sources and influences on LaVey Satanism, and indeed the Left-Hand Path in general (e.g. Gnostic Luciferianism and Bestian Gnosticism), including Plato, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, Miyamoto Musashi (warrior code), Sun Tzu (Art of War), authors who are held in high regard by Neo-Nazi groups such as the the elite of the prison gang Aryan Brotherhood (a.k.a. AB). The Aryan Brotherhood's elite are given a reading list as part of their grooming, as part of their shift in morality, embracing of the warrior code and the principles of survival of the fittest, war strategy and the propensity to dish out extreme violence to maintain order to instill fear in others. Hitler himself was heavily influenced by such works. Clearly there are many conceptual differences however, as gangs and Neo-Nazi groups may embrace survival of the fittest etc. and the glorification of power and the individual, but that the collective (i.e. the gang or state) and it's order supercedes the rights of the individual gang member, who is killed if he does not obey an order.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_Brotherhood

www.newsletter.co.uk/entertainment/Most-feared-and-deadly-white.3092423.jp

www.boingboing.net/2006/07/28/convicted-aryan-brot.html

In more modern times, Nietzsche has been a major influence on Neo-Nazi gangs (e.g. Aryan Brotherhood), Satanism, Gnostic Luciferianism and the Left-Hand Path, some of whom have taken Nietzsche's ideas in their entirety and others who have selectively taken from his philosophy and chosen to ignore some of his other ideas. It could be argued that whilst many who follow Nietzsche's philosophy object to the uptake by the Nazis and Neo-Nazis as a perversion of Nietzsche's ideas or as a selective uptake of Nietzsche's ideas with contradictory ideas of other philosophers, they are in many cases doing exactly the same thing. The Nazis adopted some of Nietzsche's philosophies, including the Power to Will, perhaps taking it out of context as a justification for global war and domination, but ignored Nietzsche's vehement anti-racism and anti-eugenics stance. LaVey Satanists who claim to draw on Nietzsche's philosophy of the Power to Will, are also ignoring the fact that Nietzsche was an actual atheist, and did not practice the occult, unlike LaVey Satanists who believe that 'black magic' is consistent with atheistic practice. In addition, Gnostic Luciferians or Bestian Gnostics who are highly influenced by Nietzsche have also neglected the fact that Nietzsche was an atheist and believed that 'God was dead', presumably meaning all Gods in effect, including the Judeo-Christian God. Gnostic Luciferians and Bestian Gnostics in many cases believe in multiple Gods and deities, which hardly consistent with Nietzsche's overall philosophy, even if they believe in the Power to Will. What would Nietzsche think if he could see how his ideas had been interpreted today? I imagine that he would be less than impressed that his ideas had been used to promote genocide, race hatred, the occult and polytheism! Nietzsche would have no doubt regarded Satanists and Gnostic Luciferians as just as superstitious as Christians, but at least not embodying the slave-morality. However, there is no reason why one cannot 'pick and mix' from a variety of different philosophies, taking on those ideas that one finds appealing and ignoring others that one does not, within a number of different philosophies, in a somewhat personalised, subjective and syncretic manner. Each to their own!

It appears from first glance that although Anton LaVey delighted in Ragnar Redbeard's writings on the hypocrisy of religion and the moral values of society, he does not completely embrace Ragnar Redbeard's particular version of Social Darwinism. Redbeard's work displays a complete rejection of concepts of morality, and embodies a predominantly animalistic view of humanity, i.e. survival of the fittest - and that's it! LaVey, whilst fancying this approach, does however incorporate some of western society's values and obsessions into his own (less extreme) version of Social Darwinism.

Charles Darwin himself was opposed to slavery, and did not believe in the concept of inferior races, but merely was observing the mechanism in nature that connects all life together and how species evolve. He did not believe in applying his theory to manual intervention in human societies, like eugenics, and believed that man's goood nature and altruism towards the weak is what made him greater than animals. Darwin also believed in God. It is therefore ironic that LaVey was inspired by Darwin to justify attitudes towards the 'weak' that Darwin himself did not hold.

Darwin was himself one of the first ecologists, and post-Darwinism gave birth to the discipline of ecology. Ironically, most Satanists and also 'fundamentalist' Christians see it as their birth right to dominate the earth, for differing reasons, rather than to live in harmony with it, as the ideas of Darwin actually dictate. Short sighted agricultural practices and environmental destruction result in artificial selection or large scale extinction, instigated by human activity, even the 'strongest' species in normal, 'natural' situations. It is no surprise that both Satanism and fundamentalist Christianity originate in the West, specifically in America, the nation most frequently associated with domination, in all senses of the word, and living out of balance with the psyche, the environment and the rest of the world.

LaVey does set certain rules, such as not harming small children, not killing animals unless strictly necessary (for food or self-defence) and of not messing with others (or at least starting trouble) when in 'open ground'. He also does not believe in stealing unless to relieve someone else of excessive wealth or goods that they find a burden; and in respecting someone else's home. Only invest emotionally in those who are 'deserving'. These are 'Christian' moral values (except the last one!), or indeed the moral values of many other more modern monotheistic and indeed secular/capitalist societies. Redbeard's writings do not include such concepts of morality, and it really is a case of survival of the fittest, with no emotional attachment or child-like emotion whatsoever. The logical extension of Redbeard is really total anarchy, do whatever you want or feel like at the time, and the strongest will prevail. Don't bother protecting the weak, the deserving or underdeserving. LaVey has set out more rules than this. Redbeard has no rules at all - he is a pure nihilist. So whilst LaVey fancied himself in Redbeard's work, it is really too extreme for him! So why he wrote an introduction to a reprint of Might is Right is a little puzzling.

One could argue that Social Darwinism and the ideas of Ragnar Redbeard's book Might is Right are always promoted by those who fancy themselves as being 'strong'. In particular the young, who feel they are indestructible and feel they know everything already. However, it is not so funny when the next generation take over and when you become old and frail. Then you are a 'has been'; Or if you develop a long term or 'incurable' illness seemingly through no fault of your own, e.g. a fit, strong and intelligent young male develops Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or a weight lifter in their 40s develops cancer. Or perhaps you are erroneously injected with hepatitis-infected blood on account of an error at the hospital or given a diseased organ from a hospital on account of someone running an illegal body parts business. Is this your fault? If this is you, and you believe in the law of the jungle, and you believe society is weak, then go off and die then! And don't complain about it!

Most people view Neo-Darwinism or Social Darwinism merely as focussing on the rights of the strong to be strong and paying very little interest or attention to 'the weak' and certainly not supporting or helping them unless there is a very good reason to do so. This is somewhat different from an active interest in eliminating the weak and speeding up 'natural selection', i.e. unnatural selection. This former take on Darwinism mainly focusses on individualism, self-reliance, standing up to bullies and oppressors, doing your own thing, taking chances, losing fear derived from self-conditioning and negative suggestion from society as well as social restrictions and regulations. Exactly how one views the weak and decides how one interacts with society with this kind of ethos is open to personal interpretation, and in the extreme, a wide variety of unwanted anti-social or sociopathic behaviour can result.

One may consider the true nature of being the fittest or the strongest. Does this mean repressing your softer or feminine side or principles and fronting and faking it and being all brash and macho? In extreme situations, those who are more rounded and emotionally balanced and in touch with their softer side, but still matter of factly and able to control their emotions more effectively usually fare better than those who pretend to be 'strong' and 'tough' but who actually crack up after a while as their emotions run riot and eventually cannot be suppressed any longer. The toughest people on the planet are ironically actually quite pleasant characters and quite relaxed and family men, not afraid to show love. To deny or not be able to handle part of who you are is surely a sign of weakness. Emotional suppression is surely a type of false confidence, only skin deep. Looks the part, but skim the surface and there is nothing there.

If you have an accident or are attacked by a gang and half left for dead, you would no doubt appreciate some help from a passer by. If a passer by just ignored you as you lay there bleeding, would you think 'sensible guy, he's nobody's fool, I'd do the same', or would you think something along the lines of 'you son of a b*tch!'? Or indeed if someone walked past and stole your wallet and perhaps kicked you again when you were down, would you think the same? Or would you want someone to help you get to hospital? Or in the natural order, you should bleed to death, die of exposure, or be picked off by 'predators'? Clearly the Biblical concept of helping one's neighbour, although boring sounding and 'weak', does have its merits. It is boring unless you are in need of that help. Of course, being dependent and expecting help when you could achieve it yourself with enough personal drive and determination is a bad character trait and is not always worthy of help. If you help others too much, they will never bother to learn to do something themselves. But we are talking about extreme situations when you would really want help to survive.

It is easy to believe in Social Darwinism or the law of the jungle, when it does not affect you or your family or your partner. But when it does, you may well radically alter your attitude. Alternatively, you may rationalise it and compartmentalise it (inconsistent), in that their lives are truly worth you efforts and help, whereas strangers and associates are not. Whatever philosophy one chooses, it should be consistent. To what extent should we not help the weak, sick, elderly, disabled, hungry, victims of war and famine, short sighted etc?

Maybe you consider such a free and self-indulgent society to be utopian until someone rapes your daughter or steals your BMW!

Do the principles of Social Darwinism have to be taken to the extreme, or can we just apply the principles in particular scenarios when we see fit? Is a set of rules on how to conduct oneself truly in the spirit of self-determinism and freedom of choice? In a sense, the adhere to an extreme form of applied Darwinism above society's 'normal' or perceived 'good' human values (ignoring the hypocrisy for a minute) could be considered to be a form of false religion itself and detrimental to mental clarity. The limiting of one's options reduces clarity and choice. Would the science, technology, art, culture, democracy and social cohesion (in relative terms!) we enjoy today be possible without altruistic values and simply with the law of the jungle? Those harsh, lawless societies lose much of their art, culture and entertainments. People are too scared to go out in case they are shot or lynched - so there 'fun' to be had, as one is too busy surviving. Our modern consumer society is very sanitised and 'safe' and people become very complacent and borgeois about it and take it for granted. But it is a fragile balance, in some countries more than others. If one is interested in a lawful but harsh society, this presumably may not favour hedonists who don't want to have to work too hard but want to induldge themselves. Clearly to enjoy hedonism without being interfered with, there has to be give and take, and someone has to be 'giving' or making the effort.

LaVey Satanists may consider the excesses of modern capitalism and hyperconsumption to be rather repugnant, and the sanitisation and conformity that it brings, but in a sense it embodies the spirit of Social Darwinism, competition and the law of the jungle. Competition often leads to less choice, poor quality goods, conformity, jobs going abroad to developing countries where wages can be lower (much lower!) - in some cases exploitatively low, paying producers of raw materials a very low price, globalisation and homogenisation of nations to a global consumer culture.

Does the power of the market and competition always look after the average citizen's best interests? We imagine that it does, when regulated by law, but the motivation is to make as much money as possible from the consumer, regardless of the interests of health and psychological wellbeing. Capitalism has gone beyond the 'old school' ethical concept of capitalism in certain industries from the time of the Protestant Reformation. This is why the 'free market' is increasing regulated and 'nanny-ed'.

Whilst LaVey was clearly influenced by Ayan Rand's theories on capitalism and the role of the government, and also by Darwin's theory of Natural Selection, or at least the more macho sounding parts of it, it should be noted that these principles do not always promote independence and strength. Capitalism, and its inevitable consequence Consumerism, whilst promoting 'survival of the fittest' in the market in terms of competition and self-correction, the actual effect on consumers is often ironically the total opposite. Capitalism and its brainwashing arm, the advertising business, can create a culture of weakness, dependency and one devoid of free thought. Consumers, used to convenience goods and reliable utilities, become weak and lazy, being spoilt by increasing standards of living. Having electricity at your finger tips, luxury goods, supermarkets, a car and internet access means that people are used to being pampered and having everything when they want it. This does little for self-discipline, appreciation of what one has in absolute terms (relative to poor countries or countries at war) or one's strength of character. People who have electric refrigerators are not used to having to store food, not used to going out hunting for their own food (the sight of blood and killing furry animals is too much for most people). Having electric lighting and relying on it encourages an disconnected attitude from one's natural environment, when natural light is and isn't available. Heating also.

These things cut us off from our natural environments. Most people do not have to exercise or be physically tough to survive in modern western economies. They are not used to the cold as they are shut away in warm rooms all day and sit on their 'behinds' going from place to place. They have no appreciation of the mind boggling distances their food products and indeed their bodies travel in the course of a day. If you put the average person in an isolated wood in the middle of winter, they would not last very long. Consumer society cocoons people from any hardship and as a result the mind does not know how good it has it as everything is so physically easy and convenient.

We expect gains without consequences. The hyperconsumerist philosophy is all about convenience and laziness. We want all the benefits without any of the unpleasant side effects. People are unable to face the consequences of their actions and the 'messy' truth. They dislike taking responsibility for their actions. If we experience a problem, the general trend is towards sueing the provider of the goods or services, rather that taking responsibility for our abuse of the product or the factor of chance or chaos. We expect everything to be perfect and fit into neat boxes. We expect luxury and convenience foods and drugs but without any health effects, which we pretend won't happen until the day a major disease 'comes out of nowhere'. This is why the pharmaceutical industry tries to develop less adverse drugs to 'solve' medical problems (or rather brush the symptoms or root causes under the carpet). We want artificial sweetners so we can have sweet goods without putting on weight (despite the other associated health risks associated with artificial sweeteners). Perhaps if we ignore the side effects or health risks, they won't happen?

When our nations go to war, we now have such high expectations of the art of war that we expect no casualties, and if a few hundred soldiers die, then public support evaporates. Compare this to World War I, in the battle of the Somme, when 20,000 soldiers died EVERY DAY! On the first day of the battle, Britain lost nearly 60,000 soldiers. This was clearly a very messy and pointless conflict, and the numbers of casualties were a result of the technological deadlock of the conditions and weapons, but also the sheer stupidity and inflexibility of the generals concerned. It helps to gain historical perspective however. Now, western nations like to heavily bomb their opponents, inflicting huge civilian casualities, before sending in their ground troops, when they expect minimal casualties. The side with the bigger budget for firepower is the 'fitter'. However, as we have seen, questionable invasions have resulted in protracted guerilla warfare and a huge money pit, requiring ever increasing numbers of soldiers to maintain order after the invasions. So perhaps the age of the free lunch (First Gulf War style) is over. Western nations are now starting to realise the environmental impact of some of the commodities we are consuming today, and slowly, in a politically correct and occasionally undemocratic manner, are being forced to slowly realise this.

People's minds become lazy and weak, and ignorant, as people spent more and more time in front of the TV or the computer and less time debating, discussing philosophy with friends or out having fun or playing sports. Or walking in the outdoors. If people do go out hiking, their car is not far away and they are wearing high tech moutaineering gear to make it as comfortable and easy as possible. The emotionally weak are catered for by overly emotional and simplistic TV shows. Modern man has lost his soul, his need to strive to survive and better himself; he has lost his backbone; his guts; society makes survival too easy and instead people are focussing on increasing their material wealth and status...where is the honour in this? Where is the soul? Where is the backbone? Have people forgotten they have physical bodies that are capable of withstanding adversity and harsh environments? Are people unaware how much their minds can put up with and cope with in terms of withstanding physical environments and challenges? Very few every experience this, perhaps only those in jobs which touch on this, for example, soliders in certain combat situations etc. Is this capitalist ethos really promoting the fittest and being fit? I am sure you get the general point. Nietzsche would probably have a few things to say about modern hyper-consumerism if he were alive today!

It is clearly up to the individual to reintroduce hardship and frontiers to challenge in their own lives. This is not necessarily something that society is going to do for us, at least in peaceful hyper-capitalist western economies (unless one wants to become an aggressive entrepreneur, firefight or soldier etc.). Some seek out adventurous style jobs for this reason or take up adventurous recreational activities. Perhaps this is why pro-capitalists (Ayan Rand style) believe that a Nietzsche style Satanist philosophy is a tool for achieving this when not indulging in the dangerous. This is however not realy survival of the fittest in its bare essence. It is a borgeois, middle classed version of it. Take the challenges as and when it suits you, when you are not pampering yourself and making yourself weak. Survival of the fittest, as long as your rights as a citizen and consumer are respected. The nature of freedom is that it often result in complacency. You can't have your cake and eat it. A society that really challenged its inhabitants would either be one pre-industrial, where life was hard, or one where there is a totalitarian regime or a society at war or in economic/civil turmoil. I am not suggesting that dictatorships are a good idea! But merely that every social and political model has its failings or shortcomings, and to make out that any one model is an ideal is highly flawed and naive. Even is prosperous economies, some people who are prone to worrying on account of low self-esteem and also conditioning/brainwashing by values/media/themselves, will always find something to worry about - mortgages, the neighbours, crime, their image, achieving all the hobbies they want etc. rather than their day to day safety in harsher societies. This is reflected in the fact that most people fear public speaking more than death in modern western economies! Surely death is worse?! And public speaking is of no consequence?

Do fancier electronic gadgets, computers, flat screen TVs and better handling cars make us happier? Would we be just as happy with few if any of these luxuries? Some people argue that unles we really appreciate what we have, and are thankful for it, everything loses its meaning and becomes less and less fun. Demanding consumers keep the market competitive, but themselves become more and more demanding and 'grumpy'. Some people advocate periods of ascetism, abstinence, getting out into the outdoors/mountains/on the ocean, or even sensory deprivation to help restore one's perspective on a semi-regular basis. Does wealth have the reverse effect on one's personal happiness than we expect or perceive - the more we have, the more we are ruled by it (in a Feng Shui type of way). Indeed, does more personal power really make you happy? It can intoxicate the ego for a while, but ultimately for many it is unsatisfying and cannot fulfill all of one's emotional needs.

Does legislating altruism, as we do in many of our modern, industrialised societies, make us a caring people? Or does it simply make people more selfish and take less personal responsibility, as the state does all that for them. Does welfare make the average professional citizen less caring and more selfish as they don't have to think about or help anyone and can simply focus on their own personal business? Is taxing people and determining how their money is spent on helping the local communities in a politically correct manner fair? For example, pouring large sums of money into providing land for New Age travellers, when working class families have to work all their lives to pay for land? If a government choses to donate large sums of money to Africa, for example, shouldn't the voting public have a say in how much is given and how it is spent? Government contractors are well known for their exhorbitant charges and poor performance. There is very little accountability. If people got involved themselves to help their own communities, rather than relying on their local council to mop up the 'trash', wouldn't that bring people closer together and make communities better places to live in? Where you pass the buck, it does you no favours and it rots the soul.

LaVey Satanism is heavily influenced by Ayan Rand, a 19th/20th Century philosopher and advocate of free market capitalism and in a sense, LaVey Satanism is just an expression of modern capitalism and hyper-consumerism. It is philosophically based in capitalism and is therefore not really a break from capitalist/consumer culture conditioning as is not really that different from mainstream society. It is not in this sense 'rebellious' or 'anti-society' but pro-capitalist status quo, but objecting to the fine print of social conditioning. It is not 'spiritual punk rock'!  

Chaos, Destruction, Misanthropism and the 'Anti-Cosmic'

Chaos and entropy is the force that disperses the cosmos - it manifests as death and destruction - it is a catalyst, speeding up annihilation of form. It is the principle upon which life exists however. It could also be viewed as the force which disrupts and shocks consciousness back into it's 'normal' state, whatever that is deem to be. Most people could not look into their own psyche and shadow and see it in its entirety. This is what H.P. Lovecraft wrote when he said that if man could see the entirety of the truth, he would go catatonic, and it is an act of mercy that he cannot. This is not entirely true, and some can handle more 'home truths' than others, depending on how in touch with their own shadow they are.

People often assume that darkness means 'gothic', 'evil' or 'malice', when it has been historically used to describe 'the unknown'. It is hard to sometimes differentiate what someone is referring to when they talk of 'dark'. Sometimes people like it to mean both, when they pretend it just means the unknown, as it titillates their ego. This maybe is a politically correct view of 'darness'. A large body of black magic is the study not only of getting what you want and self-actualising, but also malevolent and vampiric actions towards others. This is definitely 'politically incorrect' and rather uncool by many people's standards. However it depends on whether one sees such malevolent action as an intrinsic part of your character, preying on the weak for your own ego's amusement, with no real purpose - rather than in reaction to hostilities from others. To what extent does this constitute emotional suppression and hiding from your true self, clouding the mind? And to what extent is it truly exploring one's Shadow? Using 'dark' to mean genuine exploration of one's own suppressed emotions one minute; then using 'dark' to signify the horror genre and glamorise brutal killers and (arguably ineffectual) dictators such as Vlad the Impaler the next minute; and then complain about restrictions of one's civil liberties in the next breath. Clearly there is some use of archetypes going on, and one has to interpret it in a symbolic or poetic manner, but few LHP practitioners would use modern western figures of oppression as archetypes, as they are not as antiquarian, gothic or 'cool'. Horror and gothic imagery is often used gratuitously as a kind of front to hide from one's weaker emotions and brag; as much as it is used as a genuine aesthetic. One could argue that the use of the term 'dark' is often associated with 'evil', 'death' and 'malevolence', depending on how one wants to portray it - in a kind of 'cake and eat it fashion'.

The true energy of chaos could be said to be the state of permanent free will with no interference. Some may find this horrifying or terrifying as it is truly infinite, in both directions, to the primordial and to the cerebral. Perception of time space in all its entirety would be enough to make anyone's brain explode.

I have noticed that there is a heavy bias towards 'destruction' amongst many Satanists, Gnostic Luciferians, dark occultists and followers of the Left-Hand Path. This is no doubt a metaphor that is popular amongst those that favour Chaos and/or Chaos Magic, and also those of a somewhat nihilistic philosophical disposition. Destruction can be taken as a metaphor for deprogramming, but the metaphor seems to be stretched somewhat and taken completely out of context in other occasions.

Destruction (of oneself, of others, of one's environment, of the 'universe' even) could be considered a lower form of self-actualisation, more in keeping with the more anti-social aspects of Satanism, or indeed a perversion of modern Satanism. Perhaps it is a combination of Gnostic views of material existence being 'bad' combined with a gothic/nihilistic outlook, and a love affair with the idea of being 'evil', 'the ultimate in adversarialism' or 'bad ass'. Satanism is supposed to be about rationalism after all, and an addiction to destruction is clearly against rationalism and the idea within Satanism not to impose on others. Perhaps it is a reflection of (teenage-style) knee-jerk rebellion without the self-confidence or self-knowledge to do something creative or positive; perhaps it is an interpretation of the negative view of Gnosticism that physical existence is bad/wrong/evil. Talk of destruction, whether for its own sake, or under the pretext of allowing creation to take place afterwards, is a 'cool' thing to be associated with in certain circles, and there is an unhealthy obsession with this within some parts of the certain LHP groups in general. It seems to me a low-level way of appeasing the ego.

Perhaps what is said (posturing or over-rationalisation/idealisation) is not necessarily the same as what is actually believed. Sometimes we dwell on one aspect of our character without discussing or acknowledging the other aspects to such a degree. For some, it is because the 'darker' and more 'destructive' is more attractive and adversarial. To others however, it may be a philosophical standpoint, reflecting one side of the natural order (the destructive side) and simply an acceleration of the process of extinction which most species will face at one point or other, often brought about by changing environments, disease or competition from other species. This type of 'helping nature along' is the same logic used by Eugenicists and those who have conducted ethnic cleansing programmes.

The ultimate belief in destruction and misanthropism to bring about the early end to existence and the end of the human race / existence, and perhaps even the universe (the latter being a clearly unattainable fantasy or metaphor) is not representative of the LHP, even though some adherents of the LHP may adopt some of these views to varying degrees. Some particularly dark Gnostic Luciferians, who are realy Gnostic Satanists of some description, perhaps ascribe more to this type of view that many others, although it is more coming from an anti-Demiurgic and hatred at/sulking about creation perspective, where 'LHP black magic' is seen as a form of rebellion and 'fight' against Demiurge (perhaps ironiconally embodying the qualities of Demiurge!) Is this fighting fire with fire? Or merely misguided machoism?

Destruction then is perhaps viewed as form of 'anti-humanism' or a representation of 'evil'. It is perhaps thought to be a reflection of the natural order, a stance of malice towards others and embodying chaos and the natural processes of destruction in the universe and animal kingdom; but then Satanism (and its claimed representation of a 'superstitious' humanism) also claims to represent the 'natural order'.

One has to define what really is the natural order, whether one is talking about the chaotic but to some extent predictable processes of the universe, where there is some semblence of order on a high level, in pockets, and chaos on a low level. Then one should consider the earth, where all members of occult groups spend their physical time! Here we have 'chaotic' physical processes, but are fine tuned at this part of the planet's evolution to provide 'self-levelling' and 'self-cleaning' processes which life can thrive in, interspersed with the odd destructive weather pattern and seismic event etc.

Then one has the 'natural order' of the animal kingdom, where destruction of others or fighting is part of the need to feed (amongst carnivores), to maintain position within a group, and to defend oneself from predators or rivals. Destruction is not a 'philosophy' but usually a minimalist activity. There are exceptions, e.g. cats killing for fun, dolphins in gangs attacking other gangs, etc. There are moments/times of altruism towards others, e.g. kinship altruism in animals and humans e.g. raising a litter, dolphins protecting humans from shark attacks. Altruism is examined below.

There is perhaps too much gratuitous revulsion or opposition in the anti-cosmic gnostic or Satanist communities, and in a sense the whole focus is a case of 'cutting off one's nose to spite the face'. Perhaps it is akin to a childish denial or temper tantrum, of not getting everything one's own way, some commentators might argue. Consciousness is tangential to nature, and we are perhaps only an imitation of it in this place of existence.

Sometimes we have to lose something to appreciate it. We may lose our sense of perspective if we have abundance regularly, unless we really draw our focus to what we appreciate in our lives. It is easy to become borgeois and ungrateful, and not enjoy your lot, if your mind becomes too familiar. Joy comes from viewing everything through new eyes each day. In some sense, if we damage or destroy something we love, we may only then come to really appreciate what it was. This may apply to a car wreck or through having a partner leave you, rather than literally destroying someone!

However, as Nietzsche wrote, man is the cruelist animal. To nurture destruction and malice as a state of natural being at the expense of other states is in my opinion fundamentally 'human' in its bias and has little basis in fact in the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom reflects survival of the fittest, but there is altruism in small pockets, and most the time animals spend in a state of 'no mind' in the Taoist sense, acting instinctually. No animals wish for the destruction of others, excessive revenge, nor do they wish for their own destruction, nor the destruction of their species, because of a disregard of wider society and humanity as a whole. Perhaps 'evil' or 'cruelty' is a human construct, as being the 'opposite' of 'good' and 'decency', but this construct does not exist in nature (non-human animal environments). In nature, there are acts of killing, torture as well as acts of altruism, and indeed much time spend in between in a state of nothing. Judgements are made by humans, who try to split good and bad into categories and stigmatise them. However, in modern societies, 'natural' laws or patterns may have rather serious consequences, and this is something Darwin was very keen to avoid, as he knew he would be opening a can of worms. If you try to civilise society, how does one deal with chaos, lawlessness, rebellion, war, killing and murder? If society is to have any structure and interdependency, then there must be some common understanding and code of morality on some level. Lascivious destruction is very much a borgeois human construct, one that one can afford to have when one is safe, comfortable and bored, unappreciative of one's lot!

One may argue of course that anything an animal does or a group of animals is observed to do on a large scale is 'natural', without human interference, as are phases of 'equilibrium'. However, equilibrium is just a conflict of opposites or conflicting positions, or competition, where no observable short term swing is observed. An equilibrium in chemical terms may indeed occur, when two solutions mix and react, depending on temperature and pressure etc. But in the natural world, an equilibrium is a transient concept, and change inevitably results. Species evolve or die out. It could be argued that anything humans do is also 'natural' as it is merely a reflection of what humans are able to do. The classification of what is natural and what isn't is difficult, as virtually everything on the planet is human-managed to some degree, even the 'natural environment', e.g. grasslands, artificial lakes and channels, coastlines etc. On a physical level, one might argue that certain types of diet are not natural, as the body is not designed for them, taking in account large population numbers and health statistics, but this is perhaps still for some a matter of debate.

It could be argued that pure evil or a strong predisposition towards evil or is as unnatural in the animal kingdom as pure good is. Such polarised concepts are not really applicable to the animal kingdom and are not 'natural'.

Perhaps this whole way of thinking reflects a fundamental distaste for life or deep rooted nihilism. Nihilism usually results in hedonism or suicide, but excessive cruelty towards others perhaps goes beyond this and provides a purpose, where nihilism has no purpose, and does not usually result in such behaviour. Self-destruction may be viewed as a 'phase' for growth, but willful self-destruction, e.g. drug abuse, abusive diets, thinking or lifestyles, may simply be a reflection of ignorance or low-self esteem. The chaos of life throws up many opportunities for growth, pain and challenges to overcome.

To purposefully seek one's own destruction may be seen as foolish or borgeois, and typical of a 'human', as opposed to an animal that does all it can to survive. It is important to understand the difference between distaste for society, distaste for one's own life, and distaste for the universe. If one has never been off planet Earth, how can one take such a pessimistic view of the Universe? One could argue that one's expression of distaste should result in action directed at the cause rather than in all directions, e.g. don't kick your dog just because you can't stand up to your colleague at work.

One wonders what influence the Biblical themes of Armageddon and the Final Judgement have in influencing this vision of destruction? And perhaps in formulating the antithetical terms (e.g. malice, evil) used to describe the concept (if not the philosophy behind it), of Good and Evil, the stereotypes of Jesus and the Devil? The themes of destructive or dark magic are not uncommon in the Left-Hand Path, and in particular Satanism and Gnostic Luciferianism.

Some state that very few if any occult groups or political organisations have really embodied misanthropy towards (and the desire to destroy) the whole of the human race, including themselves. 'Darkness' usually only takes the form of tendencies to be a little antisocial, selfish or morbid/gothic in those that claim to embody it.

However, if one examines the propensity to destroy the self, then there are countless examples of occult groups, political organisations/movements/governments and also lifestyle choices that seek to destroy the self, sometimes a little at a time, and in other instances in the space of months or a few years - through horrifically self-abusive lifestyles, poisoning the body or disfiguring it - all for the titillation of the ego as it finds simply being alive in the natural state 'boring'. Such practices can include heavy drinking and drug use. It smells of desperation and low self-esteem, intoxication and self-mutilation being an attempt to feel significant or close to oneself and others. On the other hand, one has cult groups that commit ritual suicide, for example, certain cultish 'Christian' groups whose leaders predicted armageddon, and when their prophecies failed to materialise, felt they had nowhere to go, and in order to feel congruent and because of psychological deficiencies, they pressured all their followers, often living in isolated communities, to all commit suicide together.

When it comes to the desire to destroy others, then one need only look to certain violent criminals, violent gang members, serial killers, certain soldiers with bloodlust towards a specific ethnic group or population, suicide bombers or indeed famous dictators and despots. The remit of their wanton desire for destruction may not include the whole of the human race, but specific sub-groups of a population or other populations. Hitler it could be argued, was one of the few leaders in modern times to come close to this model of wanton destruction. With the pretence of wanting to 'unite the Germanic people', he enslaved the Jews into forced labour camps and concentration camps for extermination, sought to invade as much of the world as possible, and destroying all opposing forces. The 'patriot' Hitler, towards the end of WWII, when the allies were invading Germany, he bombed his own people and country's infrastructure, and sacrificed loyal, elite SS divisions on pointless suicide missions, as he felt 'he' had nothing to lose (and he felt he may as well use up all the lives of his soldiers), with no regard of what was best for his country after he was gone (or whilst he was alive arguably). There are numerous examples of atrocities in Southern Europe and Central Africa in the last 20 years, and various imperialist wars that have inflicted large numbers of casualties. Is destructionism really just a rare myth? Or a political and social reality? How far must one go in order to embody the philosophy in its 'purity'?

LaVey Satanism, in the LHP sense, is not really about destruction at all, but more hedonism or self-deification, as the ultimate meaning of life - which many occultists find a little crude and distasteful, even though they recognise the importance of hedonism. This is really just a regurgitation of Thelema philosophy. Satanism and other LHPs like to flirt with 'demonic' imagery but they are really just an occultic form of humanism. Arguably, Christianity, the alleged polar opposite is also about humanism on one level. So both LHPs and RHPs are really both concerned with life, using different approaches, rather than the LHP actually being about anti-humanism per se. None of these philosophies, in their theoretical sense are really 'evil' in the misanthropic sense. Of course, there are Christian offshoots and cults as well as LHP offshoots that are misanthropic in various ways. As discussed on the Satanism and the Far Right page, some Satanists or those who call themselves Satanists do embody certain misanthropic and Biblical style 'demonic' characteristics (especially those that fantasise about Hitler), perhaps as an insecure, macho statement and expression of underlying grief or self-hatred.

Satanist gangsters or criminal gangs are nothing new, it is really just new specifically in the context of the ONA. The aggressive, chaotic and Darwinistic tendencies of many Satanists go well with the gangster lifestyle. Myatt himself was a cat burglar in the 1960s, only robbing those homes that were challenging and worthy of him, according to 'DarkLogos9' in his chronology blog. Whilst his Neo-Nazi Paramilitary involvement was criminal, it was not quite in the same way. It is likely that some of these elements, combined with the current popularity of gangster rap and the continued glamourisation of gangsters in movies, have been big influences on the 352. Is gangster level, localised criminality as 'sinister' as the actions of famous dictators that Kayla writes about in one of her blogs? One could view the gangster lean of the 352 as similar to Myatt's penchant for racial violence and National Socialism but without the (racist or political) direction, the only loyalty being to the gang and nothing else.

One famous example of Satanism meeting gangbanging is that of Jon Nodtveidt, guitarist for the Swedish Black Metal band DIssection and a member of the Temple of the Black Light (formerly known as the Misanthropic Luciferian Order) - an anti-cosmic Satanist order - and a member of the Werewolf Legion, a Swedish criminal gang. Whilst he was involved in all kinds of criminal activities and likely inter-gang violence, he was strongly against drug dealing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Nodtveidt

'Nodtveidt was convicted of being an accessory to murder, in the killing of the 38-year-old homosexual Algerian Josef Ben Meddour, in 1997. He was released from prison in 2004, and restarted Dissection. On the 16th of August 2006, he was found dead in his apartment in Hasselby, a suburb of Stockholm by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a circle of lit candles. Early reports indicated that he was found with an open copy of the Satanic Bible, but these were later dismissed by Dissection's guitarist Set Teitan. According to him, "it's not any atheist, humanist and ego-worshiping 'Satanic Bible' by Anton LaVey that Jon had in front of him, but a Satanic Grimoire. He despised LaVey and 'The Church of Satan.'

It is highly likely that many branches of biker gangs in the USA and Canada, many fronts for criminal acitivities, pimping and drug dealing etc., have numerous members involved in Satanism for similar reasons.

Some comments regarding criminal gangs, gangsters, skinheads and radical nationalism can be found on the Psychology of Difference, Identity and Ethnicity page in the psychology section.

© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee