Today I read up on Satanism, because sinsofthedove is vaguely Satanic and I wanted to know what that meant and why it appealed to her. Satanism isn’t just the polar opposite of Christianity, there are few variants, and the Satanists that we are interested in are the “occultists” or “modern satanists”, because that’s the group Finlay identifies with. Basically it boils down to a philosophy reminiscent of Ayn Rand or Nietzsche, and a religion where the self or ego is worshipped as “Satan”. I think I like most of what they have to say, check out their main organization the Church of Satan. I like the fact that they’re not evangelistic, and I like their emphasis on getting people to think for themselves. They have one weird thing on their agenda, they want all churches to be taxed (they are purposefully not tax-exempt), because a strong church shouldn’t need tax exemption to survive, and they seem to think that other lesser churches would upchuck and die if taxed? I’m not a big fan of taxes myself, the less taxes the better I say, but this certainly is an interesting idea, from an interesting group of people.
Also, being dark all the time seems depressing. I go through periods of wearing all black, but I switch it up with my bright orange hoodie and my Hawaiian shirts. That’s my general problem with gothy people. Not enough variety. To misquote Henry Ford, “they’ll wear any color as long as it’s black”. Shake it up folks, don’t fall into a routine! Not that all Satanists wear black or anything….
but to miquote someone else
black goes with everything!
as long as the everything is black
but actually satanism doesn’t appeal to me
and only fifty percent of the goth scene if not less
Hi, come to a goth club sometime – oh wait, you did – and you’ll realize that we clearly have more fun than anyone. And there’s plenty of variety in goth…more so than in “normal” couture, certainly!
NORMAL TEEN: So, what’ll it be today? Hmm…low rise jeans, khakis, jeans, short skirt, longer-ish skirt…t-shirt, blouse…eh…
WELL-ROUNDED GOTH: Sooo…dancing skirt, bustle skirt, drainpipes, short skirt with stomping boots, gown, little black dress, blouse and tie…
You get my point…my closet is a hoot and a holler.
Good point. I was actually being somewhat hypocritical with the variety thing anyway, there are a few articles of clothing that I am very attached to which I wear all the time. I think of it as building the Nelson brand… you won’t have to see my face to recognize me by my orange hoodie! And I always wear New Balance sneakers, because of the “N” on them, which obviously stands for Nelson.
And interestingly enough, having studied Satanism the reality rather than Satanism the urban legend perpetuated by the Catholic Church, I actually dislike the real Satanism more than the gothic image of Satanism, as a Christian. Gothic Satanism and those who imitate it are practicing immature cultural rebellion; intellectual Satanism is a well-written, well-thought-out philosophy encompassing everything I find wrong about human nature.
I respect Satanists’ insight a great deal, that is to say, and respectfully agree that my personal philosophy is in most important ways the diametric opposite of theirs. (They like the Self and believe in asserting it over the Other; I believe that virtue comes in controlling the Self by asserting the Other over it.)
This is similar to how, after reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, I proudly stood up and said “I am Ellsworth Toohey”. Not that I agree with her analysis of what the world is like or whether there really are devils like Toohey in it, but the people she’s accusing of being Ellsworth Toohey are the people I identify with; the people who “meddle”, who have a mission in life to get others to get over themselves, to break down the dangerous illusion of the all-consuming Self and link up to — voluntarily dissolve into — the all-embracing Other (God); indeed, there can be no purpose, no vitality, no realization of the Self without submission of Self to Other.
Talk to me some more about it sometime and I’ll be glad to wax poetic/philosophic about it more.
I’m actually a bit more upset that there are people who could identify with Rand’s portrayal of Toohey than by anything else. Do you also take on the role of consciously manipulating the easily-led masses to gain control of them? I don’t want to find myself living Roark’s life (I, for one, enjoy laughing and bending my own standards sometimes), but I certainly wouldn’t want the life of the second-hander.
And as a future Swattie and dedicated thinker, I’m a bit confused as to how you can be a serious student – a necessarily selfish endeavor (“to think, to create are functions of the ego”, after all) – and still believe that the Other is more important than the self.
I don’t believe that the good of others should be ignored – it’s our society and we have to live in it – but how can you help anyone if you lose sight of yourself?
Who is Ellsworth Toohey?
[Warning: late night, procrastinating rant up ahead. Chance of flowery prose, turn on your hi-beams.]
Note that I said this in direct reaction to Rand, and, obviously, I do not hold to her philosophy or her characterization of the world in general; I think both Toohey and Roark only exist in her mind.
Again, however, I reacted as strongly as I did because I got the very strong sense that she would see me as an Ellsworth Toohey and that the group of people I admire most in the world is, from her point of view, distorted into Ellsworth Toohey.
By assuming that the purpose of life is to express some essential inborn unchangeable nature within yourself, she demonizes those whose mission in life is to change other people for the better, not just their external circumstances but their internal way of perceiving the world and themselves — social workers, teachers, missionaries, political reformers, academics — and these are the people I think of as most admirable. Rand draws no distinction between manipulating the masses for one’s own good and trying to save them from themselves for the higher good, and I do.
And I disagree about thinking and creating being necessarily functions of the ego (another point where Rand merely stated instead of argued). Thinking is the process of exposing oneself to the world and allowing the inputs from many different sources to rearrange themselves inside one’s mind; creating is allowing that admixture to pour itself out again. My limited experience with artistic creation has been that the moments of greatest inspiration are when one piece of the sensorium triggers another automatically, almost like spinal-cord reflexes, and the constant thinking voice of my ego that usually forms my thoughts becomes silent. Inspiration is, for me, always a function of losing myself in the Outside, in the World, in God — perhaps others’ experiences are different, but this is the same story I hear the great geniuses of history telling.
Every person has a slightly different structure of rearrangement, but no person is a true “source” or “fountainhead”; we are all droplets of water in the same sea, mirrored prisms refracting the same light. A student, more than anyone, ought to be humble — a student is by definition someone who spends his life absorbing at secondhand the million billion firsthand experiences of humans throughout history and simply looking at them, letting them percolate through him and make him into something, hopefully, higher and better, so that they can channel through him into some words or ideas that allow the world to better understand itself. Hoping to take his turn among the many others who have been spiders of the big web, as Toohey put it.
I don’t think submission to the Other involves loss of sight of the Self; in fact, since ultimately the Self is just a label we put on some particular part of the All that we happen to identify with, putting the Self in its place as just one part of the much bigger All is the only clear way to see the Self at all. The Self in isolation — an eyeball floating in a vacuum — can neither see anything nor do anything; it can *only* be itself in relationship with the Other. It only exists at all *as* a relationship with the Other; a human being is just a word for the nexus of interactions of many other human beings, just as an atom is just the outline of the space left by all the other atoms.
And I should stop waxing poetic (and sounding more New Agey than I really mean to) for now and get on with my homework.