Ordo Templi Satanis - What is Satanism?

It should always be remembered that LaVey's Satanic Bible, and in particular, his "Nine Satanic Statements", are extremely significant in the understanding of modern Satanic philosophy. "Satan represents..." various things in the Statements, but it is the whole idea that Satan represents these things, rather than existing as a material and personal entity, that forms one of the cornerstones of Satanism. Satanists do not believe in a literal Satan. We use the figure of Satan as a convenient symbol, an archetype, if you will, representing those things that Satanists believe in. Chief among these are intellectual curiosity, person- al liberty of action, and physical indulgence. These three things are Satanism's goals, and we should never lose sight of them.

It is the aspect of Prometheus that we turn to to represent the first goal of Satanism; intellectual curiosity. It was Prometheus who, according to the myths of the ancient Greeks, stole the secret of fire from the gods and gifted it to mankind. For this act, he was chained to a boulder and set upon by giant vultures which ripped out his liver every day (which subsequently regrew). This is a representation of the inherent suspicion with which science in particular, and change in general, is viewed by the masses. The masses are content with things as they are; they revel in the comfortable, the familiar, the easy. It is the Satanist who strives for the betterment of his condition, and is never satisfied with the status quo. Stagnation is the bane of the Satanist; change is the greatest fear of the masses. Therein lies the ultimate basis for the overwhelming fear of the Satan figure; change is seen as ultimately evil, and thus so too are those that strive for change.

The term "personal liberty" has taken on many different connotations in recent years, both social, political, and economic. The Satanist should see these three areas for what they are; mere facets of the same gem. The most basic idea of personal liberty states that the individual is responsible enough to take care of his own life, and should do so with an eye towards minimally impacting the lives of others without their consent. This idea, which seems so simple and universal on the surface, is fraught with dangers. The greatest of these dangers, and ironically the one rarely (if ever) mentioned in these modern times, is the fact that the masses are, in fact, not responsible enough to govern their own lives! In fact, being the sheep that they are, the masses have proven, time and time again, that they do not want to be saddled with the responsibility of their own governance. The masses would prefer to follow rather than lead. And yet, ironically, as they yearn and demand persons of strong will to give their lives direction and meaning, they simultaneously complain about their lot, bemoaning the lack of control they exercise over their own lives! The reason for this is clear, and demonstrates that the masses practice the Satanic Sins on a regular basis. It is because the masses are engaged in a constant campaign of self-deception. Consciously, they clamor for self direction and power over their own lives, while subconsciously, they crave to be controlled.

The Satanist, on the other hand, exhibits a behavior 180o from that shown by the masses. The Satanist, seeing the mediocrity around him, desires nothing more than to truly live his life free from the interference and petty controls of others. Does this mean that all Satanists are misanthropes, more suited to the life of a hermit? Not at all. However, the Satanist truly has the desire to free himself from the shackles with which the masses have bound themselves.

It has been said that most of history's greatest leaders, those with the most profound influence on the course of history, have been Satanists in all but name (and perhaps, say some, in name as well as deed!). This is an extension of the Satanic impulse to rule over one's own destiny. It just so happens that one of the easiest ways to do that is to control the destiny of others as well. Power, then, is not an end in itself to the Satanist, whether it is power over a single individual or power over an empire spanning continents. Power, in the sense of being able to have others follow your own Will, is merely a means to achieve the second Satanic goal-- freedom of action.

This may seem to be a selfish attitude, and it is. It should be remembered that the Satanist does not waste compassion, or empathy, on those who are undeserving. If the vast majority of the population-- the Masses-- can be efficiently and effectively turned into a tool to serve the ends of the Satanic Magician, then so be it. In fact, the Satanist is actually doing them a favor by providing them with the guiding force of a strong Will which they so desperately crave! Satanists should follow the example of Ayn Rand and see selfishness for a virtue, not a vice.

Lastly, the Satanist sees physical indulgence, the gratification of the flesh, as one of the three chief goals of life. The reasons for this are many, but when it comes down to it, Satanists see physical indulgence as the good thing it is. According to the paradigm of Darwinian evolution, higher forms of life have evolved mechanisms to condition their own behavior; stimulation of the brain's pain centers by actions which are self-destructive and stimulation of the brain's pleasure centers by actions which lead to the benefit of the species or individual. By seeking out those activities which are in themselves pleasurable, Satanists are merely acting according to our material natures; following, as it were, the rules set down by natural evolution.

This concept of physical indulgence can be seen to include not only the gross physical pleasures, such as stimulating sexual relations, eating of fine foods, and the like, but also the more subtle, psychological pleasures of life as well. There are those for whom the crafting of a piece of art is as pleasurable experience in and of itself as sex is for another. The act of creation, for the former individual, satisfies his sense of pleasure. As such, such activities are just as valid, for that individual, as engaging in sex would be for the latter individual.

There can come times when the desires for pleasure of two individuals can come into direct or oblique conflict. Wherever possible, such conflicts should be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved. Many times, however, this is not the case. An example is the last piece of cake sitting on the dining room table. Two people are seated there, and each wants the cake. What is to be done? Ideally, the cake should be split between them, but this is not always a possibility. It is in such situations that Lex Talonis, the Law of the Jungle, must prevail.

Does this mean that every minor disagreement between individuals should be settled by physical violence? Hardly. However, there are other, more subtle forms of conflict, that are used every day in the world, and which fulfill the dictates of Lex Talonis. To continue the above example, the former individual could attempt to plead, or wheedle, or threaten to obtain the cake. The latter individual might play on sympathy, or call in old implied indebtedness, or even rely on physical swiftness to get the piece of cake. Any one of these methods, physical or mental, demonstrates the ability of one individual to get what he wants, regardless of the actions or wishes of another individual. And that, in essence, is what Lex Talonis is all about. Getting what you want. Through physical or mental (or magical, for that matter) means, is all that matters. It is the ends that are important when discussing the Lex Talonis, not the means.

There are those that would say that such an attitude, taken by the population of a nation, would lead to sudden and destructive anarchy. This is probably true. But this comes once more to the idea stated above-- the masses are not capable of handling the responsibility of running their own lives, regardless of how loudly they protest. It is only the Satanist (in name or merely in fact) who possesses this ability. The Satanist would possess the self control, the direction over his own Will, to know how far to push for a given goal. The Satanist would even, perhaps, let another win a series of little battles of will, skirmishes as it were; saving up a growing tally of intangible debts to use against that individual for something down the road that is truly important.

There are certain assumptions that may be drawn from these statements. Obviously, there is a veil drawn between two segments of the population. The vast majority belong to the Masses; they are the followers, the enviers of those who accomplish, they are the drones. There also exists a distinct minority, but it is this minority which is responsible for the creativity, accomplishment, and advancement of culture. They are the doers, the leaders, the Satanists.