The Dark Concealment (Chapter 1) – The Insidious Way
So it begins… I have reopened The Insidious Way website. Right now it is simply the first chapter of The Dark Concealment, but in time there will be more sections added. Gradually.
Gradually Eminent Mind will be reworked to host my artwork, poetry, and videos. There will be a special section dedicated to the writings of Jason Sorrell in memorial. Phase one has come to an end. I hope to see my readers there.
-T.C. Downey (Beast Xeno – Nine)
Nexion Zine 8.1 – The Intermission Issue
I am excited to FINALLY be reading issue 8.1. There are few living thinkers that I consistently resonate with and Chloe is among them. Though it is a brief 200+ page issue there is still an impressive amount insight and understanding being communicated by her. I am particularly fond of her discussion of the natural worldly order and primal satanism. Anyway I just wanted to point you guys to it! Enjoy!
**Apparently there is no direct link to this issue in the embed. So CLICK HERE**
The Next Institution in Satanism
I’ve been out of the Internet-Satanism community for several months now. I lost interest in the drama and nonsense, the amount of talk and the lack of action. I have no expectations that those who participate in forums on-line should do anything; they are Satanists and are entitled as individuals to do whatever they like. I just felt that I was wasting my time, that I have better things to do than debate, troll, and entertain others.
I do peak in now-and-again, just to see what is going on. During that time, I have seen yet another Satanist group/club/institution emerge. And, that is exactly how I thought about it, yet another redundant and pedantic banner for people with no internal sense of direction to seek it externally and think that they found the answer to… whatever. For whatever reason, the group is doing very well, attracting the disenfranchised and disappointed who have fallen away from other such efforts.
Which is probably why, recently, I took a look to see what was going on there.
Frankly, most of what I have seen so far is simply more of the same. There is, however, a glimmer of potential which sparked a thought in my mind, so I am not writing this new effort off just yet. The thought that was sparked, as I looked and evaluated what I saw in this new group, was what would the next successful, lasting institution in Satanism look like? With so many models of redundancy and failure to point to, what would success look like?
First, let us consider the one truly successful model we have in modern history: The Church of Satan. A part of its success has purely to do with its being founded in California in the 1960s. The time and environment was perfect for such an enterprise. California was on the edge of cultural-exploration. New ideas about spirituality and philosophy were being embraced and explored, so a church dedicated to Satan was no more or less radical than many of the radical ideas being presented at the time. The 60s also saw what I consider our society’s shift from spiritual childhood to spiritual adolescence. Until that time, questions of religion were limited to the accepted norms of our society; children followed the religious edicts of their parents. In the 60s, people began to truly question the necessity of religion as a whole and the institutions that made-up their spiritual options. Our predominately Christian society was beginning to consider the whole kit-and-kaboodle of God, Jesus, and Satan as silly, but still had enough respect for the myths to be awed by Satan as a concept.
Today, like the rest of the Christian mythology, using Satan symbolically is akin to adorning yourself in Dungeons-and-Dragons make-believe, and believing in Satan is similar to believing in Santa Claus. Neither suggest the function of a mature mind. The Church of Satan, which saw some moderate success in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, would not be nearly as successful in today’s environment. It would be considered as backward and antiquated as the fundamentalist snake-handlers of Christianity.
The Church of Satan, and the brand of Satanism it espoused, was successful in its time because it questioned that very need for blind-faith, and dared suggest that it was better to have a philosophy based on what could be observed about human-nature versus a suggested spiritual ideal and a set of consequences for failing to meet that mark. The Church of Satan established a very clear and concise explanation of its “new” philosophy, and offered itself (initially) as a central hub for those that agreed with this philosophy to come together, share ideas, collaborate, explore taboos and new concepts, and enjoy the company of one-another.
This was also its flaw; the people it attracted who truly embraced the philosophy quickly realized that a central agency was not necessary, and those who remained lacked the spiritual and intellectual grit to be without a banner to flock to. Anton LaVey ended the grotto system because the grottos that were models of Satanism were potential rivals for his church, and the grottos founded by sycophants were a poor reflection on his church. The regular get-togethers at the Black House came to and end because the people who felt a need to go were ever-less about invigorating the proceedings and ever-more about simply being a part of something “special” or just being entertained while having nothing really to offer.
The Church of Satan is not the only model of success in history for us to look to, but it did build on many of the models from the past. There are several lessons to be learned from both its success and its waning. The problem is that most who look to learn from those lessons only look at the lessons of success and assume that they will do it better. They rarely consider why the Church of Satan is failing and take steps to correct for those problems. The next lasting Institution in Satanism will have several ear-marks that will contribute to its success.
It will be initiated by a small, core group who live in close proximity to one another. This group will already meet regularly and participating in events together. They will have a common interest in the mutual success of their individual endeavors. They will be involved in the personal lives of the others, and they will be supportive of one-another in a familial manner without actually being a family. The members of this group will live in separate residences and have mutually exclusive forms on employment, bringing a varying degree of expertise and different perspectives to their efforts. Their interactions will be predominantly face-to-face, with interaction through the Internet serving only to coordinate their face-to-face meetings.
It will be founded upon a goal that is mutually beneficial and necessitates a group-effort. This goal will be more than simply existing, more than being another Satanist group. It will be an effort which will enrich those who are participant, in-line with the philosophy of Satanism, and better achieved through a combined effort. The founding of a group will be a consequence of the effort to achieve the goal, and not the reverse.
It will have a precise foundation, a delineated operating procedure, and a clear structure. The goal(s) of the group will be clearly expressed and understood by all involved, as well as the means of achieving those goals. Responsibilities will be delineated. The means of measuring success will be established. This will be a naturally organic process, with changes being made as the group grows and evolves.
It will be an enterprise with a clear financial motivation. To be realistic, almost any endeavor will require a financial motivation, if only to support the cost of achieving the goal. Earning a profit is an additional motivator. Furthermore, simply having an institution purely for the betterment of your fellow Satanists is in opposition to the philosophy of Satanism. The institution will unabashedly pursue profit, and ignore any fool who cries foul about their efforts to earn a buck.
It will not be an overtly Satanist Institution. The goals of a successful Satanist Institution will be appealing to society in a broad sense, as it is founded in a philosophy rooted in the understanding of mankind as it is, not as it deludes itself to be. To limit your efforts to just the infinitesimally small segment of the population that openly declares itself as “Satanic” would be like shooting yourself in the foot before running a race. More people agree with the values of Satanism but are put-off by the pomp and posturing than people who consider themselves Satanist. You also quickly become bogged down in the “what-is-Satanism” debate, endlessly going around with keyboard-heroes who insist that Satanism is ultimately defined by the individual but chastise anyone who doesn’t share their particular view on Satanism. It is far wiser to champion the values of Satanism, however the group may define them, than to declare yourselves as a “Satanist Group”.
Its founders will be fully invested in the success of the enterprise. Each member engaged in its initial phases will have placed their own success fully in the success of the institution. The formation of an institution will not be seen as a means of propping themselves up, but rather that the investment initially made will see a far greater return. The success of the institution, for the founders, is the means by which all other goals are met.
It will have multiple venues and consist of several different tiers. The validity of your goals and values must not be allowed to be lost over issues about their source. Therefore, a viable Satanist Institution will operate through several different fronts, each focusing on a different aspect of the over-all agenda. Each front will operate as a venue through which the values and agenda of the group can be introduced to different people in ways that cater to their interests and tastes. Advancement leads eventually to the introduction of deeper tiers and knowledge of how the various operations are interdependent.
It will have a social and political agenda. Satanism is a philosophy, and those who embrace that philosophy prosper when society’s edicts are more in-line with that philosophy. A Satanist Institution, regardless of how that philosophy is defined, has a vested interest in steering the greater society in a direction that is more aligned with that philosophy. Even if the institution espouses an apolitcal stance, there is a need to be aware of and take steps against obstacles that would seek to force submission to a particular political edict, especially if those edicts oppose the institutions values defined by their Satanist Philosophy.
It will be exclusive. The next successful Satanist Institution will not attempt to embrace and unify all Satanists under one banner. Indeed, it may very well encourage further division. It will also not engage in trying to convert others to its philosophy. Instead, a successful institution will survive based on its values and principles alone, pursuing its agenda and letting those values and the success of the group to speak to those who share in its ideals. It will be exclusive to those that share its values, agree with its methods, and are themselves willing to invest and take action as a participant. Success will not be measured by the membership roles, but rather by what goals have been achieved.
It will cater to the success of its members and encourage individual development. The group’s efforts will facilitate the efforts of the individual. Part of the next successful Satanist Institutions philosophy will be that its success will be built on the success of its members. The Church of Satan approached this idea by recruiting and promoting only those people who were successful in society, but had little actual impact on that person’s success. The next successful institution will offer information, encourage the development of specific skill sets, create opportunities for networking, herald the initiation of new projects, and promote the efforts of its members.
It will have a clear path for advancement within its own structure. Once goals are declared and an agenda is set, the function of officers within the group become almost purely administrative. Honorariums aside, the next successful Satanist Institution will have little place for meaningless or self-important titles. Advancement would be based on the needs of the group, who wants to fulfill those needs, and who is best suited from those candidates.
It will be designed to become viable in its own right, without the need of its creators in order to function and prosper. This is of utmost importance to the viability of any institution. If it exists purely based on the energies and efforts of its founders, then it will not out-last them. It will be a cult of personality, one where no direction or structure was firmly established, thus those wishing to carry on have no idea what they should or should not be doing. Early on, the founders of the next successful Satanist Institution will themselves take on a subordinate role to the institution itself, establishing a pattern by example to be emulated for future success.
Given that such a group would be covert in its Satanist leanings, how would one find, let alone participate in such a group? The only way to become a member of such a group would be to demonstrate through your individual efforts the values embraced by such an institution. Through your own dealings, you would eventually wander into the awareness of such an organization, perhaps even participating unknowingly in such a group. If and when it was necessary for such a group to make you aware of their existence and offer you a position within it, such an invitation would be made. Such an institution will be the next phase in Satanism.
Such institutions are probably already in operation.
Negotiating General Consensus Reality
Our hypothesis is that the general discontent that has lead each of us to seek alternative modes of thought is spurred by our mandatory involvement in consensus reality; the laws, social rules, and patterns of behavior that we are obliged to abide as members of our society. By managing or eliminating our obligatory participation in the general consensus reality and becoming more active in the development of our personal reality we can become more content. This hypothesis is inspired by the Fourth Way philosophy and forms the root of Evolutionary Satanism, Post Modern Satanism, and the efforts of numerous social and philosophical movements. These three lines of thinking are separate and distinct from one another, yet all have recognized the same problem and developed a similar approach to resolving the issue. This suggests both the pervasiveness of the problem and that the Satanist Movement is at the forefront on this issue.
Much of the discussion regarding this issue deals with its philosophical and metaphysical components, when the majority of the issue is in the management of its mundane aspects. How can an individual be expected to determine and control their personal reality when so much of their time is eaten away by predetermined mundane obligations? Exploring the potential metaphysical ramifications of a large percentage of our society awakening to their own self-defined paradigms means little if you find yourself stuck performing menial tasks in a 9-5 job in which you are miserable. In order to achieve the potential promised in the metaphysical and philosophical theories the individual must first achieve a greater control of their mundane obligations.
The model to use when approaching this issue is as follows: the reality experienced by every individual can be divided into three inter-related categories; Physical Reality (the apparent natural rules that govern objects and energy in space-time), Personal Reality (the individual perspectives and urges of the self), and General Consensus Reality (the reality defined by social and cultural standards). For our purposes at this time it would be counter-productive to discuss the theoretical reversals of the laws governing Physical Reality; we should accept that up is up and gravity is consistent in our existence as unless we are physicists paid to explore such issues it has little impact on our immediate sense of contentment. Also, we recognize that when to Personal Realities interact a temporary Consensus Reality is created. Our focus is on the longer lasting General Consensus Reality.
In this model, we will establish Physical Reality (R) as the foundation for both Personal Reality (Pr) and General Consensus Reality (GCr). A correlation can be established between the average person’s sense of contentment and the ratio of Pr and GCr that governs their behavior. For most people, the more they live by their Pr, the more content they tend to be. The problem is that establishing your Pr in the presence of the GCr, especially if in opposition, requires continuous and often monumental effort on the part of the individual. It is easier to live as dictated by the GCr, but less fulfilling.
The GCr also has the advantage of being in existence for so long that it is self-perpetuating. It no longer requires an individual or body of individuals outside of it to enforce it; we all have a role in its enforcement. Even those individuals who are viewed as at the society’s upper echelons are obliged to abide by the GCr with their positions often being dependent on its continued stability. In general, an individual in our society will spend the first 20 years of their life being reared and prepared for their role in society under the GCr, a role which is expected to last at least 40 years before they are phased out. During that time, the GCr permeates every aspect of the individual’s life unless they choose to engage in there own Pr, but most are not even aware of this as a possible option. Thus, most people live with a minimal Pr and are grossly participant in the GCr.
The inverse; living primarily in your own Pr while minimizing your participation in the GCr is considered a kind of insanity. Linguistically, this makes perfect sense. “Sanity” refers to the state of alignment with the “Sangre”, or royal will (as well as the will of the blood…again referring to the royal line). The word hails back to a time when GCr was defined by the King or ruler of the people (“reality” is a word that also shares in the connection to royal or regal decree). Madness tends to only hamper the efforts of those who are interacting with others abiding by GCr, which is all of us at least occasionally, thus we each tend to develop a form of functional insanity. The fact that everyone is insane should be a fore-drawn conclusion (“sanity” being actually the term defining the tolerable levels of functional insanity in an individual).
The only way to effectively live at 100% Pr/ 0% GCr would be to abandon society all together and avoid interacting with any other individuals for the rest of your life. Even when a group of individuals chooses to sequester themselves off from the mainstream GCr, a new GCr (gcr) is formed for that group. While most of us are discontent, few of us are willing to abandon our ties to society completely. In fact, many of us should find that effective establishment of one’s Pr will be enhanced by proper management of one’s interaction with the GCr. We should not go to war with the GCr, but instead seek ways to use the GCr to our advantage as individuals, smooth our interactions with it, and use the GCr to bolster our own Pr.
The GCr is addictive because it is easy. It cultivates apathy, and disillusionment is its primary tool for creating obedience. As children, we are told we can do whatever we wish, we could each be President of the US, or astronauts, or rock stars. We are not told in advance the odds against us achieving those goals, thus we believe that if we obey we will be rewarded with greatness. It is not until obedience is ingrained into our behavior that the illusion is ended, but then our disappointment is used to turn us toward lesser goals more befitting the GCr. You might not be President because you were born in to the wrong economic circumstances, but you might own your own business. You might not own your own business because you lack the creativity/funds/charisma to enter the market, but you might become an executive of a powerful company. You might not be an executive of a powerful company, but you might become a manager of a subsidiary branch of a chain business. You might not be a manager, but you will be an important part of the team. You might not be an important part of the team, but you will earn enough to live comfortably. You might not earn enough to live comfortably, but you will have enough to scrape by. You might not have enough to scrape by, but that is what the government is here for… and haven’t we always taken care of you?
At that point, most individual’s do not care. Their ambition is gone, their dreams abandoned, and their interests is only in their next meal/bed/fix/television show.
Reality (R) does have actual, mandatory requirements that are common to the human experience. We each need to eat and to sleep. We each, on frequent occasion, require shelter. One of our evolutionary enhancements over animals is our need to have purpose and our need to feel like we matter. Not the most noble traits in an animal but they have served our species well. It helps to have a “high altitude” perspective when considering the questions such as these. From a high enough altitude, for example, the purpose of humanity becomes obvious; to continue the existence of humanity as it is with any other life-form (and life itself). GCr provides a means for each individual to meet the mandatory requirements of being a human in R, and it is insinuated (though never flatly stated) that these means are not only mandatory, but the only means available. Indeed, while the means to fulfill these needs do exist in Pr, GCr has made many of these means either illegal or so difficult as to be comparatively impossible.
Let’s say, for instance, you would like to eat while refusing to negotiate with the GCr. First of all, your options are going to be comparatively slim. You’ll need to be a fan of nuts and roots, and don’t expect the nuts and roots you find in the wild to be as tantalizing as those in the grocery. Oh, and then there is that “in the wild” part… as in the deep woods, in the elements, competing with animals who are better at finding nuts and roots than you. It will be a full-time enterprise just to find enough food to survive. Maybe those animals sound tasty? You can’t go at it with a gun and bullets because they cost money no matter how you go about arming yourself. The best you can manage in the woods is a primitive bow and arrow, not the aerodynamically engineered and precision weighted machines at the store. There’s a reason that in many drawings primitive peoples were thin. You could manage on your own, no doubt, but how long before you were arrested for trespassing, vagrancy, or even poaching? GCr is not going to make it easy on you.
So, we have established one condition when seeking the best ratio between our Pr and the GCr; rationality. Turning your back on the GCr exposes too greatly your insanity and results in backlash from those engaged in the GCr. Our society will only tolerate so much independence from its members before it deems the individual behavior as criminal. Establishing your Pr will require careful negotiation with the GCr, but the guide of rationality works both ways. It may be irrational to stalk your food in the wilds far from civilization on a daily basis, but it is also irrational to eat at McDonald’s daily (if at all). These are two extremes on the spectrum with the appropriate balance laying somewhere around growing some of your own food, preparing the majority of your own meals, and managing your own diet based on your personal preferences and means. What that balance is for the individual is determined by their own needs and sense of satisfaction.
In order to effectively use rationality to guide our choices, the first step is to establish what is, in fact, rational. Since we are trying to create a state of being in which the Pr is more relevant than the GCr, then it follows that we should create our own definition of “rational”. Personally, my definition follows risk assessment and cost analysis models and includes making use of “what works”. In other words, rational for me is the least risk for the most gain, the least cost for the greatest value, and I go with that which I have experienced as effective. This leaves a great deal of room for my behavior to appear “irrational” to those who’s standards are defined by the GCr. For example, there is more personal benefit in my experience in personal interaction with a self-defined “divinity” than in catering to a pre-defined, mass-consumer deity. At the same time, my experience suggests that it is more rational to cater to the idea of divinity versus being an atheist… at least it seems to work best for me. This rationality obviously leaves room for the irrational idea that “truth” is often a fluid concept and a matter of perspective.
During this discussion I have mentioned several personal labels; “Satanist”, “insane”, “individual”. This brings up another aspect of the GCr’s means of control: identity. Those who live by a Pr have to create their identity, while those who abide the GCr have an identity assigned to them. Your identity is based on how you spend the majority of your time, thus in GCr your identity is typically your means of employment. Consider this: there are 168 hours in the average week as most people reckon time. On average, most people in the US spend 40 hours of that time at work, often for someone other than themselves. If a person sleeps 8 hours a day, another 56 hours of their week is accounted for. Let’s say we spend just two hours preparing for our employment, including commuting to and from the work-place, each day. That’s another 10 hours. Throw in just 1 hour a day for your main meal… another 7 hours a week is gone. This would suggest that the this individual would have 55 hours for their own self-definition, just shy of 8 hours a day. This does not include time spent engaged in housework, grocery shopping, paying bills, or any of the other tasks “required” to lead an efficient life by GCr standards. How many people honestly spend the spare 55 hours a week totally devoted to the cause of self-definition? Sleeping, to the uninformed observer, would be a non-activity and thus not a means of definition. For most of us, our activities during the 55 hours are often less than stellar. Our most “productive” hours are those 40 during which we are employed, thus definition comes from our employment. You may be an artist, sing opera, or write novels in your “spare-time” (that phrase always makes me shudder as on average each of us only has about 80 years of life and such a finite amount of time does not allow anything to spare), but when society takes its measure of you it is most often as what you do to earn money. In GCr, cash is the lubricant of will, another aspect of the GCr which is not readily shared with its participants. This is why you will often find it difficult to discern what many public Satanists do to earn a living. Their Pr cannot cope with the nature of the GCr selves.
This idea, that you are defined by your employment, can be a little depressing, especially for those first trying to develop their Pr while deeply engaged in the GCr. This leads many to creating “false” public identities, idealized selves that would never lower themselves to employment for another at some menial task or in being apathetic about their identity (they manage a gas station during the day but it is what they do at night that matters, right?). The problem is the misconception that developing your Pr means abandoning the GCr. You can develop your Pr in a manner that is in line with GCr. The difference is the conscious choice involved in doing so. In regards to the situation of being employed, GCr says you work for Employer X. Pr says that, regardless of what you do, you work for yourself, and contract out your services to Employer X at an agreed upon rate. The difference is a matter of perspective, but in one version the individual is a victim of circumstance, in the other they are a decisive director of their life. Their is also a heightened sense of responsibility with the latter perspective that may lead the individual to make more “rational” choices about their employment. Being guided by the whims of fate might lead a person to live paycheck-to-paycheck while someone who is “self-employed” is more likely to pay themselves from their paycheck first and build their wealth while working for another. They are also building toward their own goals while their GCr counterpart often chooses to simply (begrudgingly) accept their lot.
This demonstrates how important a shift in perspective can be. We are more creatures of our own mental landscapes than we often realize, with those of us who are active in shaping those lands enjoying more freedom and a greater sense of contentment. This shift in perspective is not merely being positive, but being self-defined. By recognizing and initiating or personal responsibility for our reality we become more powerful beings, awakened amongst the sleeping masses free to do as we choose instead of merely what we are told. It is simply a matter of choice and then the discipline to see our choices through.
So many of us are seeking answers. We turn to science, religion, philosophy, and our own experiences for some kind of understanding or comfort. We seek an explanation, a foundation to build our world-view upon, a paradigm or system with which to navigate reality. Answers are what we are after, and answers are what are offered in abundance by both the well-meaning and well-informed as well as the clueless or hucksters of the world.