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#HOMESWEETHOME features: the church of satan, a home within darkness

Monday, November 14th, 2016 | T: lamono

In the year 1966 Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in the Black House, the place chosen to provide a home for all Satanists. Located in San Francisco, seminars and rituals were celebrated there, all under the principles established by the religion codified in the Satanic Bible. LaVey died in 1997, but since the organization has keep on operating and gaining followers. They consider themselves as “skeptic atheists” and embrace individualism and the search for truth. We had the opportunity of asking a few questions to Reverend M. A. Mandrake, one of the leaders of the order, who offered us an insight into this religion that aims to provide a home for all of those who were formerly accused of being heretics, pagans and freethinkers. T: Felipe Duarte

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After reading some of the Satanist texts, we can affirm Satanism embraces the praxis of indulgence instead of abstinence. Could you please explain this principle further? Satanism augments our naturally carnal perspective through principles and symbolism. This conscious alignment with the Satanic point of view infuses our lives as human animals with religious significance. The Satanist brings a passionate awareness to daily life, which includes our pursuit of pleasure in its many forms. We indulge in cuisine, the arts, sexuality, and other delights according to our individual preferences. This is not uncontrolled hedonism, but an Epicurean enjoyment that emphasizes responsibility and balance. This is in contrast to most religions, which tend to promote abstinence in the name of spirituality, resulting in repressed desires that often surface as uncontrolled compulsions. Through indulgence, we enjoy healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Which stand does The Church of Satan have upon morality and ethics? Satanism emphasizes personal responsibility. We value a social contract in which individuals have the freedom to do what they wish, within the confines of the law, as long as these actions do not violate another’s freedom. When this understanding is violated, we advocate Lex Talionis as our standard of justice. Whenever possible, the consequences of a crime should reflect the severity of that problematic behavior. This is based upon natural law. Our morality is relative, but our ethics outline a responsible, lawful code of behavior.

According to Satanism, upon which premises can man’s raison d’être be founded? The Satanist is his or her own god, meaning we are each at the center of a subjective universe. The objective universe is indifferent, ruled by physics and biology, without any discernible purpose beyond action and reaction. Since we reject supernatural prescriptions for “the meaning of life”, it is up to us as individuals to determine a personal system of values. We think it makes sense to arrange one’s life to maximize healthy pleasures and minimize pointless suffering. That being said, what drives one Satanist may be inconsequential or even objectionable to another. After all, we are individualists.

Is there such thing as “good” and “evil” or just the consequences of our actions? Our moral standards are “beyond good and evil,” to borrow a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche. We judge everything according to how it affects us as individuals and others who matter to us on a personal level. Instead of settling for a dualistic standard, we look for a “Third Side”. This is our term for a more rational and nuanced evaluation of everything we observe. With this in mind, we judge everyone’s actions, including our own, according to our Satanic sense of justice.

What is slavery and what is freedom? Slavery has a widely varied history as a practice and concept. Fortunately, it now rarely exists as the ownership of people as property. That was once a widespread injustice. Anton LaVey framed slavery in the sadomasochistic sense, as the willful submission to a master of one’s own choice. This is a dynamic that often defines intimate relationships, most transparently in BDSM. I would define freedom as the ability to make decisions for oneself. Anyone of sound mind has a great deal of freedom. However, most people seem to reject it in favor of collectivism and other forms of compulsive self-negation. Perhaps that is because freedom demands personal responsibility, a core tenet of Satanism. We embrace the challenges of a life defined according to our individualistic terms.

Is it possible for man to become slave of its own desires and passions? If so, until which point is self-indulgence encouraged by Satanism? Our most fundamental motto is “Indulgence, not compulsion.” We are realists, so we understand that one can sometimes engage in excessive behaviors. But as with anything, there are consequences. Violating the social contract can lead to personal difficulties. Breaking local laws can result in imprisonment or worse. On a purely individual level, compulsions can lead to discomfort, illness, or death. The Satanist assumes personal responsibility for these repercussions, and is thus encouraged to exercise moderation in all indulgences.

In the world we live today and upon a wide view athwart our society, where can you see the principles of Satanism proliferate? The principles of Satanism are rooted in the human animal and its position within the natural universe. One can therefore see aspects of Satanism within every realm of human activity. However, these Satanic elements are frequently vilified and suppressed on both religious and secular levels. When they aren’t, they are often taken to irresponsible excesses. Satanists champion individualism, the pursuit of pleasure, meritocracy, secular government, balanced justice, and other concepts embraced by increasing numbers of people around the world. Most societies still suppress many of these natural and rational principles, but their influence persists and sometimes flourishes.

Satanism encourages vengeance upon one’s enemies. What is the difference between avenging and setting boundaries or limits? Satanism advocates civility, so we do our best to live and let live. However, there are always people who violate this social contract to varying degrees. When this happens, we will use any legal means necessary to defend ourselves and our loved ones. This is in accordance with the Satanic principles of responsibility and justice, which are supportive of law and order.

Where is the home of the Satanists found? Satanists live all over the world in every kind of home. These abodes frequently reflect our unique personalities and interests. We advocate the development of total environments, which are spaces designed to evoke an aesthetic that brings joy to the occupants. These aesthetics are typically rooted in our personal ECI: Erotic (or Emotional) Crystallization Inertia. One’s ECI consists of preferences in music, clothing, decor, and other stimuli that are established early in life. We enhance our lives by surrounding ourselves with these enduring pleasures instead of blindly following trends. Research has shown that this may even help people to enjoy longer, healthier lives, just as LaVey surmised.

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The Satanist is his or her own god, meaning we are each at the center of a subjective universe

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Satanism can be considered as the empowerment of man (as a specie), its thoughts and actions. Is there some common goal upon which that power must be delivered? Satanism was formulated to empower the individuals with whom it resonates. Our goals are diverse and often highly personal. However, we do have a Five-Point Program that outlines the more general goals of Satanism as a movement. We advocate stratification through meritocracy, taxation for all churches, purely secular government, the proliferation of artificial human companions, and the option to live within a total environment. I encourage anyone interested in LaVey’s more thorough explanation to read “Pentagonal Revisionism” on ChurchofSatan.com. These points are all designed to reduce the influence of institutionalized collectivism while rewarding individualism, freethinking, and creativity.

As there is no divine justice, what kind of justice is there? As the one provided by man may, and in many cases does fail. Justice is not supernatural; it is natural. When one person violates the freedoms of another, the afflicted individual seeks self-defense just like any other animal. That is why anger is not sinful. It is an instinctual response that helps us to protect ourselves. However, it must be acted upon responsibly. At their best, secular laws allow individuals the freedom to do anything that doesn’t negatively affect others who aren’t harassing or harming them. However, legal systems are often flawed. This is inevitable, since people do make mistakes. Nonetheless, many governments continue to refine their legislation to maximize responsible liberty. This is often thanks to legal activism, which is something that individual Satanists sometimes pursue among other personally meaningful causes.

What do you have to say when facts show that there have been more assassinations in the name of God than in that of Satan? There is no reason to kill in the name of God or Satan, as neither exists. Religious crimes are motivated by faith in a deity, usually called “God,” that is supposed to reward the extermination of something considered “evil.” The Satanist rejects all beliefs that lead to such needless bloodshed and senseless torture. It is important to note that this also applies to political murders, which are caused by the same blind fanaticism. Our symbol of Satan represents the questioning of all forms of faith. There is no such thing as a “Satanic” assassination because as rational individualists, Satanists advocate rational standards for justice. Theistic creeds, on the other hand, often demand the eradication of beliefs that don’t favor their own. This irrationality explains the vast numbers of killings over millennia in the name of God by those who claim to be his followers.

In the Nine Satanic Sins, the ninth sin is called ’Lack of Aesthetics’. Is there a way to describe or put into words the “universally pleasing and harmonious configurations” of beauty and balance? Beauty as a concept has a rich history, and modern science has discovered much about what pleases and stimulates the senses. The Golden Ratio is perhaps the best-known principle of beauty. It is found in many of nature’s patterns and proportions. Additional examples include soothing curves, threatening angles, and certain harmonies and rhythms in music. The presence, absence, or distortion of such configurations can influence our reactions to other people and our surroundings ―even subconsciously. The Satanist acknowledges these cues and applies them through what we call Lesser Magic. (Greater Magic is our term for ritualized catharsis.) Lesser Magic has also been called glamor or fascination, both of which were once widely considered forms of witchcraft. We use these standards as a starting point, influencing others and stimulating ourselves through our personal appearances and environments. Satanic Sins are not a matter of dogmatic restriction, but are rather behaviors that have negative consequences for Satanists. Lack of Aesthetics is a sin for us because it disempowers the individual and detracts from life’s visual pleasures. Aesthetics are a prime motivating force in the natural world, and we always seek to work with nature.

Why do you think people are often scared by Satanism? Before Satanism was codified by Anton LaVey, people were accused of being Satanists because they were heretics, pagans, freethinkers, or others who were misfits within an oppressive mainstream society. LaVey reexamined this accusation from the perspective of the so-called villain. He embraced principles that have always been considered Satanic, but rejected the fables used to slander these outsiders. However, many of these negative myths persist. Perhaps they always will, as outsiders are consistently stigmatized in most cultures. There are also more realistic reasons for which many people fear Satanism. We reject all forms of faith, advocate personal responsibility instead of a victim mentality, promote meritocracy over egalitarianism, embrace individualism over collectivism, and are stimulated by symbols that many ideologies consider offensive. Some aspects of Satanism might seem less frightening if we didn’t infuse them with such provocative symbolism, but that element is essential to the depths of our alignment. We have taken the side that was supposed to be evil, but in a rational manner that exposes the madness and hypocrisy underlying much of mainstream society. Satanists don’t proselytize, but our principles do influence the world. Those who fear our influence do so because we are nonconformists who question the beliefs they struggle to uphold in denial of nature itself. But in the end, we simply cherish the freedom to make the most of our individual lives while we still can.

 

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