PM3903: Satanic morality vs Maratrean morality

Continuing on from my previous posting on the topic of Satanism, I would now like to consider the difference between Satanic morality and Maratrean morality. I want to discuss this with particular reference to Vexen Crabtree's Satanic Social Ethics and Teachings on Morality in Satanism.

Legalism - What is legalism? It is not clearly defined; what exactly is it? To reject "legalism" seems silly when one does not actually know what "legalism" is. If one doesn't know what it is, one is best to say nothing, neither accepting nor rejecting such a vaguely defined - and as such ultimately meaningless - concept. To reject a meaningless concept is as bad as endorsing it.

Indulgence - Indulgence is good; so is self-discipline, which leads to greater indulgence overall and in the long run, even as it leads to less indulgence in the short term. And who are the most indulgent? The blessed ones. Vexen says:
This is not the extreme compulsive indulgence of the self-destructive, nor is it asceticism. Like the Buddhists say, it is a "Middle Way".
 And who could disagree with that? Vexen continues:
Although Buddhists might hold that all desires and attachments are misguided because they keep us tied to this world where we cannot experience nirvana (annihilation)...
A Maratrean would reject the idea that desires are misguided. Desires, for things of the flesh, are the very reason for the existence of the many universes. What are the objects of true desire? They are not other than sensual - they are things of the flesh - sights, sounds, images, touches, caresses, tastes, smells - these are the things of which the blessed ones consist - and their joy and happiness at these things - the blessing of the blessed ones, for whose sake, and for whose sake alone, universes are caused to have existence. We can have good reason to deny ourselves the pleasures of the sense for a time - that we may have greater such pleasures in some other time to come - but, sensual pleasure is always the ultimate goal, and its rejection for a time must serve for its proliferation at some later time - its denial for a time does not serve in truth something else.

Vexen continues:
Satanists are emplored to remain fully committed to the materialism of this world, enjoy life anyway, and not to seek an escape!
We should enjoy whatever this life may offer. Yet, what then are we to do for those desires, for which this life cannot offer fulfillment?  Should we reject them? And to believe that they will never be fulfilled is effectively to reject them. Or accept these desires? To accept them is to accept the substantial possibility of their fulfillment;  but, if that possibility does not exist in their life, there must be some other life, a life after life, in which it does. So, in rejecting a life after life, as many Satanists do, they are rejecting desires that lie deep within the soul, desires for fleshy, sensuous, pleasurable things. They paint the Christians as enemies of desire and its pleasure, and themselves as its friends - yet, in truth, are they not as big enemies, just enemies of a different kind?

Selfishness - to believe in selfishness being good requires one to believe in a self which is fundamentally, essentially, permanently distinct from the selves of others. But if my soul is one soul with your soul, if I am you and you are I - each of us a past and future life of the other - then the juxtaposition of solipsism with altruism and selfishness makes no sense. True altruism and true selfishness are one and the same, for the true self is not other than the other. By privileging self (selfishness) over other (altruism), Satanism denies the true nature of the self, that it is not other than the other. My true self is that I am not other than others, so to be true to my true self I must be true to others, and value others as being myself.

Sexuality - this is a deep and vast topic. I would not want to say that we agree with the Satanists; but neither do I want to say that we disagree with them either. Liberty is a necessary answer to constraint, and thus good; even better is that which transcends the difference between liberty and restraint, which finds a new restraint - the old restraint existed prior to liberty, the new restraint was found encased within it. Even if, on occasion, the old and new restraint agree in letter - they are utterly different in spirit. When they agree in practice - they are utterly different in theoretical truth.

Love - we must love and we must hate - for to love some is to hate others. Yet we must overcome hate, and come to love all - not by the negative way, which sees are hate as without value - but by the positive way, which views our hate as absolutely necessary in its day, yet even so just a step upon the way, the way which ends in universal love. And better to hate honestly than love dishonestly - thus those who love all before the proper time, who pretend to so love before they have the power to truly do so - are they not among the worst?

The lack of prejudice and discrimination in the Satanist community mirrors our principles that all people and animals share a common source in mere biology. - As idealists, we must part ways here entirely. We do not share a common source with animals in mere biology. We hold a common source with the sacred animals in being souls, and as such derivative and temporarily separate subparts of the original-final (originifinal / origifinal) soul - but as to the animals unsacred, our commonality with them is merely as objects of experience, not as subjects thereof. And it is better to discriminate from love of the good and the beautiful, than to reject discrimination on the basis of not comprehending it.

Dissimulation: Islamic taqiyaya - keeping one's beliefs a secret when it is beneficial to do so. We can agree this is the proper course of action. "Lying" is not always wrong - what really matters, is not whether what one says is true or false, but the context - why are you saying what you are saying? To whom are you saying? What do they have a right to know? What will be beneficial to yourself and others? Lying is wrong when it involves spreading false statements about others which you know are wrong (slander); or when you use it to defraud people. But, when a gunman starts asking you questions, tell them whatever will best discourage them from harming yourself and others, truth and falsehood be damned. Martyrdom is not necessarily a bad thing; but most of the time, you are better telling people what they want to hear, meaning that you can live to fight another day, then stubbornly proclaiming your beliefs and dying in the protest. If your objective is to spread what you believe to be truth, then contradicting that truth to save one's life, thus living to spread it for years to come, is a better choice than dying then and there proclaiming it.

Violence: Violence should never be the first option. Peaceful means are always to be preferred. But, sometimes, violent means are necessary. Sometimes, the only way to free people from tyranny, is to spill a tyrant's blood. All violent means, to be acceptable, must be for a just cause, use just and proportionate means, and have a reasonable chance of success. So, violence to free people from tyranny is acceptable; but not violence to impose tyranny upon them. Just and proportionate means, are means which are targeted, not indiscriminate, and try to avoid indiscriminate pain and suffering. So the suicide bombing of a passenger train, is unacceptable, even if the bomber has some just complaint they are trying to remedy. And the means must be proportionate to the end - starting a war can be justified to remedy wrongs, but not slight wrongs, only serious ones. Finally, a reasonable chance of success is necessary - fighting against the odds is acceptable, but not fighting when it is hopeless. When one has no hope of success, one is not justified in risking one's own life or those of others, even if your cause in doing so be just.

But methods such as capital or corporal punishment are completely unacceptable. Violence can be used to prevent evil; but when an enemy is securely captured, they are no longer capable of evil, so further violence against them is immoral.

Stratification: The nature of the worlds is one of inequality; some exist to fuflill the desires of others; the unblessed exist for the sake of the blessed. Yet in the end, all inequalities are remedied - those who in one universe go without the fulfillment of their desires, in another their desires are fulfilled entirely. As the cause conquers, culminating in second triumph, inequalities reduce. In the second triumph, inequality has been abolished - the blessing and the cause having become one, all are equal in their blessedness. (The blessed ones are greater than all - but every blessed one is equal to every other.) So, we should accept the inequalities that exist in the world - and work towards their abolition, but realise that is a slow process - it cannot be done in a day, it cannot be done in a lifetime. The focus should be on the extremes on inequality - cutting down the greatest, raising up the smallest, but permitting the natural inequality to continue in the great middle - and over lifetimes, the middle shall shrink, until, after centuries, millennia, even millions of years, they will be reduced to nothing.

Stupidity: We reject the notion that those who disagree with us are all stupid. Some of them are; but many of them are not. They have adopted a different "table of values". We believe ours is better; but those who disagree with us are not stupid. Of course, there are many people who disagree with us who believe silly things, who are not very good at rational thought. But there are also rational and intelligent people who disagree with us.

Lex Talionis: We reject lex talionis - that the punishment fit the crime. True justice is found not upon the earth, but only in heaven; the "justice" of the earth is an impostor, a fraud, a demonic imitation; justice falsely so-called. The earth knows only injustice; but it calls its injustice by the name of that which it certainly is not. We reject this blasphemy.

Let us grow out of the pettiness of victimhood. "You have wronged me!" You who wrong me is not other than I whom you wrong, for we are one - I have been you and you have been me, I shall be you and you shall be me. Whatever you have done to me, I have done to you. Your acts are my acts - and to condemn you is to condemn myself. All things are precisely as they are, by the will of She Who Reigns. By condemning you for your deeds, I am condemning She who commanded your deeds. And being not other than her, in condemning you I am condemning myself, for her will is my will, and yours also. The will is one.

It is permissible for those having the power to do so, to restrain others who are a high risk to others. But that restraint is not punishment; it is not meant to be unpleasant - it might sometimes be unpleasant, but every action possible is taken to make it not be so - it is the minimum necessary for the protection of others. It is not given to those who "deserve" it, but for those where a grave risk is reasonably foreseen. (For someone to be punished unjustly, when they were innocent, when they did not deserve it, is seen as a grave wrong - but when we take action to protect against a reasonably apparent risk which was not actually there - this too is wrongful, but far less wrongful.) Restriction cannot be imposed for a term of years - it must be imposed for the minimum time necessary, which cannot be foreseen - whenever it is assigned a fixed quantum, we know it is not lawful restriction but sinful punishment. Its boundaries cannot be predetermined at the outset, once and for all, but constantly re-evaluated, at all levels of review, to ensure that at every moment it is no greater than the minimum necessary.

When the State responds to the cry of the victim with "we will punish the perpetrator", the State itself becomes a criminal - against both victim and perpetrator. It perpetrates against the victim by encouraging them to remain in a state of unenlightenment, rather than advance towards an enlightened state. And it perpetrates against the perpetrator by imposing upon them a false and immoral justice. The true State, will impose restriction upon the perpetrator where necessary, to prevent future acts of the same kind; to the victim, it will encourage them to move beyond victimhood, into a more enlightened state.

If the desire of the victim for vengeance in insatiable, let them consider the penal chamber, which is prepared in heaven for those who have wronged them. Yet let them grow in enlightenment, to appreciate the deep irony of this remedy - for as it punishes those who wronged them, it does so by making those others less other and more themselves. In seeming fulfillment of the error which lead to the desire for punishment, it actually undermines that very error. How perfect is the justice of heaven - compared to which the justice of earth is but dirty, filthy rags - it is not justice at all, but injustice falsely masquerading as justice. The less wise demand their vengeance; the more wise refuse it; the wisest, when asked, will respond - "What does it matter to me? Do what you wish, O Mother!".

Finally, we must distinguish vengenance from earthly justice - for vengeance has a certain nobility which earthly justice lacks. Earthly justice claims to be good, even while it is evil; vengeance lacks justice's dishonesty; it does not pretend to be something other than what it is. Earthly justice says "They did wrong; but in punishing them I did right; for me to punish them was right, but for another to punish me for punishing them would be wrong" - such is its hypocrisy! But vengeance says "They did what they did; I did what I did; what shall be done to me shall be done to me." Vengeance does not demand that it be held innocent; vengeance does what it does, and is what it is, innocence or guilt irregardless. The just are cowards - they wish to judge others, but will not be judged themselves. The vengeful are heroic - they take their vengeance, but have no expectation that they will escape the vengeance of others. For vengeance they throw their life away; thus proving they see their life as having a value outside themselves, that there is something worth throwing their life away for - they are martyrs of vengeance. But the just, they are too worthless for martyrdom - to paraphrase Nietzsche - "Those for whom there is no right time to die, there was never a right time to be born either - it would be better had they never been born at all - thus I advise the superfluous!".

Reciprocity: The Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - it is not a saying without value, but to think this is all that can be said, is a vast oversimplification of true ethics. We must do what is right, to ourselves and to others - and sometimes what is right to do for others is something that we would not wish to have done to ourselves. A gunman is running around shooting people - what should we do? Attempt to restrain him by any means necessary - preferrably, by non-violent or non-fatal means - but, in practice, that will often not be possible, so there will be no other option than to use potentially fatal violence against them. How does the Golden Rule apply to this situation? If I was the gunman, would I wish to be shot and killed? No, I probably would not - yet, if that is what is necessary to prevent any further deaths or injuries, that is the right thing to do.

Vexen proposes "Do what thou will, as long as you harm no undeserving person". The true ethic is - do what is good to be done, and may my will be for the good - and may I do according to my true will, and not some false will which is not truly mine - do as my true self would have me do, not as some false self would. And to harm not the "undeserving", but to be free to harm the "deserving" - who is "deserving" or "undeserving"? The idea of some "deserving" to be harmed is false justice.

Kindness: "Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!" On the contrary, we believe in loving all, to the extent that we are capable of loving them; and, insofar as we are not capable of loving all - as indeed we are not - we should work constantly towards that goal, seeking always to love more. To truly love anyone is to love those whom they love - but, the web of love extends to include all - thus, in loving one, to be true to one's love one must love all. And we love She who loves all, for She loves her own self with perfect self-love, and with the very same love She loves all, for all are not other than her own self.

"If you are kind to someone and they do not act appropriately then cease being kind because you are not (in many circumstances) going to help them by fuelling their self destructive social retardness." If you are kind to people, you very often will succeed in helping them overcome their "self-destructive social retardness" - at least in the long run. Not always, but often - but if you are looking for short-term results from kindness, you may not see them; whereas you might well with more patience. Of course, we all have our limits - we should try to love and be kind to those who do not return that love; but if we are getting hurt or exhausted, we should not be afraid to retreat in that particular battle. Sometimes retreating in a single battle is the best way to win the war. And if someone is abusing us, taking advantage of us, manipulating us - then we need to stop that. But that doesn't necessarily mean cutting off all contact entirely - it just means being more guarded. This is where the concept of an intentional community becomes important - an individual is limited in the kindness they can bestow, a community has more resources - it can deal with people who would tire out any single individual. The problem with many 'communities' in our society (or even our society viewed as a community) is it is blind and unthinking - it is unintentional, lacking in intention, lacking in deliberation, lacking in organisation or co-operation; but a community lacking these flaws could achieve much.

"So why have a religion, philosophy or belief system that pretends that it is useful or good to go around being kind to everyone?" It is good or useful to be kind to everyone. Our capacities are limited; we need to acknowledge that, and not over-exert ourselves, or become self-judgemental when we fail to meet goals which are far beyond our present capacities. However, to acknowledge and accept our limitations in achieving the goal, does not mean we should foreswear the goal entirely.

"If society is forever neutral and nonjudgemental then bad behaviour will not be curbed." Being "non-judgemental" doesn't mean we can't evaluate other's behaviour, and decide some of their behaviour is undesirable, and take actions to discourage them from continuing to behave in this way. What it means, is not condemning the person as a person on account of their deeds. Even though we reject their deeds, we do not reject their inherent worth as a person. Because of their inherent worth as a person, we care doubly about their deeds - we care not just about their negative impact on ourselves and others we care about, but also about their negative impact upon the person doing those deeds. I don't think anyone is suggesting society be "neutral". Good is good and bad is bad. But we should try to help those who do bad to do good instead, rather than condemning them.

"Meekness breeds social disaster!" A certain degree of meekness is beneficial. Taken to an extreme, it is detrimental. The goal is to be meek when it is beneficial to be, and assertive when it is beneficial to be. Try to, in every situation, adopt the attitude which will be most beneficial in that particular situation.