Carpe Diem Carpe Semper

Today I would like to share some advice related to the aspects of Lucifer and Pan as they represent the search for self-knowledge and pleasure. The attainment of both of these goals is related to an understanding of the self, which can reveal personal barriers to deeper levels of knowledge and enjoyment. While experiences that produce knowledge and enjoyment lead to personal growth, one can, without being aware of what he or she is doing, limit the effect of his or her growth by not being attentive to possibilities for even greater development.

There is always more, until you stop searching for it. To assume a boundary to what you can learn from an experience, or to not bother to further examine what an experience can teach you, is to place limitations upon your personal development. The hardest chains to break are the ones that you make for yourself. You may have some freedom to move within those chains, but you will not go as far as your potential would allow.

pan-portraitFor example, consider the experience of first falling in love with another person. The experience is exhilarating, to open yourself up to another person and allow them to see your vulnerabilities as well as your strengths. But this is also an opportunity for further development, to find very specific nuances of the experience that can lead to greater self-awareness. What is it about the other’s skin that makes you long to touch him or her? What does the other’s vocal inflections and speech patterns reveal about his or her personality, and what makes that interesting to you? Does the other person have a quirk or a tic that you find attractive, and do these behaviors reveal anything to you about the way that you see yourself?

There is always more information to learn about the experience as long as you can find another question to ask yourself. So probe for more information about your experiences as fully as you can, and soon you will discover that it becomes even easier to analyze an experience and draw even more information from it.

My addition to the old Latin proverb, “Carpe diem,” or “Seize the day,” would be this: Seize the day and keep seizing. Do not allow the potential for grasping more information about yourself and your experiences to pass you by. Living life to the fullest means continually expanding your concept of the limitation for where “the fullest” can be.

Hail experience! Hail Satan!

Moshing through life

A mosh pit at a hardcore concert is high energy zen. You enter the pit and become an atom: flowing in a stream of energy, colliding and rebounding like particles of a liquid creating a whirlpool or a convection current. You receive energy from the other people, and transfer your energy out toward them, until there is nothing but the “collective energy” swirling around in a vortex. You become one with the system

Justin Pansacola writes in an article at Vitamin String Quartet:

Every other form of concert body movement requires some self-awareness, and for many people that leads to self-consciousness. It requires either knowledge or natural talent with coordinating the awkwardness of your body to rhythms, or decisions on how to move that best match up with everyone else. That’s always fun in its own way, but the beauty of the mosh pit is that the choice isn’t in your hands. You are simply swept along. For those who struggle with even a modicum of self-consciousness, or indecision about what to do with themselves at a show, the mosh pit is a savior. You surrender to it, and then you try to keep your shoes on.

The specter of self-consciousness is powerful. You see it in their attempts to wiggle, the sudden evaporation of their nerve, and the way they look at everyone else while getting down. It’s not their fault. We all have our own terrifying social hang-ups. But the mosh pit is the equalizer that brings extroverts and introverts together. It’s a leveled playing field where we can all just enjoy the visceral sensation of a good beat, a thrashing guitar or a driving bass line.

moshBut it is also very controversial, and very counter-culture. It is frowned upon by cultural conservatives for being too chaotic and hedonistic, and by cultural liberals for being too dangerous.

The best way I can describe the dialectic between those who “get” mosh pit culture and those who do not is to just present to you this discussion thread about the philosophy of moshing on Psych Central:

Paintingravens: I think there’s a philosophy to moshing… a concert is a place where tons of people gather to have a good time and release any of that stress that’s been building up throughout the week. We gather, we fling ourselves into each other, we may fall a couple of times but we pick each other back up, we may inflict a few good bruises on each other, but it’s done unintentionally and playfully (albeit, intensely playfully), and it’s all in the spirit of rocking out. I think moshing is symbolic of the ideal human connection. We gather together to share a similar experience. A concert is a place where we can throw ourselves into each other as hard as we can (release all that daily frustration), and we take it, we share it, we laugh about it. We knock each other down, but we help each other up; possibly analogous to sharing each others pains and problems and helping each other through them? To me, it seems that moshing brings people together. While moshing, no one gets pissed at the other because you accidentally got elbowed in the face, and no one tries to start a fight because you got punched in the gut (both blows I received during this concert…:P); you take it in stride and laugh about it
Moreta: I don’t like moshers…..or people that crowd surf….since I usually position myself in the front row. I enjoy stepping out of the way so crowd surfers fall to the floor. I was at a Saliva concert one time, in the front row, and people were moshing behind me, and this huge dude slammed right into me, which led to having 3 bruised ribs from hitting the metal railing. Not fun.
Paintingravens: If you don’t like the mosh pit, perhaps in the future, you should consider finding a spot that is not directly in front of it. The mosh pit is not going to move out of the way for you.
TheByzantine: Oh? So before you buy a ticket you get a seating chart that designates mosh pit here? To think it is cool to trample and bruise those who thought they were going to a concert and not a rugby match is quite telling.
Paintingravens: The mosh pits generally start up in the same area (usually front-center area), and there’s not much one can do about it once they start. They gain momentum fast. And standing up in the very front is just asking to get pummeled by moshers… There are always other places to stand that are safe from the frantic blows of excited moshers.
TheByzantine: So what you are saying is that anyone who wants a front row sit is fair game to be bruised and battered?
Paintingravens: No, they’re not “fair game”. It’s not a hunting range. The people in the mosh pit are not targeting the unfortunate people in the front row. But if you make it to the front row and expect to be completely safe and bruise free by the end of the concert, then you are sorely mistaken. The mosh pit extends to the front row, and it’s filled with a bunch of people who are literally throwing themselves into each other. There is much pushing and shoving and flailing of limbs. Bruises happen in the front row. It’s just the way it is.
Lynn P. Sounds like a good excuse to hurt someone with out getting arrested. I would be afraid of bullies and people going there for that purpose – “yeah lets go hurt someone”
Paintingravens: Lol, mostly everyone is there to have a good time. If someone every gets seriously hurt and knocked to the ground and can’t get up, people notice and make a clearing for him/her; they help him/her up, make sure he/she gets out of the crowd without any more damage… I have yet to see someone point and laugh at any fallen, seriously injured comrades; I’ve never seen anyone as these events as sadistic as that. I’m sure there are people like that somewhere in the crowd, but I think it’s safe to assume it’s a small minority. Those are the people that would most likely be booed from the crowd

What I find most interesting about the strong advocates of mosh culture is that they truly reflect the way I interpret Satanic values, embodying the intersection of at least three Aspects of Satan:

1. Belial: You are your own spirit, you are your own actor. You neither conform nor rebel. There is no predefined structure, or set of rules.

2. The Leviathan: You understand that your own enjoyment depends on everyone’s enjoyment. You don’t pamper or constrain or “protect”, but you actively make sure to help those who need it. And if you detect people who are violent or acting in bad faith, they are booed from the crowd.

3. Pan: Be caught up in physicality, the music, the moment, and the feeling. Indulge in all of the physical sensations that your body can endure.

Of course, the mosh pit can always go wrong, and there have been news stories and scare-stories about serious injuries and things getting out of control. But at its finest, mosh pit culture represents the perfect balance between individuality, community, and indulgence: and when that perfect chord is struck, it’s one of the most amazing experiences in the world.

The Keeper of the Gate

The seventh Core Value of the United Aspects of Satan is derived from the Aspect of Pan: “Indulgence in the pleasures of life.” What might come as a surprise to many is that Satanism is a joyous and life-affirming religion. With no eternal bliss to look forward to beyond the grave, Satanists indulge in the present and make the most of the short time they have.

Admittedly, this is sometimes easier said than done.

We live in a chaotic universe, and we are often subject to forces beyond our control. We are also limited in many ways by our genetics, our culture, and our upbringing. It is sometimes difficult to find happiness in our circumstances, especially if we are not in a position to change our current life trajectory without a great deal of hardship and sacrifice. When one is managing to survive by the skin of his teeth, “Indulgence in the pleasures of life” might seem like an empty platitude, yet it is precisely these times when he or she should heed the call of Pan’s pipes.

Attitude makes all the difference.

Attitude is the keeper of the gate, and pleasure may only come when one’s attitude is aligned with the concept of receiving pleasure. Pleasure, then, is a skill, and one that can be perfected through discipline. Then the persistent aligning of one’s intention to the result of pleasure will yield more pleasure. Through focused intention, applied with persistent effort, one can complete the mental alchemy of transmuting the lead of one’s difficult circumstances into gold.

That isn’t all. Once one has achieved a state of pleasure, persistent, focused attention can increase the amount of pleasure one experiences, as well as create multiple layers of subtle nuances beyond what one can immediately perceive. To the hedonist who has advanced beyond the simple intentions of the neophyte, these deeper realms of pleasure are to be pursued with the solemnity and focus of a Shaolin monk.

To the Satanist, the pursuit of pleasure is his or her religion, and pleasure is to be pursued with religious fervor. Difficult circumstances are therefore of no consequence, for the denial of pleasure, no matter how difficult to obtain, is a sin against the Satanist’s own self.

Hail pleasure! Hail Satan!

The Narrative of Pan

“Pan symbolizes indulgence, hedonism, sex, music, drink, food, celebrations— everything that makes life fun and enjoyable. Traditional religions view all these things as evil. It is the exact opposite for the Satanist. There is nothing to be gained from deprivation.”—Narratives 7(Pan): 1-4

The Narrative of Pan is the seventh chapter in The Satanic Narratives: A modern Satanic Bible, and introduces the aspect of Pan: representing indulgence in the pleasures of life.

Satanists appreciate sensual pleasure, worldly experience. Some enjoy sexual deviancy or altered states of consciousness. Many refer to Satanism as a “carnal religion.” But the point of sexual deviancy isn’t mere rebellion or unhinged debauchery. For a Satanist, seeking out all the pleasures of earthly experience is just a part of your right, as the supreme ruler of your own life, to explore your own lusts and desires in a controlled way. Pan is a connoisseur of earthly experience.