Importance and Priorities

Philosophies tend to impact many ideas, ways of thinking, and potential sets of actions. When taken as a collection, the impact spans one’s entire worldview. Such is the way with Satanism, as it is a collection of philosophies. There are many different variations too. It also varies from person to person, even within a specific variation. Or at least it should if all is well with a given variation.

For me, and the variation I created, there are some important points; things that spill over into life like an overflowing cup. These are areas of greater importance; things that should be priorities.

One major category is self-determination. This should be both in thought and action. One’s thoughts will in turn drive one’s actions. The starting point is thinking for yourself.

Being told what to think, as in an imperative, should be a warning sign, giving fright to any rational person. This isn’t the same as being provided information though. One can derive knowledge from such information, given proper evaluation. With the right methodology, such knowledge leads to beliefs about objective facts that are true. It can also be part of the basis for one’s subjective views.

Being told what to think, when accepted without question, will lead to beliefs that may be false, and serve only the interests of the one giving the order. You have your own interests to consider, which should be your priority. You also have objective reality to contend with. No one and nothing will ever change reality. The laws of physics do not care what anyone thinks. Understanding reality is important.

A major theme for me is providing information and guidance while never telling anyone what to think. Individuals must decide on this for themselves. Never listen to those who demand you think a certain way, or believe certain things.

I may have certain criteria for who can be a member of an organization due to the definition of the organization and its members. So I am particular about that. I also don’t solicit people to join up and/or try to push the philosophical criteria off on anyone. I believe that one must make such a choice entirely free of pressure, based on one’s own research.

The criteria is preexisting. Nothing gets sprung on people after the fact. It’s all laid out for everyone to read too. I even require that people attest that they have read and understood my philosophy. That’s how important that is to me. People who do not understand can only join if they have lied to me about their understanding. That is a choice they made.

That is what I believe to be the correct scenario. That is not a typical methodology though. Not everyone has their information up front. Not everyone checks for understanding. There may be places that make demands on what one believes after the fact too.

This is not just confined to Satanism, or even to religion in general. You may encounter those who tell you things after the fact, after having presented only minimal information about the group in question, in any context or area of life at all. You may be told to accept things without question. You may be told to believe things with no good reason provided.

I would advise never giving up any piece of your autonomy for anyone. Actions require motivating reason. Action on demand in the absence of such reason is a sign of tyranny.

For me, Satan is a metaphor of personal autonomy and rebellion against any oppressive authority. Satan is thinking for oneself and not bowing to arbitrary demands of any authority figure.

It is perfectly fine for one to have certain rules in regard to one’s property, and the use thereof. You would not let someone borrow something of yours if they damage that property or otherwise take advantage of your generosity. However, when a dictatorial figure uses ownership of a given thing as a Trojan Horse to dictating your belief and/or action, one should exit the situation to maintain their autonomy. One’s autonomy is too great a price to pay for any carrot held out for the purpose of the acceptance of dictatorial demand.

One may now ask, when evaluating anything, as is required for independent thought, “what are the components and the methodology?” That is an excellent question, and the answer is a complex one. The answer brings me back around to other things that are priorities. These are knowledge, belief, and the relationship thereof.

Knowledge is the starting point, which then informs belief. That is how one evaluates any objective claim. When one asks you to accept a belief that is vague and has no evidence, you are being asked to accept a belief without the prerequisite knowledge to know it is true. When there is an implied action or actions that go along with this belief the motivations become clear. It is best to reject it outright. All objective, empirical claims require empirical evidence to be accepted.

When a given thing is true, in an objective sense, there is knowledge forming the basis of this belief. The data must be verified by logic in the case of reason, or by peer reviewed studies in the case of empirical data. Usually these things will be combined. Firsthand empirical knowledge, such as from one’s senses is acceptable too. Just keep in mind that different types of claims require different levels of verification. Sometimes it is a simple thing and you just need to see it. Other times it may be something that overturns a conventional understanding of science, in which case careful evaluation of peer reviewed studies is required.

The evaluated knowledge can then inform belief through the application of logical reasoning. One must take care to avoid logical fallacies when doing this. When that has been done, you can have a belief of some sort.

Unfounded beliefs are problematic and must be avoided. In addition to a plethora of other problems, unfounded beliefs lead one to being manipulated by others. This makes one vulnerable to the interests of others which may likely run counter to one’s own. Frequently they run counter to the interests of humanity in general.

In addition to avoiding unfounded beliefs and having only valid ones, informed by verified knowledge, value judgments are also a major priority. This gets into moral philosophy.

The moral feelings one thinks of as conscience, come into play with knowledge and belief when thinking critically. These feelings then have reason applied in order to guide one’s decisions and actions.

In this process, one must be free of arbitrary values. They cloud your judgment. One must not have any beliefs of an objection nature which are false. This is where your conscience will point you in the wrong direction due to being wrong about some aspect of reality.

If one has a false belief due to some factor like a presupposed cultural belief, one may come to an incorrect conclusion in the evaluation of an ethical consideration. Is the idea presupposed on the basis of a societal factor, or is the idea a belief that has been informed by knowledge? Where did you get this idea? How do you know this? Follow it to its source.

Do not be afraid of being wrong. Do not crave being right. Being wrong is an opportunity to increase one’s knowledge. Celebrate being wrong! Celebrate your area of ignorance! Rejoice in filling that ignorance with knowledge! One can only take pride in being right, when one has the knowledge to justify such a belief. Understanding the need to obtain a given piece of knowledge can come from being wrong. There are plenty of ways one can gain an understanding of a need to obtain knowledge. However, being wrong always leads there. Even if the ultimate answer is that you don’t know, you still end up being right at the end of the process.

When one has the feelings of conscience and the beliefs informed by knowledge, free of bias, it is possible to make moral decisions based on the feelings of conscience. In an absence of any entirely objective basis, this is the best that can be done. This is another priority.

Sometimes one may be asked to do things that violate the feelings of conscience. Fallacious reasoning may be given to assuage the resulting feelings, or even no reason at all. The conscience can be initially wrong, but given appropriate data and reasoning, one can conform to these feelings without subverting them through the loophole of fallacy.

Being asked to do and think things that are unethical, by this criteria, should be a warning sign. There are other interests at work here. Such nonsense should be rejected. Do not follow orders. Think for yourself.

Various forces can be brought to bear when one is uncooperative due to following the above guidelines. When these pressures are used to subvert your reasoning, you know that it is time to flee. There should always be a reason. Never blindly follow someone.

The wellbeing of yourself, and of humanity are of prime importance. They are priorities. Satanism should have a methodology of that wellbeing as a minimum, in addition to all the bits of philosophical icing on this metaphorical cake.

Damien Ba'al

High Priest and founder of the United Aspects of Satan, and author of "The Satanic Narratives: A Modern Satanic Bible"