Why are you a Satanist? It’s a good question to ask yourself from time to time. What are your overall goals in life and how is your philosophy helping you lay the groundwork to achieve all you can during your brief span of years? What are you doing today, this very minute — is it contributing to your life, or robbing you of precious moments? In a good story, every line, every word, contributes to the overall effect, moves toward the final denouement. What future are you writing for yourself today?
As you’ll notice elsewhere on this site, we’ve made a policy announcement discouraging participation in chatroom “conversation.” This is because conversations don’t occur in these forums — only schoolyard scuffle and petty bickering that give people a negative impression of Satanism and a false view that all our representatives are busy throwing poo-poo at each other instead of living indulgently. The Internet has grown steadily and we’ve had enough time now, through trial and error, to find out what’s productive about it and what should be avoided. We’ve offered advice to all parties to encourage improvement; there’s only been further degeneration. The very structure of chatrooms has proven itself to be counterproductive to adult interactions, and, in the broadest sense, at odds with Satanic thought and method. It discourages reflection, discipline, wit and innovation. People vomit forth the first thing that comes to mind and that seems most often to be cheap put-downs and juvenile taunts. The entire show appears very like the corner of Hyde Park in London which is reserved for soapbox oratory. But instead of being confined to a lonely corner of Hyde Park, illiterate, muddle-brained poseurs can have their pearls of excrement broadcast worldwide with one keystroke.
Go back in time to when you discovered Satanism, when you finally picked up a book that described your thoughts, experience and attitudes so clearly for the first time in your life. These days, once such a discovery is made, people immediately turn to the Internet for further information. Imagine an enthusiastic young Satanist seeking to broaden his knowledge of the Dark Arts, passionate and hungry for more… just as you were. He finds the Church of Satan website and knows he’s come to the right place; Anton LaVey’s ideals are still being enacted and defended by a vital, intelligent group of individualists. Then he wanders into a chatroom, seeking more immediate interaction with reasoning, rebellious souls — and he walks into the middle of a raucous food fight, with many of our appointed officials throwing the most muck, and any “newbie” getting the worst of it! How can this kind of childish posturing be justified as serving the goals of Satanism? It drains the vital energy of our productive members in endlessly trying to moderate such forums, and it is discouraging to valuable new members and inquirers. If there were any defining element of Satanic philosophy being challenged or debated in chatrooms, I would see their value and perhaps even enjoy participating. But there are no such debates taking place, only petty head-butting. It is demeaning to all of us who work hard to represent the strength, composure and majesty of the Infernal Ones.
It’s not just the Church of Satan affected by the growth of chatrooms, and the Internet in general. It has, indeed, been a worldwide revolution and changing the way we think, evaluate, buy and interact. I already put in my two cents on the subject in 1995, in a Cloven Hoof article titled, “Information Overload” in which I cautioned that, through the increasing use of the Internet, the computer was becoming a device for dominating, monitoring and controlling greater masses of people. Because of the speed and the structure of computer-accessed information, our minds are mutating, our context is evaporating and our judgement is compromised. There is no such thing as privacy or security anymore. Human relationships are being perverted, providing the illusion of intimacy with people you’ve never even looked in the eye.
What better way to de-fuse dissenting voices than by putting them all in a big room together and letting them tear each other to shreds? There will only be a handful of them going at it, but, because of the international reach of the Internet, it will create an effective illusion of disharmony and dissension so that the group will be deemed petty and insignificant by anyone seeking alliance with any “Alien Elite.” The format of the chatroom, specifically, only allows for superficial, confused interaction and therefore doesn’t provide a true picture of what another person is like. There must be time, reflection, trust and relaxed conversation for healthy, complex, intelligent relationships to develop. Chatrooms are the antithesis of that. Opinionated types are bound to grate on each other and, ignoring wider goals, destroy themselves from within. At the very least, any group will be left wounded and impotent, too distracted fighting accusations of “schisms” and internal strife to organize any resistance. Why spend the energy sending in 5th columnist infiltrators when you can so elegantly destroy your enemies without leaving behind any evidence of interference, or even any evidence that you exist? Re-read Jerry Mander’s invaluable Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. The boob tube was the first assault on our unity, our intelligence, our history, our imagination and our reason. That assault has continued with computers and the Internet. Re-read Brave New World to see how complacency lulls more effectively than outright oppression.
In truth, there are more productive things going on within our ranks now than there ever have been, but you won’t find out about them in chatrooms. We feel more cohesion and focus, in part as a reaction to Dr. LaVey’s death. Our membership is increasing at an ever-growing rate. Not that we value numbers; ten people who truly understand the Satanic principles of defiance and justice are more important than 500 who join to bolster their own weak identities. But the fact that our membership is growing is an indication that defacto Satanists who didn’t yet know that they were Satanists, are using the diabolical Internet to freely examine our history and our proposed future and they like what they see. Despite all the clamoring, despite the bickering and chest-thumping and pissing contents, the TRUE Satanists still want to step forward and be counted among this courageous cabal. This inevitable fracas is yet one more level of self-stratification, just like getting past the emotional resistance evoked by the dreaded “S” word. I’m proud to stand among my Satanic comrades who can see beyond the immediate and can steer a straight course toward refining and enjoying this earthly paradise we cherish.
Satanism cannot be confined or contained in an electronic box, nor can it be adequately debated or exemplified there. Turn off your computer and listen once again to the rhythm of your own soul, the one that guided you to Satanism in the first place. This is an organization for non-joiners — born heretics and iconoclasts. We will never mesh in jolly brotherhood, nor should we want to. We don’t want to dilute the potency of each individual; his or her strength, unique voice and determination adds to ours. I don’t feel threatened by differing opinions, nor do I call into question the entirety of Anton LaVey’s life work just because I don’t like everything about someone I’m sharing a foxhole with. But I do have to trust that, ultimately, his overall goals are resonant with mine.
We are all ego-driven. But surely we can feed our egos more effectively by making things happen in the real Devil’s realm, by exercising our Mastery of the Earth, not cowering in some ephemeral electronic ghetto, playing cheap mind games and invading people’s privacy. The Internet is the new opiate of the masses, the PC LSD, and it leads to equally embarrassing delusions of omnipotence and godhood. It’s easy to get caught up in the fray and think you’re valiantly serving Satanic ends Dr. LaVey would applaud. He wouldn’t. He recognized the danger of lack of cohesion, on-line or otherwise, and didn’t tolerate squabblers and shit-disturbers. Neither will we.
Magistra Blanche Barton