The Black Flame article - “You Are Not The Sum of Those That Follow You” or “Social Media is Not Satanic” by Reverend Campbell

“You Are Not The Sum of Those That Follow You” or “Social Media is Not Satanic”

an article & video for The Black Flame—August, LI A.S. 

In the early and mid 1960’s, Elvis Presley was surrounded by his most trusted & loved friends, family and fans. Hype men and women had led him to believe that he was the most popular star in the world. It wasn’t until Elvis began filming his ‘68 Comeback Special that he was served the cold hard truth. He had fallen into obscurity and no one really cared about his music. He walked down the street with nary a second glance from the other street dwellers. He had inadvertently surrounded himself with vampires, leeches, and admirers for so many years that he believed he was what they told him. It is easy to believe the hype others serve you, but it is the hype you create, not the sycophant that serves it, that can be truly poisonous.

We Satanists live in a time where self-importance, even self-worth, is widely measured by the number of likes you have on a post in social media or the number of people who follow your profile. A Satanist would never fall for such obvious shenanigans, right? … right? Our religion is one of individualism. It is a religion of celebrating your life and accomplishments when you have achieved them and always moving forward; forward to experience and achieve your own sense of purpose and direction. How can social media be anything but a hindrance for living? If we are constantly glad-handing those who would be so happy as to simply be in our presence, indulging such pathetic behavior and thereby enabling these vermin, we are creating the very roadblock that will prevent us from moving forward.

As a young man, I would sit in my basement bedroom. This space with cold cement floors and walls was more than just my bedroom, it was my cell. My companions were spider webs, paints, pencils, books and music. I would take time with music. It was a window into a different life. It spoke of parties and sex and living exciting, extravagant lifestyles! I would memorize lyrics by reading the cassette jacket with the song playing. I thought by somehow connecting with the band, by memorizing what they said, I was living vicariously through them like I was a part of their amazing lives. This is the method of social media. You sit in your lair, obsessing over others’ lives, hoping or believing that by simply viewing their interactions, you are somehow as important or living their same quality of life as they are. As a young man, I quickly shook these foolish ideas from my head and, rather than trying to live through artists music, I chose to live as a Satanist—through life!

As sad as this behavior is, worse are the fools that try to shower their importance on you. We have all met these hollow braggarts, constantly sharing their ‘inspired’ thoughts and activities. It’s a miracle they can be so fully developed and accomplished, yet have so much time to share their authority. You can easily identify this type as they will often come with a hype-man. Someone who will echo their importance should you not pay the proper respects or attention to their posts. And though this is at its core antithetical to Satanism, we see them everywhere. I’m not saying this to denigrate social media or shame those that use it. Social media, like everything, has a role in our lives. But it is you the Satanist, the individual who champions real-life accomplishment, who must tread most carefully lest you allow the social network du jour to become your entourage, blinding you from reality.

Now for the ‘moment of clarity’… you are not the sum of those that follow you. If your measure of worth is thoroughly wrapped-up in what others think, you are not only incapable of being an individual, you are NOT a Satanist. Now, there is nothing wrong with appreciating those who would deliver praise, but to measure your interactions to provoke that delivery is not living. It’s easy to find your inner god after reading The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Scriptures, but when your behavior is in direct contrast with your declared beliefs, something’s gotta give. It is the very independence of self that makes us most susceptible to this behavior. The individual loves to be seen as such after all, though this is a flaw, it is not one we should allow to hold dominion over our mind and behaviors.

Being aware of our flaws is the first step in overcoming them, and recognizing the behavior in ourselves is the first step in stemming its expression. Satanism champions indulgence, after all, it’s the First Satanic Statement. This is further explained in Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible chapter “Indulgence… Not Compulsion.” When it comes to active use of social media, it’s often nothing but compulsion.

Again, this is not to say a Satanist cannot indulge in social media. We can. We do. We just do it with intention. Engage from a distance. I measure my chosen activities in the following ways. I do not expect anyone else to do so, but it may be worth a look. If I am going to engage in an activity, that activity must be:

  1. An activity that is physical, tangible and/or real.
  2. An activity that will bring physical or emotional satisfaction.
  3. An activity that benefits me and mine in the short and long run.

Let’s explore these ideas briefly. But before we do, I need to be clear that I am not anti-computers or online interactions. I recognize them for what they are—not real. Reality is what you see, touch, taste, say and hear. We all know an online troll would rarely if ever engage in the same behavior if standing in front of you. And that perfect photo of the glamorous woman was only one of hundreds taken and digitally touched up. Not Real. So what do I mean by my aforementioned list?

I mean, rather than measuring the sum of one’s self by ‘thumbs up’ or ‘stars’ or comments or shares, you measure the sum of you by the actions you have taken offline. I measure the sum of my worth by the actions I take to further my successes in personal, professional and social interactions. By teaching my children how to garden, earning a raise through hard work and exceptional contribution and sharing time with friends at home or at live events away. By living in the moment—being present with those you have chosen, and championing yourself regardless of others—you lead a clean, purposeful and utterly Satanic life.

Hail Yourself!
Hail Life!
Hail Satan!

—Reverend Campbell