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#315553 - 03/18/08 09:14 AM Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics.
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
In one interview(Point of Inquiry Radio Station) of Peter H. Gilmore where he was questioned on altruism there was a conflict of opinion that was left largely unresolved. However the view of altruism held by the interviewer was not very sophisticated in my opinion.

(Here is a link to that interview) http://www.pointofinquiry.org/peter_h_gilmore_science_and_satanism/
(Sadly the internet browser radio station is down at the moment of posting)


It may well be that by my ideas and ethics I am a Satanist but I am wondering among other things about Satanism and it's relation to altruism as it is known in evolutionary social psychology.
Is Satanism in conflict with my kind of view on altruism or would the following reflect satanic ethics?

Do truly satanic(LaVeyan) people have to view all altruism always as hypocrisy or can it in some degree be viewed as an extension of methods for selfish search for our own enjoyment through indulging in the pleasures that are produced by our evolutionary social instincts?

I see that the most honest kind of ethics comes out of honest understanding of our truly selfish desires, and how to live in the real world, with each other, and with those desires in the way that we most enjoy. Ethics of any other kind are hypocrisy to me.

I fail to see in such a selfish pursuit to one's own most desirable experience of life any need for religious attitude towards an external or transcendental source.

Evolution has also built in to us the kind of altruistic feelings and desires that rationally follow to serve our existence, yet within them it has also formed social behaviours that in our current world give rise to conflict and suffering.
Our reason further allows us to form our society in ways that make all our experience in it more pleasurable and that is why it is in our interest to understand our emotions and their evolutionary development, to educate ourselves in order to reduce suffering and improve our experience of this life.

I think that our own individual happiness and joy must be honestly reflected in whatever actions we would consider ethical if we are to ensure that these ethics are not hampering us but can it not also be a selfish desire we can have to share the goodness in the world to make it a better place because of our own selfish desire to live in a better world?

In our evolved minds lurk many separate little mechanisms and great mind structures that give rise to pleasure as well as suffering and our brains are mostly as they have evolved for the human animal of the stone ages living in small social groups.

Our minds and natural instincts however are not as a standard directed by our rational minds but more from our stone aged and older animal instincts and I assume that is why superstition rules such a large part of the world even though it is a largely outdated method for our modern global society and many religions among other ideologies spread suffering, ignorance and intolerance that reduce our ability to enlighten ourselves and learn better ways to get along with greater individual happiness.

It is often in our interest to follow those instincts simply because it gives us pleasure but they are also on several accounts very outdated and both feeling of righteous goodness and the feeling of guilty wrongfulness can mislead us about what really is beneficial to us in the long run. We can feel bad about making the choice that is in our benefit and feel good about making a choice that is harmful to us.

Can it be a truly selfish desire to exorcise self control and to develop our individual social behaviour to better serve us for our enjoyment in the long run even if it at times goes against our natural instincts? I think it can and is.

Religious attitude for one serves a social purpose but it often comes with dogmas promoting superstition and intolerance to other religious groups and all kinds of traits that may have served us well in the stone age separating us in to smaller groups but can often lead to suffering in our current world of global society.
Satanism may well be the only religion that strives by it's philosophy to be free of such dogmas.
Some things even in that in-group/out-group structure can still serve us, like by helping us to realize and enjoy the benefit of favouring our favourite and most co-operative social companions and this is one aspect where comes the benefit of religious groups or social groups that share similar idealism.

This is how I also think it can be a pleasurable and productive selfish desire to want to share understanding and enjoy working to develop our society and by doing these things indulging in the feelings that reinforce our healthy naturally evolved needs for social status, self importance and pride. As such I see that it can so be a selfish desire to want to make the world a better place so that before our consciousness fades we can feel we have made a difference.


(PS: There are no ideas to steal here... these ideas are not my creation although they are reflecting my thoughts but they have already been brought forth by philosophers dead and alive like Socrates, Nietzsche, Spinoza and Dennett... and recently Peter H. Gilmore and Anton S. LaVey have certainly contributed to my thinking as well. Had I something new and productive to add to philosophy I might not share it until I can publish it under my own name. \:\/ )


Edited by Zardex (03/18/08 09:29 AM)
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#315556 - 03/18/08 09:24 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
TheNaturalForce Offline
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Everything you do or think is driven by genetics, the language of nature.

Selflessness is not the internal drive of the Satanist. I can't imagine a situation where I would make an effort to do anything without some sort of payoff, whether it be monetary, physical or emotional (emotions are physical as well ;\) ).

I personally have been selfless on occasion, but it was a conscious decision, and it was selfless for only a short period of time as the motion payed dividends.


Edited by TheNaturalForce (03/18/08 09:32 AM)
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#315560 - 03/18/08 09:34 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: TheNaturalForce]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
Genetics do not drive anything they simply mediate the laws of nature. Our genes have evolved the way they are due to environmental pressures of evolution and thus it is not correct to say we are driven solely by our genes... there are other aspects of evolution as well like the cultural evolution of our memes. The laws of memetics are of cause equally just mediating the laws of nature involved in our cultural evolution and genetically influenced cognitive neurology.


Edited by Zardex (03/18/08 09:43 AM)
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#315563 - 03/18/08 09:41 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
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This is how I might put it.

There are ACTS that may advantage or disadvantage the agent or others.

And there is the underlying MENTALITY, the values and convictions, that motivate and justify different acts.

Satanism takes its stand against the altruistic mentality.

It leaves lots of room for other-regarding behavior that springs from a basically self-regarding mentality.
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#315567 - 03/18/08 09:53 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: reprobate]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: reprobate
Satanism takes its stand against the altruistic mentality.


Thank you that is clear.
Altruism as I see it is just like any other emotional, natural and carnal drive.
It has evolved through different cranes of evolution and it is in our best interest of our selfish mentality to understand how and why it works and when it is appropriate and beneficial for us to take advantage of it.
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"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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#315575 - 03/18/08 10:06 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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It is really not that complicated. Insofar that altruism is defined here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/altruism, the idea of unselfish regard is nonsense.

This, quoted from your post, redefines altruism: “can it in some degree be viewed as an extension of methods for selfish search for our own enjoyment through indulging in the pleasures that are produced by our evolutionary social instincts?” I think you are asking if self-interest is served when meeting someone’s need.

I think that, if you take the time to observe, either in person, or virtually, you will find that the healthiest egos of those who live a life dedicated to their own self-interest can also be among the most generous, open and helpful people. But, as you indicated, these actions are toward those who show themselves to be responsible. This would be our small village. In this village, martyrdom, or altruism, is discouraged. I agree that we are hard-wired to live in small groups. That being said, I would assume that any kind of universal altruism is unnatural…and thus not satanic. What you will find among us is, as has been said, a society of mutual admiration. I like to think that Satanists treat each other with a gentleman’s handshake. I acknowledge those who show that they live their life by being responsible for themselves, and accept the responsibility for their actions…because that is how I live.
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#315590 - 03/18/08 10:37 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others
2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species
 Originally Posted By: Roho_the_Rooster
the healthiest egos of those who live a life dedicated to their own self-interest can also be among the most generous, open and helpful people. But, as you indicated, these actions are toward those who show themselves to be responsible. This would be our small village. In this village, martyrdom, or altruism, is discouraged.

I fully agree with this statement under the above description for altruism although I do not completely agree that altruism in our language is necessarily always meant as described there. Actually altruism such as described there only exists in our imaginations and our language and not in the real world at all.

As a result of evolution our drive for real "altruistic" behavior as it actually exists in this world is not really altruistic at all as it is our emotional drive that serves our emotional needs.
It has evolved for a reason but it is not advisable to follow it without questioning it's uses for us because under many occasions it can be harmful for us.

I do not think that our natural instincts always point to the most pleasurable conclusion and as such I do not think we "should" be altruistic or follow altruistic drives any more then we should follow our anger or our lust or our infatuation without critical self examination and awareness of what we truly want for ourselves out of the situation. However as humans altruism like love and hate are feelings we are evolved to experience and it is in our best interest to know them better to take better enjoyment out of them for our own selfish benefit.

I do not think you mean for Satanists to follow their carnal and selfish drives all the time without employing our most powerful tool of reason that we can use to see further ahead in time to reach goals that are even more pleasurable then our emotions point to in any specific situation.

I do not think there is a disagreement rather a difference of perspective perhaps.


Edited by Zardex (03/18/08 11:41 AM)
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"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
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#315592 - 03/18/08 10:39 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Svengali Offline
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Unselfishness is selfishness in drag. ;\)
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#315597 - 03/18/08 10:54 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
To clear it up... I do not think it is desirable in any case to truly sacrifice one's self for the good of others even though it may feel good to do so any more then it is wise to eat a poisonous berry because you're hungry or marry a woman who you fall in love with even though you don't know her too well.

The "altruism" we have evolved with just like the chimps have serves beneficial goals as well however(IE: Handicap principle) and it is our reason that we can employ to find out when it is fitting for us to let ourselves go with our feelings knowing we are truly doing something we gain a benefit from.

As such the classical description of altruism is not at all what I would think is beneficial.
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"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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#315627 - 03/18/08 11:55 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Since you are obviously intelligent, I will say that you are talking about Epicurean ethics in a social context. A life of pleasure is not an orgy, but a rational enterprise. Use that same rule with this topic, and I think we can agree that is where we want to be.
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#315647 - 03/18/08 01:08 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
Zardex Offline


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Posts: 310
Spinoza recognized himself as an epicurean and many modern philosophers rever Spinoza and the advancement in modern social psychology owes a lot to these kind of philosophers.

I too completely agree to epicurean philosophy and in such a way it is very much a link between the modern context in which I am interested in pondering upon the evolutionary development of altruistic drives as natural emotions that are a part of our experience due to altruistic traits in the animal behavior that we humans also have. Those emotions (IE: the willingness to help a stranger for no benefit of your's) have evolved because they have actually served our selfish genes and given us a status that has benefited us.

That is exactly why it can be of benefit to recognize that we may have feelings of altruism that if followed can cause harm to come to us in our modern environment that does not consist purely of relatives and immediate members of our pack.
But it can also be beneficial to recognize that we have feelings of altruism that we can find benefit from and we can enjoy having them when we find frames in which we can let those emotions work without having them pose a risk to our individual wellbeing.

Finally it is the advancement of global "enlightenment": understanding and knowledge of how the human mind and societies function that is needed in a global society that the modern world is forming into, so that the more that is globally understood the less friction and misery is caused by the incompatibility of our stone aged mind structures. For every one of us individually it is beneficial for us the more we understand ourselves and our emotions because it adds up to our control of ourselves and our environment. Misery is a result of loss of control or imprisonment and like Spinoza states there on my signature "to understand is to be free".

Superstition and dogmatic religion served us well in the social structures of the stone age tribes but it is always more of the scientific type of enlightenment, that is able to adapt to what reality is really about, that we need for our wellbeing the more global and diverse our social structures become. Promoting this kind of science and philosophy that can advance the global enlightenment can thus be very individually rewarding for instance and bring content and joy in to one's personal life without needing to be an altruistic self sacrificing practice.

It seems to me that CoS may have a role to play in such activity as well that is advancing the global wellbeing of people all over the world who can benefit from the philosophy that is promoted by it. That is one reason I am considering to perhaps join the CoS some day.


Edited by Zardex (03/18/08 01:21 PM)
Edit Reason: typos
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"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
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#315762 - 03/18/08 08:49 PM Good News, Bad News [Re: Zardex]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Okay…I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is I see what you are saying about altruism being an element in human development. But, you do understand that biologically, altruism refers to the sacrifice of the one for the good of the larger group…generally the family group. It is a way of keeping the genetic material alive, even if at the expense of the individual life. By extension, that could also work in a small group. In fact, we see that now in gang behavior. An individual may take the fall to protect the gang…the member’s proxy family.

Altruism does not work on a universal level. It is a small group/familial dynamic. And, as you argue, I am sure that makes possible the manipulation of people by religious leaders, political leaders and anyone else charismatic to convince others to give up their lives for the good of the whole.

The bad news is that Satanism is not the corrective. It is does not exist to correct or fix anything. Satanists are all egoists. As such, they are less likely to fall into an altruistic trap by some peddler of compassion pulling at heart strings. There is no good news to tell the world. Telling someone to accept their ego as their lord and savior will not keep anyone from relinquishing their inability to accept responsibility for themselves. In other words, Satanists are born, and not made.

On another note, from what I have seen, you seem to be an intelligent, engaging person. Whether you decide for yourself if you are a Satanist or not, I am sure you will part of some stimulating conversations. Welcome to the snake pit.
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#315784 - 03/18/08 10:03 PM Re: Good News, Bad News [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: Roho_the_Rooster
The bad news is that Satanism is not the corrective. It is does not exist to correct or fix anything. Satanists are all egoists. As such, they are less likely to fall into an altruistic trap by some peddler of compassion pulling at heart strings.


I don't think that is bad news. I don't view enlightenment as being about spreading "good" news, but rather what I meant by satanism having a role to play in contributing to the enlightenment of our global society has largely to do how it's unique format of philosophy and self study inspires it's members to be productive and honestly open in searching for deeper scientific and artistic understanding of the human nature.

In however self serving manner this is done, which is necessary to remain true to ones self, such individuals are a benefit to others around them simply as an example and source of more real sort of social confrontation, and I believe the inspiration to philosophy and religion style art of Satanism can have a powerful positive influence on it's members and those who take interest to it. There I see reasons to support it's activity in addition to having my support function as a personal conviction against the oppression of dogmatism and hypocrisy that might press itself to intrude upon my mind.
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"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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#315789 - 03/18/08 10:14 PM A simple suggestion. [Re: Zardex]
Nemo Offline
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Read The Lucifer Principle.

I think that will offer you more to consider.

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#315795 - 03/18/08 10:38 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
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Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 3120
Loc: Ohio
Insofar as altruism is based upon the concept of selflessness, it can largely be considered bunk (or at the very least, irrelevant).

Can you provide one example of true selflessness?

Most people tend to couch altruism vaguely, as some generous act to another that disregards personal gain.

I would argue that every action, no matter how superficially "selfless" is in reality selfish: predicated on personal interest or motivation. [see Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden's essays in The Virtue of Selfishness. The subject of altruism is discussed exhaustively.]

Altruism, when founded on the concept of selflessness, is merely cant.



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