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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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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


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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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#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


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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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#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


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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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#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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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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#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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#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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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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~ Charles Bukowski


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#315799 - 03/18/08 10:46 PM Re: A simple suggestion. [Re: Nemo]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
You mean Howard Bloom's The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into The Forces of History?
According to it's reviews it certainly seems like a book with a lot to give. Thank you. I will not want to miss that book.
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#315802 - 03/18/08 10:51 PM Re: A simple suggestion. [Re: Zardex]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
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I'll second Magister Nemo's excellent recommendation.

The Lucifer Principle is one you'll want to read, keep, and re-read.
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“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
~ Charles Bukowski


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#315807 - 03/18/08 10:56 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: Mr. Obsidian
I would argue that every action, no matter how superficially "selfless" is in reality selfish: predicated on personal interest or motivation.


This is so in the level of philosophy because obviously if we decide to act in a certain way it cannot be without a motivation on our part.

However I am inviting notice on the nature of altruistic drives as a misfiring of our social evolution that is not working properly in our current world and I am in no way advocating that altruistic behavior would be wise, however there are altruistic drives just like there are sexual drives and they drive us to desire actions that are not always physically beneficial to us.

This is however a minor detail and altruism as an ideology is wise to be regarded with careful criticism.
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#315809 - 03/18/08 11:05 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
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Have you looked into Reciprocal Altruism; Robert Trivers; Game Theory; W.D. Hamilton; The Selfish Gene?

Those topics, of a decidedly more biological bent, might be of interest to you.

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“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
~ Charles Bukowski


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#315812 - 03/18/08 11:19 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
Yes I am familiar with those but they are but a few evolutionary mechanisms among many more and more yet to be discovered.

The Handicap Principle by Amotz Zahavi is also significant and the form that all these theories take in the light of Richard Dawkin's memetics taken further by Daniel C. Dennett's applications in his theories of the mind and role of memetics and cultural evolution as just another crane in what he calls the cranes of evolution that include but are not limited to the very formation of RNA molecules.

Cognitive neurology and psychology also contribute much in to the understanding of the complex structures that give birth to our minds.

Obviously no physical drive can truly cause altruistic behavior as it is a drive that we thus wish to follow through, but it is clear that there are drives that on occasion misfire and do not produce the desired beneficial conclusion we would wish to rationally take if we were aware of what is best for us.

Our brains are on many fields hard wired to deceive us against our better understanding... was it not so then we would have no need for philosophy or science for we would be perfect in our ignorance blindly following our instincts.


Edited by Zardex (03/18/08 11:26 PM)
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#315860 - 03/19/08 02:25 AM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
JayLucif Offline

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Loc: Helheim
 Originally Posted By: Zardex

Our brains are on many fields hard wired to deceive us against our better understanding... was it not so then we would have no need for philosophy or science for we would be perfect in our ignorance blindly following our instincts.



I tend to think this might just be the opposite of healthy well adjusted people. I don't think the brain can deceive anyone, people and their "MIND Issues" do all the deceiving really necessary.

Though I am taking some time to decide if I want to go into detail why, I have a detailed piece written up. My ideas may spark off an unintended debate which does not turn out very well upstairs. I am going to give my ideas time to stew for awhile.


Edited by JayLucif (03/19/08 03:46 PM)
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#315908 - 03/19/08 10:03 AM 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
 Quote:
Is Satanism in conflict with my kind of view on altruism or would the following reflect satanic ethics?


No, but I wouldn't necessarily label what you're talking about as altruism per se.
You seem to have a keen grasp on the issue: the distinction between altruism as the "righteous" motivation of the pious herd versus kindness or positive social change based on rational self interest.

 Quote:
Do truly satanic(LaVeyan) people have to view all altruism always as hypocrisy


Satanists are individuals and thus each Satanist is likely to draw her own conclusions on the matter. Much will depend on the specific definition of "altruism" that is being used.

 Quote:
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'll hazard a guess that most Satanists would tend to agree with this perspective or some similitude of it.


 Quote:
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?


Yes, certainly.

We like to say "indulgence, NOT compulsion."

I'd think that a Satanist worth his salt would, in many cases, subjugate his instinct to reason.
Revenge is an example which springs to mind.

Instinct and reason, ego and responsibility; each have their place in the scheme of self-preservation and Self-efficacy.
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“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
~ Charles Bukowski


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#316003 - 03/19/08 04:29 PM Re: A simple suggestion. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
MagisterParadise Offline

CoS Magister

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 3262
Loc: Burlington, VT
 Originally Posted By: Mr. Obsidian
I'll second Magister Nemo's excellent recommendation.

The Lucifer Principle is one you'll want to read, keep, and re-read.


And I'll third it. Regardless of its less than stellar ending, it goes into much detail concerning human motivation and how not so removed we are from the rest of the animals.
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#316005 - 03/19/08 04:32 PM Re: A simple suggestion. [Re: MagisterParadise]
Svengali Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 03/06/03
Posts: 12460
Loc: Florida, U.S.A.
I'll 4th it.
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#316007 - 03/19/08 04:32 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
Thank you obsidian. I am glad to see that the responses to such difficult subjects are very much responded with open adaptive and critical minds, it all is a part of true desire to understand the truth and not just desire to stand correct.

I rather stand corrected that wrongly believe myself correct, and every discussion I see here adds to my perception that this is common among satanists. I have come across insight here that has allowed me to adapt and improve myself and that is blissful. It certainly increases my interest to Satanic literature.

The subject of human nature and social behavior is vast and something I am happy to receive good advice on how to improve in it's understanding and this thread has been very helpful. Thank you all for having shared this interest here on this thread and having aided me whether intentionally or unintentionally.
_________________________
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#316008 - 03/19/08 04:43 PM Re: A simple suggestion. [Re: MagisterParadise]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: MagisterParadise
it goes into much detail concerning human motivation and how not so removed we are from the rest of the animals.

Thank you, that further adds to my interest on the book. It also reminds me of Dr. Daniel C. Dennett's short book "Kinds of Minds" which is available on audio book free on the internet.(Legally free on Google videos for instance)

It gives good philosophical perspective of evolutionary cognitive neurology on how our brains and the animal brains are both different and similar and how our brains are really not that wholesome but rather a collection of bits and pieces evolved at different times and working with one another. Many things our brains do are the very same things many animal brains do.

It may be a bit long winded at times however as it is written in a format that can be understood by a barmaid.
(I'm not saying barmaids are stupid rather referring to the famous saying by Albert Einstein "It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.")


Edited by Zardex (03/19/08 04:47 PM)
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Friedrich Nietzsche

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#316016 - 03/19/08 05:10 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: Mr. Obsidian
Can you provide one example of true selflessness?


Of cause as we have concluded there is no such thing as true selflessness but about the altruistic drives that exist in human behavior the most commonly used example is the stranger in an airport in a foreign country who needs to do something in a hurry and asks you to watch his/her bag while you're sitting there and waiting for something.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo has done experiments somewhere in the 80's on similar behavior and noticed most people will react with commitment to watch the bag from simple request they have no time to respond to and will take action to prevent theft that Zimbardo's assistants organize.

[ Oh the golden time in psychology when it was legal to experiment on unwitting population.]


Edited by Zardex (03/19/08 05:13 PM)
Edit Reason: Oh the golden time
_________________________
"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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#316023 - 03/19/08 05:39 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Discipline Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
Watching a stranger’s bag can be self-rewarding because of the feeling of commitment and a sense of moral justice. The feelings you gain from such an act are worth it, hence it is still a selfish act.

Perhaps you do it out of principle, or as a decent citizen, or because of your religion. All three of those examples leads to some kind of self-promotion and gratification. It is selfish.
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#316033 - 03/19/08 06:17 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 3120
Loc: Ohio
A new study from Harvard ( I know...) discusses how nice guys finish first.
This touches a bit on what we have been discussing here.

It Pays to Play Nice
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Olio/Etcetera

Flesh and Bones
_______________

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
~ Charles Bukowski


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#316036 - 03/19/08 06:24 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Zardex]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 10/29/04
Posts: 3120
Loc: Ohio
You are most welcome. It has been a fun conversation.



From your apparent interest in human nature, I believe you would really enjoy reading the Satanic canon, particularly The Satanic Bible, The Satanic Witch (It's not just for women), The Satanic Scriptures, and Essays in Satanism.

Even if you come to the conclusion that Satanism does not accurately reflect your nature, I guarantee you will benefit from reading these tomes.
_________________________
~ Mr. Obsidian (JP)

Olio/Etcetera

Flesh and Bones
_______________

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
~ Charles Bukowski


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#316055 - 03/19/08 08:08 PM Re: Philosophical questions on Satanism, altruism and ethics. [Re: Mr. Obsidian]
Zardex Offline


Registered: 03/12/08
Posts: 310
 Originally Posted By: Discipline
Watching a stranger’s bag can be self-rewarding because of the feeling of commitment and a sense of moral justice.

Of cause it is self rewarding and selfish. That is the whole point of there being altruistic drives. They are drives because they are rewarding but they cause "altruistic" behavior all the same in the sense of no possibility for physical benefit under conditions where you are not going to meet the person again.

In nature these drives have mostly evolved under condition where everyone you meet is someone you are going to meet again, and in-group/out-group adaptations and several other adaptations that result in non-altruistic behavior have rather evolved to limit our altruistic behavior from going to waste.

 Originally Posted By: Mr. Obsidian
A new study from Harvard ( I know...) discusses how nice guys finish first.

Having taken a brief look over that Harvard study with it's laboratory testings it doesn't seem to be offering anything new that hasn't already been discovered.
It appears to be a kind of rip off from Game theory "Tit for Tat" from the 80's that brought publicity to many evolution theorists' work about reciprocal altruism like Robert Trivers' and especially ripping off more recent works of Paul Zak the founder of Neuroeconomy without giving them enough mention.(Not claiming blame on Harward just seeing how it appears to me)
Paul Zak makes interesting advancement in bringing in the functions of neurochemistry namely the role of Oxytocin in trust signals. Oxytocin besides being a hormone is also a neurotransmitter and also has a role in sex, commitment, pregnancy and child labor.

Game theory and neuroeconomy also relate to reciprocal altruism you mentioned earlier as the success of different game tactics is related to the number of different agents with different tactics and the balance of agents using different tactics is bound to appear in evolution. Simplified that is why most people are assertive, some are overly trusting and a small portion are downright ruthless.

In a world where every overly trusting person was assertive all the ruthless ones would die out and overly trusting ones would be bound to be born and succeed with a reputation of exceptional kindness among the population of the assertive, which in turn would create a successful breeding ground for new generation of downright ruthless people.

In a sense; con men praying on the gullible is a mathematical balance of the laws of nature. And the assertive ones will always be the most successful.
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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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