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The Sanctum

When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.

If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.

As Satanists, we are familiar with these sentences, numbers three and four of the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth. Not much is formally discussed with regard to the lair and what it means outside of that, though Satanists generally seem to just know that there is more to a lair than respect.  For me, a recent conversation with a friend forced me to examine what a lair truly means.

We were discussing a trip I plan on taking soon, and the 12 hours I would be spending driving there. I hope to make pit stops on both the trip there and the trip home, saying hello to Satanists I have “internet met” over the last few months. My friend remarked that I could probably ask to stay the night at various houses along the way, and my initial reaction was one of shock at his suggestion. I wouldn’t dare ask to spend the night in an acquaintance’s home, especially not another Satanist. My shock at his suggestion was not just because these people are essentially strangers to me, it is also because I wouldn’t ever impose on someone’s lair that way.

This reluctance is because each individual’s lair is more than a home, it is a sanctum. The lair is not just the place you rest your head at night, it is a refuge from the masses. The four walls of one’s lair contain exactly that which each individual Satanist has decided will bring them the most happiness. Every knick-knack, morning routine, food item, air freshener, resident, and guest exists in the lair of each Satanist because that Satanist has desired it to be there or consented to its necessity. Their lair is their place, and I dare not disturb that which they hone as close to their ideal as possible.

To be invited into someone’s lair is an honor of sorts, at least to me. It signifies that somebody wants to share their inner most space with you, if only for a time. It is a sign that you are valued as an addition to their happiness, and that they wish to share their happiness with you. It is truly a complement to you, and should be taken as such.

Those of us in their teens and even their early twenties are likely still living with friends or with our parents. While the building we reside in as a whole is owned by someone else, this does not mean the entirety of that house, apartment, or other living space needs to be entirely that other person’s lair. Generally individuals have a space that is “theirs” in that the owner of the abode allows it to be so. This is an opportunity to create a “mini-lair.” While you must follow the rules of the homeowner, there is also room for personal touches. These touches make your mini lair just as important to you as someone else’s lair is to them. Do your best to make it a space filled only with things and people that bring you joy. Treat it like it is important, and soon it will be.

Times of Joy and Concealment

One staple of any culture is the holidays they celebrate and how they choose to celebrate them. In the West, these holidays consist mainly of Christian holidays and holidays commemorating the achievements of the government.  Of course, as Satanists we are free to celebrate any holiday in any way we choose. Personally, I am looking at my calendar to see when I need to insert an invented holiday. But it can be difficult for many young Satanists to celebrate the holidays they wish to, or to ignore those which he or she finds unimportant. Holidays, both those we choose to enjoy and those we do not, become times of both joy and concealment for many. While on the surface it would seem that joy wouldn’t come to us around those times, I find that it is best to find joy in those times.

Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter can leave one feeling a bit removed from family and friends. What was once an anticipated time of the year quickly becomes a holiday celebrating something you do not feel deserves to be recognized. Many Christians take these times of the year to become extra vocal. I find I am asked if I know about Christ far more often during the Easter and Christmas seasons than any other time of the year. Many Christians develop a persecution complex around these times. They cry that there is a social war against Christians and their holidays. I hear all of these things as a Satanist and find myself angry. Where are the Christians on trial because they were accused of being Christian? The task forces trained to spot “Christian Ritual Abuse?” This frustration, combined with a newfound sense of alienation around holidays like these leaves one dreading these holidays. Rather than spend every year of my adolescence looking forward to the ending of these holiday seasons, I choose to find a reason to celebrate. In the Easter season, I do not celebrate the rising of Christianity’s lich. I celebrate the end of Lent. Lent is a time of increased abstinence for those of many Christian denominations, particularly Catholicism. On Easter, great joy is had by all as indulgence once again becomes the norm. The weather is taking a turn for the better at this time, and I am better able to enjoy nature because of it. I also am fortunate enough to spend time with family that I cherish, and the holiday brings joy to many of my beloved friends. In the Christmas season I choose to celebrate the unity of family and friends, enjoy the gifts bestowed upon me as well as those I take delight in giving to those few I deem worthy, and take in the still fresh and beautiful winter landscape. I celebrate the warmth and beauty of a fire in the hearth and enjoy all the delicious peppermint treats offered to me. I find something to love about that which I would otherwise hate.

Satanic holidays present an alienation in the opposite way. Unless you know a Pagan, you will be hard pressed to find someone who cares about the changing of the seasons. Unless you know a Satanist personally, good luck finding someone who even recognizes the word Walpurgisnacht. let alone gives a shit about it. In adolescence you have little chance of celebrating your birthday the way you want to, be it because of financial trouble, family obligations, or age restrictions. The Satanic holidays often become a source of loneliness to the young Satanist. As with Christian holidays, this does not need to be the case. You can have a gathering of friends to mark the occasion without everyone seeing it as a holiday. Perhaps you are more solitary in nature. Take yourself out to a nice dinner, buy yourself a good book, or simply retreat to your bedroom and play videogames or read all day. Does your family monopolize your time on your birthday? Celebrate your way on a different day! I certainly will this year, as I plan on making a trip to Massachusetts this summer, with every aspect only being in accordance with my will. While life is not completely in my hands at my age, I don’t need to surrender it completely.

Now I did leave out one holiday intentionally. Halloween is a time of spooky fun and very dear to me. The night of October 31st brings joy in people of all ages and nearly all faiths. I take delight in watching both children and adults let loose their wild side, and I have no shortage of freedom to celebrate the day however I want. For many this is the one day the Baphomet can remain untucked, as it is the one holiday both Satanists and non-Satanists choose to celebrate. For me Halloween is a bit like Christmas is for Christians. I spend weeks delighting in decorating my bedroom, my car, and my house. I am able to celebrate with my friends the way I choose. It is for that reason I will get more joy out of Halloween than my birthday until that time I am in my own lair.

Never lose sight of the purpose of holidays, whether they “belong” to you or not. The purpose is delight, and there is reason to delight in every holiday. These are days where the marrow should be sucked out of life just as much as any other day. Hail Christmas, Walpurgisnacht, Easter, Veteran’s Day, Halloween, and today! It would be foolish and a waste to do anything else.

Small Paychecks and Big Opportunities

As has been discussed time and time again, it is easy for the young Satanist to not feel all that elite. One source of this discouragement is where we are likely to be employed. I, for example, spent 2 years working for a McDonald’s in my home town, and now work both in retail and as a laborer at a wastewater treatment plant. Both jobs are unskilled, low pay, and very unrewarding. This doesn’t mean they have to be.

These years (between 16 and 20) may be characterized by small paychecks and jobs that make one feel that they are making no progress in their goals, but they do not have to be so meaningless. A Satanist seeks to suck the marrow out of life, and these dead end jobs should be no different. Anything not furthering your lot in life can be used to improve yourself. For example, at McDonald’s I taught myself to budget. I had new bills during those years, and new priorities. I taught myself to stretch a dollar, and now I can afford college on my own. Retail has been my Lesser Magic proving grounds. I constantly interact with people from varied walks of life, and use those interactions to experiment with various Lesser Magic tactics. I have learned how to better read body language, how to better use the unconscious mind to my advantage, and I have learned more about a wide variety of careers. This has lead me to be better at achieving other goals, networking, and even lead to a promotion at that job. The title might as well be “Lesser Magic Specialist,” and it will soon put a little more money in my pocket. Working in the wastewater facility has given me a lot of time alone doing very mindless work. Rather than be bored all the time, I choose to educate and entertain myself through my earbuds. Podcasts like Philosophize This, Lore, The Dollop, and more educate me on things I would have never known. The podcasts on my Recommended Links page always put a smile on my face.

These low wage, no skill jobs are your chance to improve yourself. While more accomplished Satanists often are so because they have had more time, that does not mean you should neglect opportunity that you have today. Often these unpleasant jobs feel like a disaster. This reminds me of one of my favorite Voltaire quotes. He said “Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” We must use the time we have to do both things that make us joyful and things that make us better. Take risks while you can, because the stakes only get higher. These shitty jobs are your time to explore, use that time wisely.

Missiles and Sheep

Note: I understand that what I describe here is highly political. I do my best to keep my opinion on the matter out of it, and the views expressed here are representative of myself only. Also, I understand that I am being very general in the political opinions of others. This is not meant to be a commentary on the nature of Satanists in politics, but the nature of the herd. That being said, if the shoe fits, you best fucking wear it or at least reevaluate where you stand. 

Recently, President Donald Trump launched a missile strike on Syria. This was apparently in reaction to the leader of the Syrian government ordering an attack on his own people. Now, I will not get into my stance on the act, and refuse to use this blog to either praise or condemn United States politics. The event highlighted a quality in the general public I had not noticed before.

To highlight this quality, it seems important to me to highlight the underlying debate that the missile strike relates to. In the United States, there seems to be two opposing standpoints that the majority of the population choose from. One can either be “pro-interventionism” or “anti-interventionism.” Here, we will operate on the assumption that interventionism is a policy that basically implores the United States to offer assistance to or retribution for victims of atrocities or misfortunes in foreign lands. Often these atrocities do not impact the lives of  U.S. citizens in any major way. Those on the anti-interventionism side are often conservative, and claim that the United States should not get involved in other people’s problems because it is a waste of resources and none of our business. Those for interventionism often say that because of our vast resources, we have a moral duty to act as “world police” and stand up for the little guy. If we do not have a duty, they say, we at the very least should because it is a nice thing to do. Those for interventionism are typically more liberal than the anti-interventionists. Trump ran a largely anti-interventionist campaign to the delight of many voters, and spoke a lot about ending foreign wars. However, the strike can be considered by many to be an interventionist action.

That brings us to the important part of this piece, the part where I can happily move away from the political side of things, the part that applies to Satanism: the reaction of the public. Those who would have otherwise been against the U.S. getting involved took to social media praising the president of the U.S. on his taking action and stepping up to the plate where they saw failures by other elected officials. Those who would have been for foreign involvement similarly took to social media denouncing the missile strike as foolish and wrong. What this highlights to me is a tendency in the masses to have many heroes and villains. The herd has accepted the “good guy, bad guy” narrative and rather than hold an opinion on actions, they hold opinions on people. Those for the strike are really for Trump. They have ascribed him “good guy” status, and because of that he probably will do no wrong. Those against Trump have bestowed the title of “bad guy” upon him, and thus it is unlikely he will do anything right. The herd wants somebody else at the helm, and to them that person is either for their part of the herd or against it.

Not only is this apparent on the national level, it applies on an interpersonal level. Look to crowds in your local mall, high school cliques, or the meal areas of a local senior center. All have one leader, with many followers. In many environments, Satanists must outwardly embrace the narrative of dichotomy that underscores most all herd discourse to get ahead. People need an enemy, but they also need a hero. If you need to be at the helm of a group of people, perhaps it is best to create an enemy for your underlings and establish yourself as the hero to lead them. That way, you will build loyalty. The greater and more hated the enemy you give them is, the more loyal they will be to you. Looking at the missile strike discourse, we can see that if you fuel an us vs them narrative well enough, you can even get people to defend you when you betray their interests.

Who or what is this enemy? The ideal enemy for those under you is someone that they already harbor some level of dislike for, and someone that presents an obstacle to yourself or the object of the group you lead. Perhaps your boss shouldn’t be your boss, and everyone knows it. Simply reaffirm your coworker’s dissatisfaction, encourage them to pursue the correct avenues with their grievances, and tell them they are underreacting when they are frustrated. Soon, you will have any number of people coming to you with requests for advice any time that boss crosses them, and all of those people will encourage one another in sheep-like fashion to usurp the boss. Being a Satanist and being outside of sensationalism, the information brought to you can be compiled into an intelligent, well put together argument for the removal of said boss that you can present to those who can remove your boss. They now have more to go off of than “SoAndSo is an asshole because they messed up,” and you are the one that gave it. You have now elevated yourself above those you gave an enemy to, made yourself more likely to replace that enemy than those you lead, and gained respect as someone that stands out from the crowd in the face of unrest. You have utilized the herds need for a messiah to elevate your lot in life. This same strategy can work for any number of things, but be wary lest another clever individual seek to use your strategy against you. when that happens, simply bring them into your fold.

My point is simply that people want to be lead, to have someone to love and someone to hate. Use this to your advantage. While it is too bad stupidity isn’t painful, it is wonderful that it is exploitable. You are a God in your life, make yourself the God of others and you will ascend to new heights.

A Curious Island

The older I get, the more aware I am of myself in relation to the world, both presently and in retrospect. As that knowledge progresses, I am increasingly able to interact with the world in a way that will bring the most benefit and happiness to my life. At the risk of sounding overinflated, it seems to me that many of the non-Satanists that I interact with look at me a but like a strange and inviting island. I am not something they have encountered before, as I do not think as they do, yet it isn’t abrasive. I make an effort to be as polite, appreciative, and personable as I can be unless I am given a reason not to be. The older I get, the more I seek to use this to my advantage. I build metaphorical docks on my island, and seek to bring a varied group of people into my life, but as I move more into the adult world I have to remind myself to keep snipers in the trees.

It is often said by members that we must keep in mind that “We are not as they are,” and this seems to be one of the truest statements I have encountered. All Satanists worth their salt approach the world in a manner fundamentally different from the general populous. We move through the world joyfully critical of most every claim that comes our way, and are thus often the best informed person in the room on any number of things. We are highly logical, yet highly emotional creatures that accept both of these aspects of ourselves rather than choose one over the other. We make our own goals, and strive to accomplish them merely for our own sake. These are all qualities that lead to success in whatever we set our mind to, so long as sufficient effort is put in. It is very easy to be solipsistic in this, and have a lack of perspective on how others move through the world. It is easy to assume everyone has the same mindset you do. A simple glance through social media, the news, or various messaging platforms reveals this is a very unique set of qualities, and that these qualities manifest in ways unique to each Satanist. These qualities also are what generally makes us feel as if we are an island in our own lives.

Because I am not as they are, it has become increasingly clear to me that I am one of three things to others: a curiosity, a menace, or a person. When spending time with those that regard me as a curiosity, I quickly realize I am there to entertain them as if they possessed me. These people are generally those who invite me to parties and ask me to tell stories or explain my views on a matter of public discourse in a way that feels a bit like I am a neat toy one child is showing his or her friends. It is very draining, and unless I decide for myself I want to entertain and be the center of attention, I do my best to not have so many of these one sided interactions.  Those who regard you a curiosity also believe they are your friend, and often your interactions contain elements of a friendship. Quickly you will realize that while they care for you, they are no more your friend than they are friends with their favorite Television character.

Those who regard me as a menace do so because they feel threatened by anyone who does not fit a convenient societal label. These people are often such conformists, it is painful to observe them. They label themselves, then take on the characteristics of that label rather than possess characteristics and subsequently take on the appropriate label. For example, such a person may say they are a “Country Boy/Girl” at some point in their lives because they like someone that fits that label. Over the next few years they will unconsciously change the way they dress, their political stances, what their hobbies are, and even the way they speak just to exude that archetype. These types are immeasurably easier to deal with, as they treat you with nothing but malice in order to thrive off of your attention. Once they realize you see them as inconsequential and irrelevant to anything in your life, they slink away hating you all the more for daring to not bow to societal whim.

These first two are by far the majority of people, hence the feeling of being regarded as a strange island. The world begins to feel as if it is a place you move through wholly separate from every other person you meet. That is a very lonely feeling and one I feel very often. As a member of the Alien Elite that is just beginning to establish himself in the world, I often feel much more “Alien” than “Elite.” For this reason, those rare people that regard me as a person are the most important people in my life. These are people that value my company not as entertainment, but as an exchange. They stimulate me intellectually, emotionally, and sometimes physically, and they are stimulated in turn. These people are not always Satanists, but they invariably are individuals, and often very different from myself. People who see me as a person are the only people I consider my friends, and when I am around them I feel less alienated from the world. Suddenly, I am invigorated, and the world isn’t a place I move through separated from every other person, but it isn’t a feeling of “us against the world” either. It is a feeling of being in the world, enjoying it, and not giving a damn about those people in the first two categories.

No matter how introverted and unique an individual is, the human animal is a social animal. We crave rewarding interactions with other animals, both human and non-human. We crave even one person that we can feel understood by and happy around. It is what makes those in that third category so valuable and worth cherishing. In this new stage of my life, many of my true friends are off pursuing their own goals and taking care of themselves. I cheer them on, taking delight in their successes while also becoming increasingly lonely as I spend less and less time with them. At the risk of making a hasty generalization, it seems to me that many Satanists in my time of life (just out of high school and starting college) experience this drifting apart. I’d like to take the opportunity to relieve others and remind myself that it isn’t that there is something wrong with the young Satanist as a person. Rather, it is a natural consequence of being a driven and unique person with driven and unique friends living in a world largely dictated by herd conformity. You will not be an island forever. As you age you will find your tribe through pursuing your own goals. You will find people with shared passions and shared interests as you push yourself to be your best self, fueled by the Black Flame within. The expression “life happens” is generally a dismissal of the unfortunate, but look to it as encouragement for the future. Take solace in the confidence that your Is To Be will be because Satanists are doers. In time, you will not be a curious island, but a family member to that family you choose. In the words of Milton Cruver, “Hail thyself my child, the rest will follow.”

Maintaining Wonder

It is a great tragedy to me that adults only recognize a sense of wonder and the joys of wonder in children after they have lost it in their own lives. I have resolved to make every effort to maintain my sense of wonder. I have also resolved to use the word “wonderful” in my writing only to describe that which actually fills me with wonder. When I say wonder, I want to be  specific in what I mean. The Oxford Dictionary defines wonder thusly: “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”

The challenge in maintaining wonder as people move into adulthood comes in those last three words. As people get older, coming by something unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable becomes less and less likely. The solution here is twofold. The first is to always strive to learn and discover more. The second was perhaps best described by LaVey in the 9th Satanic Sin, Lack of Aesthetics. He says “an eye for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool and must be applied for greatest magical effectiveness,” and a sense of wonder is quite the magical feeling. This latter solution is where most of my wonder comes from. I constantly seek to find beautiful places in the world, whether man made or not and they become “sacred” to me. One of my favorites outside of my own home is what I call “The Alley of Light” in a city near me. I plan to post a photo of it on my Facebook page in the near future.

The Alley of Light is a small, quiet spot in the historic downtown area of a town near me. The main roads of this town converge at right angles, with historic 2 story buildings. These buildings are storefronts of local businesses at street level, each separated by doorways to 2nd level apartments. It is very charming, and the storefronts often act like a wall against the main road they are situated on. One unique block  is “walled” on three sides, resulting in a wide pair of allies that connect in a T. Rather than let these two relatively quiet areas fill with garbage, the businesses that comprise the outer walls collectively decided to provide tables, chairs, and beautiful plants for the pedestrians that happen to see the alley, and white fairy lights are strung in a canopy overhead. I have never run into other people here, it never feels commercialized. Every time I visit, it feels almost like I have stepped into some pocket dimension that only belongs to me, where tranquility and content are sprayed like Febreze just. Sharing this space with another makes for a very romantic date, if only for a moment. It is truly wonderful, and I take visits there as a retreat. To learn about why it is, who is involved in its maintenance specifically, or overpopulate it decreases the wonder. I plan to write more on wonderful places in the future, and I encourage you to send me some of your favorite wonderful places. Ask yourself, how often do you feel wonder, and are you satisfied with your answer?

 

A Sacred Cow That Has Not Yet Been Slaughtered

In recent weeks I have began noticing what strikes me as an odd trend among Satanists. Many Satanists I respect have a tendency to talk about their issues with religious people, religious organizations, and the influence of religion in society. They talk about the evils of religion, and how the world would be a better place without it. All of these people have one sacred cow they have yet to slaughter, and I too have been guilty of it from time to time. That sacred cow is the word “religious.”

I am not one to quote our texts as some sort of sacred and perfect text, but I think a passage from The Book of Satan (Fire) does well to illustrate my thoughts on this matter, and it is devilishly fun to reference it like the bible, first phase as it may be. Satan 1:7 reads “No hoary falsehood shall be a truth to me; no stifling dogma shall encamp my pen!” and the word religious as it is used by Satanists is in fact a falsehood, a stifling dogma encramping the pen. Oxford dictionary defines “religious” as  simply “relating to or believing in a religion.” My blog is then a religious blog, Raising Hell is a religious parenting podcast, and Satanists are religious people. See the issue?

It is high time we call it as we see it. When Satanists say “religious” we are in doing so just swallowing and regurgitating a euphemism in the interest of not challenging that which we mean to challenge when we reference religion. We would be more accurate if we said “theist,” and even more accurate most times if we simply said “Abrahamic” or “Christian.” I think it decreases our credibility and the impact of what we are trying to say simply because it always allows for the recipient to ask “wait, you said Satanism is a religion. . . so is it?” We then have to go through the rather annoying practice of justifying Satanism as a religion if we ever want to establish our point to those who are not Satanists if we ever want to continue with our discussion. Granted, one always has the option of just letting it go and moving on, and often that the best idea. Call me solipsistic, but it seems to me that I am not the only Satanist with a vested interest in talking about the influence of theism in areas where there should be no influence.

Satanists are often held to a level of scrutiny that is hard to match. We naturally hold ourselves to a high level of scrutiny, but I think we all fall short here. This is a Sacred Cow that is small and yet it is an important one to lead to the slaughter. Stop letting that haloed bovine encramp your pen, say what you mean to say!

Junk Food

Consumption is a concept commonly associated with food, yet we as humans consume more than the food that sustains us. Just as it is prudent to be conscious and selective with what one fuels their bodies and satisfies their palate, the Satanist should also selective with that which he or she satisfies and fuels his or her mind with. Recently, I noticed I have been unusually sad, stressed, and unfocused for months. I had to ask myself what had changed. My sleep had not changed much, my struggles with money had not worsened, and my courses had not gotten more difficult. I then looked to biology, asking myself if a change in diet had occurred. It had, but not in body fuel. My brain fuel had changed dramatically, and it was doing nothing but hinder me.

In more than a few essays, Anton LaVey talked about TV as mind control and a sort of messenger to the masses. He talked in these essays about his avoidance of television for this reason, bar those things he decided he enjoyed. For a long time I felt he was just being paranoid in those essays. After all, most who talk about subliminal messages in the TV often are, and Anton LaVey was just as  human as everyone else and is thus prone to incorrect claims. He wrote a few non-cannon works I disagree with and plan to talk on that in the future. Despite this, I am just as human as he was and I now know that I was mistaken in my assessment. The social media of today is far worse than the television of yesterday when considering control of the masses. My unhappiness was a direct result of my increased time spent on social media. The way I see it, social media and television, when used incorrectly, are like junk food to the mind. Their consumption satisfies my mind’s hunger for stimulation, but there is very little benefit to it. Just as the body becomes lethargic after too much McDonald’s, so too does the mind after too much Facebook.

Immediately after this realization I resolved to decrease my social media use dramatically and replace it with “health food,” which for me is emotionally and intellectually stimulating literature. Books were purchased and are now being read, and my mind is all the more tranquil for it. I now have multiple fiction works being written, I have 10 drafts saved for the blog, and I am less stressed about money, politics, and my progress in my life goals. I even changed my life goals to ones I now realize will make me happier because I have had more time to look inward instead of allowing others to bombard me with the regurgitation of group-think they call originality. Life, it seems, is much better when you feed your brain with fodder rather than memes.

It seems to me that many Satanists I have come to know online could do well to examine  what constitutes junk food for them, and how much they really consume. I still use Facebook for personal use, after all I do enjoy many of the acquaintances I have met there so it is an indulgence to me. I am just selective in my Facebooking. This all makes me wonder, what is your junk food? Let me know in any way you can, as it could be another thing I need to cut back on.

 

Thoughts On My Schooling

Before I begin my criticisms of public school, it behooves the interested to read Mandatory Education: Teaching Pigs to Sing by Blanche Barton. She does an excellent job of highlighting some other issues with the education system in the United States that I will try to keep away from. I also agree that homeschooling is often the best option for our children, however I will try to keep away from that topic as well.

Many of the problems in today’s education system stem from the simple fact that today’s students are over-tested and their test scores are much more important than accumulating useful skills and knowledge. For example, My junior year consisted of 4 standardized tests given to the entire grade, as well as a 5th I elected to take. In order, they were the pre-ACT, the ACT, The ACT Workkeys, a state standardized test to measure the academic progress of students though their years of schooling, and the AP Literature and Composition Test. Between each, I spent more time learning test taking skills than actually learning useful subject matter. I could not tell you how to find the volume of a sphere if my life depended on it, but I do know how to make a test show I know how to do it. 66% of my junior year could have been one class, called “how to keep the school in good standing.” In fact, a large percentage of my time in school over 12 years could be titled that way.

Students themselves are frustrated in this regard. Upon learning that the state standardized test we were taking was the first one of this title and would never be released to colleges or have any impact on our schooling whatsoever, students in school districts all over the state did something incredibly Satanic. We made mockery of standardized testing. Many students adopted the phrase “teach us, don’t test us” as answers in the many areas where written responses were required. Some of the more creative students, such as myself, held competitions to see who could make a mockery of the test in the most funny or intelligent ways. Briefly, the teachers tried to threaten punishment for students who did not test to the best of their ability. Those threats were met with a threat much more powerful. If teachers told students how to answer, the test would be thrown out due to its self imposed rules and then would make taxpayers pay for a retake and further disrupt the school’s ridged schedule. Essentially, proctors were powerless unless a student attempted to copy another student. My favorite response on the test was on an English portion. I was asked to continue a story about a girl at an aquarium. I had the girl telepathically communicate with a wise old turtle, who taught the girl about the ill effects of the level of standardized testing endured by modern high school students on their learning, the economy, and the taxpayer. I also correctly answered a math problem, explaining how to solve it using only the phonetics of Bill Cosby’s stereotypical speech pattern.

Over testing was not the only issue with my public education. As Magistra Barton pointed out, it is widely recognized that public school was created here in the States in order to accommodate the needs of the booming industrial economy at the time. The structure of schooling in standardized shifts as well as the curriculum perfectly prepared children to work in the factories that their parents did. As the economy began to change, so too did the curriculum, but the structure of public school endured as they now instilled what became regarded as a moral work ethic. The economy of the United States became information based, particularly in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (or STEM fields for short). This resulted in two things. The first was a condemnation of the arts, and the second was a condemnation of skilled trades. For as long as I can remember, both of those areas of education were considered below making efforts in the STEM fields. As a result, I spent most of my schooling telling myself many of the things I loved and still love were not marketable skills and I should be focusing on those more “academic” pursuits so I could be the most successful and happy. This mindset has done nothing but hinder me as I move through the world. While I currently pursue a law career, I feel almost slighted in that I feel my true passions and joys lie outside of what I have been taught is prudent from a young age. When I begin to pursue those passions in a way that I can make a career out of, I will be far behind where I could be if I were shown those options which I now see.

As Satanists, we recognize that each individual has talents that other individuals may not. Obviously not every child is good at something, however all children have some interest, and most interests can be pursued to a job. For this reason I feel that it is to the benefit of our society’s efficiency and thus us as individuals to make a change in the public school system. Obviously I am not an educator, but here are changes that I feel would have helped both me and my peers. I propose that education, starting at grade 6, be more student led and specific. Instead of 4, standardized core classes with 2 elective courses, the junior high years can be broken into 4 “credit pathways” for students to attempt to fulfil. These could be STEM, Visual Arts, Language Arts, and Social Studies. While each credit pathways will focus primarily on courses that fit the pathway name, it will still be required that students take courses that would be better fit another pathway. For example, I would best fit in the “Language Arts” pathway because that is where my passions lie, but I may take Psychology, which would be a social studies course. This system allows students to still be fairly well rounded, while allowing them to begin honing their inborn talents early. Upon entry to high school, further specialization should be required, and each student has multiple ways to graduate. While none of these pathways are any better nor any worse than any other inherently, this fits with allowing society to better stratify itself as people pursue their natural skills and thus their natural worth. Those who will be the best at operating heavy machinery will do so. Those who are the best visual artists will continue being so. This fractioning will also better stratify those industries, as those who are naturally competitive will be competing in those fields they are passionate about and thus improving in ways they otherwise wouldn’t.

Aside from the efficiency aspect, this model would promote choice and self evaluation on the part of students and lead to people living much happier lives. At the very least it would have avoided the “mid-Adolescence Crisis” I am currently experiencing.

Hate and What Makes People Deserve It

There are a large number of people I hate. Some people are people I hate casually, like when you mention him or her I might say “yeah fuck that guy.” Other people I hate actively. They intrude into my thoughts when I see a news story about something that reminds me of them, and spoil my mood for long periods of time when I run into them. Some people I hate are former friends of mine. Some are coworkers. Some are family. I don’t hate people based on their race or religion, nor their nationality. I don’t hate people over their politics. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what makes me hate, And I have noticed a common thread in all people I hate. If they haven’t hurt me, they probably exemplify a Satanic Sin or two.

Those who exemplify more than two are sure to get under my skin. For example, I find my Uncle to often be so prideful, it counteracts his goals. I also find him to be fairly stupid at times, as his conversations with me are generally political yet full of logical fallacies and unfounded malice. In these conversations, he seems to be a poster child of Herd Conformity. He spouts his opinion in sentences structured like those of the Facebook “news” headlines he reads and shares. Of course, solipsistic as he is, he assumes I am agreeing with him the whole way through and he takes my refusal to debate him as agreement. This when paired with the pretentiousness of him making himself out to have more money than he does makes him all the more distasteful. I could go on at length, but despite all of this, my uncle has always treated me well. In fact, I feel that he favors me over most of my cousins. Yet I often find myself thinking that I hate him.

Of course, that is an extreme example. It doesn’t take all of those Sins to make me hate you. One is certainly enough. Just today I dealt extensively with a horridly stupid man (not to be read as mentally handicapped) who was friendly and meant well. He gave me a headache, and I casually hate him for his stupidity. Simple as that. Why think about why you hate at all? Because that is a whole lot of energy and vital existence, it’s prudent to be sure it isn’t a waste.