Jake Block

Bursting Bubbles

by Jake Block

An old joke on how I learned to mind my own business.

I was walking past the insane asylum one day and heard the inmates chanting, “13, 13, 13…” so I tried to see what they were doing.  I found a small crack in the bricks and when I looked through, one of them poked me in the eye with a sharp stick and they all began to chant, “14,14,14…”

Sometimes it takes a sharp stick in the eye or a punch in the face to make us realize that not everything in the world falls within our personal sphere of influence and that sometimes, we should just keep our nose the hell out of other people’s business.  Still, we seem to think that we have the right to know everything about anything and spout off, telling people how they should live their lives, as if we are some expert on their emotions, finances or any other aspect of their lives that you’d care to name.  We might “know them,” or have interacted with them on occasion, but KNOWING them still gives us no right to make value judgements.  At best, we are mere observers and interested parties, and at worst, simply meddling busy bodies.

I make no apologies for being well read.  I make no apologies for being well travelled.  I make no apologies for thinking critically.  I make no apologies for being intelligent.  I make no apologies for being well off.  I make no apologies for my art.  I make no apologies for my loves.  I make no apologies to you, and I make no apologies to a god.

Whether anyone approves of my life, I live it as I will, because it’s my life and I alone can make the choices that I do on how to use it to my best benefit.  It might not work for you, but then, who ever said that it had to?  We all live within the bubble of our reality and carry a sharp needle.  Some think the needle is to burst our own bubble, freeing us to move on to another and another until we’ve explored all of the options we care to, and some of us think that the needle is for us to burst the bubble of others, forcing them to our will.

Life is a personal thing that we need to live, not defend to others.  I can see how someone might not agree with what I do in my life.  They may see me as too loud, too free or too sexual.  There are a million ways to pick apart someone’s life because it isn’t to your liking, but in doing so, one should ask oneself, what the hell makes me so damned sure that my life is beyond reproach?  Who the hell am I to tell anyone else how they are supposed to live?  WHY am I so cocksure in the belief that I know what is best for another person, anyway?  Most people will ask, if they want your opinion, and then will consider what you have to say, but for the vast majority of people, the way that they live their lives is nobody’s business but their own and resent other people sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.

We give our advice when asked, but fail to realize that that is where our responsibility in the situation at hand ends.  From the moment you put that period on the sentence about what you think about the situation, the ball is no longer in your court.  From that point on, it’s the other person who has the necessity to evaluate what they have heard and then make the best choices for their lives, based upon the information that is given.  If that choice is to reject your opinion, then let it go.  It’s THEIR life, not yours, and while you might think that every word of opinion uttered from your lips is golden, others assign value to them in the currency of their lives.  To them, your gold might be of ultimate value, but then, it’s just as likely that its value is minimal at best.

Each of us lives in a personal bubble, and while we might interact from time to time, those bubbles are our individual worlds that others might see and admire or perhaps even copy, but in the end each bubble can sustain only one person, perhaps merging and separating with other bubbles along the way for a time.  But our bubble is our world, inviolate and sacred if only to us.  We may be influenced by all of those other bubbles and their inhabitants, and we might even be changed from time to time, but woe be unto those who would ever think we would — or could — relinquish control.  So then, why would we think that anyone else would relinquish control to US?

Here’s an interesting concept from the ancients… yes, even as far back as the 1950s.  We heard it from parents, teachers and even those whom we might offend.  “Keep your hands to yourself”, or “Keep your eyes on your own paper,” or “Mind your own business.”

Unless you are ready and willing to share in a person’s life’s pain as well as pleasure on a very personal level, let them handle their problems.  If they need help, they will ask for it.  How much of a different world would it be if, when someone told another person, “I would just not worry about that lesion on your nose.  Rub some (insert product here) and it will go away.  You don’t need a doctor,” and they took your advice, BOTH would suffer the loss of a nose when that little lesion turned out to be cancer?  How quickly would you interject yourself into the life decisions of others?

If you don’t like what another person is doing with their life, you have two choices… either live with it, or don’t associate with them.  Unless their life choices and/or interests affect you directly, in a way that you can’t disentangle from, why is it that their  choices are so damned important to YOU?  Their life will go on… or not… with or without you.   Unless your are the model of perfection, you’ll get more bang for your buck in paying attention to what is going on in your own life.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

 

Meditation, Like Gold, Is Where You Find It

by Jake Block

Any competent mystic guru will tell you that in order to be a competent mystic guru, you’ll need four things, being a philosophical concept, a rather strong ego, the ability to meditate and a really neat mystic guru suit.  While the neat guru suit is probably more of an option than a necessity, the remaining three items on our shopping list are definitely prerequisites.

 I’ll assume that by the time one has established that he or she would become a mystic guru that the conceptual aspects of the discipline have been accepted and that the ego has been developed sufficiently to allow for “inner peace and enlightenment”.  That leaves meditation.

 Rama Krishna, Baba Ram Dass, Bagwan Shree Rajneesh, Baba O’Reilly and others not withstanding, one must develop a personalized meditational ritual that allows escape from the problems and cares of the day, the mind expanding in consciousness to become open to the forces of nature that actually allow one to “be a mystic guru” in the first place.  Some may choose traditional postures, such as the lotus position, while chanting the ancient “OM.”  If this works, great.  Use it.  It’s all up to you.

 I’ve known people who’ve had some rather unusual methods of meditation.  One gentleman meditated in a bath of warm water, surrounded by a tape of “mother sounds,” symbolizing a return to the womb.  A woman of my acquaintance meditates regularly by engaging in strenuous sexual activity while blocking out the physical sensations for as long as possible, willing herself to find relaxing comfort in her mind before finding sexual release.  Minnesota Fats meditated while playing pool.

 Having benefitted from the practice of meditation for many years, I’ve refined my meditational practices and have set aside a period of meditation each day.  During this time I insure that I will be alone for the prescribed period of time, disconnect the phone, darken the room, relax, just think, and work intensely on the strengthening of my “psycho immune system”.  It is during this time that I am normally most receptive to my surroundings and the inner rhythms of my being.

But there are times when this alone is not enough to release my mind from its burdens, and I know that I am in need of some “psychic intensive care.”  There are times when I must totally retreat from the world and find a place of solitude.  It as at these times that I lose myself in the roar of engines and the sting of wind.

 I dress for the ritual in leather as black as the night through which I hurl myself.  There is a momentary rush as I straddle the beast of steel and chrome, my motorcycle, and gun it to life, feeling the vibrating throb of power from the 1000cc engine in my loins and my hands.  My destination is a speck of light far, far into the distance, beyond my line of sight and always somewhere over the next hill.

 I meditate alone, so I choose roads where there is less traffic…country roads that lead to nowhere, a quiet strip that runs a nearby mountain ridge, servicing the high voltage electric lines providing life for the city far, far below.  Even with the wind in my beard and my hair, I can still imagine and feel the humm and crack of electricity, merging with the engine’s throb.

 After a short time, my mind begins to clear and the hypnotic effects of the road take effect.  The dashes of white line fly by as I allow my mind to drift…to wander and fold thought upon thought, image upon image, all the while mindful of everything around me.  I clutch, I throttle, working gears and leaning, but it all becomes part of the ritual, taking me deeper and deeper into my world of inner solitude.

 In the Spring and in the Fall, infrequent lightning and thunder storms will find me rushing to their centers.  I find myself drawn to the highest point above the valley, up treacherous roads made slippery by the rain purifying the air and washing oily grime from the roads.  Higher and higher I climb, speeding through the twists and turns that, like in life, often are the most efficient distance between two points.

 Atop the mountain named “Twin Sisters” by some long forgotten wise man of some long forgotten tribe of Indians, I watch as the lightning flashes.  The stroboscopic effects of the lightning are therapeutic for me, and the crash of boom of thunder lulls my senses.  Far below, the city is illuminated by a flash.  I hear the sounds of thunder…sometimes the sounds of a siren in the distance, carried by the wind.  I am aware of the rain pouring over me, through my hair, down my face and into my beard, dancing off the leather that covers my body.  It is all part of the meditation.  It is part of becoming one in this ritual of intense concentration.

 As the storm subsides, I again gun the beast to life and retrace my journey along quiet and darkened streets.  Now more relaxed and at the same time invigorated by the wind and the rain, I return to my home and relax, resuming the normal rhythm of my life, out of “intensive care,” until I again feel the need to commune with the elements of nature and share her power aboard my beast of steel and chrome.

Personal Best

by Jake Block

We tend to applaud greatness in others, but for some reason feel that we are not quite up to the same standard of excellence. Whether it be in academics, vocation or avocation, we look to others to aspire to and achieve, thinking that we somehow lack that special something that keeps us from doing the same…or better…job as our heroes. While it is true that most of us cannot be Olympic medalists, heart surgeons or President of the United States, there is little doubt that we can be the best at what we do. Problem is, do we want to be?

The concept of comparable worth has made the rounds in the last decade. Equal pay for equal effort. That’s a laudable and equitable goal that I can support. It makes no difference whether a person is a male or female, what color they are or whether they subscribe to any socio-religious doctrine. If they do a job they should get paid for it.

Superior performance demands superior compensation. Just as there are 25 watt light bulbs and 100 watt light bulbs, there are different calibers of people. Some people naturally work better than others and produce more. Today’s lock-step world of commerce tends to ignore them. Some say that this is for the good of the whole. Those who subscribe to the team concept of Deming would say that since this individual is a part of the team, then all members of the team should profit equally by that member’s individual efforts.

To deny the individual recognition for superior performance not only negates that performance, but sends a clear message to others. Accomplishments mean nothing. This is a reversion to the slave mentality and corporate grayness that Fritz Lang attempted to warn us about in the epic film Metropolis.

There’s nothing wrong with being better than the next guy at what you do. The “old folks” used to tell us, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket.” We never knew what they were talking about…hell, we were kids! We couldn’t understand. Our world was play and heroes and villains and King of the Hill. How could we understand that life itself is like a game of King of the Hill…the stakes are just higher.

In the world of business, it’s somehow become gauche to be successful. We apologize for our affluence. At a recent shareholder’s meeting of Chevron, the Chairman of the Board took great pains to explain that while the company had indeed made billions of dollars in profits, this was down from banner years…and Chevron had given much of its profits back to society in the form of environmental and educational grants. It was if he was saying, “We made X number of dollars, but this is what we are doing to atone for our sins.”

Being a stockholder, I would be more interested in the growth of a company, rather than what the company is doing to mitigate its success in the eyes of the country. A successful company is good for the economy…it provides jobs and social services, bolsters the economic growth, insures investment capital for further growth and allows for charitable donations on the part of the corporation. People just don’t seem to realize that unless a company is successful, it can’t afford to donate millions of dollars to charities and to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Successful companies mean an expanded tax base and an expanded tax base provides for more social services.

We make much of those whose generosity shines like a beacon in the night…the man who gives a hospital wing to fight cancer…the anonymous hero who donates $100,000 for a stranger’s bone marrow transplant…the shy multimillionaire who divests himself of many of his millions in some shining cause. We feel that this is altruism at its finest. This is generosity, humanity and fidelity to the highest natures of man. While this is true, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that these magnanimous examples of “altruism” could happen because these individuals could afford to make them happen, in doing so, gain some level of acclaim or personal satisfaction. You must have before you can give.

This applies in all arenas of human life, from business to love. If you don’t have what is in demand, or you have only enough to support yourself and those around you, you simply cannot give it to others. Love of oneself is a prerequisite to a healthy love for another. Adequate food on one’s own table is a prerequisite to providing food for others. The “old folks” had an axiom for this one as well…”Charity begins at home.”

We all like to help others. It makes us feel good, provides a boost to our ego and makes us shine in the eyes of others. I support the volunteerism that we’ve seen of late in America, and would encourage all who can support the charitable organizations that need your help to do so. But if you are working to live and living to work with little satisfaction on either end, the chances that you will want to…or be able to…are slim.

Since the chances that you or I will be better able to help if we’re successful, I also encourage each and every one of you to make the most of your life. Give your personal best to get ahead, to survive…to prosper. Here’s a simple experiment that those of us who’ve ever been poor can relate to. Try living for one week with nothing…I mean NOTHING in your pockets, only the barest necessities in your cupboards…no munchies in the fridge. Now, the next week, provide adequately for your needs. Don’t splurge, but be generous to yourself. In which case do you think you’ll be better disposed to helping others?

I know of a person on the East Coast who has a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips, and who wants to share that information with others. Problem is, she somehow feels that if she makes any money while doing so, it somehow degrades and cheapens what she has to offer. I can relate to that. But let me put it this way…if you write a book that helps thousands, rather than perhaps the dozens that could be helped individually, isn’t the scale going to tip in your favor? So, you make some money from writing the book. Is that all bad? I say no. Money is a tool, and used wisely, it can fix a multitude of problems.

We’ve all heard of the concept of “seed money.” The TV evangelists always tell us that if we line their pockets with “seed money,”GAWD WILL REPAY YEW TEN-FOLD!” While I am loathe to give them credit for anything, I will have to admit that the concept is sound. When applied not to the religious ramblings of carnival hucksters, but to the essence of one’s life, the same concept can be stated as, “You have to give before you get.”

So, while we should strive to succeed without shame, we must also remember that there are dues to be paid. Truly successful people know that we pay our dues in two ways. Prepayment is the time and effort we put in to actually become successful and competent in our chosen fields. Retro-payment is representative of what we “give back” in real terms, or in the form of assistance to others that we could not have provided, had we not become successful in our endeavors. Each is equal in importance.

Life is not easy. We work to survive and to supply what luxuries we can for ourselves and those we hold dear. When we give life our personal best, the rewards are there for us to enjoy and to share. In the long run, life is like a banquet in which we can invite our friends and neighbors to share in the joy of our successes. The more we have, the more we can share. It’s as simple as that. If we don’t try, we don’t succeed.

Dancing On Thin Ice

by Jake Block

There is a saying that goes something like “If you’re going to tread on thin ice, then you might as well dance.”  While it’s cute and its trite, it’s nonetheless true.  If you’re going to go for it, then go for it.  Damn the torpedoes…full speed ahead.

 I’ve met a lot of people who’ve been out to impress me with their knowledge of the occult, from Grand Masters of Inverted Lodges, barely able to spell the magical processes they’d claimed to master, Gifted Psychics unable to function without “spirit guides” who never quite make it when challenged, and the inevitable “witch” claiming powers that would be more convincing if she were able to make ends meet.  They’ve all fallen short of the mark, and have always had a reason for their failure.  It’s joss, fate, kismet or just bad luck.  “I’ve tried everything, Mr. Block, but you see, the world just isn’t ready for me yet…maybe in another life.”  Hell…why have another life if you aren’t going to make use of the one you have?

  While we like to think about our world as an ordered sphere in which one can get ahead by plodding on hour by hour, day by day, it’s the chance-taker who usually wins the rat race.  Those who sit and wait for their chance at life to come usually never get it.  They are the wannabes of society.  They may be eager and possess the skills to succeed, but with out a good healthy dose of chutzpah, forget it.

 Billionaire Donald Trump once related a story about his days as a young entrepreneur waiting for his chance to make it in the construction game.  He was nearly broke, and knew that his small business would fold without financial assistance. He brought his potential backers to a “construction site,” and the sight of Trump’s work crews hard at work inspired them.  “Gentlemen,” he said, “This is where I will build my biggest and most impressive building.  You can be part of it.”  They jumped at the chance to help this dynamic leader to achieve his goal.  Trump got his financial backing and the rest is history.

 What Trump didn’t tell his backers was that he had yet to buy the land.  The crews were his, but he had no money to pay them.  Trump had mustered all of the manpower he could manage and told them, “Look busy.”  It was a sham…and damned impressive.  And it worked.  Chutzpah. 

 The world is a place in which everything can be manipulated in favor of the bold.  All that is required is that the individual be capable of manipulation.  Being able to warp time and space to one’s advantage is no mean feat.  It requires a great deal of self confidence, sometimes bordering on “cockiness,” a desire to exert one’s will over that of others and a somewhat fatalistic attitude. I know of one highly competent entrepeneur whose personal motto is, “Expect the worst, hope for the best.  Tip the scales whenever you can.”  My personal motto has been lifted from Friedrich Nietzsche, “Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker.”  Loosely translated from the German, “What doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger.” 

 A great many people wear their hearts on their sleeves, accepting whatever indignities the world may heap upon them with a mournful sigh and a look that says, “This too will pass.”  They take the sorrows of the world to their graves as companions and friends, for they quite often have nothing else.  They use the negatives to outbalance the positives in their lives, providing a ready-made excuse for failure.

 “I could’ve been rich,” they cry, “but I was born black…or white…or green.  You know ‘they’ won’t let us get ahead.”  These same people tend to be experts at everything from astrology to mahjong and are willing to teach you the secrets that made THEM successful.

They’re a lot like the wannabes bikers run into everywhere they go.  A guy in a plaid shirt and blue jeans wanders up and cocks his head to one side.  He nods his head once or twice and says, “Yeah.  That’s some bike, man.  I used to ride an OLD HARLEY when I was a kid.  Yeah, but I ain’t rode in years, y’know, ‘cause I lost it over on Stateline Road.”   I’ve always wanted to toss him my keys and say, “Go for it, man.  Show me what you’ve got.”  For those who’ve special talents or skills, and have ever been a victim of the kibitzer bird, you know what I mean.

Those who can, do.  Those who can’t kibitz those who can.  I’ve never been impressed by wannabes that seem to gravitate towards those who can. Those who can are a special breed that are close to my heart, for they’re the type that will take a chance in one great all or nothing run for glory.  They’re gamblers and rogues, renegades and revolutionaries, hustlers and flimflam men.  They know the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line, but a series of twists and angles that eventually gets you to where you want to go.

 These are the true magicians of the world as we know it.  Most will never step in a “magic circle,” wave a sword or deliver an incantation in flawless Latin.  Their litanies are magic still.  They control their own destiny and quite often that of those around them.

My advice to anyone who would become a master, either in the world of business or any world of their choosing, is “Go for it.”  Have the guts to take a chance.  Follow your instincts whenever possible and most often you’ll find that they’ll serve you well.  If things don’t pan out, go at it from a different angle.  Keep trying.  If the goal is worth the effort, the reward is sweet.  “If we’re going to tread on thin ice, then we might as well dance.”

Coda

by Jake Block

Coda, n. [It., from L, coda, cauda, tail.] in music, a final passage, which brings a composition to a definite, formal close.

Imagine, if you will, a funeral…yours.  You will be the center of attraction as a eulogy is read by one incapable of speaking anything but the truth.  Good, bad or indifferent, the speaker will lay your life out before this final gathering in your name, and by what is spoken shall you be remembered evermore.  And during this eulogy, you will feel the pride and shame of your life, although frozen in death.

Were this the way that one is actually put to rest, then how many of us would lead our lives as we do?  I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve led an enjoyable life for the most part, there are moments that I have been less than proud of, and I certainly wouldn’t want my mother to have a front row seat at my eulogy!  A line from Eric Burdon and the Animals 60’s tune Good Times comes to mind…”When I think of all the good time that’s been wasted having good times…”

Born to live and to die, man is given life without a technical manual.  We can study the errors and missteps of the past, but in the long run, it is up to each individual to accept or discard what has been learned.  We know that it is better to tell the truth than to lie, but sometimes a lie is not only prudent, but necessary.  It may be “more blessed to give than to receive,” but we receive with pleasure and sometimes give less than we should.  We are sometimes vain, sometimes irreverent, sometimes covetous and sometimes we kill.  Yes, we sometimes bend or break the laws, and that makes us human.

There are some individuals who try to live life by a book of laws, be it the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or a hundred other books of societal or religious canon.  They strive for the perfection of an archetypical savior and feel disgrace when they fail, knowing in their hearts that unless they can “measure up,” they will be doomed to eternal punishment for their crime…that of being human.  By those standards, were one to believe in a heaven and hell, “Heaven” would be a peaceful village and “Hell” would indeed be “standing room only.

So we know that we’re not alone in our iniquities and that as we have sinned, so too have those who’ve trod this path before and so too shall those who follow our lead.  Ok, we all make mistakes and we all have felt the sting of bitter tears for errors that we’ve made.  It doesn’t make us bad people.

When I hear “bible-thumpers” of any religion regaling people with the assertion that their laws are supreme in the universe, I cringe.  My mind goes back to the wars, death and destruction that the world has known, mostly because god was on the side of one faction or the other, and that made it perfectly fine to kill the inhuman slime on the other side.  Meanwhile, on the “other side,” leaders were certain that god was on their side and they exhorted their troops to kill with the knowledge that their cause was just.  In the end, did it matter?

“Good and Evil” being subjective terms at best, who among us is qualified to state what is categorically good or evil in absolute terms?

Certainly each of us is flawed in our judgements and our dealings with others, and as we judge, so too must we be judged.  And this judgement will not be by some god who weighs our lives on scales of some eternal balance.  We will be judged by those we leave behind; those who keep us alive in their memories.  This being the case, is it not prudent that we not steal, not cheat and not harm those around us without provocation?  You don’t need a book of laws to tell you how to live in harmony.

I know that I try to do good, but in doing good for myself and mine, there is always a possibility that what I am doing may be perceived as evil  to another.  I can’t help that, so I try not to worry about it.  You simply try to live your life as best you can, helping those that you can along the way.

Very few, if any, individuals are motivated solely by altruism.  While it might be wonderful to think that the world could be peopled by Mother Theressa clones, we know that it’s not a realistic vision.  Man is acquisitive and, despite our protestations of grandeur, predatory as well.  Survival instincts must be followed and satisfied before altruistic indulgences can be entertained.  It’s as simple as that.  We take care of ourselves and those who fall within our rather small circle of family and friends first and then allow others to draw from our economic or emotional reserves.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s the way all creatures are, from man to the lowest species of animal life.

Where we as a species tend to stray is when we become mean-spirited and self-centered enough to believe that we can say or do anything we damned well feel like doing, simply by virtue of being.  We feel that our rights are somehow sacrosanct and take precedence over the rights of others, and if they don’t like it, then it’s too bad.  The me generation spawned a cross section of humanity that has become repulsive in its inhumanity towards others.  Greed and self promotion became the sole motivations for this cult of the selfish.  There can be no leader of this cult, since to acknowledge the greater power or ability of another would be the antithesis of the cult’s persona as a whole.

There is no perfect person and no perfect philosophy.  People are by definition flawed and prone to errors of personal prejudice.  Those who would tread the path of perfection soon find that path to be perilous.  We all make mistakes and we all fail.  It’s human.  But we try, and that’s commendable, so long as we don’t try to place more emphasis on our efforts than they really deserve.

If you ever run across someone who tells you that they’re helping you because they’re just wonderful and generous, get a good handle on your wallet.  People will help you, don’t get me wrong, but there has to be something in it for them.  The reward may be tangible, or it may be in the stroking of their ego, but there is a reward in there somewhere.

Be kind to one another and, as possible, understanding of the needs of individuals.  Just because their needs may differ from yours does not mean that they are at odds with you.  It simply means that their survival needs and needs for acceptance are satisfied in other ways.  Their goals and values may be just as valid, just as positive and just as important to them as yours are to you.  If you invalidate them out of hand and condemn them as wrong, so too do you give others the same license to invalidate you and yours.

Perhaps if you follow the rules of common decency and sociability with your fellow man, your eulogy might not be quite the traumatic experience depicted at the beginning of this essay.  Living a good and decent life actually boils down to one simple concept.  Respect.  What better epitaph could any of us have than “Respectful and Respected”?

Born That Way

by Jake Block

 
I suppose it’s time to tackle another thing that you hear a lot in Satanism:  The idea that Satanists are born and not made.  
 
Now, most people assume that this means that somehow, from the moment of conception, you are predestined to become a Satanist.  This is not only misleading, but patently wrong and has never been the meaning behind LaVey’s statement that “If you are a Satanist, you were born that way.”  In LaVey’s statement, he isn’t speaking on predestination, but on predisposition… two very different concepts.
 
Let me break it down for you this way.  The way it works is exceedingly simple, and over thinking it and trying to mystify it only muddies the water.  All people… you, me, the Pope, John the barber and even every one of those seven billion plus Chinese you hear tell about, are all born with genetic predispositions.  There are some people who have a predisposition to understand music.  Some have the innate ability to fathom the mysteries or math, or architecture or even genetics itself.  Does this mean that these people will become musicians, mathematicians, or geneticists?  Of course not.  Having a predisposition is not predestination, but simply indicates that you will most probably find the study of these things easier, should you choose to go in that direction.
 
We also, as members of the human genome family, have predispositions for some pretty nasty things as well, from heart disease to cancer to specialized diseases from Tay-Sachs to Sickle Cell Anemia, various cancers, dwarfism, and in my case, specifically, the development of a genetic disorder called Polycythemia, which causes the bone marrow to somehow go into hyperdrive on the development of red blood cells, making the blood thicker and thicker as the amount within my body gets greater… at one point, I had almost 50% MORE blood than a human being is supposed to have in their bodies, which can lead to clotting, strokes, heart attacks and even gangrene of the internal organs as the blood becomes too thick to flow to the smaller supporting capillaries.  It’s a genetic predisposition, or “genetic susceptibility” that all people with that potential mutation of the JAK 2 gene share.  We share that genetic predisposition, but the condition itself is rare, because the vast majority of people DON’T develop it.  Only a very few will develop the condition, based on yet undiscovered supporting conditions.  The rest simply never know about it, and they never develop it.
 
So too it is with Satanism.  Some people are born with the predisposition to “get it,” philosophically, and if exposed to the concepts and the supporting philosophies of Satanism, a certain number of the people with that predisposition might become Satanists, while the rest will not, or might develop an interest in it from an academic standpoint, but will not accept it as a personal philosophy.  What might cause one to accept while another might not?  This most likely breaks down into the old nature vs nurture argument, and in the end, it becomes an inscrutable paradox, like the chicken and the egg.  In the end, all that matters is that it is, it happens, and we really don’t know why.
 
As with any genetic predisposition it’s a sliding scale of values and I personally think that it very much depends on one’s exposure to other concepts that also fall within their pre-dispositioning, and their involvement with them preempting their acceptance of Satanism as the primary interest.  Here’s how you might look at it as a metaphoric trip down the river of life.  
 
We, all of us with a predisposition to understand and accept Satanism as a philosophy get on a big paddle wheel steamer at the source of a long, slow moving river.  The journey takes us to various cities along the river and as passengers on this ship, you can get off and explore as you will, but you need to be back on board before the ship moves on to another destination many miles downstream.  So we genetic pre-Satanists start out our trip and soon, we come to a village called, ESPville, and some of us like the unique architecture and the ESPville Fair with its crafts and music and dancing and, well… the ship moves on without us.  Those who don’t make it back to the boat simply live in ESPville and accept its customs and philosophies.  They might still wonder what is further down the river, but they settle into a comfortable stasis.
 
More stops at Christville, Voodoo Village, Wiccatropolis and a hundred more places where we lose more and more passengers on our ship, who find that each of these stops, and a thousand more, capture their imagination and they feel at home with it, so they stay.  They sometimes wonder what they missed by not continuing on the journey, but having put down roots, they see no real need to move on.
 
And eventually, the very, very few of us left on this lifelong tour reach the City of Satan, and we disembark and some of us stay.  We find that the philosophies of this destination meet our emotional needs on some level that we may never quite fully understand, but we are happy to be here and stretch our legs.  We indulge our senses and drink in the dark ambiance of this area of our consciousness.  It becomes home so much that we don’t hear the warning blast from the ships whistle as it begins its departure, carrying still more intrepid souls further down river.  To what?  We might wonder, but even now, roots begin to take hold.
 
So, we are Satanists because we were born that way in the sense that we had the predisposition, emotionally and intellectually to accept Satanism to a greater degree than other options placed before us.  But just as those many passengers who got off the ship before us, we too could have strayed, had we the same pre-dispositioning as them, bu Satanism caught our fancy, and we have decided to stay, at least for a season, because even amongst those of us who stayed in the City of Satan, next season’s ship will find room for them to move up or down stream, should they care to move on.

 

Ok… You’re A God… It Don’t Impress Me Much

by Jake Block

 “Oh-oo-oh, you think you’re special

Oh-oo-oh, you think you’re something else
Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist
That don’t impress me much”

 
“That Don’t Impress Me Much” — Shania Twain
 
You bought the book and you read the words, you figure that now you’ve decided that you’re a Satanist, and it doesn’t really matter if you are Theistic or Atheistic you are now a GOD.  LaVey said it.  You toss everything else he said out with the bathwater, but for some reason you GOT the words, “THE highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birth. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried.

 The Satanist feels: “Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself.” Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one.”

There it is on page 96 of THE SATANIC BIBLE, in black and white.  Well… it is if you bought the book.  For you “gods” who couldn’t afford the book, I’d just do a search on that PDF you stare at in the dark.    LaVey said it.  So it is written, so let it be done.  Never mind the fact that he was speaking metaphorically, and never mind that just because he wrote it and you read it does not magically confer upon you any specialty or rarified position in the world.  It doesn’t make you any better than anyone else.  If you were a high school drop out shoveling shit for minimum wage the day before you read the paragraph, you’re a god who is STILL a high school drop out and STILL shoveling shit for minimum wage the day after.  You can call yourself a god if you want to.  You can call yourself Napoleon Bonaparte too.  Just saying it doesn’t make it so, and when you’re shoveling that shit, barely making ends meet, and dependent upon others for your daily existence, being “a god” isn’t quite what it is cracked up to be now, is it?

 Look.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not slamming you because you’re not burning things up in your real world careers.  Some of you ARE, and that’s great.  I knew Anton LaVey personally, and well enough that in the nights there in the Black House when we would talk man to man, I could get a damned good understanding of his rhyme and reason.  Let me tell you what being your own god means.  It means being responsible for the creation of your own life and your own prosperity and well-being, beholden to no one.  It doesn’t mean you can do any damned thing you want in life, and it doesn’t mean that you are beyond the reach of the law.  It simply means you take responsibility to be the best that you can be… make your life the best that you can make it with your personal drive, motivation, creativity and brain power.  There are 25 Watt gods and 100 Watt gods.  Stratification applies to gods and mortals alike.  

 It’s a prideful thing to be a Satanist, to my way of thinking.  I’ve been one the better part of my life, and as that life begins its downhill run to the finish line, I still feel pride in my Satanism.  Justifiable pride is that cherry on top of your sundae that’s a foot tall and covered with nuts.  When you can look back at a life well lived and challenges met and bested, ever-striving, and striving still to be the best YOU that you can be, you’re able to meet any man or woman and look them in the eye with a stare that says, “I’m the REAL DEAL, and here’s my proof.”  But too many of us are like too many of those sheep we like to gloat over.  We wallow in “counter productive pride,” taking credit where none is due, simply skating through life, not striving, unless it’s for mediocrity, and then we applaud it like some Olympic laurel wreath around our heads.  “Then all thy bones shall say pridefully, “Who is like unto me?  Have I not been too strong for my adversaries?  Have I not delivered myself by my own brain and body?”  

 It’s about that time when the boss we hate at the job we hate bellows…”Ok, slackers, coffee break’s over.  Get back to work.  That shit ain’t gonna shovel itself!”  Life beckons, and realities must be recognized.

 Now, shoveling shit is an honest job, and if it’s YOUR job, you want to be the best shit shoveler in the lower 48 states.  I know I would, although I have never had a job shoveling shit… I’ve had a couple that some might say are arguably worse.  But the point is that we don’t delude ourselves that this is all we can be and all we will be… there are ways out.  Education, “working the shit out of a shit job” to move you up the ladder where you won’t BE shoveling shit, but putting  the shovel in the hands of someone who will, and even taking a risk and striking out in a whole new direction, starting afresh in a new career.  TAKING CONTROL of your life and your environment… taking personal responsibility to get to a place in life where you have a greater amount of clout and autonomy and the ability to make things happen as you would wish them to be, rather than reacting to the way things are thrust upon you.

 I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum.  I’ve been “as broke as the Ten Commandments,” and I’ve been flush enough to “fly first class and tip twenties.”  If you will indulge an old guy for a moment, let me tell you a few things that I have learned along the way.  Today is ALWAYS what you need to concentrate on, because that’s where opportunities are.  The past is over… forget about it and move on.  Keep your wits about you and watch for the opportunities and chances that others miss.  You may have to put yourself out and invest in time and education and “seed money” to pay for classes and things you need to help you gain that forward momentum in your life.  But what better way to invest than on yourself?  ALWAYS bet on yourself… but hedge that bet with ACTION.   And ok… this is going to sound counterintuitive for a Satanist, but remain humble but confident to others.  There is a difference between confidence and cockiness.  Confidence is ennobling.  People see you as in control and forward looking.  Cockiness demands challenge.  People will support and help a confident man succeed, and almost always root for the cocky man to fail.

And that’s important.  You may be “a god,” but until you have found a way to sustainable wealth and total self sufficiency, you will need the backing and help from others from time to time, and when they assist you, be gracious without being fawning or obsequious.  Be a gentleman or gentlewoman and accept that helping hand with a smile and a look in your eye that says, “Thanks, but I’ve got this now.”  And when you succeed, acknowledge the assistance of others.  It’s not ass kissing… it’s not lowering yourself.  It’s maintaining useful connections for the future.

 One last thing I would like you to think about is, people get their perceptions of you not so much from what they hear you say, although that is important, but from observable cues that will make your presentation, be it formal or informal, believable or indicative of someone selling a load of bull excrement.  If you loudly proclaim, “I am a Satanist and my own GOD… ” don’t do it standing in a welfare line, or wearing tatters.  Be ready AND ABLE to back up your claims of self determination and autonomy in the world we live in.  For example, I’m a passable photographer and artist of a sort, so you can bet your ass that if I tell people I can do something with my camera that requires no post-production in Photoshop, you can bet your ass that I will be able to back up my claims, or I’ll keep my mouth SHUT.  If you make claims that appear to be grandiose and untenable upon visual inspection, expect to be challenged.  Credibility is important, and “a god” needs to be able to put up or shut up, else you run the very real risk of being seen as simply another blowhard in a black shirt.

As a Satanist, you can be your own god, developing and maintaining your own alternative reality in which you have a greater element of control than the average Joe on the street.  The more financially flush you are helps, and having the intellectual chops to defend your rationale in such a declaration will help you.  But realize that while you might be “different” in your approach, you are not unique, as each individual on this planet can make the same claim to self sovereignty, carving out his or her own niche to hold and defend.  Be realistic, be intellectually honest and if you build your world on fact, rather than fantasy, a god you may be, even if only one of many.

 

Words of Power

by Jake Block

Abracadabra!  So Mote It Be!  It is Done!  And lest we forget, SHEMHAMFORASH!  The words of power in a magical sense are the catalyst for change that begins in the mind of the magician.  It’s been that way for centuries, and the words of power used by some of the legendary practitioners of magic in its many forms become legend and take on a life of their own.

But we also have words of power, you and I, and we wield them in the prosecution of our daily lives, their recognition prompting function, and that function causes change in accordance to our Will.  “Charge it,” we intone and without blinking an eye, the tradesmen who ply their wares, grant us our desires.   The utterance of the words “Super-size it,” will feed our bellies, and “Make it a double” will quench out thirsts.  “Fill ‘er up” gives mobility, and “Book it,” lodging for the night; “I do,” when asked, “do you?” brings us love for a season, these words, and many more from which to choose, are the province of all who speak the lingo.

These words of power bind us as a culture and as a community within the greater whole.  We share them without anger and without joy.  They simply are, and as long as I can remember, they always have been.  But these days, I find that other words are words of power that only a relatively few employ.  They KNOW the words, and I am sure that on some level, they know that these words of power can give them freedom and comfort and personal independence.  So why are they seemingly afraid to use them?  Perhaps fear of being left out, or worse, thrown out of the comfortable numbness of the herd.  It could be that they feel they don’t have the right to wield the power that these words convey, or that if they use them they may inflict irreparable damage to those around them or the bonds of familiarity with which they have become accustomed.  Are these new words of power that awesome in their potential?  Yes.  If used wisely and well, you will be surprised at the wonders they can do.

\OK.  You’ve all proven your worthiness to receive these new words of power, and I am certain that you can control when and where they will be deployed to give you the most benefit from their power.  So, repeat them after me.  Just a whisper at first, as they may cause a shock to your system.  The first of the new words of power are, “I don’t care.”

Just think of the power these words can give you when you are cornered by the resident complainer who will tell you everything that ails them, what new torments they must endure, and how they are being attacked from all sides by their sinister coworkers, bent upon their destruction.  You simply wait for them to take a breath and say, firmly and with the clearest enunciation, “I DON’T CARE.”  Liberating, isn’t it?

The next words of power that you need to learn come in handy when that special someone who wants you to hold forth on topics that will bolster their personal agendas, especially in front of people they think hold you in high regard, so that if you agree with them your friends will agree with them as well.  He might say, “You know, those damned (insert group here) are ruining our country by trying to buy into our neighborhood and make it another “Little (insert country name here)!  What do YOU think about THAT?”  Imagine the look on his face when you speak clearly and eloquently about the damned (insert group here).  You simply meet his gaze and say, “It’s none of my business!”

And when he insists that you should care and that it certainly IS your business, asking why you don’t care, further confound this shit disturbing cretin by saying yet more words of power…”It’s none of your business.”

Yet another tiresome type who will bother you to death with their constant touting of some product or service that is always vastly superior to that which you use or own.  “You should use a DELL computer,” they say, “You shouldn’t use that lame Macintosh,” or another “Gatesmobile” that they think is also inferior to their brand.  Or, they will tell you what car you should drive, what shirts you should wear, or what kind of dog will be your ideal companion.  Your words of power for this circumstance will make them tilt their heads sideways, and look at you like a dog seeing a “ghost.”

When someone else tells you what you should buy, ask them, “When can you give me the check?”  They will ask, “What check?”  You just answer with, “The one to buy that DELL computer.  If it’s that important to you that I use the kind of computer you say is right for me, then it’s only right that you should pay for it.”  One application of this treatment has been known to keep these trolls quiet for weeks.

Your last words of power for this lesson deal with those who assume you have nothing better to do than cater to their ever whim, giving freely of your time and effort, but never seeming to have the time or resources to reciprocate when the need arises.  You know the word, but for some reason are reluctant to deploy it.  Fear not, my friend, for it will set you free.  When asked for help or some other favor by this fair weather friend, the magical word, “NO” never fails to succeed.

So there you have it, my friends.  Learn these words of power and the world itself shall be your ritual chamber.  Your magic will be known throughout the land, and you shall be master of your domain!

 

Who ARE You?

by Jake Block

I was once asked by Michael Aquino during an online discussion where I challenged one of his claims about the Church of Satan not surviving after his departure to form The Temple of Set, with the words, “Who are you?  I’ve never heard of you.,” to which I responded, “Good.  That means I was doing my job.”

I sometimes get tickled when I see some of the Christian sites, and even some of the “satanic” ones, listing key Satanists on the web or in the real world.  I always smile when I see my name is not on the list, although I have been deeply involved in Satanism for over 40 years.  No, I was never the kind of guy to get on the TV talk shows of the 70s and 80s and yak about why we Satanists were not in some secret plot of kill and molest kids.  I was the kind of guy who wrote the script.  I never liked being in front of a camera.  I was the guy taking the pictures.  I seldom used my own name when writing in support of a project, not out of fear, but because in NOT doing so, I had greater leeway in what I could say, since being a military man with a Top Secret clearance places limitations on your freedom of speech that a civilian never has to worry about.

And I learned that it wasn’t always the man standing tall in front of the cameras that was actually getting things done on the practical, day-to-day levels in Satanism… or any other endeavor, for that matter… but those who were standing behind him, and doing things that made HIM look good for public (and group) consumption.  That’s the way of the world.  Not everyone needs to be or SHOULD be in the limelight.  If everyone is a star, the play has no supporting cast, and a star can’t BE a star without it.

I can’t quote you the actual statistics… they probably exist somewhere.  In the military we learned that “In the Civil War, there were almost 10 front-line combat troops for every support person in the rear.  In WWI, this ratio changed and there were 3 support troops for every 10 front line soldiers, and this held true more or less until the end of WWII.  By Vietnam, we had approximately 5 support troops for every front line soldier.”  Today’s technologically advanced military and long term, logistically challenging combat operations have swelled the number of support troops substantially.”

Support troops ARE soldiers and ARE front line soldiers, when needed.  But without them, the cooks, the doctors, the motor pool, the quartermasters, the analysts and a hundred other specialties and career fields, the front line soldier would soon find himself hungry, out of ammunition, sick, and possibly even dead.

Anton LaVey is widely credited with the development of Satanism in this common era, and yes, he was highly instrumental in that his vision, charisma and general force of will propelled the movement.  But I’m here to tell you that there were people supporting him every step of the way.  I was one of them, and while there weren’t many in the Black House, we had supporters around the world who were there when needed, providing materiel support, sometimes financial support, and even moral support for when things looked less than promising.  There were people running Grottoes, people running smaller groups, people writing articles and generally showing the colors… and people who never stood out, but did things in the background.

Who is more powerful?  The man who smiles for the camera and can give a good speech, or the speechwriter who knows what that man needs to say in order to be an effective communicator?  Who is more important, the waiter who brings you the delicious food, or the chef who spends years perfecting his craft, toiling away in the hot kitchen?  You could make an argument for either side, but they are both dependent upon the other for success.

So, when you see “leaders of the Satanic Movement” (whatever that actually IS), know there are people behind them.  People like me and people like you who provide  them with the things they need, from ideas to feedback on how things are going, to essays and articles written in such a way as to generate interest and provide momentum.  And yes, a couple of bucks here and there never hurts, because while we don’t see it out here in “the world,” no organization or movement operates without costs that must be paid.

And this is not to say you HAVE to be a part of any particular organization, or support any particular luminary along the line.  But should you choose to, just consider that it IS your choice, and the amount of support and the KIND of support you give is a personal decision.

There are times when we sometimes feel like just a cog in the machine of life, be it in business, in sports, in education and any other aspect of life as well.  But when you feel (and at times we ALL do) that what you are doing doesn’t matter, remember that you are providing support… a piece of the puzzle that perhaps no one else has.  And that seemingly insignificant piece MIGHT just be the key to victory.  Remember:

For Want Of A Nail — (Various Sources)

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.”

 

If I can provide that nail, I can help win the war.

 

Rituals of Revelation

by Jake Block

“They’re gonna teach you how to meditate

Read your horoscope, cheat your faith

And further more to hell with hate

Come on and get on board”

The Games People Play — Joe South

 

There used to be a party game we played as young adults.  Everyone would be gathered around in a circle and one person was asked to sit in the center of the circle.  This was usually a good looking woman with a killer body, and a sheet was draped over her, covering her completely.  The host would then say, “You are wearing something you don’t need.  Take it off.”

Most times, the person under the sheet would take off pieces of their clothing, trying to appease the crowd and end the game.  Shoes, blouse, skirt… it would all come off until all the person was wearing was the sheet, and then it dawned upon them that THE SHEET was the one thing they were wearing that they didn’t need… but now they DID need it, because in the end, it was all they had left.

Occasionally someone would immediately realize that the sheet was the thing they didn’t need, but most people were eager to please their host and give them what they thought that the host wanted, so the game would usually play out as described.  I’m sure we never thought about it at the time, but the sheet game could show us something about ourselves on a local scale and our society and culture as well, thinking globally.  It was a game in its simplest sense, but in  the greater sense, a ritual of revelation that taught us a lesson.  The best and most effective rituals almost always do.

As people, until we become self aware and autonomous in our thinking, we often take on the sheets that others place upon us, usually a product of their own insecurities or prejudices that they feel that we as friends or members of the society should take on ass well, sharing the burden and sharing our support.  We accept these sheets, one after another, because we want to fit in, to be a part of the fabric of our society and culture; not to feel out of step with all of the others around us.  If we took a moment to look at our situations, we would see that these sheets are every bit as irrelevant and almost as silly as the white sheet with blue flowers covering the “victim” in that party game.

We know we don’t really need to be lockstep with our neighbors on anything, but we often go along with their prejudices and their traditions because we don’t know what else to do.  We might justify it by calling it tradition, and while we don’t really believe in it… be it racial intolerance, political correctness, religion or any other cultural sheet. We play along to get along, and in doing so, we teach this same thing to our children.  Play along… don’t make waves.  We find ways to make the distasteful more palatable… we celebrate Christmas, but call it Yule, because well…you know.  We call ourselves Atheists, but spend the religious holidays in church with the relatives… for family unity, don’t you see?  And then we wonder why people don’t take us seriously.  We’re free thinkers, damn it.  We aren’t part of the herd!  But when it talks like a wolf and acts like a sheep, you can easily understand why there’s a lack of credibility.

We all need to play the sheet game where the stakes aren’t simply a little embarrassment over taking off all of our clothes in the middle of a party and having to do the walk of shame with that floral sheet wrapped tightly around us.  We should look at this as our ritual of revelation and see what it actually does reveal about us and the sheets we have taken on and can do without.  There certainly comes a cost for one’s freedom, and sometimes tossing off those sheets will mean that you have to pay a toll in friendships, relationships… maybe a bit of societal ostracism.  But when people see that you are willing to pay that toll to be who you truly are, you can look that most important critic in the mirror, eye to eye and say, truthfully, “Now I am free.”

The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God

The Order of Pan
The Order of Cernunnos
The Order of Prometheus
The Order of Dionysis
The Order of Shiva

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