Comes A Man
by Jake Block
“Here comes a man of comfort. whose advice hath often stilled my brawling discontent.”
— William Shakespeare
Joseph Campbell called him “a hero,” and his journey was the stuff of all legends. The man — or woman — who rises, when needed to save the day against seemingly insurmountable odds. They might be just ordinary folk, unremarkable in times of plenty and peace, but when there is an enemy to be met, a foe to be bested, they emerge from the crowd to face the threat, where others shrink and fail. There are never more than a handful of heroes at any given time, but they become so visible when they do emerge, that we find them seemingly possessed of “the spirit” of the age; a force of nature that will not be stopped.
When David stepped forth from the troops with his sling to slay the mighty Goliath in battle, in 1040 BCE, the unassuming youth rallied the forces of his nation. His victory was a metaphor for the victory of a smaller nation with a good fighting force being able to stave off the savage hordes of the enemy outside the gates. The same hero is seen in 480 BCE, when King Leonidas of Sparta led his relatively small forces to protect the “Hot Gates” of Thermopolae against the onslaught of King Xerxes of Persia.
We speak of them to this day. We speak of them and ask, where are such men? Is the next David or Leonidas quietly plying his trade somewhere, calmly waiting until that unknown moment when they will, for some reason say, “This will not stand. I will fight.” Unlikely heroes await, as they always have and will arise and stand forth. The can be revolutionaries or they can be stalwarts for the established order or doctors, law givers, law enforcers, teachers, inventors, philosophers, warriors, slaves, common men or kings. He, or she, might come into our lives through the grandest of portals, or the simplest of ramshackle doors.
This is a time, as are most times, when all over the world we see threats to our security and reasons to believe the end-times predictions of prophetic ancestors. “Wars and rumors of wars,” have always been with us. There have never been a lasting period of peace between men. Fires rage now as they did ten thousand years before in great plains of the North American continent… and the African Veldt. Earthquakes rumble, a natural result of tectonic plate movement or volcanic activity. Famines flare and ebb. Floods inundate and recede. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have mounted their fearsome steeds often in human history, only to sheath their swords in better times.
Through it all, men and women have come forth to find a way, when all seemed lost. Certainly those gallant military heroes who, perhaps personally flawed, displayed the bravery and intrepidity that saved nations and expanded territories of some of the greatest cultures of humanity. In times of plague and pestilence, those who treat our ills and find the cures have on more than one occasion, saved the lives of millions.
Heroes come, and heroes oppose a wide range of human conditions and even philosophical foes. When, in 1966, Anton LaVey brought the concept of a “church” dedicated to the concept of Satan as the adversary, the power elite branded him a con man… a charlatan… an actor… a flash in the pan. And in reality, he could well be seen as any or these, or a hero in the “Campbellian mode,” dependent on one’s point of view. For knowingly or not, LaVey opened the gates of rebellion against the constraints of established religion and orthodoxy. In a few short decades, he and his concept became a worldwide phenomenon in a world that had become somatized by the spoon-fed pablum of Abrahamic religion and the Eastern mysticisms that focused the senses of man “out there” for salvation, rather than “inside,” where he had the ultimate control and impetus for change.
In the terms of Yeats, he became that “rough beast, it’s hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born.” In 1966 CE, the world was ready and waiting for the change that could jolt the system and bring about a “reboot” of the culture, allowing the acceptance of a new paradigm in which man could reject the mental enslavement of control religions and begin to indulge in the possibilities of personal satisfaction for its own sake.
From 1966 until 1997, just 31 years, LaVey’s diabolical contagion infected the systems of power and control in religion, philosophy and popular culture. A youthful generation, primed and ready to be free grasped LaVey’s vision in whole, or in part, or as bits and pieces that could be recombined and reasserted to fit one’s personal views and agendas. As all successful viral infections, it was infinitely mutable, and mutations of that initial infection continue to this day, when new generations continue to rebel against the power elite to assert their own rights and sense of value into societies and cultures hostile to their personal freedom.
Heroes came and will come in the future. Some will make changes quietly, and we might never even realize how important they were for change until long after their passing. But some may well stand as giants amongst us, writing change with fiery rhetoric and words that strike like lightning. Some might be “under the radar,” and speak softly amongst us, yet their words will be filled with wisdom and speak of self worth and the need of individual freedom, as well as cultural and societal changes that will benefit those of us on the Left Hand Path. Many will reject their voice and brand them as too passive to be catalysts for change. I’d urge that we listen to the words and judge for ourselves, for in the words one of the era’s great lyricists:
“Sometimes Satan comes as a man of peace.”
— Bob Dylan
The Orders of The Sect of the Horned God