Adding A Spoke
by Jake Block
“The wheel’s been done. I’m only adding a spoke.”
— Joshua McKinley (Designer)
There’s a saying that all art is derivative, and that may be true. I mean, look at pretty much any movie in the theater today, and you’ll find that it’s an adaptation or re-retelling of one that has come before. Plays… same thing. Books… yep. TV programs… don’t get me started. But there’s nothing wrong with being derivative, so long as you aren’t boring or out and out plagiarizing the work of someone else.
As a writer, I strive for originality in at least my take on things, but with all of the words ever written on all of the subjects ever written about, the chances for true originality are fleeting. The best we can reasonably expect to do is add a spoke to the wheel of thought that has already been created. We can’t really or reasonably recreate “love,” but we can tell how love makes US feel, and perhaps that pressure in our chest when our lover comes into view will be something that someone who has yet to feel love might somehow understand, even though we might not ourselves, yet.
Sadly, though, there are people out there who seem to think that just because they write something, it can bear the label of “original thought,” ignoring the work of others that essentially presented the same information earlier, by years or even decades. I hesitate to call it plagiarism, because in many cases, it’s just someone zealously trying to communicate something that they have found in their studies that has significant meaning for them. Like most writers, I’ve seen my own words come back at me in the essays of others, reupholstered like a new couch, and I often wish that the writer had at least given me credit in passing.
I’m pleased to give credit where credit is due when I write. I often use supportive quotes by LaVey, certainly, but I find inspiration in many literary works, it sometimes interests people when I might quote something from the Bible, Mark Twain, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Carl Sagan, Popeye or Mister Ed. I honor those individuals living, dead, or literary constructs that have gained immortality through the creative and erudite writing of masters at their craft. And that said, I do create original thought, and that’s meaningful, but I’m not arrogant enough to think that I’m changing the world by my thoughts. All I can hope to do is spur thought in others, and they in others, again and again and again, until at last insight and change can be instituted, seemingly seamlessly, into the lives of a few.
Humility… not very “Satanic,” to some, but one can take justifiable pride in the things one has done without becoming a pompous, blustering ass about it. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be funny that we see so many “gods” demanding that people think or do as they demand, based on the concepts of a religious or philosophical concept that they have found and, almost overnight, claim mastery over. Doubly tragic when that concept is “Satanism,” in its myriad forms, and it never occurs to them that in demanding dogmatic fealty to a mere concept, they totally negate a concept that rejects herd mentality for the ultimate goals of free thought and “undefiled wisdom.”
Sir Isaac Newton is accredited with the quote, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” It’s a grand thought that keeps me humble. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of “this thing of ours” for more years than many have been alive, and a bit closer to the center of the wheel than some. It’s given me insights and experiences that I have been smart enough to pay attention to, for each has been a part of my evolution in Satanism to the man I am today, in the twilight of my years. They’ve contributed to my personal philosophy and vision of Satanism in the 21st Century, of course covering the latter part of the 20th Century as well. We live, we learn and we grow, hopefully, and realize that this Left Hand Path isn’t a “path,” but more like a superhighway upon which we each have a lane of our own to cruise and explore. Truly, individuality on individual paths to individual enlightenment is key to longevity and one’s success on this dark road of self discovery and self deification.
As time goes by, the wheel gets larger and more elaborate, with more and more spokes being created by more and more individuals forging new ones to suit their vision, strengthening that magic wheel with every new addition. How you use that wheel, be it for a chariot or a comfortable sedan is up to you. Make it your own, but always remember those whose contributions to your creation came before.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
— Edgar Allen Poe