by Jake Block
If you identify as a LaVeyan Satanist, sometime, somewhere, someone is going to level the accusation that you’re nothing but and Anton LaVey fanboy. And they could be right. Just as they might be a fanboy of THEIR philosophical school of thought. It could be Nietzsche, Aquino, Jesus, Marx, Buddha, Krishna or any of a thousand choices that one could choose.
Having a hero is no big thing, and at some time in our lives, most of us have had a hero or a mentor that has somehow affected their lives enough for them to hold them at least in respect, if not reverent awe. When it becomes a problematic for us is when we let that hero worship take over our common sense and we begin to view everything in the tinged halo of our hero’s influence. The easiest example of this is in the way that rabid Christians attribute anything positive in life to Jesus, yet exempting his influence for any of the negative aspects of life.
The problem arises when we over identify with the object of our esteem and assume that their words are the be all and end all of wisdom and truth. We see no need to learn beyond his or her teachings, and we begin to see anyone who is not at least as enamored with of them as somehow inferior, or lacking in intelligence that we, in showing of fealty display in abundance. We find ourselves ever ready to quote the “party line,” and develop terms of familiarity for the object of our devotion, such as “my lord,” “his or her excellency,” or “Uncle Anton,” although we may well have never met them ourselves. It’s not a far stretch before we devolve into “bumper sticker logic,” where we distill the words we’ve learned from rote until they will fit on a standard sized bumper sticker. “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that’s IT!”
It’s the wisest of us who learn to heed the words of those we respect and take them to heart without losing our own sovereignty and sense of identity. Add those words to other wise words you hear along the way and you become armed with the wisdom of many, rather than the opinions of one, or the few. Ideas come from many places, and some in areas we’re loathe to tread. While we might always cling to a central core of personal inspiration and impetus, as without it, we might have forever simply followed the herd and is philosophical status quo, we’ll always have a special place for the jolt of enlightenment that rocked us out of our personal inertia.
Quite frequently, people will try to chase down the gossamer threads of thought that might somehow link “philosopher A” to “philosopher B,” and assume that from their writings they were (or are) “in their camp.” LaVey himself did it in labeling certain people as “defacto Satanists,” based on their writings or incidents from their life in which they shared what he might have considered to be Left-Hand thoughts or actions. We can write it off as a benign sort of solipsism, because just as misery loves company, so do people who love and enjoy the life they live. They can then naturally, although imperfectly, imagine others in antiquity who might have had the same thoughts also enjoyed that same sensation of loving life because of it… or in spite of it. It’s more probable, though, that in the context of the times their heroes lived and thrived, association with Satanism as it existed in literature at their time, would have appalled them. Far better and more appropriate to consider those “infernal thoughts” simply thought that fit the bill, rather than pronunciations of satanic inspiration.
When Mark Twain wrote, “We all have thoughts that would shame the devil,” he was writing commentary, not canon. I still love Mark Twain, quote him often, and am an unabashed “fanboy.”