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[personal profile] spirit_zone
I've been called 'chaotic good' a few times. I can definitely see why: within the moral system that Gary Gygax laid out, it's clearly the slot that I fall into. However, I think there are probably more accurate ways to describe my ethical alignment. Chaos according to whose law? Good according to what metric? The coordinates of selfishness vs. unselfishness, or authoritarianism vs. individualism, don't tell the full story.

Maybe it's better to say that I'm chaotic Apollonian. I'm full of positive goals and ideas for the future, which often, when frustrated, make me explode into a chrysanthemum firework of despair and misanthropy. Maybe that's the repressed Dionysian side asserting itself, the outcome of being too hooked in to concepts and the future and not enough to feelings and the present moment.

One of the biggest disagreements I have with Satanism, and with individualism by extension, is its emphasis on self-defense. Is self-defense necessary sometimes? Sure, and I'm not categorically against it. But the dichotomy of self-defense or nonviolence, of either hitting back or turning the other cheek, that individualism provides is just way too limited. It doesn't acknowledge the possibility of an antiviolence, of changes to society that remove the need for self-defense in the first place.

Five virtues I recognize are increasing agency, increasing complexity, increasing novelty, ending harm, and preventing harm. These aren't the only virtues, but off the top of my head they're the ones that are most important to me. If I were to start a church, I'd want these to be central tenets of it. I do like Satanism's emphasis on creativity and imagination, a lot.

AFAICT, there are only two sins, or categories of sin: causing harm, and reducing other's or your own agency to the point of causing harm. Some people need to be looked after more than others, and it's not always harmful to restrict their agency; but treating someone badly as an 'example' to others or to 'send a message' is always wrong. People are not examples or messages.

The question everyone should ask themselves is, are my actions serving the good? People don’t have to dedicate their lives to humanitarianism to be good; maybe they’re good at bringing new ideas or art into the world, and lousy at dealing with people. But I think that if someone's actions serve power, then they should betray that power and serve the good instead. And if someone's actions only serve themselves, then they need to make some changes to their lives. Even as sybaritic as I am, I won't be truly happy unless I can contribute something to the world. And unless I can help, in some small way, to make the world a slightly less terrible place.

I am chaotic, and nonconformist by alignment. But social justice, IMHO, is a far more subversive idea, and far more countercultural, than following your bliss ever was.

Date: 2016-09-09 08:12 pm (UTC)
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jewelfox
I'm personally in a situation where people who care deeply for me are doing their best, to make sure I can be self-serving and follow my bliss. They just have to keep reminding me to do so. ^^; And to stop fearing exile and punishment.

I think that there are a lot of people like this, who've been socialized to obey and to do what power demands of them. Especially people in various minority groups. I remember quotes saying that self-care is a political act, and that being happy and accepting yourself is an act of resistance, especially when capitalism demands that you be un-happy with yourself all the time. And I think this is true for a lot of people!

I guess what I'm getting at is that reading about Taoist philosophy, and learning to accept my imperfections, really helped me stop hating myself despite being raised in conservative religion. And that once I stopped hating myself, I started learning to accept and advocate for other people as well.

As for the people who sell (or have fallen for) LaVeyan Satanism and prosperity gospel ... I think taking away their ill-gotten gains would be a good first step in helping them learn to have empathy. ^^;

Date: 2016-09-16 09:55 pm (UTC)
jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
From: [personal profile] jewelfox
I think asceticism and hedonism can sort of go hand-in-hand? Like, the "voluntary simplicity" and "minimalism" movements are purportedly about saying "no" a dozen times so that you can say "yes" to the one thing you'd most love to have in your life. There's a lot of overlap between them and the "upper-middle-class white cis liberal" demographic, though, and I feel like a lot of them are blind to things like how class privilege let them pick and choose what to have in their lives.

Like, for me clutter and conflicting obligations really do make me feel stressed and miserable, but I also need lots of spoons just in order to deal with them? And I have, like, the platonic ideal minimalist laptop (IMO), but the only reason I have it is because my partner was willing and able to buy a MacBook for me.

Tying this back to capitalism, it's a lot easier in capitalist societies to buy something in search of fulfillment than it is to sell or recycle something. Partly because there is a lot more pressure to do so. I think using adblock and avoiding advertisements really helps, here.

Finally, I think "neoliberal secular democracy" can do a good job of pretending to be good for everyone. Whereas in Laveyian Satanism and Objectivism, you're loud and proud about being out for yourself. (And I say Laveyian Satanism, because I'm pretty sure we're talking about Lavey's Church of Satan here. As opposed to the Satanic Temple, which largely exists to troll religious conservative types who do things like build Ten Commandments monuments, and is honestly kind of awesome.)

This is an interesting conversation. ^^;


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