Sep. 1st, 2016

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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.


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