Monday, April 22, 2019

Back from the Abyss...

After about six months here of minimized social media presence - i.e. that needed to promote events, but nothing like my old blog, Twitter or etc. that I actually use to share substantial thoughts in the way I had enjoyed doing for like fifteen consecutive years before that - I've decided it's time for me to start blogging again.

But whereas in the past, I blogged/tweeted/etc. out of a sense that there was some larger-fun-and-fulfilling thing that I was thereby participating in, I am this time around much more focused on articulating the ideas I present here solely for my own self-understanding and Satanic pride - i.e. if someone else gets something out of it, great, and hearing from either friends or strangers in such case would be wonderful, but fundamentally I am back on here just to tell my story, not to court the favor of the public by trying to "join a conversation" or etc.

To get this blog started off then, it's long-winded story time: 

Most of my close friends are aware that I have not been in the best of mental states these past few years, but I haven't really let the full extent of this on to anyone, because for reasons I'll get to below, I was having quite significant brain fog issues aggravating my already-existing emotional anxiety/depression issues particularly last year, and I thus could not even fully articulate the true situation to myself.

I would say in retrospect, though, that while I never actually made any plans to commit suicide, I was frequently in such a mental state that, were it possible to bring about an end to one's existence purely by thinking about it, it most definitely would have happened somewhere in the August to November range of last year.  

And as short a cock as this may seem in the penis-measuring contest of "real" depression issues, it has nonetheless been a thoroughly harrowing experience for me, with last year being easily the worst of my entire life as far as mental health goes.

It is natural to wonder how and why I would be in such a state, as unlike many who find themselves in such straits, I have a wonderfully supportive family, lots of friends, an amazing job that I find fulfilling to the point that there's nothing else I'd rather do, a variety of material comforts, etc. - i.e. seemingly not a whole lot of reason to be in distress.

Casting a shadow over all of this, however, was what I am now able to diagnose as a serious spiritual problem: due to certain messaging I'd unwittingly absorbed through social media, I had come to feel like the world was steadily moving in a direction such that basically everything I'd done or wanted to do with my life, everything I think and am, would sooner or later be counted against me as a horrible mistake. 

And since I did not see any plausible way to get out of this situation without giving up rather significant things that make me "me," I had gotten to a point where I was just going through the outward motions of life rather than exulting in the true sense of "vital existence" that is integral to a life lived in the truly Satanic mode.

I will likely talk in more detail about this matter in other entries I will make on this journal later.  But here is my attempt at a condensation of some of the contradictions of ideal-vs-reality that I felt trapped by in these recent bad years of my life:

  1. The life of an academic ought to be devoted to advancing human knowledge and seeking truth beyond mere popular opinion.  Yet there nowadays seems to be an academic "herd" which regulates knowledge and truth-seeking according to its own standards of a utopian justice that it is striving toward, and in so doing prevents dissenting individuals from freely exercising their own reason & conscience to advance competing visions of "the good" - a problem for those who feel that being able to express differing visions of the good freely is a key part of a secular democratic society.

  2. A primary purpose of art is to express in more vivid and compelling form the inner world of the individual, so as to both heighten self-understanding and assure others of similar inclination that they are not alone in this life.  Yet there nowadays seems to be a creators+fandom "herd" which behaves as if the sole purpose of art is to serve as propaganda advancing one particular "progressive" worldview, and that any art that is trying to do something else - or even is just mildly imperfect in its propagandistic message - should not be "taking up space" that could be otherwise-better-occupied by other, more "on-message" material.

  3. Academia and art alike are best enjoyed by those with the maturity to separate ideas from people and to reflect deeply on those ideas.  Yet nowadays, "the herd" increasingly demands super-simplistic answers regarding what is "good" and "bad" via mere reference to what demographic characteristics an individual possesses, and rules against competent and interesting thinkers and artists either on the basis of personal factors that have no direct impact on a given work in itself (e.g. assuming that because the artist is in some sense "bad," the art must inherently be "bad" regardless of its actual contents & execution) or on even-more-irrelevant matters of "guilt by association" (e.g. "so-and-so-who-is-problematic likes Book X, therefore Book X is bad as such, and I can magically know this without actually reading it").  This kind of judgment-by-simplistic-categorization is insufferable if one has a complex identity that falls outside of the relevant "boxes," e.g. a biracial person who looks white (me) then gets their opinions written off as "just speaking from privilege," etc.

  4. Anyone who questions the wisdom of "the herd" regarding any of the above matters is liable to be condemned as oblivious to the urgency of defeating an obvious evil in the world (here they will cite whatever awful thing happened in the news this week that, by happening, renders you a shitty person for daring to not talk about whatever "the herd" is talking about) and advised that they would do the world more good if they would talk less, listen more, never trust their own judgment if it contradicts the judgment of "the herd," and invest all of their energy in the new asceticism of constant apology, slavish deference and general fear-and-guilt-mongering.

Now, some of you at this point are likely getting grumpy because you signed up for reading about my mental health problems and here I have "tricked" you into reading what appears to you to be an anti-far-left political rant.

Said grumpiness I foresee being accompanied by one or both of the following two complaints: 

i) "That's all just stupid online stuff though - why don't you just ignore it instead of getting all depressed?"


ii) "But nobody is actually saying those things in the extreme form you are putting them - all they are asking is for you to care a little bit more about social justice, so why are you acting like such a bitch in response to that minimal request?" 

To which my responses are:

i) While in the depths of my depression (i.e. less so now in the present), I was under the impression that my particular industry was inescapably saturated in this kind of thinking, and inasmuch as that might be so, I am not free to ignore it, because I could get fired and have 12+ years of expensive and time-consuming post-secondary education go in the garbage over neglecting it.

ii) "Don't advance knowledge in the direction that your own reason points you and don't make the art that best reflects what's in your heart because it's problematic" is not a 'minimal' request if you feel like your being a thinker and artist is what you are here for, which I do indeed feel.  And as for what is "actually being said": I have in recent months made a concerted effort to talk to a variety of family, friends, colleagues and assorted others (e.g. hairdressers, mechanics and other people the progressive elite is apparently too "good" to actually talk to these days) about what they really think about "social justice," and it is seriously like 95% "fuck this toxic online SJW bullshit that makes people feel like they can't speak their minds or like what they like"... and I am pretty sure a fair portion of the 5% is holding back just because they are too afraid of how "the herd" would react to their true view of the situation.  So I would argue, on that basis, that if "the herd's" intent is to promote a positive progressive message, well... you yourselves said intent isn't magic, motherfuckers! - i.e. a massive number of people besides me seem to agree that the messaging needs some work there.

Anyway though, bottom line then before I get to the better part of this entry: Imagine that you are a practitioner of a religion that explicitly conceptualizes herd conformity as a sin, yet are trying to live a fulfilling life as a thinker and artist amid a situation in which it seems like a powerful "herd" rules over the key parts of your life from which you formerly derived the most fulfillment.

The result is that you either live in constant fear of being found out and exposed by "the herd" and therefore find yourself policing everything you think and make whilst still trying to carve out some minimal way for you to be you, or you concede to the ideology of the herd, feel fully how much it seems to rule against a person whose mind and soul by default work the way yours happen to, and get thinking that suicide would thus be a rather effective way of vacating that "space" which the woke-folk are so bent-out-of-shape about you "taking up."

I hope, even if you disagree with the politics I'm implying by raising this issue, that any reasonably humane person can see how someone could be worn down by thoughts and feelings of this nature.

Okay, now on to the good news: I turned a corner in the November 2018 - February 2019 timeframe, and I'm doing much, much better now on account of the following changes:

  1. I've done a lot of "reality checking" re: my workplace, my friends, etc. (see the 95% statistic I just mentioned) + separating myself from the online scene (I was never on Facebook, but Twitter turned out to be a huge part of my problem); by doing this, I discovered that the vast majority of people in my life are actually squarely on my side against this bullshit.  I'm thus enabled to see that "the herd" is smaller, less monolithic and less powerful than I'd thought - less in need of resisting and, when there is need, easier to resist;

  2. I've engaged in thorough self-examination by testing my own politics (every test I tried puts me about three-quarters to the left - i.e. FYI, I am definitely not "the right" now just because I don't agree with every last thing the current left is doing), by continuing to read "forbidden" books and be honest with myself about what I think of them, and better-training myself to be able to detect certain forms of mental manipulation that are rife in political circles these days - "you must agree with the speaker or else you are a bad person" -type mind games and so forth - so as to arrive at a place of feeling more "in charge" of my own mental space once again;

  3. I was diagnosed with celiac recently, and upon cutting all the gluten out of my diet, the physical/emotional part of my problem suddenly receded hugely and became much more manageable.  Irritating timing inasmuch as I could have saved hundreds of dollars on therapy etc. last year if I could have figured out earlier why, no matter how much and how constructively I talked to my therapist, it still felt all the time like I'm chained to this gigantic rock of awfulness that I just can't seem to move.  But at least the chain is broken now, and the war goes much easier when it is no longer unknowingly being fought on two fronts.

Now, much as I would like to say, as someone who has been a LaVeyan Satanist for a good portion of my adult life, that at some point the will kicked in and moved me to fix myself - to dredge up inquisitiveness enough to reality-check, and determination enough to keep going with all my heretical thoughts and feelings, and awareness enough to seek the medical attention I needed - the true impetus for all this, as I experienced it, has this strange element of "sometimes, the dark powers are just looking out for you" that I would tend to associate with the more esoteric "dark pagan" -style Satanic denominations that I now find myself drifting toward.

Basically, one day I was listening to music while driving, and a black metal song with these lyrics came on:

Twilight engulf us all
Supreme existence ignored
United we shall fall
Independence unexplored
Fading is the light that never shines
Aiding manipulation against our minds
- Uada - Devoid of Light

And I don't know what it was, but I found myself extremely struck by these words - the middle two lines in particular.

It was like some daemon was suddenly at my side and pointing out to me how badly short I was falling of my own standards as a spiritual practitioner, how I was in essence wasting my life in the shadow of what I feared whilst it slowly absorbed and destroyed me + warning me that I need to start living differently or I am going to perish without leaving any impact in my wake against that which is the enemy of my soul.

I would thus say it was this - this unexpected kick-in-the-pants from the acausal realm, as I now see it - that set things in motion for a better trajectory for me: like, I just did not realize how far off course things had gotten with my life and how urgent it was to do something about it until I had this experience.

And while music has always wielded a lot of influence in my life, emotionally and spiritually this goes beyond anything I have experienced before.  I felt well and truly shattered by it for several days after it happened, during which there were alternating fits of crying and spiritual transport more typically seen in the case of sudden, violent conversions to religions-that-are-not-LaVeyan-Satanism.  Unexpected and at times awkward as this was (I thank my friends for putting up with me), I do think a lot of long-held-onto bitterness was purged thereby, and the foundation thus laid for the better and more self-affirming direction that I am now moving in.

Now, it is probably worth observing that what I have just described is, of course, exactly and hilariously opposite to the normal relationship that is expected between black metal and suicide.  But I suppose that if one is walking "the sinister path," such reversals should probably be expected. ;)

In closing then, that's the big story I have to tell for now, but I have plenty I want to say in connection to its various details regarding my renewed understanding of my spirituality, my thoughts about the political and ethical implications of Satanism, exegesis of some other black metal lyrics that are on my mind these days, and other such topics.

The tentative goal is to post something on here at least 2-3 times a month, but we'll have to see how it goes.  

To keep you entertained in the meantime: Uada's playing the city I live in next weekend, so if you're here - or for that matter, elsewhere - please consider coming out to support them if you like what you hear (more music + awesome video here).