This is the third piece of Satanic literature I have read, and I’m now starting to get sick of having to begin each review with a disclaimer of sorts, to cover my ass. But that’s life in a society where Christianity permeates the minds of ninety-nine percent of the population – even agnostics, if only subconsciously. Let it be said that unless you have dared to read a volume such as Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible, it’s probably a safe bet that you’re misinformed as to what Satanism is. Satanism is not devil worship, for there is no actual being called Satan. Satanism is a philosophy of opposition to all the spiritual religions which promote the denial of a vital earthly existence in favour of a hypothetical reward hereafter. To be Satanic is to be adversarial. The original Hebrew word “Satan” means “adversary,” and so the philosophy adopts the term “Satan” for its symbol. Satanism is all about life in the here and now, with the recognition that there is no higher authority than yourself. Far from being a license for amorality, this is true responsibility for one’s actions and their consequences. The only downside is that to declare yourself a Satanist means that you will be misunderstood (and possibly feared) by ninety-nine percent of the population. Of course, this isn’t really a downside, as the Satanist, by virtue of his adversarial nature, relishes conflict and is inclined to see the funny side of others’ unenlightened disapproval.
That’s my ultra-fast introduction to modern Satanism, as codified by Anton LaVey in 1969. For more detailed info, consult my review of The Satanic Bible. Now we come to Postmodern Satanism by Jason King. Postmodern Satanism essentially takes the foundation laid by LaVey and asks the question “What next?” A quote from an early part of the book:
Just as Anton LaVey’s philosophy has been superceded, so too will my own, for such is the nature of the world. No book has the power to codify reality for all times and places, whether it be called a Bible or not. Satanism must be an energized philosophy instead of a dogmatic one – I’d rather see people who agree with me formulate their own systematic analyses, instead of quoting me like some authoritative prophet or guru.
I could not have been more delighted reading the above. Finally, someone else who truly gets it. For the past two thousand years people have been claiming that Jesus is the answer. He is your truth package that will never be superceded. Many who have seen the lie for what it is have then fallen prey to countless mini-Christs. Take Eckhart Tolle as an example. Another guru with an enlightenment package that is supposed to be The Answer. Few seem to understand the simple undeniable observation that knowledge has always been progressive. That which we now understand merely paves the way to what we will one day understand, with many corrections en route. Jason King gets this right at the starting gate, and it makes a thoroughly refreshing change to all the self-styled gurus with their craftily packaged brands of salvation.
The central theme and defining characteristic of postmodern Satanism, that makes it distinguishable from modern Satanism, is the observation that nature itself is adversarial – or nature is Satanic, if you will. From cellular life right up to planets and suns, one thing sustains itself by taking energy from another. This is the Satanic principle of all nature. From the human perspective, the most obvious expression of this principle is seen in predator versus prey, survival of the fittest, in both the human and animal arena. Religions have put this state of affairs down to a fall from grace in the long distant past. Postmodern Satanism instead asserts that the world is as it’s meant to be; your human nature is meant to be what it is; there is nothing wrong with you. Man therefore should not spend his days seeking to expunge all that is adversarial about himself as though it were sinful. Instead, he should embrace it as the very feature that is carrying his own evolution (as well as that of the universe) forward towards betterment.
Some Christians, eager to scrape the barrel, will interpret what I’m saying as license to become a psychopath. But don’t you see that it is the very adversarial nature of man that allows the truly responsible human to restrain (or gun down, if required) the psychopath, for the protection of those he loves and the betterment of mankind as a whole. Or shall we all turn the other cheek and let the “demons” run amuck?
Postmodern Satanism differs from LaVeyan Satanism in that it makes an effort to conceptualise a spiritual reality, drawing somewhat from Eastern sources. Whereas LaVeyan philosophy was largely concerned with pragmatic matters of morality, postmodern Satanism delves into the larger philosophic arena of the nature of reality and the more fundamental reality beyond space and time. The book does not hold the reader’s hand, but presupposes an existing understanding in the reader’s head of the concept of a universal mind. This happens to be my personal philosophy, but it is not one without problems. I have been aware for some time of a seeming incongruency with the idea of everything being one while observing this oneness kicking the crap out of itself in the arena of duality. Jason King took my understanding of this to where it had been struggling to go. This material was pure gold to me.
Postmodern Satanism’s recognition of a unified consciousness is also what forces a radical reassessment of Anton LaVey’s original assertions, for LaVey was vehemently anti-spiritual and he based his entire philosophy on the triumph of the individual ego over all else.
A quick word on magic (or magick, as the author prefers). LaVeyan Satanism defined magic purely in ritualistic terms – the use of psychodrama to effect change. Postmodern Satanism sees magic as an expansion of consciousness. Ritual may be a means to a magical end, but it’s not the basis of magic. Real magic is rooted in your mind’s connection to the deeper reality beyond the purely physical.
God help me, but I really get this stuff (if you’ll excuse the theistic faux pas). As a person who spent two decades as an Evangelical Christian and who has spent the past two years publicly denouncing Christianity, it is perfectly true to call me an antichrist (according to the definition given by St. John in his epistles). I would be a hypocrite to deny it. Should I also now wear the label of Satanist? Well, it’s prudent to let the dust settle first. Let’s just say for now that I’m somewhat Satanically inclined.
Some of the material in Postmodern Satanism was confusing – which really just means beyond my current understanding. That’s no criticism, because I realise that I’m reading an author who is at my level and beyond – which makes a change from various occult books that have merely insulted my intelligence by making outlandish claims with no rational or empirical backup.
It’s worth keeping a dictionary handy when reading. The author expects familiarity with terms like “epistemological” (the nature of truth), “teleological” (the nature of being). Felt like being back in Bible class for a moment! It’s clear that the book is not aimed solely at the lay reader. Anyone should read it; just don’t expect to understand every single thing.
The only parts of Postmodern Satanism that I felt were irrelevant to me were a few lengthy commentaries on writings by Aleister Crowley, the Yezidis, and other occult texts.
The book is self-published. Unlike most self-published books, it’s extremely well written and edited. My only gripe is that some unusual typesetting choices by the author have caused the book to be about 200 pages when it could easily have fitted 150 and benefitted from the resulting price decrease. There’s no shame in releasing a small book. H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley and many others have released important works that were even shorter than Postmodern Satanism.
I first heard of Jason King through his YouTube channel, where he is a frequent video-blogger. Postmodern Satanism is available to purchase from Lulu. It’s a stellar book, one of the most important I’ve read in recent times.