Originally published on The Modern Satanic Man; November 4, LI A.S. – http://www.themodernsatanicman.com/?p=727
Act I – Your Word
I love playing baseball. As a kid I joined local leagues and had a blast riding my bike across town to play. I lived in a very small LDS community at the time and it was safe to ride your bike across town at the age of 8. I had a sense of independence, of freedom as I coasted down the hills to the ballpark. The food truck at the end of the field was ever full of candy. Big League Chew and candy cigarettes were my personal favorites. Then there was the game and the feeling of being on a team. Belonging to a group of other kids is important at that age. The problem was, though I was great up at bat, I was sub-par on the field. The team quickly turned against me. After weeks of failing to connect with the other kids, I asked my step-father if I could stay home. I loved the sport but the experience was painful for me. My father told me something that stuck with me to this day: “Adam, a man sticks with his commitments. Sometimes it will be hard, but you gave your word, and that is all you have in the end.“ On the surface it’s a macho-manly statement, but it can also keep you in the corner and miserable if followed to the letter.
In the end, the bullying became too much for me and I stopped going to the games. My step-father was disappointed in me, but it became a burden and was ruining my love of the game and team sports in general. I could pretend the kids pushed me out or that I abandoned the team, but the truth, as it usually does, lies somewhere in the middle. I learned at the age of 8 that you can’t please everyone and if you are not happy with what you are doing, try to change it and make it work. If that doesn’t work, move on and focus on the next experience. I would later read this in The Devil’s Notebook by Anton Szandor LaVey:
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
A sure way of making a pest of yourself. Better: “If at first you don’t succeed, wait and see what happens. If nothing happens, try a different approach. If still unsuccessful, try someone or somewhere else.”
That was the beginning of what later I would identify as a lifetime on the outside. It’s not something I choose or even pride myself inherently with. It’s a simple reality, and I live it.
It was also around this time that I was baptised into the LDS religion. I understand why I never fit in on the ballfield, but I didn’t understand why I couldn’t fit in with the other kids at Sunday School. I don’t recall ever doing anything against or to them besides being honest when I liked or didn’t like what they said, did or wore. I have come to accept that they could smell the beast on me and rejected my brutal honesty. After a healthy few months of trying to “get along” with the other kids, I stopped and my parents were good enough to let me stay home. I never saw it as withdrawing, as I would continuously try to connect with others, but it rarely ended in friendship. This isn’t a sob story. I had very good friends as a child. These were close connections that lasted until we moved again, which seemed to be every 5 years until I was a young man. The one link that I shared with those who would be my friend was being on the outside. You see, there was the jungle of kid-dom, where all the little monkeys played and there was the outside, the wasteland where we lived, where I stood on the outside looking in.
It wasn’t until I had multiple “friends” physically attack me that I came to the conclusion I would never fit in. So, I should stop trying. Rocks in the face, and fights in the street sent a clear enough signal. I don’t apologize for who I am. I accept that I will never be able to connect with everyone and, in truth, I have learned not to try or care. To those who resonate with me, I welcome you. When you stop, I accept it. I will not change who I am to fit in or to “get along”. And if I’m engaged in an activity that is not working out for me, I’ll try to shift its focus and keep my word, but if it becomes counterproductive in the end, I won’t waste time with it. Side note: I still love playing baseball.
Act II – Responsibility
When I read The Satanic Bible the first time and came across the 9 Satanic Statements, I was lifted up inside. When I got to that Seventh Satanic Statement my inner fire grew into an inferno.
Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all!
This explained my entire youth in one really long sentence. I know most people that read this think of how man treats the natural world around him, or how he can be cruel to his fellow man or even deeply hypocritical between his declared beliefs and actions. But there are those that use it as an excuse to behave like an animal. At the core of this interpretation is an inability of that individual to accept responsibility for their mind or actions and use this as an excuse to stay at the base of the human experience. I believe this is an inherent flaw in the individual but more, completely antithetical behavior to the Satanist. After all, just one line above the Seventh Satanic Statement is the Sixth:
Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!
As a young man, I was exposed to these vermin more than I would like to admit. I was opening myself up to them and allowing them to drain me of resources, energy and ambition. I truly believed these were my friends and thus refused to take the responsibility for my situation. They took care of me, they seemed to support me as long as I didn’t reach too high, and ultimately proved to be holding me back. I learned this lesson and, though it wasn’t as clear as a rock in the face, it hurt just as much. I decided to take responsibility for my own life, turned my back on my supposed friends and looked to the future. I ultimately joined the U.S. Army and was forced to “get along” with others.
This was a culture shock in every way. I was always on the outside, and now I was deep – deep inside the cult of personality of the soldier. What I had learned as a child and young man would prove to be key to my success in this institution. It was a means to an end. I wanted to go to college, but I couldn’t afford it. So the U.S. Army was my ticket. I just had to ‘play the game’ as my step father told me. “It’s just like a role playing game Adam. You are playing the role of a soldier. Be that character for the duration of your contract. That’s it!” This time I would take his advice, and I was a model soldier. I was granted early access to higher rank at every opportunity to advance by my leaders and I was always in a leadership position over others – mentoring them and grooming them to replace me for when I would inevitably leave.
I learned to apply Lesser Magic on a daily basis to get through my service and, in the end, I thrived. In an environment that was the exact opposite of my very nature, I thrived. I decided not to reenlist because I had done what I wanted to do. I earned a GI Bill for college and I left with an Honorable Discharge as an E-5, Sergeant. The military taught me that with a little hard work and Lesser Magic, you can do virtually anything. One without the other though…. You will ultimately fail.
I took the responsibility of a soldier, my own mistakes, my soldiers’ development and my job head on. Though it wasn’t easy, I did it anyway because I knew I could handle it. I gained confidence in my youth: Confidence to step in when a friend was being attacked by a bully; confidence to stop my own friends from being the bullies; and the shame of realizing when my behavior was bullying. I accepted the consequences of my own actions and learned from them – moving forward with my best effort not to repeat them. I spent my fair share of time in front of the First Sergeant and Company Commander for falling short in my commitments. I accepted an ass chewing when I had to and doled them out to my soldiers when necessary. The experience of the military forced me to accept and learn responsibility. I know at my core that I am an animal, but more, my awareness of it and acceptance of the responsibility of my actions allowed me to grow past that base of the human experience.
Act III – Own You
I would graduate college and spend my career successfully living the goals of my youth. But it doesn’t end there. As a Satanist, I ponder what it means to be a man, to be the best version of me. I am on a path to self actualization and the only way I can do that is to direct that fault of brutal honesty that contributed to my outcast youth toward myself in everything I do. This means I am rarely satisfied, seldom content and never happy with a project I am working on. I am hyper-aware of its flaws. I take responsibility for those flaws, and do what I can to correct them.
I give my word with the confidence of a man with the best of intentions to see it through. If the act falls short, I’ll try and correct its course, and if it still fails to meet a minimum standard of excellence, I must end it or fall into a trap of counterproductivity. I refuse to be lulled into a “good enough” stance and, though it means at times I break my word, I must be honest with myself and those around me. Lesser magic is only effective with hard work, but if you’re using Lesser Magic on yourself to “get along” or to keep your “word”, you are nothing. This is not Satanic behavior and it does you no favors in the end.
As a career professional, father of two intelligent children and husband to a supportive wife, it is the experiences I have and learn from that make me the man I am today. My nature is undeniable, demanding, difficult and driven. I am capable of doing anything I want in life because I am willing to work for it and exercise my authority with Lesser Magic to see it done. However, I am not so blind as to be unable to end a project or friendship if it doesn’t live up to my standards or vision.
Yes, we are animals and inherently flawed. If not by our genetic makeup or physiology then by our human nature, we can be in control and decide to be more than just an animal. All you need to do is stand up, find your direction, work toward it, exercise control over it and shun those who would try and drag you down. Man up and own you! Be the Satanist that you were born!
Gene Lavergne – Copy Editing
Adrian Vino – Essay inspiration