Originally published in The Black Flame, July, LI A.S. – https://tmblr.co/Zw4acx298vQPW
“You look up when you wish to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
My earliest memories center around coloring books. There was something about bringing a page to life through a crayon, marker, pen or pencil that excited me. My favorite coloring book was Superman. The way his muscles bulged as he lifted a car or the speed lines that trailed him as he raced to save someone in distress. I was a part of his experience. I literally colored the experience as I narrated his struggles and victories in my imagination. For me, there was no higher power, no greater god than Superman and by extension, myself.
You see, I was an accident. Unplanned. I was a miracle. This is what my mother told me. My parents had two daughters but my father always wanted a son. After two misses, as he saw it, they were ready to call it quits. My mom had an appointment to have her tubes tied, and a week before the appointment she discovered she was pregnant. You could say it was because of this she always put me on a pedestal. My father was so proud, he rarely let me down. He shunned his daughters to celebrate his son. I was the prince, the heir to his non-existent throne. A gift.
Kal-El was the first natural son of Krypton and more specifically, the house of El. His parents had no expectation of having a natural birth, and when they saw their little boy, they exalted their son. They knew their planet was dying, and rather than see this miracle die with it, they sent him off to live. When Kal-El crashed to Earth, he was discovered and raised by the Kent family, who could not have children of their own. They raised him as Clark Kent, instilling him with a firm moral compass and taught him to use his power for good.
Kal-El or Clark Kent or Superman is alien, yes, but mortal. His physiology is enriched by the radiation of our yellow sun. It is our place in space that gives him his godlike powers, but without his power, he is the same person. He is strong of will. He has the courage of his convictions. He is Self-Actualized. He acknowledges his weaknesses and tries to improve on them. He is the best of what makes a man.
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about the Übermensch in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Übermensch is not a superhero as we understand it through modern superhero comics, but a state of empowered humanity, of being satisfied with the natural world, and commanding it so as not to need fairy tales of an afterlife, or higher being—of truly being satisfied with who and what we are.
It is this idea that frames the phrase “God is Dead”. If God is the source of destruction of humanity, seeking his enlightenment is the only way to transcend that destruction, and the Übermensch is humanity transcended, there is no need for God. The Übermensch is a goal of self. It is the self-actualized state many are capable of reaching, though most will never make the climb.
Anton Szandor LaVey created the Church of Satan and Satanism as a carnal counter to the hypocrisy of the Judeo-Christian world. The Satanist is one who champions the natural world, while exercising his will to command it. In The Satanic Bible, LaVey wrote that The God You Save May Be Yourself. This is a revolutionary idea that is a natural ‘next-step’ from the Übermensch. If we create god as an extension of our ego and sorrow, and we recognize this fact, we are freed to create whatever type of god we want. Why not be your own god!? You are the source of your depravity and sin, you are the source of your rage and destruction, and you are the source of your compassion and lust—OWN IT!
LaVey tells us that humanity needs ritual, another excuse for creating god, and that we can celebrate our own demon of pride via Greater Magic—formal cathartic ritual. Through such ritual we combine the carnal with the spiritual and the we realize there was no spiritual in the first place! If we simply empower ourselves, we can be powerful. And in recognition and the exercising of this idea, we truly are the highest embodiment of human life!
I connected at a very young age with the idea of being a god. You could call it a natural step of the praise my parents showered upon with, my recognition of self as a being separate from the herd of god worshippers, a natural Übermensch, or as a chromosomally created Satanist.
My connection to the idea of being a Superman, an Übermensch, a Satanist is not exclusive to my human experience, but it is restricted to those who have the courage to step outside of the false light of divine salvation. It is only visible to those who refuse to accept the image of others’ manufactured gods, the notion that this world is of sin, and that that is somehow a bad thing. IT IS NOT.
So what are the characteristics of THIS Superman?
- Strength of Character: We have a strong moral compass and sense of self. This is partially derived from the culture in which we were raised, but also from our carnal egos. Not one of us need see the world as the other, simply because it is OUR strength of character that guides us.
- Self Actualized: This is not something that is ever truly achieved, something that you will have and thus stop chasing. We are aware of our individual strengths and weaknesses. We see where we want to be in life, and strive to better ourselves where we feel we are deficient, constantly climbing that mountain to self-awareness.
- Godlike to the herd: We understand that by our very human nature, we need to celebrate the carnal. We may practice ritual or psychological manipulation to fulfill this need. We also exercise both perspective and honesty in self evaluation, ideas that are truly foreign to the rest of humanity.
- Super Powers: We may not be faster than a speeding bullet or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but Satanists do have tools at their disposal. Through the practicing of Lesser and Greater Magic we can make that which would not normally occur, happen, simply because we demand it. We manipulate the thoughts and experiences of those around us in accordance to our will.
- Aesthetics: Every superhero has a costume. It is a natural cloak they drape themselves in. It is an expression of who and what they are. Having a healthy sense of style, personal aesthetics, is the primer for exercising your power upon the world. Knowing your own style allows you dominion over others, making them malleable to your will.
All of this means we are separate from the rest of humanity, but we are seen as gods to them. We refuse to bow down to their messiahs, and stand over their prostrate bodies, arms outstretched, exercising our command over them. The best part is, in most every case, they have no idea it is happening. Our super hero alter egos walk among them, unseen.
So in closing, yes, I am Superman but that’s not what the ‘S’ on my chest stands for.