Compassion is not what you think it is – Part 1.5

Hofman A Turing

This entry is a primer for the second part of my series exploring compassion from the perspective of a member of The Satanic Temple (TST). You can find Part 1 here.

Mahayana Buddhism 101

Buddhism is a huge topic, there are many schools, and many approaches. For those of you with little or no substantive knowledge about Buddhism, please refer to the following links. Part 2 of this series will assume basic knowledge of the topic.

Patheos Library: Mahayana Buddhism

What’s a Bodhisattva?

Research on Buddhist Conceptions of Compassion
Comparison chart from preceding link.

Modern Satanism 101

Satanism is a huge topic, there are many schools, and many approaches. For those of you with little or no substantive knowledge about Satanism, please refer to the following. Part 1 included links to some fundamental information on TST, though no general discussion on the larger topic was presented.

Here’s an interesting article in TIME magazine from July of 2015:
The Evolution of Modern Satanism in the United States | TIME

The best scholarship on the topic emerges largely out of Northern Europe, and Scandinavia in particular. If you are interested in peer reviewed scholarly works on the topic make sure to check out the following titles:

The Invention of Satanism, by Asbjorn Dyrendal, James R. Lewis, and Jesper Aa. Petersen (editors), Oxford University Press, 2015.

The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, by Per Faxneld (Editor), Jesper Aa. Petersen (Editor), Oxford University Press, 2012.

Jesper Aagaard Petersen is one of the editors for the Oxford University Press survey compendium Controversial New Religions, 2005. The following passage is taken from his contribution to the volume, “Modern Satanism”:

“In fact, most Satanists and Satanic groups I have encountered are not interested in evil, either in essence or action. They doubt that the Christian moral framework that permeates Western society is doing much good; many Satanists actually consider Christianity or even all organized religion the true evil. Most seriously committed modern Satanists are deeply engaged in moral questions, and consider themselves free thinkers probing the boundaries of nature and culture because we, as human beings, can and should indulge in our mental, emotional, and physical abilities. They are also very human. As such, Satanic groups are composed of ordinary people interested in religious and philosophical matters, not evil monsters or ignorant simpletons. It is important to bracket the Christian worldview and rid ourselves of the instinctive categorization that underlies the popular understanding of Satanism if we are to understand the people involved. […]

Modern Satanism is a conglomerate of ideas expressed in distinctive ways by individual groups, and although both the groups and the underlying ideas may be difficult to press into a unified mold, they nonetheless display characteristic philosophical and indeed religious aspirations. As a starting point for discussion, modern Satanism should be generally understood as a product of the meeting between modern rationality and Western esotericism, and as such, a cousin to the New Age and Human Potential movements. In this sense, Satanism is a variant of the Self-spirituality or Self-religion of the twentieth-century West, utilizing a large number of different sources to express a unique vision of the self and the world. The Self-spirituality of the New Age movement is built on “the monistic assumption that the Self itself is sacred,” which results in “general agreement that it is essential to shift from our contaminated mode of being—what we are by virtue of socialization—to that realm which constitutes our authentic nature” (Heelas 1996: 2).”

Keep in mind that the previous quote predates the emergence of TST (in 2012), which is more about rebellion against tyranny as embodied in social activism, and less part of the Self-spirituality and Human Potential movements than are other organizations or currents. Future blogs will address these differences in more detail. In the meantime, here is a good primer on the core of TST ideas.

David Pakman Show (Oct. 2014)
– Satanic Temple Founder Talks Atheistic Religion


The following quote is from “Liberty, Discord, and the Left-Hand Path” by Lacrimae Mundi

“To give a bit of background on conceptions of left-hand path and right-hand path, they were introduced to the Western world in the late nineteenth century by occultist Helena Blavatsky, who mistranslated Eastern, Vedic concepts. Western culture has a tendency to oversimplify concepts into terms of white and black, good and evil. But it’s more complicated than that. In the East, the symbolism of the hand indicates which method one uses as a path to enlightenment. Dakshinachara (right-hand path) and Vamachara (left-hand path) describe different forms of Tantra; the first being orthodox, involving a spiritual and non-physical approach, the second being heterodox, involving sexuality and/or the breaking of taboos. Western culture’s current ideas may be influenced by corruptions of the original Eastern ideas; but as they stand, RHP is associated with values such as conformity, keeping peace, and the individual’s place in the bigger scheme of things, while LHP has come to describe individualism (which entails personal freedom, or the idea that morality is not as simple as a one-size-fits-all concept). Someone who breaks taboos and social conventions is not necessarily evil, but mainstream culture tends to demonize what it finds to be out of the ordinary.”

Part 2 is here.

Featured image: “Evil Lotus” by Rafal Wechterowicz for Mastodon



Author: Hofman A Turing

Hofman A Turing is a polymath educator, philosopher, and TST Satanist interested in various intersections of art, music, technology, entheogens, culture, individual liberty, and social justice. He lives in New York City.

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