—Alice Van Hammer
It’s been said many times that “talk is cheap”.
It’s a popular bit of phraseology. There’s truly little better way to see any degree of proof to the statement than spending some amount of time perusing the internet. It’s often been as interesting to me as it is saddening to see what could easily be described as “the free-marketplace of thought” and take note of how such a ripe opportunity for the uplifting of the species through exchange of ideas generally descends into the ugliest pits of the lowest-common-denominator. So many persons of such depth of emotion, amazing winds of creative force and diverse perspectives like all the hidden facets of decorative jewels I’ve never seen before will quickly be swept aside and forgotten by the “thumbs-up” buttons and popularity algorithms in favour of snappy quips, snarky searching for self-validation, an endless series of memetic effluvium and the boorish tedium of catchy, trite, simplistic homily masquerading as personal conviction.
Most often these take the form of some open-ended vague statement of morality or ethics set to a loosely related background picture- like a fashion show for discarded fortune-cookie wisdom.
Though all of these things drive me to roll my eyes and set my finger twitching to click the ‘next’ arrow, it’s the last of them which genuinely sets my teeth on edge.
Generally I refer to these bits of empty nostalgic regurgitation as “milk-carton philosophy”. The term coming from my derogatory view of the statement and by extension, the speaker, as having the level of depth you might find written as life-advice on the side of a grade-school cafeteria half-pint milk carton.
Recently I again encountered one specific example of this demi-philosophy which has long lived in the trunk of my personally most challenging. Whereas many of these empty bits of rhetoric just feel as an insult to intelligence in general, this one is something of an affront to me on a level akin to personal dignity. This is because this statement rides that amazing line between intellectual irresponsibility and dangerous social naivete.
Though it may be presented with slight differences, it always boils down to some mutation of “Words don’t matter. Only actions matter”
As you’re most likely reading this on the internet—words on a screen alerting you to new information and possibly altering your understanding and perceptions, even if only in a minor way—the absurdity of the statement is likely self-evident.
If it isn’t, worry not. I will now selfishly and pedantically drive the point into the ground for several paragraphs.
Though the act of expressing words through speaking or writing is by definition an action, there’s a much more debilitating part of this statement which as a Satanist, I find revolting.
Words are the flesh of thought. They are the tangible constructs we as sentient beings give to our gossamer, ethereal notions when we wish for them to live outside of our minds and interact with the world. Until thoughts and feelings are encased in the skinstuff of words, they are devoid of meaning to anyone besides ourselves- thus, the quality of our thoughts and feelings is only as meaningful as the quality of the words we use to express them. Therefore we must develop a healthy vocabulary of words to best express our thoughts to others- put them in their “Sunday Best” effectively, so as to be properly understood and hopefully convey the intended message.
Words inform belief—ALL belief. From the superstitious fanciful concepts of phantom firetrucks in the clouds to the ethical evaluation of modern views on race-relations, sexuality and political discourse- the words we ingest shape and form our understanding. Much of this boils down to timing and opportunity, of course. A child will be exposed to words for the first time which will effect them infinitely differently than an adult who will already have been inoculated against those words with an injection of a wholly different logic. Still- A good speaker can utilize words as a scalpel to peel away at specific thoughts in another, trimming away years of defensive programming and re-shaping their worldviews with such subtlety that the listener doesn’t even notice the manipulation. Consider the well-spoken persuasive arguments you may have listened to on any number of youtube podcasts—AronRa, Henry Rollins, Jordan Peterson, Lucien Greaves, agree with them or not, these men all utilize words to very effectively reach out and alter the beliefs of the persons who take the time to listen.
These beliefs are the bedrock of actions—ALL actions. We act according to our beliefs. The application of the words which have most effectively been etched into our consciousness- actions are belief made manifest. No hero in brightly colored tights would ever save the kitten from the tree, regardless of how it wailed, without the ingrained belief that it was their personal ethical mandate to do so. No jack-booted thug ever pushed a screaming child into a pit to die beside their parents in a blazing inferno without the drilled-in belief that it was the best possible action for them to take for their country’s betterment. From the most selfless act of heroism to the most despicable act of violation of personal sovereignty and basic humanity, all actions are built upon a core system of beliefs and the words which shaped those beliefs.
One of the greatest and most handily available examples of this chain of cause and effect being the christian bible.
Though it is, itself, “only words” it’s impact upon the world at large is nigh-incalculable. Billions of people across boundaries of nation, languages and culture all shape their every waking action upon these words and the beliefs shaped by them. From the simple, childlike hope in existence beyond death to the concept of an ultimate figure of authority from which all concepts of justice can be derived, the christian bible—for better or for worse has more impact than an atomic detonation—with all of the horror that statement would entail.
For centuries, it was used in our country, this simple collection of “just words” to justify the continuing existence of slavery. No ‘god’ ever appeared to a single credible source to give any statement on the subject. There has never been a recorded incident of any tornado of sentient flame demanding the subjugation of the negroid people. There has only ever been a collection of words. Those words, those badly written, poorly constructed fables, parables, short-stories and open-ended soliloquies were enough to engender beliefs in generations of white people that they were a “superior race”, chosen by “god” to be the masters of the world. We, Americans, literally fought a war, killed hundreds of thousands of human beings, ultimately, because of those words and the beliefs they fostered. Though slavery has been abolished, the bigotry, mistrust and hatred between “racial groups” still continues on. Those beliefs and the damage that they cause live on to this day and will likely continue to scar us as a species for centuries to come- all of it justified by “Holy Scripture”.
“Just words” …
There are, of course countless smaller-scale cases of the capacity of words which may seem more relevant to the everyman. From the increase in serotonin caused by reading a simple naughty limerick on your facebook feed to the tragedy of cases in which human beings were murdered for no more reason than the wrong words ingested by the worst possible individuals- the pizza-gate shooting comes to mind.
In Satanic thought, regardless of the personal flavouring, Luciferian, Laveyan, Church, Order or Temple, all branches of Satanism hold some level of veneration for the gathering of knowledge. It is through this process which we grow and improve our lot in life, our physical health, social standing- ourselves. We gather knowledge. We collect new facts, philosophies and concepts. Some horde them like a dragon on a pile of precious treasure. Others polish the golden tidbits up and re-distribute them to the uneducated masses. Either way, ALL agree that knowledge, in some sense, is Power.
Call it the guiding light of the Morning Star, the burning torch crowning The Baphomet, The Sun Disk hovering over Ibis-headed Thoth or the fire of Divinity which burns in humanity in the end it is all the same damned thing-
A single word spoken at the right time can undo the greatest of actions.
To ignore this fact is dangerously stupid and an affront to Satanism as a school of thought.
Choose the words you use and ingest carefully. Each one, whether we appreciate it or not, is a brick which begins the construction of something much greater in our mind- or in the mind of those we give it to.
Hail Satan and Hal Thyself.