Man as just another animalPosted: August 27, 2013
Anton LaVey’s seventh Satanic Statement reads;- 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!
Well maybe… Better or worse in what context Anton?
Like many of the Satanic Statements this is written in such a broad brush that it can seem over simplistic at first and open to all sorts of interpretations. On the other hand it might just be written in simple language that gets to the point like a laser beam and personal interpretation is in essence what Satanism is about.
Humans are animals. Satanism is firmly on the side of Science, Darwinism and Evolution. Recognising what we are is an important step in understanding ourselves and our potential. Moreover by removing the myth and superstition about our origin and our nature we are liberated from the shame that many religions have associated with our animalistic nature. We are creatures of flesh and bone and it is our nature to be driven by instincts to survive and to procreate. We are indeed naked apes, we are made of the same basic substance as other animals, genetically we are almost identical to Chimpanzees and our DNA is not much different from that of slugs or fish. Our ancestors crawled out of the mud and the organic soup along with everything else that lives and breathes. Some people seem to find these truths crude and debased. I find it awe inspiring and beautiful. That life evolved on earth is indeed a miracle; a miracle of science and nature.
So yes we are animals. I am an animal. I sleep, I eat. I breathe. I defecate. I fuck. When threatened I may run or I might attack. And one day I will die. In these things I am no different than any other animal; none of us are. I think this fact should give us a sense of place and humility. We are not so different or separate from the other animals we share our world with. Perhaps this means we should respect the other beasts of the Earth more. In respecting the dignity other creatures we are respecting our own true nature. For too long we have been guided by religions and philosophies which separated us from other animals and gave us a false sense of superiority over them. We have often treated them as lesser beasts, unworthy of the respect we would normally show each other. Indeed some religions and philosophies have sought to separate us from nature altogether and in doing so we have often become a danger to the rest of nature; a cancer in the fabric of the world. I believe that in recognising our true nature as being part of nature we might establish a more harmonious relationship with other forms of life and secure a longer and healthier future for ourselves on this planet.
However not all animals are the same. Not all beasts have the same abilities. There is no doubt that whales and dolphins are intellectually superior to slugs and worms. Being part of nature does not mean we have to be unrealistic about the diversity of ways nature expresses itself. Sharks have evolved to be the top predators in the ocean and their needs and experiences are very different to that of the Lemurs in Madagascar or the Pigeons in the local park. All species are different and have evolved to survive in different ways and places.
The human animal is in physical terms quite fragile in comparison to our closest mammalian relatives. However, our brain and our intellect have enabled us to become one of the most widespread, adaptable and successful species. Moreover according to all evidence that we have, humanity has developed intellectually far beyond any other species. We are clever naked apes. Through us, nature and DNA have mapped the human genome and explored the far reaches of our solar system. We have built pyramids and have mathematically calculated how the universe began. Lets not be shy about what the human animal can do and has achieved!
However sometimes our greatness is in danger of being out-shone by our stupidity. Like all other animals we are capable of killing. Like many animals we kill to sustain ourselves with food and we can also kill to protect ourselves from predators and enemies. Yet often our species has killed on a scale unimaginable to any other animal and we have killed for reasons that are unintelligible to any species. When we get blood lust we are the most terrifying beasts of all time. We are truly our own worst enemies.
And even when not setting out to do harm; our contempt for nature often leads us to do massive damage to our environment, our world and all the creatures we share it with.
So perhaps Anton was spot on.
Thankfully Satanism is not the only philosophy that recognises humanity’s true position as part of nature, although we might celebrate that fact more than many others do. In fact Satanism goes on to proclaim our divine nature as well and to champion our almost limitless potential. However before that potential can be achieved, indeed before it can be truly contemplated; we need to start with the reality of who and what we really are. We are animals, blood and bone, born in nature, evolved and evolving. There is dignity in this truth and understanding it may keep us grounded and sane. It may help us to be wise and to protect ourselves and our environment.