SERIOUSLY, DON’T TELL PEOPLE TO RESEARCH SATANISM ON GOOGLE
Doing research on the Internet is like that movie Akira. Sure, you can put all worldly knowledge into the hands (or brains) of just about any person on the planet and just leave them on their own. You can definitely do that. Nothing’s stopping you.
But just what do we expect will happen then? And since 102 percent of people who developed technology for the early Internet and social media watched Akira, I’m not really sure how they still made that mistake.
The reason I bring it up is this: You may well be tired of explaining Modern Satanism to people. You may be tired of the same questions. You may perceive that folks must be lazy or sheltered to still be working under certain misapprehensions in this, the year of Oh Lord 2020.
And you may well be right. Be that as it may, I have a potentially controversial opinion: DO NOT tell people to “do their own research” about Satanism. It’s not perhaps the most irresponsible thing you could do to them, but only because someone in the far-flung past already invented violence.
You know the sort of things people say on the Internet, right? Tell someone to “do their own research” and they’ll come back thinking that Lucifer commands Freemasons to put fluoride in chemtrails to activate the latent cannibalism gene in every third Girl Scout.
And if you say they’re wrong–sorry, they don’t want to hear from you anymore, that ship sailed. Or more accurately, you firebombed it from the docks, and now you’re trying to bailout its charred hulk with just a tall-sized Starbucks cup a very pronounced sense of gumption.
Even if the harried online “research” pilgrim turns to other actual Satanists, this doesn’t necessarily make things any better. For example, the lowlife, low-attention span Neo Nazi devil worship cult Joy of Satan perpetuates itself almost entirely by luring in hapless Google searchers, mostly teenagers.
Sending someone off to do “research” on the Internet is like leaving them to figure out bomb disposal through trial and error. If a human wants you to explain Satanism instead of the Infernal Reich Priest of the Planet Zeist, great. Embrace it. Hug their stupid, annoying queries to your body like the last parachute at a drunken Point Break watch party.
I can imagine some objections: Surely feeding answers to foolish people is not the Satanic path? Seekers should act of their own accord to find the Promethean fire of true knowledge or else stumble in the dark for eternity, etc etc.
But that’s just not how people learn most of the time. Dr. Ralph St. Clair’s 2015 textbook for teachers Creating Courses For Adults lays out some of the most basic principles of effective instruction, including:
“Learning is a social process conducted, either more or less directly, with other humans. People begin to learn by trying peripheral activities, then take on more complex activities as they grow in confidence and see other people perform them. Individuals will repeat actions that are associated with a reward, including the approval of peers. People learn most, and most profoundly, when faced with a dilemma or need to understand.”
I spend A LOT of time reading about Satanism-related topics. But as unpopular as it might be to say this, I don’t do it because the Black Flame of knowledge within me needs pages to keep burning or whatever.
I do it because I exist in an environment that incentivizes that learning. So, while pursuing the truth is ultimately something people must do on their own, if we don’t create the framework for it why would we ever expect them to do it?
Some may say, well, it’s not our jobs to be teachers to the world. And that’s true, you don’t owe shit to anybody. But, like a dog playing fetch with a grenade, dumb things will eventually hurt you whether you care or not.
Others may say there’s no helping the truly hopeless–and actually I agree. I tend to think we should just ship Flat Earthers and the like off to a Wifi-free facility with permanent mitten wearing to hinder typing.
But you don’t have to be foolish to be fooled, because the Internet is a six-headed gorgon of lies that’s nested in the very well of empiricism. In 2017, an Ipsos Public Affairs survey found that fake headlines fooled the subjects 75 percent of the time.
One hundred percent of us think we’re in that other 25 percent, but I called my fourth grade teacher and she confirmed that’s not how math works. Getting conned is, unfortunately, a very human thing to do.
On top of that, the technology we’re all using is essentially designed to con us. As Eli Parser pointed out in his 2011 book The Filter Bubble, the very nature of Internet communication “tends to dramatically amplify confirmation bias—in a way, it’s designed to. An information environment built on click signals will favor content that supports our existing notions.”
The system is working as intended–all the more incentive to use it less.
“Many Americans are tired of explaining things to idiots, particularly when things are so painfully obvious, a new poll indicates,” Andy Borowitz wrote in the New Yorker in 2015.
Except that poll never happened, because Borowitz’s column is satire. But people on social media often mistake his stuff for real news because OF COURSE THEY DO WHAT DID WE JUST SAY?
A potentially sensitive caveat to this opinion is that often the phrase, “It’s not my job to educate you” is a bulwark against intentionally ignorant people in arguments about issues like race or gender.
I don’t know what it’s like being black or trans or a woman online–beyond cultural osmosis informing me that it’s akin to trying to put out a fire with a single dry sponge. So I cannot say what those arguments are like for other people.
But I do know what it’s like being a Satanist on the Internet. Which is why I’m telling you, it’s basically never a good idea to leave someone to their own devices on this topic. Because those devices are plotting against them–and you–right now.