QUOTE(sirius666 @ Feb 11 2011, 03:45 AM)
Thus, it has always been a curiosity to me, how people may be drawn with such rapidity and frequency to the evils of Satanism, Chaos Magicks, Necronomicon, Demon Magicks and Sorcery when there is such an abundance of paths to take ?! Generally (in the west) people have a strong aversion to Satan, demons, and sorcery (despite the fact that Satan and his fellows "are the best friend(s) the church has ever had; after all (they) have kept the church in business all these years" A.S. LaVey).
What is the draw to the dark side ? Why must we venture into the slimy realms in search of our true selves ?
There are probably as many reasons as there are people on those paths. But I think one very attractive element is that these traditions often address what it feels like and means to be human. These paths usually accept and condone our very human impulses - we want creature comforts, we want sex and fun and to sate our appetites. There isn't (always) some assumption that you have to live this and such a virtuous lifestyle to get this and such reward. We want to do magic for ourselves for money and power or whatever we want, without some authority over our head saying "if you do that, you'll be sorry." Now, these are shallow reasons, maybe, but it reflects most of what I've heard from people who actually take that 'darker' path.
On the other hand, there are some who genuinely feel that on a deeper, philosophical level, the spiritual world is just as cutthroat as the material one, and that having a 'service to others' and 'white light goodness' approach to spirituality and magic means you are a meal to the strong in that world, and that to attain spiritual mastery you have to bring that spiritual will to survive down (or up) into the material vessel. This is, to me, truer to the nature of the 'myth' of the First Born angel waving his fist at God's authority and being cast down for it - here is a magician who is going to pick a fight with God because he really believes God is unjust, and that in the Fallen World you have to be strong to survive.
And there are those that just believe there is the path to power. Why invoke angels for their vague protections, or pray to benevolent gods who might give you cryptic omens, somehow for your own greater good, when taking this path means I get these and such material and temporal rewards? In a world where the needs of the individual are becoming less and less important than the needs of the whole, there's a sense of security in knowing that you're practicing a path that offers to fulfill your needs, and everyone else is on their own.
Then there is the 'light' 'dark' side - Satan isn't really evil at all, he wants to awaken human consciousness, and brings enlightenment, etc. I think that a lot of this comes from people who want to rebel against christianity, but don't want to really get into the 'slimy realms' at all. I can't say what the long term rewards of a self-proclaimed 'evil' path is, most people are scared to be evil in the eyes of society, much less their own eyes. At least scared to be chaotic evil. We're all a little bit lawful evil on some level, at least at first. So being able to devote yourself towards a path that offers personal individual reward, but not at the expense of your morals, is comfortable. "I'm still a good person, I just have an alternative path that other people don't understand."
The reward of being truly absent of morals, being able to make and execute decisions purely on the basis of "What will this get me?" without any regard for, "What will it cost someone else?" is a sure path to temporal power. Freed from the restrictions around you, in that way, you can achieve anything if you're smart enough to act within the system but purely on your own behalf. And I don't mean wanton destruction, murder, rape (chaotic evil), but the calculated "screw everyone else" pure service to self attitude.
The droves of individuals who do it because it's alternative and they just want to be in that 'oppressed' minority aren't worth mentioning really, suffice it to say that for some it's really just a phase, and all they want is attention, but those usually don't last.
In any case, I believe we can find ourselves everywhere, on any path. Maybe not necessarily all of yourself, maybe only a part, but there is something to find none the less. Maybe these people want to find the part of themselves that our world has convinced them isn't worth knowing about, and rightly so - who can tell you what part of yourself you should and shouldn't know and accept, and even use to its fullest potential? It's fair to say that our world becomes more collective over time, groups are generalized because with so many it's hard to assess and meet the needs of individuals, and as a result that world tells you "The part of you that want to fulfill your own needs is less good than the part that wants to fulfill others' needs." not because it really believes that, but because it's easier to manage everyone if they all think that way. Don't, and you're now a problem element (or a future political leader).
Anyway, that's some of my cents.