The Modified Golden Rule Revisited
One thing which might be of interest to the inquisitive Satanist is this information on one of
the central rules for social interaction in the Satanic Bible.
However, an initial word of warning might be appropriate. Several people have told me, by
now, that this article is very difficult to grasp, especially the game theory referred to.
Bluntly put you might not gain very much from this essay if you're not trained in game theoretics.
Actually, you might have to play the game with a friend to really appreciate what's
going on. A more easily read treatment of this subject can be found
in Carnal Reality and Social Darwinism by Hr. Vad.
On p. 51 of The Satanic Bible Dr. LaVey describes his Modified Golden Rule. You
may not know this, but there exists a lot of scientific research on this rule! However, this research
is not to be found under the heading of Satanism. In the late 1970s an American political scientist
named Robert Axelrod announced a computer tournament and he encouraged leading researchers to
submit strategies which would play the game "iterated Prisoners' Dilemma."
The Prisoners' Dilemma is a general game, but it is sometimes described as follows. Two criminals
have been caught by the police and are placed in isolation, each charged with a major crime they
committed together. The police haven't enough proof to convict the criminals unless they confess,
but they can get them on some very minor charges though; the criminals know this. The prisoners
are both given a deal by the police which may lessen their punishment. "Betray your friend
by confesssing, then we'll convict him of the crime, but you'll go free." Should
the player confess or keep denying the crime? (Prisoners' Dilemma is more generalv than that:
suppose you're a member of a group working on a project, should you choose to work hard (ie. cooperate
with the group member, same as Deny in the above) or loaf (let the other guy do all the work,
same as Confess in the above).
The player has two possible actions in this game: he can either Deny or Confess.
His accomplice has the same options. This gives the following outcomes: (1) If they both Deny
(D, D), ie. cooperate, they will both serve 1 year in prison; (2) if player 1 betrays his friend
by Confessing, but player 2 Denies the crime (C, D), player 1 will go free, while player 2 gets
10 years in jail; (3) if they both confess (CC) they are both put away for 8 years! It is this
last option that is tricky, because this is the outcome if they both agree to the "deal"
the cops made them. As can be seen it is overall best for the players to cooperate as they will
only serve 1 year in jail for a total of two years. However, from the individual player's point
of view, assuming selfish players, there is an incentive to cheat the other player. If he cheats
(Confesses), while the other player keeps his mouth shut (Denies), he'll go completely free, while
the other one goes to prison for 10 years. See figure below.
L | | Deny | Confess |
Y | Deny | (1,1) | (10,0) |
R | Confess | (0,10) | (8,8) |
Payoffs: (years in jail player1, years in jail player2)
If a person was only to play this game once and never see the other criminal again,
what would be the best strategy to play? Here rationality plays a cruel game. Assume that player
2 Denies the crime, what would be the best response for player 1? There's no doubt that he would
do best by Confessing to the police which would keep him out of jail. What if player 2 were to
Confess? Again the best response for player 1 is to Confess, which will get him 8 years of imprisonment,
but spare him the 10 years. So no matter what he should Confess! This is, of course, strongly
counter-intuitive, but according to the rules Confession is the best strategy available.
However, in real life this game wouldn't hold up. The two criminals would normally meet again
in real life, they would have friends on the "outside" which could punish the "rat,"
they might be able to make binding agreements that way (binding agreements in the one-shot
game are impossible!). This is why the problem regarding the iterated Prisoners Dilemma
is difficult to manage. What strategy would you adopt in this much more complicated game?
Remember, the informational structure of the game is radically altered, and all sorts
of arrangements are now possible. When would you Confess or Deny the crime? What would you do
when you met a new player in the game? How do you get the two of you to cooperate? And
so forth. This is the problem Axelrod tried to solve. Furthermore Axelrod designed the pay-offs
in the game in this way: all pay-offs were translated into offspring which inherited its
parent's strategy. (This could also be likened to an investment game where the payoff is reinvested
in the next round using the pre-specified strategy.) In other words this game explores the complexities
of evolution and long-range planning.
One researcher, Anatol Rapoport, submitted a deceptively simple strategy to the computer contest.
He called the program TIT-FOR-TAT, and it was characterized by always cooperating on the
first round of the game with a new player, then in all following games with this particular
other player TIT-FOR-TAT would do what that opponent did last round. So TIT-FOR-TAT
starts by behaving nicely, and what it does on the next turn depends on the other player. If the
opponent cooperates (Denies) TIT-FOR-TAT will cooperate in the second round too, but if the other
player defects (Confesses), TIT-FOR-TAT will punish that player by defecting the next time the
two meet. To everybody's surprise (there were no Satanists there!) this simple strategy beat all
the other strategies, even very complicated ones. These results was published in 1981, and in
1984 Axelrod published his seminal work The Evolution of Co-operation, which ever since
has set the standards in this field of research.
Only later has there been a modification to these results. A strategy known as "Pavlov"
seems to be slightly more succesful and stable than TIT- FOR-TAT. TIT-FOR-TAT is unstable in the
long run, because it allows "suckers" to invade the population. "Suckers"
will cooperate unconditionally, ie. turn the other cheek, even when blatantly violated by other
players. The danger of players following this Golden Rule is that these Suckers open up for an
invasion of extremely exploitative, war-like players that will unconditionally defect against
other players, even when the other player repeatedly show his goodwill by cooperating; these invaders
are often called "Hawks" -- or you could call them "Hobbesian". The bad thing
here is not the exploitation of the Golden Rulers, but the damage these invading, greedy players
can do to the population of Pavlovs (or TIT-FOR-TAT'ers, or Satanists). always having to
fight like crazy decreases the living standard of the Pavlovs, whereas in a population of only
Pavlovs there would only be very limited fighting: people would only fight in order to
determine the other person's type, the rest of the time they would cooperate.
The attentive reader may have noticed that TIT-FOR-TAT is exactly like Dr. LaVey's Modified
Golden Rule: Dr. LaVey explicitly says that cooperating on the first round is what the Satanist
would do, but should the other person betray you, it is only natural to stop treating him nicely
and smash this enemy. Isn't that what Satanists do? Treat people nicely, but when betrayed they
go after them? I think so. I've seen it. Done it. However, inherent in Satanism is also a tendency
to work hard to separate a sucker from his money, so in this respect Satanists are actually more
like Pavlov players!
The TIT-FOR-TAT strategy has also been named The Silver Rule by game theorist Jack Hirshleifer
in 1982 to distinguish it from The Golden Rule.
It has also been referred to as "Retaliator" by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish
Gene, 2nd Ed., 1989, which refers to work done by Maynard Smith. However "Retaliator"
is a slightly misleading phrase, because the Satanic rule is a cooperative strategy and
not a strategy promising strife, war and destruction. And not only is it a cooperative strategy,
it is also the strategy which is certain to bring you the most success in life!
The Golden Rule is the "Xtian rule" which says "always cooperate," always
treat others nicely, no matter what they do. The Xtian rule does not, ideally, allow the
Xtian to respond by revenge -- revenge is frowned upon within that religion. The Xtians say "turn
the other cheek." This rule, sometimes referred to as Dove, has been demonstrated to be inferior
to almost all other strategies, and this attests to the ignorance and stupidity of the Xtian religion.
They worship incompetence.
However, I must hurry to disabuse you of the notion that any Xtians actually follow the Golden
Rule. The Satanic Bible, or your own Xtian upbringing, may give you the impression that Xtians
are very loving and cooperative people, but this unfortunately has nothing to do with reality.
In truth Xtians are one of the least cooperative people on the earth. On the surface it
may appear as if Xtians never retaliate against those who do them wrong, but if you take a careful
look, you might discover that Xtians somehow always manages to get back at their enemies. They
just do it indirectly (when they're not exactly on a Crusade or at the Witches' Burning). This
indirectness unfortunately does not discipline other players in the Web of Life by making
them more cooperative -- the Satanic rules (Pavlov and TIT FOR TAT) do that. Xtians are at best
inconsistent when following the Golden Rule, and most often when you see them furthering this
principle it is in politics, where they are showing their Goodguy Badges off. Hence the sorry
state of all Xtian judicial systems.
Actually, Xtians seem to behave exactly the opposite of the dovish Golden Rule. Rather
they behave like the strategy called Hawk, which is characterized by always defecting, fighting
or betraying the other. Satanists who have swallowed Xtian lies often state that "there's
too much love in the world" and they think it is this "love" which destroys our
planet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Xtians are most often not loving creatures.
They are often hateful and destructive, and you are a sucker if you believe anything else.
Do you really think it is "love" you're seeing among Xtians? The Xtians say they
are loving and cooperating, but they lie and behave just the opposite. Remember, when Xtians
say they "just wanna be good" it is usually because they're not already good;
their ideals mark the things they do not have. Their Will is hate, strife and uncooperativeness.
You can continue to mistake their behavior as shoving "love" if you will, but the Xtian
definition of that word simply does not fit love as we Satanists know it. It is the utter strife
and war-like qualities in Xtianity which stands in the way of a more cooperative, sane society
which is able to solve our current problems of over-population, environmental decay and senseless
wars. If all of this sounds unlikely I advice you do research on the Xtian cruelty perpetrated
upon millions of people since they got into power.
Scientific research in so varied fields as economics, game theory, political science, biology
and zoology indicates that Dr. LaVey's Modified Golden Rule, with its important additions, is
indeed a rule which Satanists are wise to stick to. It will, of course, have to be translated
into real life by the practitioner. While it may be difficult in some respects, this is not all
that difficult, and many people do it instinctively; it is certainly a good starting point if
What you might as well get accustomed to is that the Modified Golden Rule is a cooperative
strategy, and this hints at something very important: we Satanists should not let our interactions
be infected by senseless strife. The Xtians already have that in all their relationships, where
eustress is omnipresent. Consequently everything they do is doomed from the beginning:
most of them have hellish relationships and marriages, real friendships are almost non-existant,
the "sex thing" between Xtian males and females is disastrous having spawned the feminist
movement, and it's more like a hate-fest whenever they have sex. Ballbusting and poisonous, dripping
sarcasm is their preferred way of communication, their businesses are dysfunctional due to their
inner strife...the list goes on. I believe that Satanists have the potential to avoid this Xtoid
hell, and we should be quick to spot even declared "Satanists" who embody this Xtian
"strife ethic." I usually tell such people: "How Xtian of you." And that is
what it is.
Most Satanist have an affinity for the Modified Golden Rule and feel that it is "good"
or "just." And as I have just shown, this is exactly the case. Anyone with good carnal
instincts would feel that way.
Copyright 1995-2003 Hr. Vad
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