Maybe it’s the dreadful, hypocrite ghost of Ayn Rand that still haunts us in the individualist community, or maybe is the general state of the world that still makes many completely unaware of what it means to do stand on their own two feet regardless of what it does to those around?

I started to call myself an individualist five or six years ago, starting to use it in-between the other definition I’ve used so often: satanist. Sometimes I feel I’m protecting myself against the wrath of others by actually choosing the latter definition as it’s so unreal to most people out there, and to those that is not so well-read on the subject will only see me as quirky and strange instead of just being a dick. Using that shield, the S-word, comes in handy many times, when individualist becomes too provocative to the uninformed masses.

I fully understand them. Looking around me I see tons of morons claiming to be individualists without even coming close to what it is. From those blindly following a political leader of their choice, often someone whose agenda is to hinder others from living their lives to the fullest to raging psychopaths with zero interest in developing their social skills or inner life.

No wonder people tend to think we’re idiots; cold-hearted monsters with our right had on Atlas Shrugged and the left convulsively holding our beloved reproductive organs in a hypocritical scream of “I don’t care about anything”. That’s not individualism. Trust me.

After spending years whining over myself, from my looks to my talent, I decided to shape things up and started to think differently. It’s an easy thing to write, but it took years to reach a level of decent self-respect and love, and I’m still not there yet. Why? Because I’m a human, as we all are, no matter gender, political direction, origin or taste in culture. Humans tend to feel things and if you don’t feel, something IS wrong. A quickly slapped on “cool” philosophy won’t change that. It’s so much more. I’m not a fan of gurus and leaders, but I understand that sometimes we all need someone’s hand to hold, the important thing is to let go of that hand and start walking your own path. I’m still a huge admirer of Anton LaVey, but I don’t let his philosophy dictate my life — as I’ve seen it’s been done to many others. Just because he was a patriot and loved guns doesn’t mean I have to do the same. That’s quite the opposite of being an individualist or satanist, and LaVey himself was very careful to point that out.

To be a true individualist one need to understand that it’s not only your own individualism that’s important. Put yourself first, love and respect your being and all that, of course; but if you can’t respect the individuality of others you’re just not it. You’re just a follower, something far more dangerous than the one that gives orders; someone who without question follow the orders of others. Spending your time trying to stop anyone from living their life is pathetic. That’s not your — or my — business. As long as they on an individual level don’t hurt anyone and not deliberately using the power of the masses to destroy, everything is fine. Mind your own business as much as they should mind theirs. Becoming yourself through the costs of others makes you a failure. If you don’t like them, ignore them. It’s that easy.

On a personal level I’m pretty sure I will stay the way I am until the day I die, as I don’t feel the need any more to stand on the barricades — there’s others who do that much betters if it comes to politics, activism and making society move forward. I don’t mind them, as long as I don’t have to participate. I would be a lousy political activist anyway. If people around me are happy and can live as they want, I’m happy and feel safe. Imagine of that was a concept everyone could live after without diving into stupid selfishness instead of a healthy version of it.

Don’t be a bad individualist; don’t be an asshole. You’ll enjoy life to a much higher degree if you just follow that simple philosophy.

Fred Andersson is a Swedish author, individualist, satanist and freelancing editor-in-chief and story producer. He’s written two books on the subject, Homo Satanis: How I Learned to Love Satan and other Insights from my Childhood and Homo Satanis 2: The Devil Made Me Do It, and is currently working on the third and last part. He lives outside Stockholm with his photographer husband Grzegorz, two cats and thousands of books and films.

Author, thinker, television freelancer, mystery aficionado and cat lover.