Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The WMT - Literature, Theatre, Mathematics, Kabbalah

All these little people, out there, that we see.  Y'understand? Fellow asks ''what are they there for?'' Well, Charl, We Don't Know.  But we think, you give the thing to your boy, he gives it to my boy, these people get to eat , they don't have to go beg and get in everybody's face at the airport the whole time.

Bobby Gould, Speed-the-Plow, David Mamet 

Leaders, mentors, teachers and authors have all contributed to the decline in the quality of Occulture by spurning the Blogosphere in favour of other social media in their various attempts to privatise parts of the community.  I do not think that these attempts are inherently bad nor am I condemning attempts to cash in on occult services but the way in which they have manifested have had negative as well as positive implications. Most of those who attempted this, failed, but they did their damage anyway and in their cases there was nothing lasting gained.  The Blogosphere is the single best gift Google could give us, a platform which allows for a diverse spread of different approaches - journalling, essays, theses.  It provides a level playing field, in that you don't have to already have an existing ''brand'', but requires a certain level of sophistication to use and doesn't fall so readily to the lazy demon of chat which has claimed so many of my fellow bloggers. I arrived fairly late to the Blogosphere and was amazed at its richness/diversity and am now unsurprised by the nostalgia for it as Occultniks face another day of interacting in Facebook's generic and demeaning Skinner boxes. People were moving in the opposite direction though - to other platforms more ''accessible'' than Blogging - as on the one hand Facebook allowed authors/teachers who had a product to sell to massively increase their traffic (although it inevitably deflated their allure/mystique and drew traffic from the blogs) and on the other it gave an equal voice to everyone, since it requires no skill or thought to use. I can completely understand those with a financial interest as I use Facebook myself (as an  effective marketing tool in a non-occult area) but I have to ask  - at what cost?  I restrain myself as much as possible from chat, or futile political statements, but I watch with horror at the degrading effect facebook conditioning has had on the quality of my peers and their thinking.  If Blogging is the gym, then Facebook, my friends, is McDonalds.

The ''Third method is the Dramatic,'' perhaps the most attractive of all; certainly it is so to the artist's temperament, for it appeals to his imagination through his aesthetic sense... In the third, identity is attained by sympathy.  It is very difficult for the ordinary man to lose himself completely in the subject of a play or of a novel; but for those who can do so, this method is unquestionably the best.

Magick in Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley

When Gordon talks about literature as a possible high ground to retreat from the encroaching homogenate I think he is on to something but I would like to add a few other points.   I have been involved with the Theatre scene in Prague for the last ten years and have established myself as an actor and director.  Theatre is an interesting alternative/complement to literature as it allows like minded people to meet in public and the conversations that are stimulated by a particularly interesting play are really rewarding.  Its like literature/philosophy sports for the extroverted active learner. Back in the financial crisis Gerald Celente, in one of his ''recession proof'' economics rants, discussed theatre as one thing that would do really well - as people would be insecure in their atomised state and actually crave the real social network that theatre brings along with the entertainment.  It turned out to be true. This said you have to shop around and I think Theatre of the Absurd has really come of age.  If you can't access the likes of Pinter, Albee, Ionesco, Havel, Stoppard etc on stage then you can always read them (and sometimes watch the National Theatre in the cinema).  I accept that a lot of theatre is a bit shit, but then so are most tv shows, bands, video games, films, etc etc etc.

If you really want dry land then go where virtually no one wants to go - Pure Mathematics.  Various philosophers have made attempts to suggest that maths is a form of language (and therefore proofs could be considered a kind of literature) but I would argue that language is really a form of maths. Think about all the words that describe position in space and time, or sequential order or size, etc - if you include physics then even such qualities as colour/sound can be considered numbers. Other philosophers criticise maths in the same way they criticise science -  as an ideological construct of capitalism which attempts to quantify and qualify everything on the planet and ends up robbing the world of meaning through number.  Maybe this is why there is no love lost for our dynamic duo in this ''animist'', ''shamanic'' contemporary Occulture.

For me the elephant in the room in these kind of discussions always remains Kabbalah.  Such an amazing melting pot of mathematics, science, literature and mysticism that has been left relatively unexplored.  To be fair I would rather the Grimoire hipsters didn't go there but I am still surprised by those ''western'' magi who don't know anything about Kabbalah.  I appreciate there are resources you can access without Kabbalah but, to my mind, those going into areas which are inherently heavily Kabbalistic while lacking basic understanding score very high on the Sphinx test on daring and dangerously low on knowing.  Kabbalah, for me, remains one of the great barriers in Occulture as without a solid foundation in science, linguistics, semiology, history, philosophy, mathematics its not easy to do much with it.  After that the hours of analysis, comparison/contrasting, memorisation and practical work is enough to put off most of the twats. The air is thin up there and thankfully so is the population.   Back in the glory days of Dee, Kelley and Shakespeare - Theatre/Literature, Mathematics and Kabbalah/Alchemy rubbed shoulders freely and they continue to make fine bedfellows.




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