Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blogosphere vs Facebook

In the What Went Wrong series I suggest different factors that are responsible for the decline of the WMT - social media, chat, nerdiness, identity politics, teacher-student relationships, baby boomers, servicing the needs of the lowest common denominator (the new and/or stupid), authorship, ''journalists'', identity politics, advertising and petty sorcery.  Monkey see monkey do. I am willing to weaken my stance on some and strengthen it on others. What I still think we lack are peer to peer discussions about theory, healing, astral work, Qabalah and most of all actual magickal experience*.   

I want to focus on the Blogosphere vs Facebook debate today as part of a larger discussion on public esoteric space.**  Many of you fellow bloggers swore to update your blogs more regularly this year and I sincerly hope you keep up with targets because it is an immensely rewarding experience in and of itself - combining letter, essay, diary, treatise and article - and you know you benefit.  Even if I disagree with you, or have no idea what you are talking about I enjoy grappling with different ideas and approaches.  It is exactly the same as oaths to get fit.  Keep going, it will be worth it for your mind and your community.  If you are simply a reader then join in and start writing! 

The Blogosphere*** is a tremendous gift to our community that allows both freedom of expression and freedom from advertising****.  It exercises will and creativity - the highest manifestations of being - and encourages discourse between peers.  Having to craft a post - bearing in mind the differing concentration spans, available time, levels of readership, etc - disciplines the writer's work. You have to balance between accuracy and simplicity.  As a form it has problems but remains the best we have right now and should not be squandered.

Facebook on the other hand, as a public space, is almost the complete opposite with messages and discussions about esoteric matters crammed into little blue Skinner boxes, where your deepest thoughts become eye-straining content for Zuckerberg's advert sandwich - the medium is fundamentally degrading, humiliating and pathetic.  It cheapens what you do and makes you lazy.  It is saturated by petty ego, finely veiled advertising, the panoptical pressure of the invisible lurk and constantly falls prey to the demonic forces of chat.   Unlike the Blogosphere it is not even slightly demanding for the user.  Its easy to click like, emote or banter like a twat.  Way too easy - like buying alcohol.  If you are crafting your finest thoughts on Facebook then more fool you - they will become lost on your prison walls rather than in the archives of your library.*****

People become shy of blogging for a few reasons but probably the two most common are laziness and lack of inspiration.  If you are struggling to write something yourself then respond to something that you have read - respond in a comment if you like, I am not condemning marginalia, but writing a short essay of your own on your reflections as a response is even better. If you are practising, as you should be, just write a short account of what has been happening, it is better than nothing. 

As I said above I think we need to talk more about magickal experience - be it armchair or otherwise - and avoid too much deviation into extraneous topics unless they directly relate to a magickal throughline.  One problem with the blogosphere is in its tendency to bleed out into identity politics and conspiracy theory.  While these can be worthwhile topics of themselves and do have direct bearing on esoteric issues in some articles I find myself wondering where the magic is.  The reason I point to healing and astral work is to go against the trend of desire satisfaction sorcery which should really be considered a gateway drug into the why rather than as a how to means unto itself.  Qabalah was the lingua franca and we now lack one.  ''Is it because I is Jewish?''

In Moorcock's ''Blood: A Southern Fantasy''  there is a division between the First and Second Ether.  The First Ether is ruled over by insects and encourages conformity to the Singularity.  This is Facebook.  The Second Ether is the world of freescalers and chaos engineers abseiling between dimensions.  This is the Blogosphere.

Just so we are clear.

Next up - Raziel on yes-no dimensions and daughter cells.

*I would much rather you explain what actually happened than vaguely allude to it.
**Youtube is more important and benign a format than facebook.  One of the things I am willing to weaken my position on is ''magickal journalism'' - I was worried about the format at the time descending into trivia and anecdotalism but I've seen good work since I made the original post.  The original danger remains.
***The secret is in the name.
****Unless you choose to advertise yourself.
*****There is something to be said for private groups but this post is about public esoteric space.   The only rational way to use Facebook is to use it to pull people out of the First Ether and in to the Second, then welcome, educate and support them in its use.  Reinforce the First Ether at your own peril.  I consider time there to be the same as spending it in something which is radioactive.


  1. My appreciation and thanks for adding me to your blog roll. I'll repeat the courtesy myself shortly.

    I agree with you about the challenges of the blogosphere vs. Facebook. For my own part, I have a difficult time getting people off Facebook and into my blog. Even when I specifically ask people to leave comments on the blog post rather than on the link from Facebook, they still comment within the Big Blue Box (and I wonder if the choice of Facebook's color scheme is designed to make us think 'TARDIS' when we see it, sometimes? 'Bigger on the inside?').

    So the first challenge is getting people off Facebook. The second challenge is getting them to blog. And the third challenge is to build links between blogs through comments, through links, through ping backs and through references to earlier materials within our own blogs. None of this is easy, and the tools for doing so are not well designed for beginners' success at all.

    One of the things that I wrestle with, as well, is that there are some blogs that I think of as 'comment-safe spaces' and others which I don't think of as "comment-safe". It's no fun to leave a comment intending good will and kindness and feelings of connection, only to be told-off good-and-proper by the author. And I have been told off good-and-proper: called appropriative, disrespectful, and worse. And I admit, I've left less-than-kind remarks that sounded funny on my end before I hit post, and looked less friendly when presented in raw Arial 12 point.

    It's a challenge. Is Kabbalah/Qabalah/Cabala a lingua franca for communicating the variety of magical and mystical experiences? Or is it an appropriation of a closed tradition? Can it be both? How do we make blogs safe and friendly and open to visitors, newcomers, and advanced practitioners, while still driving away the trolls who want to pick fights? The experience of reading a mystical experience can itself be a Hod-based mystical experience... but only if the conversation on the loops of the 8 is allowed to flower and flourish, and not killed prematurely with the violence of Geburah nor Yesodic fantasies nor the two divergent but personal experiences of Tiphareth and Netzach. Hmmm.

  2. We don't want to get all the people off Facebook. It should remain as a sponge for the idiots. The problem with WMT101 authors is there is a vested interest in harvesting those idiots for book sales.

    Cabala-esque was the lingua franca of the Western Magickal Tradition from the Renaissance to the Edwardian world of Golden Dawn et al until it began breaking down a) because of its reliance on the flawed Kircher Tree and b) the post structuralism of Chaos.

    The ''Jewish Kabbalah'' did not exist persay until the 10th century (unless you count the KBL being told to Abraham by Raziel) before that there were diverse Jewish mystical systems such as the Sefer Yetzirah, the Hekhalot Literature, amongst others and Jewish magicians rubbing shoulders with magicians of other types in the jingly jangly underworld of astrology, alchemy, palmistry, physiognomy etc. There is clearly a fusion of Greek, Babylonian and Egyptian thought which themselves derive from even earlier civilizations and the Jewish blend of this fusion is particularly great because of the mulitcultural and cosmopolitan nature of the diaspora. Location, location, location. They were well connected communities and had an appreciation for the bigger picture.

    Appropriation is bullshit, like with this article on appropriating Yoga and currys recently, its just another excuse for divisiveness and feeling hurt. *Commonalities* are where it is at, and there are a lot of them we can share as practitioners I am sure. I don't think a culture can copyright up down, past future, good evil etc. They are concepts we share. That's why the KBL/QBL was so useful and why we will eventually go back to it. Chaos aren't going to escape their post structuralist world unless it is into cryptoscientific language. I think they will feel uncomfortable with that themselves.

    I have readers for sure, but I don't get so many comments. Most of the time its because its not written for dummies - people seem to be thinking. I am the same I will read a post and unless I can contribute a useful source or point, I won't comment. But I am thinking about what they said. I think keep the level fairly high and your ''trolls'' won't get involved.

    That said I am guilty of giving aggressive comments in my time and I generally think people should toughen up when it comes to that particular part of the blogging experience. Its natural that we all disagree from time to time, and it should be kept fairly civil, but at the same time I can't stand sycophancy and yes men and I find these as irritating as any negative comments. We don't want everyone to agree with us all the time, we want challenges! In terms of sharing a community writing blogposts about similar things certainly helps to spread a vibe as readers get a wide range of different opinions and it helps connect the authors. But also we don't want these conversations dropping to the lowest common denominator - I think good ones will arise organically as long as we are looking to interact and intersect with the overall aim of producing a vibrant dynamic community.

  3. So I'm chiming in 'cos conversation touched (however marginally) a couple themes dear to me. Having gone through Chaos for a decade (up to some years ago when I got sick of it and turned my attention back to integrating tradition), and also being a post-structuralism lover (if you mean by this term people such as Deleuze-Guattari, Marilyn Strathern, Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway etc), I'd say Chaos is post-modern (textual-interpretative / ultra-relativistic), but not post-structuralist. Post-structuralism integrates structuralism instead of rejecting it as post-modern thought do. For example, in Anti-Oedipus we'll find Deleuze and Guattari taking Marx, Lacan and Levi-Strauss quite seriously. There's a concretude in Deleuzian thought that you'll not find in post-modern thinkers such as Lyotard or James Clifford.
    With regard to the post itself: you're damn right. I've been using ago I had the wonderful idea of preserving all my good facebook posts in .txt files. So I use facebook (mostly groups) to spark good discussions with like-minded people, thus incentivizing myself to express and organize my thoughts, and then I reap the results and sometimes turn them into blog posts.

  4. ps. I really miss the possibility of editing my blog comments, though. I doesn't matter how many times I check what I wrote - they always come out unkempt. Thankfully I can blame my exiled Mercury in Pisces. :)