Thursday, May 28, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Intimacy & the Godhead: Being Unveiled

Righteous Indignation: Intimacy & the Godhead: Being Unveiled: Intimacy & the Godhead: Being Unveiled What is it to know Being in the Other? Is it the study of treat...

Intimacy & the Godhead: Being Unveiled

Intimacy & the Godhead: Being Unveiled

What is it to know Being in the Other? Is it the study of treatises and tractates? Is it wholly conceptual or is there an element of the personal in these encounters? Augustine once called humans “The Great Deep”- Grande Profundum. It is in the abyss of the human heart that we are able to perceive the depth of Being in other humans as well as Other entities. Ralph Harper equated it to intimacy when he wrote, “mystics draw analogies between the feeling of the presence of God and the feeling of the presence of another person, particularly in the dark.”[1] It is in the dark of the abyss as well as the moments of intimacy that occur in the dark that we become consumed and wholly possessed in the Being of another. This is how we know true presence.
And it is these experiences that assimilate us into the godhead as well. It is the pure unitive state of being at-one and entangled in union that we know the deity. Sufism understands this perfectly well in its request:
‘O God If I love you for fear of hell, burn me in hell. If I love you for hope of heaven, deny me heaven. If I love you for yourself alone, give me yourself.’[2]

Presence of the divine is no different in experience than presence conjured in intimacy. Yes, perhaps there are conceptual discrepancies, unless of course you worship your loved one and negate any inconsistency whatsoever. And maybe that’s the point. Perhaps all along religion and its appellations of the sacred were meant to be experienced in the dark. In the ‘deep’ there is no need for prayer or faith because we know the presence of Deity.        

[1] Harper, Ralph. On Presence: Variations and Reflections. 1991. Trinity Press International. pp. 58.
[2] Arberry, A.J. Sufism. 1970. Penguin Books. New York. pp. 42.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Activation Through Interaction: Couliano, Mirrors ...

Righteous Indignation: Activation Through Interaction: Couliano, Mirrors ...: Activation Through Interaction: Couliano, Mirrors & the Pneuma of Occultism What is the occult that many...

Activation Through Interaction: Couliano, Mirrors & the Pneuma of Occultism

Activation Through Interaction: Couliano, Mirrors & the Pneuma of Occultism
What is the occult that many seem to fear and misunderstand? That which is deemed occult – although difficult to define, does have characteristics that make it at least identifiable. The concept of correspondences is maybe the most common trait associated with occult design. Like the Gnostic maxim, ‘As Above, So Below’ the microcosm as represented by Man corresponds to the universe that is the macrocosm. As Ioan Couliano remarked, “Before becoming aware of his own possibilities, man-microcosm finds himself in a universe in which the parties, both low and high, ‘cooperate’ with each other without his knowledge. At the time he grasps the structure of that cooperation, the correspondences between the visible universe and its invisible prototype, he will be able to make use of them in the service of capturing the unknown presences that lurk in the threshold between the two worlds”.[1] In other words, mind and matter cooperate to achieve a desired goal by corresponding with each other.  However, although mind and its conjurations are one, we are not always aware of the correspondences. Sometimes they are simply beyond our reach until the association unfolds experientially. And that’s not to say that the angels or demons invoked by Man are ‘exclusively’ in the mind. They are also autonomous entities that have their own personalities and agenda. This idea is a rejection of ontological dualism. Instead of binary opposition, the occult works off of benign reciprocity. Entities make magicians do things. There is work involved. When a magician constructs a magic circle and an entity appears, both parties are doing something. The presence of the entity acts in accordance with the work the magician did in ritual. 

However, occult processes judiciously negate linear causation as well. This work that is done in ritual- the complex expressions and original sentiment would never be replaced by simple, sleight-of-hand utterances of causation under the pretext that former explains the latter. Instead, occultists present a state of affairs. In the act of invocation, for example, the magic circle-like a laboratory, construction site, chef’s kitchen, or theater stage, shows us the consensus decisions used to create an association. It is the paths taken in the labyrinth to reach a correspondence. Not only does it lead you backstage and introduce you to the skills and tracks of practitioners, it also provides a rare glimpse of what it is for a thing to emerge of our inexistence by adding to any existing entity its time dimension.[2] In the construction of an occult interaction, the magician vicariously activates the signatures of the primordial but not necessarily in a lineal mode of time. What occurs is a completely unique state of affairs built on correspondence.
Furthermore, this activation through interaction is another common occult trait. To cause to function, excite, or react is the utmost goal of the magical rite. Usually the activation of the ‘Pneuma’ facilitates the interaction a magician will have with an entity. The Pneuma or “immaterial ether” is the breath of the living god. Judaic mystics asserted that it was the Pneuma that sparked the primordial air of Hokmah, then the water and fire of Binah and Hesed on the Tree of Life. And according to Eilberg-Schwartz, Pneuma denotes air in movement. It can refer to wind, breath, or life, in the sense of animating power. The Pneuma  occurs in the 1st century BCE in connection with the oracles of Apollo at Delphi: the priestess sat over an opening in the earth and when she became intoxicated by the vapors that arose from the fissure she fell into trance, which was interpreted as possession by Apollo.[3] The Pneuma is the residing spirit John Dee activated to communicate with angels. It was the Pneuma that was activated when Aleister Crowley received the ‘Book of the Law’ in 1904. Pneuma is a mirror with two faces , one of which reflects perceptions coming from the external senses and the other the phantasmagoria of the soul.[4] The Pneuma is innate yet when activated an event or surprise. It is a surreptitious mediator that translates how occultists make their entities do things.  

                                    (Professor Ioan Couliano. Brilliant Occult Thinker)  

Imagination and Intuition are what allows the occultist to perceive the many correspondences in their craft. Tarot readers and astrologers use intuitiveness to interpret divination after Pneuma has been activated. Both imagination and intuition are forms of perception. Fantastical reality is part of the real world and it’s these areas of our psyche that make the jumps and connect the dots during an occult interaction. There are many ways in which mystics, sages, magicians, and shamans utilize the imagination and intuitive faculties of the mind to aid in occult practice. Some tirelessly use meditation in order to awaken areas of the psyche otherwise unexplored. Visualization techniques are also honed so that focus can be elevated. For some, lucid dreaming or the use of psychedelic drugs opens portals in the mind. What they all share, however, is the assertion that the imagination is not simply flights of fancy or unimportant debris of the conscious self. The imagination is something unique, mysterious, and transcendent.
Occult doesn't define a reality. It was never meant to. It is a translation or movement that shows us a reflective state of affairs. It is paths taken to reach a precedent or circumstance. This reflectivity is reflective of occultists themselves. This is the reason why the mirror has long been an enduring occult tool. Supernatural folklore is also full of mirror narratives as portrayed in folktales such as Snow White or in legends like Bloody Mary. Renaissance magician Marsilio Ficino wrote that menstruating women who look at themselves in the mirror leave little drops of blood on its surface.[5] And its been long thought the soul is connected to its reflection in a mirror and that‘s why breaking a mirror is bad luck. The mirror is a mediator between the microcosm and macrocosm. It is a portal between realities. After all, if the whole of reality is infinite and universal, then Man(the microcosm) must also be infinite and universal. And since experience shows that the body is neither infinite nor universal, there must be in Man ‘something’ of the infinite and universal. The reflection cannot differ from that which the mirror reflects. [6]

The mirror is also brutally honest. Reflections don’t lie and for may occultists, reflections in a mirror are a metaphor for their own spiritual progress. If they perceive a reflection that is cloudy or if the soul is not sufficiently clean, the individual can be reduced to a lower, almost bestial state. Then it is a matter of polishing the mirror, removing its impurities-restoring to the clouded spirit its original transparency as well as its purity, flexibility, and hardness. [7] Plato associated mirrors with the Pneuma itself. He stated that, “using the senses [spirit] grasps the images of external bodies; now, the soul itself cannot perceive these images directly, given that incorporeal substance, superior to that of the body, cannot be induced by the latter to receive images. Omnipresent in spirit, the soul can easily contemplate images of bodies reflected in it as in a mirror. It is through these images it can appraise the bodies themselves.”[8] Although the body cannot directly perceive the Daimonic world due to our meaty matter state, the soul or Pneuma is free to reflect on this unseen world and perceive it as in a mirror’s reflection.
The occult is much more than a collection of spells designed to conjure demons or gain access to the spirit realm.  The concept has evolved. The word now acts as a canopy for all manner of the strange and inexplicable. Although ceremonial magic may be the centerpiece of the occult altar, the word also evokes ufology and  paranormal studies. Nowadays, the occult is both Lam and Old Hag. It is hauntings and Hecate herself. The word has become intertwined with the supernatural and the two are in many ways one and the same. The fact that the occult has transformed tells us that it has undergone its own rites of passage. Just as initiates go through changes of status during supernatural events, the occult has also experienced a change in ontological state due to ritual processes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Schopenhauer and Mysticism: Reconciling Contrasts in Mystical Narratives

Schopenhauer and Mysticism
But in the end, much of what makes up the occult are stories. They are narratives designed to transmit something. They are signals that relay a common purpose to reach alterity and make contact. Not so far removed from the use of Scriptures in some religious systems or the deploying of Mandalas in others. The narratives say something about the human condition and the need for supernatural agency. Because believe it or not, there is a real need for ‘Otherness’ in the human condition. This need manifests in the creation of subatomic particles by physicists to explain the universe. It is also evident in the ritualization of myth and folklore into daily lives. It is a need to be moved. Within this pathos is an appeal to communicate a specific feeling. In answer to this appeal, Man creates temple complexes with clear lines that demarcate sacred from the profane. Such is the case at the ‘Villa of the Mysteries’ at Pompeii.

Artistic iconography at the Villa transmits the pathos of life and fertility. As Carl Jung remarked, “Here death is embedded by a female demon, with great black wings, visibly thwarted by the erect phallus of the sacred basket” (Jung 1964). The story portrayed in the Villa walls is one initiation and it conjures the feeling of initiation. The ritual and the subjective experience of undergoing an initiatory journey converge to form an event. And this is the goal of occult pathos. Here there is no separation of object and subject. As Eliade states, “By virtue of his initiation, the neophyte attained to another mode of being; he became equal to the gods, was one with the gods” (Eliade 1989). The ritual and its experience are one in the same. I call this merging the occult law of convergence.

The Object Subject dichotomy is a classic philosophical problem that sometimes manifests in reconciliation of contrasts (duality). Ideas of plurality and distinction are considered mere appearances that distract the practitioner from attaining the oneness or at-one-ment of the sacred. Schopenhauer suggested that when someone mediates, they come into the contact with the Will. This Will is the life-force of that person. He wrote that “it is what is innermost, the kernel of each individual thing and equally of the whole. It is manifest in every blindly working force of nature; it is manifest, also, in the considered deeds of man” (Schopenhauer 1844). The Will, according to Schopenhauer, is that piece of sanctity and fire of life that everybody is born with. A spark of the divine, it is the gnosis and sublimity of being at one with the universe. He goes on to state that
Up to now, the concept Will has been subsumed under the concept Force;           but I am using it just the opposite way, and mean that every force in nature is to be understood as a function of Will. For at the back of the concept Force there is finally our visual knowledge of the objective world, i.e. of some phenomenon, something seen. It is from this that the concept Force derives…whereas the concept Will, on the contrary, is the one, among all possible concepts, that does not derive from the observation of phenomena, not from mere visual knowledge, but comes from inside, emerges from the immediate consciousness of each one of us: not as a form, not even in terms of the subject-object relationship, but as that which he himself is; for here the knower and the known are the same. (Ibid)

Akin to the Hindu Brahman, the Will makes distinctions between the Self and the universe unnecessary. Being the universal spirit and the feeling of being in that state are one in the same and anything else is either paradox or absurdity.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Assembling the Supernatural: Quantum theory and th...

Righteous Indignation: Assembling the Supernatural: Quantum theory and th...: ASSEMBLING THE SUPERNATURAL               The study of the supernatural begins with a sense o...

Assembling the Supernatural: Quantum theory and the Paranormal


            The study of the supernatural begins with a sense of awe. Something spectral, outside the norm or different. Often times, the supernatural defies the empirical and is based solely on experiential happenings. And always it is attached to a sense of wonder. However, anthropologists, folklorists, and students of religion sometimes disagree as to whether the supernatural is in a system or if the system is made up of the supernatural. It is the classic macro/micro debate. For example, a scholar of the supernatural needs an office, a place to investigate, laboratory, tech equipment, an archive of narratives, cameras, witnesses, an audience, and ‘evidence’ or variances of the phenomenon. This structure is formed from local narratives that are collected, classified, changed, and performed in a myriad of ways. the supernatural begins at the local level then moves globally as it shifts and traded through dissemination.

            What this means is that a student of the supernatural has a choice of routes and can focus on either the local or the global aspects of the supernatural. We can either study the spirit of the phenomenon as a whole or render an inquiry into a local paranormal investigative team. Just as Capitalism has a ‘spirit’ but no plausible opposite since its everywhere, a trading room on Wall Street has many competitors inShanghai, London etc…Wall Street is connected in many ways and it is bigger only in this sense. As Latour has remarked, it is not wider. The point is to not focus on Capitalism but don’t stay stuck in the trading room either. We must follow the connections. After all, “what is acting at the same moment in any place is coming from many other places, many distant materials, and many faraway actors” (Bruno Latour,Reassembling the Social. 206). The paranormal also fits this pattern. Although researching the spirit of phenomenon is essential, we must also hone in on local teams that help make the narratives a viable piece of folklore.

            This idea of faraway entities interacting on the local arena also finds its place in quantum physics. According to Capra, “In the framework of quantum theory, distinct physical entities are therefore idealizations which are meaningful only to the extent that the main part of the interaction has a long range” (Capra, The Tao of Physics. 137). In other words, each transaction involves effects extending over great distances. This was the essence of the Einstein/Bohr debate of the 1920s. Einstein was convinced that there are no nonlocal connections. He believed that there must be some external reality consisting of independent spatially separated events. Bohr opined that nonlocal connections do exist. In quantum theory, particles transcend usual information transfer and two separated particles (even by space and time) can influence one another. John Bell settled the matter once and for all. He devised an experiment where two electrons are brought close to each other. At the instant we perform a measurement on particle 1 and set its rotational spin, the second particle automatically began to spin along its opposite axis thus giving the pair of total spin of 0. But would this happening occur if the electrons were separated by long distances? Einstein said ‘No’ because since no signal travels faster than light, it is impossible that a measurement on 1 will ‘instantly’ determine spin on the other. There must be some lag time. Bohr posited that a two-particle system is an indivisible whole. Even if their separated, the pair of electrons will continue to act on one another. Bells’ theorem proved consistent with Bohr’s theory and showed that electrons, and by extension the universe, is interconnected.


The paranormal also shows ideas of interconnection or unification. If we postulate the probabilities of potentialities based upon measurement, we can surmise the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon. It’s not hard. Television is full of ghosthunting investigators utilizing a potential ‘Haunted House’ as a laboratory. Experiments are run in a myriad of ways to capture evidence of some supernatural entity. Often times, the ghost or specter is used as an ethnographic informant and structured interviewing is implemented to form a dialogue with the unseen. If we postulate that consciousness of spirit has some corresponding mechanism in our ordinary sphere of influence, the system can be seen as a pair of interconnecting parts. For example, if we use a voice recorder to measure the probability of spirit talking and we capture an anomalous recording on the device, can we find a corresponding sound vibration or band-width to use as a mechanism or catalyst for the happening? Probabilities can be mustered by using quantum thinking in areas of the paranormal. Sure, its difficult to verify. But is difficulty a justifiable reason to not explore these potentialities?

            Inherently, the problem of the supernatural is one of Existence. The whole point of studying anomalous entities is to come to grips with our wanting to believe in something outside normal circles of space and time. We conjure narratives of myth and folklore. We apply reason and rationality in an attempt to explain scientifically what the anomalous re-presents to us. Probabilities and potentialities are the new symbols of the paranormal entity. More than an estimation of an occurrence or true statement, probability has become synonymous with the entity itself. Furthermore, the entity sits betwixt and between Being and Nothingness. Like the appearance of Schrodinger’s Cat, the supernatural creature cannot be said to ‘Be’ or ‘Not Be’ really there. As our perspective changes, so does the behavior of the entity. As Capra remarked, “The introduction of probability waves, in a sense, resolves the paradox of particles being waves by putting it in a totally new context; but at the same time it leads to another pair of opposite concepts which is even more fundamental that of Existence and Non-Existence. We can never say that an atomic particle exists at a certain place, nor can we say that it does not exist. Being a probability pattern, the particle has tendencies to exist in various places and thus manifests a strange kind of physical reality between Existence and Non-Existence” (Capra, Tao of Physics. 154). The particle recalls the supernatural entity in that it enjoys a liminal existence. As it is measured or as it is ethnographically studied, the particle sits without a status and is inbetween shifts in agency. Is it a limbo or purgatory existence? It is process of becoming and the state just before objective knowledge and subjective experience is unified into a new assembly? It is all these things and more.

            The quantum is a sufficient metaphor for the supernatural. After all, many supernatural creatures can only be said to be perceived indirectly. Such in the case of the voice recorder or shadow on film. Particles exhibit similar behavior. Again Capra remarks that there are “Other particles that belong to a category called resonances. They live for a considerable shorter time, decaying after a few ‘particle seconds’, so they can never travel farther than a few times their own size. This means they cannot be seen in the bubble chamber; their existence can only be inferred indirectly” (Capra 228). Supernatural creatures also show the tendency to be indirectly perceived. For example, ceremonial magicians perform highly ritualized and formal invocations of the anomalous. Sometimes the rite consists of a complex magical circle, liturgy, and intense visualization. As the invocation progresses, sometimes a change of air pressure or strange sound is all that announces the entrance of the desired Being. Like the particle, the existence of the entity can sometimes only be inferred indirectly. A resonance and a supernatural entity cannot be said to be objects or events. They are an experience or happening…..    

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Evolution & Non-Humans: How do our Deities evolve ...

Righteous Indignation: Evolution & Non-Humans: How do our Deities evolve ...:   EVOLUTION AND DEITIES: Discussing non-humans has many more implications than just anthropomo...

Evolution & Non-Humans: How do our Deities evolve through time?



Discussing non-humans has many more implications than just anthropomorphism. As Latour has remarked, “Non-humans have not been emerging for aeons just to serve as so many props to show the mastery, intelligence, and design capacities of humans or their divine creations. They have their own intelligence, their own design, and plenty of transcendence to go on, that is, to reproduce” (Latour, Bruno. Will Non-Humans Be Saved? 2009). Although many non-humans do have human-like qualities or tendencies, they are autonomous entities that have their own trajectory and hold their own agency. Attributing only anthropomorphism to deity production is like trying to play a three-note guitar chord with only two strings. Although there is a familiarity with the sound, something seems missing. This something in terms of non-humans is evolutionary and experiential.

Truth be told, non-humans aren’t so much ineffable or infallible as incommensurable. Much like biological organisms, there is an evolution of the supernatural. Deities that are fittest or created with a favorable evolutionary trait tends to be more successful over time. These genetic variances may mutate and shift as in the case of the Holy Tree. According to what is known as the “Golden Legend”, the true cross came from three seeds from the ‘tree of mercy’ in the Garden of Eden. These three seeds were placed in the mouth of Adam’s corpse by Seth. After many centuries, wood from the tree was used to build a bridge that was used by the Queen of Sheba on her travels to meet King Solomon. When she walked across the bridge, Sheba was struck with a portent and began to worship. After reaching Solomon, she told the king about her omen of the holy-wood that would eventually lead to a new covenant between God and his people. This terrified the king and he had the timber buried. However, fourteen generations later, it would be wood from this bridge that is fashioned to produce Christ’s cross.

The narrative shows how non-humans have an evolutionary trajectory. The tree (object) went from being a seed, to a tree, bridge, crucifixion cross, and holy relic. But its symbolization, or what it means epistemologically, also evolved as centuries passed. This non-human’s meaning changed as it was imbued with the numinous. In fact, the severity of its numinous qualities ebbed and flowed through time. It was certainly a sacred object when it was in seed form and placed in Adam’s mouth. However, it lost some of its sacred power when Solomon buried it underground. Not till it was fashioned into Christ’s cross did the object reach its evolutionary potential. As a religious determinate, the true cross underwent an epistemic trajectory wherein its power as a religious symbol changed.

Self-determining deities also show evolutionary prowess as they move through time and space. However, there is an incommensurable aspect to the trajectory that keeps us from making oblique comparisons of sacred narratives. Because of its experiential nature, interactions with deities are necessarily incommensurable and must be examined as autonomous but non-comparable events. Its like comparing an entheogenic psilocybin experience with the visitation at Fatima by the Virgin Mary. Both are numinous events but they cannot be compared in any way. The experience of psilocybin-its affective qualities and pure unmitigated surrealism cannot be compared to any other numinous experience in any way because every experience of the sacred is new. Every numinous event is different in every way from other religious events due to the subjective experience in a sacred event. After all, we’re not comparing the experience of going to a baseball game or a movie. An experience of the deity is something extra-ordinary. It can be wholly beautiful or awful and terrifying. But the interaction will be unique and the experience new. And these are the qualities that are renewed or re-embodied through religious ritual. Although the experiences are incommensurable, they can be renewed subjectively to foster a change of state.

In the work of trajectories, the re-presentation of gods are a form of ritual economy. The rite of passage involves Man and the Deity to be successful. As Chris Knight and Camilla Power have remarked, “The gods do not just appear and then replicate themselves autonomously through being ‘attention-grabbing’. Rather, the immortals need organized communal help” (Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute. 4(11) March 1988. pp 129-132. Comment). Through the rite of passage sequence, the Deity and Man exhibit a ritual exchange of goods and services. But it is Man that performs the high-cost activities of conjuration. It is Man that does the dancing, and chanting, and trance exploration. They must in order to be embodied. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015





            Fundamental to acquiring a solid grasp of any state of affairs is being able to perceive changes in relations. That being so, position and movement are an essential aspect of confirming or falsifying how we perceive variances in association. Our discussion of the Baltic Anomaly makes use of relational study as we probe objective knowledge and subjective experience. By referencing object and subject or evidence and ‘what we understand of the evidence as it changes through time’, we are able to map out and plot the trajectory of the Baltic Anomaly event. As ‘what we understand’ acts as an epistemic conduit, the ontology of the Anomaly continuously changesVis ‘a Vis the changes made in understanding and reassembling the data. Like new puzzle pieces of a puzzle, information is constantly entering the fray to be recognized and included in defining what the Anomaly really is.
I know that obtaining a certainty of relations is considered by many to be an impossibility. In fact, object/subject study is ripe with theories suggesting that evidence and ‘what we understand’ can never coexist much less converge into a coherent ontological status. This problem is called Heisenberg’s ‘Uncertainty Relations’ and is best described in terms of particles. According to the Heisenberg dilemma, we can’t know both the position and velocity of a particle at the same time. The moment we pinpoint the exact position of a particle, the momentum or velocity becomes less defined. In other words, if you know the position, then seek to determine its velocity, you destroy what you know about its position. The problem also occurs if we focus on the velocity of the particle. Feyerabend states that, “if by some trick you can determine its momentum with absolute precision, then you not only don’t know anything about its position, there doesn’t even exist anything like a position any more” (Feyerabend 1991). What we know about one, annihilates what we know about the other.
It’s easy to see how ‘Uncertainty Relations’ can be applied to the Baltic Anomaly as well. Object and Subject or evidence and ‘what we understand’ are proportional to position and velocity in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty. For example, the more evidence that is collected lends to a lesser understanding of the evidence as it changes through time. As we collect data, what we know becomes less defined because there is more information to work with. Inversely, as what we understand through time becomes more pronounced, we tend to discover less new evidence. We narrow the playing field to include only what we already understand. Subsequently, when ‘less is considered’, the research programme becomes suspended and begins to degenerate. Thus, the Heisenberg problem makes it impossible to create an ontology or plot its trajectory because either the Anomaly becomes indefinite due to discovering more but understanding less. Or, we understand more through time yet suspend our context of discovery. We only consider what evidence is already there. Either scenario threatens to dissolve the entire ontology before it can even be created.

The solution to maintaining ‘definiteness’ in our ontology is in measurements. If we measure our evidence, we can discern the relationship between the evidence and ‘what we understand’ at a given time. We can also infer ‘what we understand’ either immediately before or after the measurement. The Object was always in a well-defined position because the evidence could have been measured at any time. Likewise, ‘what we understand through time’ was always well-defined because it was possible to measure in relation to the evidence at any given time. What we understand was there had we the inclination to measure it against the evidence. The fact that both the evidence and ‘what we understand’ could be measured indicates that object and subject were always in a well-defined position. Focusing on one was no threat to the other because they are defined in relation to each other.
Another difference between a particle and the Baltic Anomaly is in the identity that is produced by configuring evidence and ‘what we understand’. Although a particle’s position and velocity can be measured in relation to each other, the Anomaly’s object/subject relationship creates an identity-constituting space time. The Anomaly has a personal identity that is lost on the particle. In addition to identity, the Anomaly also enters an alterity and state of vagrancy where in-between occurs while an ontology is being created. An incandescent liminal state, evidence and ‘what we understand’ disassemble only long enough to be re-configured into a new state of Being. We don’t have any evidence that position and velocity of a particle enter into any intermediate or ‘betwixt and between’ state. Furthermore, no interpretation is needed when measuring the distance between position and velocity. However, the Anomaly relies on an interpretation of old and new evidence to form coherent versions of truth.      

Monday, May 18, 2015

Righteous Indignation: What is religiously 'Right': The Struggle of ideas...

Righteous Indignation: What is religiously 'Right': The Struggle of ideas...: The modern perception of occult thought is cyclical. In the 1600’s, demonology in France was used to elicit propaganda designed...

What is religiously 'Right': The Struggle of ideas in modern America.

The modern perception of occult thought is cyclical. In the 1600’s, demonology in France was used to elicit propaganda designed to either stomp out or convert enemies of Tridentine Catholicism. Pamphleteering was a useful method to achieve this end. Treatises of the demonological variety helped priests convince their flock to turn away from areas of the occult in favor of ‘traditional’ religious orthodoxy. It was an intended Cultural Revolution and struggle of ideas. It was political. Intense socio-economic and political struggles made it easy for witches and other practitioners of the esoteric to be scape-goated. This allowed the elite to deem popular culture of the time as diabolical and needing of reform.   

We see the same struggle of ideas in contemporary society. Minority or fringe religious groups are labeled detractors of the traditional paradigm and used as scapegoats for the ills of the modern world. We witness this in ultra-conservative religious groups that want to blame fears of the Other for a perceived disintegration of world culture. Although my favorite Christian spokesman and Presidential Candidate, zealots such Pat Robertson spin an evil twist onto everything not ‘Religious Right’. Don’t get me wrong. I’d gladly ‘Vote Pat’ in 2016 for no other reason but the sheer absurdity and entertainment value. And I know that he willfully plays a role at this point. Even he knows that much of what he says is a characterization and caricature of Christian orthodoxy. He holds a societal office and is harmless. But underneath the rhetoric lays a struggle for ideas that religious minorities all suffer. It’s really a blessing we live in the U.S. After all, it only takes a moment with Yazidi to see the true terror that can occur for yearning to practice a religion in the minority. Moreover, it’s insulting to everybody when U.S. Christians bark that there is a ‘war on Christianity’ when there are real wars on religious belief that involve rape and murder.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Potentialities and the Occult

Righteous Indignation: Potentialities and the Occult: “What is potential can both be and not be, for the same is potential both to be and not to be.” –Aristotle-1050 b10 ‘Metaphysics’ Book Thet...

Potentialities and the Occult

“What is potential can both be and not be, for the same is potential both to be and not to be.” –Aristotle-1050 b10 ‘Metaphysics’ Book Theta

            The liminal manifests itself in a myriad of ways. As a transitionary state of Being, it lends itself to the bizarre and macabre. The liminal is an intermediary between what was and what will be. This lends itself perfectly to occult work because, as every practitioner knows, what is ‘becoming’ is more important that what once was and what currently ‘is’. This being said, the concept isn’t exactly new. For example, the stoics also identified an intermediary step between thought and being. They called this state the ‘lekton’ or ‘expressible’. This was a state that was incorporeal or without presence. Lacking ontological form, the state also referred to language itself. The lekton was the event or expressible capacity in-between thought and being. It was liminal. This is exactly the same as the liminal state in an occult rite of passage. In evoking the particular state, the occultist literally communicates the ‘expressible’.

But there must be a method that transmits the expressible from the occult practitioner. Curiously, the method takes the form of ritual checks and balances. As Benjamin remarked, “Origin, although an entirely historical category, has, nevertheless, nothing to do with genesis. The term origin is not intended to describe the process by which the existent came into being, but rather to describe that which emerges from the process of becoming and disappearance”. [1] In other words, the ritual or ‘interaction’ between the existent and the practitioner is more important that the description of the event. This is because of the ritual checks and balances that forms a permanent empathetic bond between evoker and evokee. Benjamin went so far as to suggest that part of the creator dies in the ritual process. He states that, “The origin of the great work has often been considered through the image of birth. This is a dialectical image; it embraces the process from two sides. The first has to do with creative conception and concerns the feminine element in genius. The feminine is exhausted in creation. It gives life to the work and then dies away. What dies in the master along-side the achieved creation is the part of him in which the creation was conceived…In its achievement, creation gives birth anew to the creator”. [2] Although a part of the magician is lost to the entity summoned, in turn the entity gives something back to the evoker. This something is a gift. In its presence, the magician is re-embodied or renewed by the supernatural exchange.

Ritual checks and balances is also implied in Aristotle’s ‘ethos anthropoi daimon’. The usual translation of this phrase is “for man, character is the demon.” But ethos originally referred to what is proper in the sense of “dwelling place, habit”. Daimon also meant etymologically “to divide, lacerate”. So daimon was he who lacerates or divides. However, we shouldn’t consider this a negative connotation of the word daimon because only in ‘what divides’ can the daimon also be what destines or threads a fate. The word daiomai first means to “divide” then to “assign” which has the same semantic development as the root “demos”-which meant “division of territory”, and “assigned part”. So ethos anthropoi daimon translates into ethos, the dwelling in the ‘self’ that is what is most proper for him, is what lacerates and divides, and assigns and destines. In other words, for man to be himself, he must necessarily divide himself.[3]

This is reminiscent of the renewal Benjamin discussed but more accurately relates to Cabalistic thought. Gershom Scholem has discussed prophesy as it was described by Jewish mystics in the 13th century. In his ‘On The Mystical Shape Of The Godhead’, he writes that in a Cabalistic anthology called the Shushan Sodoth, prophesy appears as one’s own doppelganger: “The complete secret of prophesy consists in the fact that the prophet suddenly sees the form of his self standing before him, and he forgets his own self and ignores it…and that form speaks with him and tells him the future. [4] As it is necessary for the prophet to “divide” in order to “assign fate”, the occultist must also separate from himself to exact a successful ritualistic interaction. Also, many occult traditions embrace the idea of the double as part of their teachings. For example, the idea of qliphoth “shells of the sephiroth” is common to many students of the occult. Acting as reversals or inversions of the Judaic ‘Tree of Life’, these dark embodiments are akin to the folklore of a doppelganger.

Philosophically, the double also plays the role of non-being. It is the difference between actuality and potentiality or what ‘is’ and ‘what could be’. As Agamben has remarked, “what is essential is that potentiality is not simply non-Being, simple privation, but rather the existence of non-Being, the presence of an absence; this is what well call “faculty” or “power”. [5] The point being potentiality has an ontological status. It is something.  This faculty that is spoken of is ability. For example, a ritual specialist has the ability or potentiality to perform ritual. But he also has the ability to not-ritualize-or not pass into actuality. It is these changes from potentiality to actuality that embody ontological trajectories of the supernatural. Aristotle also discussed potentiality and actuality. In fact, he asserted that their ontological changes are a harmonizing part of nature. He states that “actuality (energeia) is light and potentiality is darkness (skotos), what is sometimes dark and sometimes light is ‘one in nature’.[6]Even in realms of the supernatural, what is and what could be are integral aspects of status. Moreover, describing these statuses in terms of light and dark is also something very reminiscent of descriptions of those in a liminal state. Victor Turner says that “in many societies the liminal initiands are often considered to be dark, invisible, like the sun or moon in eclipse or the moon between phases, at the “dark of the moon”.[7] As we’ve been discussing then, those in a liminal state are traversing what ‘is’ and what ‘could be’. Their existence explores areas of potentiality and actuality. This is also why the liminal is so conducive to studies of the paranormal and occult. Birthing entities is ritualistic settings goes hand in hand with comparing those in a liminal state to ghosts and gods. These supernatural personages are only critically understood by exploring their ontological changes as they interact

[1] Walter Benjamin. Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 1 Pt. 1 pp226
[2] Walter Benjamin. Gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 4 Pt 1 pp438 ed. Rolf Tiedemann & Hermann Schweppenhausser. Frankfort am Maini Suhrkamp 1974-89.
[3] See Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Potentialities’ for a more detailed account of Aristotle’s ‘ethos anthropoi daimon’.
[4] Shushan Sodoth-quoted in Scholem. Pp. 253.
[5] Giorgio Agamben. Potentialities. Stanford University Press. 1999. Pp. 179.
[6] Aristotle. Physics. 418b-419e I
[7] Victor Turner. From Ritual to Theatre. PAJ Publications. New York. 1992.